Game of Thrones: “Mockingbird” (Season 4: Episode 7) Recap/Analysis | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Game of Thrones: “Mockingbird” (Season 4: Episode 7) Recap/Analysis

HBO, Sundays 9 p.m.

May 20, 2014 Game of Thrones
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[Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Mockingbird then read no further.]

“Mockingbird” sounds like the start of a bad joke that quickly turns into a Machiavellian morality tale. A dwarf, sentenced to death by combat by his sister, needs a champion to fight for him. His brother says he isn’t strong enough to take on the warrior their sister has chosen. The dwarf’s best friend visits him next, but his sister has offered him a better deal so he must also decline. Finally, the dwarf’s family’s sworn enemy arrives, and declares that he will fight on his behalf. Because the enemy of my wicked sister is my friend, right?

And there’s the setup for our upcoming mortal combat. We get a nasty glimpse of The Mountain’s brutality, and we’ve seen both Jaime and Bronn in a fight before, but never Prince Oberyn. This is shaping up to be one of Game of Thrones’ most compelling battles yet.

Most of “Mockingbird” serves as a change of pace for Game of Thrones. This episode is uncharacteristically lacking in deception. Honesty drives most of the plot here, including with Tyrion’s three visitors. Jaime is open about his insecurities as a wounded ex-soldier, while Bronn and Tyrion come to terms with their friendship and the extent of each other’s loyalty. Oberyn’s description of his earliest memory of Tyrion was painfully honest as well, surely reminding Tyrion of the lifetime of shame that ultimately landed him in prison. He’s genuinely moved and surprised by Oberyn’s proposal, however. It makes perfect sense, of course, for both parties. I’ll admit that I didn’t see it coming. My money was on Jaime standing up for Tyrion, and against his sister/lover and father, for a deeper element of family drama. But I like this better.

After glimpsing The Mountain’s carnage, we witness his younger brother’s pain. It’s a shame The Hound can’t stand in for Tyrionto serve up a poetic dish of sibling revenge both real and by proxybut his time with Arya is more rewarding anyway. Again, the honesty of this normally guarded character is completely disarming. The shot of him sitting, alone, his back to the audience and Arya, is particularly dramatic. Even the strongest characters in this series carry some sort of wound, but some are more visible than others.

Honesty again plays an integral part in Brienne’s search for Sansa, as her seemingly foolish decision to blurt out their mission to a stranger pays off significantly. “Mockingbird” saves its shock scene for its final moments. I was sure that Sansa was staring down her own demise after her aunt Lysa caught Baelish kissing her in the courtyard. But Littlefinger’s plans are starting to weave together perfectly, and we end with Lysa flying through the Moon Door, and, presumably, Littlefinger as Lord of the Vale.

In the wrong hands, “Mockingbird” might have been a lackluster installment in an otherwise fantastic season. But the episode places the drama carefully among the series’ most important duos: outcasts seeking emotional refuge with their reluctant companions. The result is one of this series’ best and most sincere moments.

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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