I find Game of Thrones exceedingly hard to review. The episodes are always brilliant, their quality surprisingly consistent. Yet, some episode that are considered the best are also painful to watch. Game of Thrones doesn’t beat around the bush with its drama. Drama accentuated by gore, nudity, torture (a form of gore) and humor. It is the show for dilettante, but they need to remember that all men must die. Mockingbird is the seventh episode of season 4 of GoT. It sets the pieces for episodes 8 and 9 which will act as the high water mark. There is not much wrong with episode 7 Mockingbird, it only tries too hard to progress as many of the storylines as possible. Sadly, some of the progress works better than others.
In King’s Landing
In his cell, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is chastised by his brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) for requesting a trial by combat. He asks Jaime to be his champion, but Jaime declines due to his poor performance with his left hand. Tyrion then asks Jaime to locate Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and ask him. Meanwhile, Cersei (Lena Headey) greets Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) while he executes several prisoners. Days later, Bronn visits Tyrion and informs him that he is to wed a highborn lady, and will not be Tyrion’s champion. At night, Tyrion is visited by Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), who tells Tyrion that he will be his champion, in order to exact his revenge on Ser Gregor for killing his sister, Elia, and her children.
In the North
Jon (Kit Harington) and his remaining men arrive back at Castle Black. At a meeting, he implores Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) to block the passage through the Wall to prevent Mance Rayder’s army from coming through, but his request is denied.
At night, Lady Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald) and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) discuss their plans to depart Dragonstone. Selyse tells Melisandre that she does not want her daughter, Shireen, to come with them, but Melisandre convinces her that the Lord of Light needs Shireen to go with them.
On the Kingsroad
Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) eat at an inn and are served by Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey). When Brienne inquires about Sansa Stark, Hot Pie nervously ends their conversation. Before they depart, Hot Pie tells them about his journey with Arya, who was believed to be dead, having not been seen since her father’s execution. Podrick relays to Brienne that Lysa Arryn is Sansa and Arya’s last living relative with money, and they decide to head for the Vale.
In the Riverlands
Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) continue their journey east. Along the way, they come upon a badly wounded man, whom the Hound kills out of mercy. Immediately after, they are attacked by Biter (Gerard Jordan) and Rorge (Andy Beckwith). Biter attacks the Hound, biting his neck before the Hound kills him. Arya, after learning Rorge’s name, stabs him in the heart, killing him. Later, while the Hound tries to stitch his neck wound, Arya tries to cauterize the wound, but the Hound’s pyrophobia prevents her from helping. He tells her that the story about his brother Gregor causing his facial burns is true, and she assists him in stitching the bite.
Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finds Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) in her quarters. He requests that she make use of his talents in either war or women, to which she responds by ordering him to take off his clothes. In the morning, Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) counsels her on whether it is wise to trust Daario, who killed the other captains of the Second Sons. Daenerys tells Jorah that she has ordered Daario and his army to retake Yunkai, and kill all remaining masters there. Jorah tells her that, had Ned Stark taken the same approach toward him when he sold slaves, he would not be there to advise her. She relents, and orders Jorah to tell Daario to take Hizdahr zo Loraq with him, to advise the masters of Yunkai in conforming to her rule.
In the Vale
Sansa (Sophie Turner) builds a replica of Winterfell out of snow in a small courtyard. Robin (Lino Facioli) asks her about it, before suggesting she add a moon door to her model. When he reaches toward the model, he knocks part of it over, and Sansa tells him he ruined it. In a fit of rage, Robin kicks the model before Sansa slaps him, and he runs away. Shortly afterward, Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) arrives and discusses his true motives with Sansa, before kissing her. Lady Arryn, having witnessed their kiss, confronts Sansa near the moon door. Lysa grabs Sansa and forces her close to the door, before Petyr arrives and promises to send Sansa away. Lysa releases Sansa, and Petyr goes to her. He admits to only ever loving her sister, Catelyn, before pushing Lysa through the moon door.
Game of Thrones cannot escape the fact that the original source material are novels. The Song of Ice and Fire novels use a structure whereby each character gets a chapter written from their point of view. This translates with difficulty to the small screen. No one storyline and go on for too long because there is only room for a few minutes per episodes and viewers would loose track. Each episode also needs revelations and denouements. Mockingbird gets both, but perhaps the character development is the most interesting aspect of the episode. Daenarys ordering Daario Naharis to strip nude was an effective way of showing how the tables have turned since the previous season. It is now he who has to show how vulnerable he is, yet Daenarys evolves more into a woman by actively seeking out the sexual experience that follows. Both Tyrion and Oberyn Martell reveal their true feelings after Tyrion demanded Trial by Combat in the previous episode. Oberyn’s episodes are numbered and so his true character needs to be explained otherwise the audience will feel cheated. However, this is handsomely achieved through his recollection of what happened at Casterly Rock after Tyrion was born. The character development of Arya and The Hound, as well as Melisandre and Selyse Florent are also effective. The storyline of what happens at the Wall is as usual complete drudge. I am so not interested at what happens there, you can easily miss a season and still pick up the story where you left it off. After this episode, you will definitely be glued to the television during next weeks episode. This was the Game Of Thrones S4Ep7 Mockingbird Review
Mockingbird is a good episode but it does feel stretched too thinly. Some of the storylines work, other don’t. I would have traded the scenes at the Wall with more of Varys any time.
Score; 8.4 / 10.