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Game of Thrones – “Mockingbird” Review: Small, But Crucial, Plot Movement

While not a whole lot happens during “Mockingbird,” the small plot movements are crucial for setting-up the final elements of Game of Thrones fourth season. After a week with no Starks, we spend time with three of the four remaining Stark children, and check in on a few other storylines throughout Westeros and Mereen, as each story is positioned for its conclusion in the next few weeks.

We spend the most time this week in Tyrion’s prison cell, as he desperately tries to find a champion for his upcoming trial by combat. Peter Dinklage has been on fire this season after spending a great deal of season three on the bench while other cast members were given a chance to shine. The second half of the third novel in the Song of Ice and Fire novels is truly Tyrion’s story, and Dinklage has embraced this meaty storyline with gusto. “Mockingbird” gives him yet another excellent series of scenes, as Tyrion is rejected first by his brother and then by his sworn man Bronn. Having Cersei beat him to the punch with Bronn is particularly rough to see, as Tyrion was just so recently burnt by Shae. Losing Bronn, albeit reluctantly on Bronn’s part, is yet another in a long line of betrayals Tyrion has dealt with in his life.

So, the tears Tyrion sheds with Oberyn are tears of relief along with tears of pain, as Oberyn shares the story of their first meeting, emphasizing Cersei’s lifetime of cruelty and Oberyn’s own refusal to accept such cruelty as justified. While we’ve known since his first appearance on the series that Oberyn’s overriding purpose in coming to King’s Landing was to kill The Mountain, it didn’t seem as if he would get such a chance. Now, one has presented itself on a silver platter. Whether Cersei arranged The Mountain’s role in the combat with this knowledge, or if she is simply doing everything in her power to insure that Tyrion’s champion (whomever it may be) loses and thereby costs Tyrion his life, remains to be seen. Whatever the reason, the fight between The Viper and The Mountain (which, coincidentally is the title of the show’s next episode, so I guess we know what’s coming up) is certain to be epic.

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Our other major storyline moment comes courtesy of the always creepy Petyr Baelish, who finally gives into his strange Catelyn obsession and kisses poor unsuspecting Sansa. I can’t be the only one who was wishing that Sansa would smack Littlefinger just as she smacked annoying little Robin moments earlier. But, I suppose the result of the kiss makes up for the creepiness factor of it all, as it ultimately brings about the death of poor Lysa. I have to admit letting out a laugh of joy at seeing Littlefinger shove her out the Moon Door. Although, it does mean that the only living relatives for the poor Stark children are the Blackfish (who is still missing after the Red Wedding) and their uncle Edmure Tully, who is a captive of the Freys. So, things are really looking quite bleak for Arya, Sansa, and Bran.

Speaking of Arya, while she and the Hound continue the (now fruitless) trek to the Eyrie, they are now being pursued (or, at least tracked) by Brienne and Pod after a chance meeting with Hot Pie sets them on the right path. I never thought I would be so excited to see good old Hot Pie (looking quite a bit older, but no worse for wear), but boy was I glad that he has set Brienne on the right path to find both Sansa and Arya. Now, considering this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about, the chances of Brienne actually finding either girl is slim to none, but just knowing that there are people out there looking out for Arya and Sansa is a small bit of comfort. Especially when we are reminded, as we are twice in this episode, that unspeakable cruelty can exist even in families, scarring such victims both physically and mentally.

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Final Thoughts

— We are given a thankfully brief scene with Jon Snow today. Just enough to remind us that Jon is clearly smarter than everyone else iin the Night’s Watch.

— Dany finally gives into Daario and sleeps with him. But it appears that she has done so only so that she can convincingly send him off to Yunkai to take back the city. Jorah, who remains devoted to Dany, manages to convince her to be a bit lenient with the masters in Yunkai. But I wonder how long she will be willing to take his counsel as soon as she finds out he was sent to spy on her for Westeros (even if he may no longer be spying).

— I’m not entirely sure what to make of the scene between Melisandre and Selyse. It is not a scene from the novels, but it certainly hints that poor little Shireen will be crucial to Stannis’s upcoming campaign. I’ve really grown to love the spunky little girl, so I’m hoping this doesn’t mean something horrible is about to happen to her.

–And, just a friendly reminder, HBO will not air Game of Thrones next week (due to the holiday), but it will start back up the following week.

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • A great character death
  • Important plot movement
  • A good amount of Tyrion
  • Sansa is finally coming into her own
Cons
  • Some seemingly non-connected scenes
  • Not enough Hot Pie, Pod, or Brienne

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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