I’m filling in for Allison this week, and to quote Oberyn, “I will be your champion!” Okay, probably not so much, but I will be going through this unusual episode of Game of Thrones [side note: I haven’t read the books]. When I watch Game of Thrones, I expect horrible things to happen, and so this episode threw me for a loop because it was primarily people being nice to each other. Granted, the specter of death looms large (as always), but as our characters peer into the abyss, it’s a bonding experience…for the most part. Hit the jump for why “a bit of comfort never hurt anyone.”
For a show that likes to tease big moments and epic action, “Mockingbird” was captivating even though almost every scene was just a conversation between two people. When there was a third party, it was a minor character meant to illuminate either a fact (like Arya’s chubby friend talking to Brienne and Pod) or an existential crisis (Arya and the Hound coming across the dying man). And that made for great television.
Beginning our trip through Westeros, we began with the aftermath of Tyrion’s big speech as Jamie and Tyrion wistfully imagined what could have been if they weren’t always bent to Tywin’s will. Looking through the talks with Jamie, Bronn, and Oberyn, this episode could have functioned as an episode of “This Is Your Life” for Tyrion. Even Bronn was kind in his betrayal, if you can call it that. Betrayal implies trust, and Tyrion was too smart to every truly trust a sell-sword, even if he did consider him a friend. It was a bit confusing, however, that rather than hire Bronn to fight Tyrion, Cersei bought him out and then brought in The Mountain. It would have been crueler to have Tyrion killed by his pseudo-friend then bring in a heavy, especially a heavy who is loathed by Oberyn.
Moving on, the bizarre friendship between Arya and the Hound continued to be one of the best parts of this season, and the young Stark is growing quite adept at killing people. She just stabbed that goon through the heart like it was no big thing. But what was really great about Arya and the Hound’s first scene was the meditation on death and dying. Plopped into the middle of a show with zombies and dragons, we got a philosophical conversation on the purpose of living. “Nothing is just nothing,” is a fine line of dialogue. Their second scene, sitting in the countryside while the Hound tries and fails to mend his wound, wasn’t philosophically deep, but it was important as it showed that the Hound can be vulnerable, but it’s not so much because of fire. It’s because his family betrayed him. It was a poignant moment in an episode about people trusting each other.
When we went over to Meereen and Dany’s private chambers, I realized she had not gotten laid in a long time. In this episode she forged not only a physical connection with Daario, but also built upon her pre-existing one with Jorah. Dany wants to stick to the old divisions (“They can live in my new world, or die in their old one”), but Jorah convinces her that she can’t go on like that, and it’s not simply about forgiveness. From a strategic standpoint, it’s poor leadership. He may be stuck forever in the Friend Zone, but the friendship and trust between Dany and Jorah paid off in a tangible way this episode.
Then there was Dragonstone and the Stannis plotline. The Stannis plot is like an old, feeble, sleeping man. He doesn’t do much, and the only reason you check on him is to see if he’s still alive. I assume there will be some big payoff down the line, but in this episode, the Lord of Light’s big reveal was that Melisandre should take a bath. While her conversation with Selyse wasn’t exactly bonding, it was at least honest (or at least I’m giving the episode the benefit of the doubt and taking Melisandre’s nudity as a representation of her being forthright with Selyse).
The weakest scene this week was back on the Wall as Jon once again pleads his case about needing to defend against the Wildlings and being ignored by his superior (I don’t know the guy’s name). We’ve done this before, and we didn’t need the reminder that Manse Rayder was coming. It also didn’t add any thematic value. It wasn’t nice.
And that’s what Game of Thrones was this week: people being nice to each other, or at least as nice as people on this show can be. There was bonding between the Hound and Argya, Jamie and Tyrion, Tyrion and Bronn (even though their paths are now diverging), Dany and Jorah, Dany and Daario, Brienne and Pod, and Melisandre and Selyse. When bonding failed, as it did between Sansa and Robin, it led to ultimate betrayal when Lysa is thrown to her death by the man she loved. After all, this is Westeros, and “If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.”
Episode Rating: A-
– I really liked that when Dany finally got some, she was in control. A male character had to strip for a female character’s sexual gratification and not vice versa. Naturally, this moment was immediately followed by Melisandre topless in a tub because this is Game of Thrones. Additionally, while Daario was naked for about five seconds, Melisandre is naked for almost the entire scene. Again, I understand this may have been symbolically important, but that symbol’s power dwindles somewhat when female nudity is in almost every episode.
– I can’t remember the name of Arya’s chubby friend, but it was nice to see him again. He also provided a nice reminder that “you cannot give up on the gravy.”
– “You’re not interesting enough to be offensive.” – Brienne to Pod.
– Oberyn visiting Tyrion was reminiscent of Varys visiting Ned in season one. The twist was that Oberyn decides to help the innocent man. Granted, it’s not strictly out of the goodness of his heart, but it’s more than Varys did.
– I really could not get over everyone being nice to each other. I thought I was watching Downton Abbey.
– Credit to Littlefinger for providing this episode’s creepiness factor. His conversation with Sansa went from “You could have been my daughter,” to “Let’s make out.”
– I knew someone was going down that hole at the end of the episode. Given my assumption that Game of Thrones is nothing but misery, I assumed it would be Sansa. Imagine my joy when it turned out to be Lysa. This show can only endure so much crazy lady.