TV Review: “Game of Thrones” – “Mockingbird”

Written by Spencer Sterritt May 20, 2014

Game of Thrones, Mockingbird

Last week’s “Laws of Gods and Men” started “Game of Thrones'” third act in a big way with Tyrion’s trial, and set the stage for an impressive last few episodes. “Mockingbird” changes course and returns to the table setting template from the middle of the season, as it shuffles forward most of the plots. I was mildly annoyed that Benioff and Weiss were postponing Tyrion’s trial by combat, but “Mockingbird” proved to be a packed episode that had some serious ramifications.

“Mockingbird” is mostly comprised of scenes that feature no more than two people having an argument or some sort of disagreement. Binary opposition was my favorite critical theory to study, and I was so pleased to see “Game of Thrones” commit a whole episode to the concept. Since the world of Westeros is supremely bleak nearly every challenge was about death, as Daenerys and Jorah squared off about punishment and mercy, while Melisandre and Queen Florent discuss lies and truth, while Littlefinger and Sansa have a loaded conversation about revenge and justice.

 Meanwhile, where all the cool stuff could be happening…

Jon Snow draws the short straw of all the “Game of Thrones” plots this week. After returning from Craster’s Keep there’s very little for him or other members of the Night’s Watch to do until the wildlings arrive. His scene this week could have easily been supplanted into last week’s, or excised entirely, and nothing would have changed. We haven’t seen the wildlings since the first episode, and I think the writers might have forgotten about them. The scenes in the North also stand out in this thematically tight episode by having absolutely nothing to do with the main theme.

Never seen him make that face before.

Never seen him make that face before.

“What do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?” Littlefinger asks Sansa in the episode’s penultimate scene. After so much discussion of justice this season, “Mockingbird” delves into the reality of achieving that justice, which is nearly always through murder. For Tyrion there is only his trial or the Wall, both of which will result in his death. Arya has her list of everyone to avenge, and the only way she knows how to do that is by stabbing them.

 “That’s where the heart is.”

One of the best scenes in “Mockingbird” is when Daenerys and Jorah talk about killing all of the masters in Yunkai, the city they had freed but then moved on from. All Daenerys can initially imagine is slaughtering all of the masters, but Jorah convinces her to give the masters the choice to die or obey her. In her quest from slave city to slave city Daenerys has stuck to her basic concept of justice, and it was good to see her worldview expand just a little bit. It keeps the episode, and Westeros itself, from being too bleak.

Game of Thrones, Daenerys, Mockingbird

While the scene between Daenerys and Jorah was fantastic, the best scene in the episode was between Arya and the Hound when they come across a dying man in the road. It is not the most subtle scene that “Game of Thrones” has ever had, but it digs deep into the concept of morality. There is so much death in “Game of Thrones,” and it is so often tied to some sort of power play or grand conspiracy that it becomes easy to forget the toll that death takes. “Nothing isn’t better or worse than anything” Arya tells the dying man. “Nothing is just nothing,” which is a terrifying concept. I suspect the next few episodes are going to be particularly brutal, and I’m glad “Mockingbird” touches on death in a meaningful way to give the upcoming deaths more dramatic weight.

 “I have only ever loved one person my entire life. Your sister.” (tosses Lady Arryn/drops mic)

The death starts in “Mockingbird” though, as Littlefinger tosses Lady Arryn through her moon door in the final scene. Any scene with the moon door is tense, since it’s a giant hole in the middle of the room and anyone can go tumbling into it, but I found this scene particularly suspenseful since I don’t really know what Littlefinger is up to. He’s a bastard with a very specific endgame in mind, but he doesn’t come off as any more of a bastard than any other schemer on “Game of Thrones.” He may be the creepiest though. The incest between Jamie and Cersei is gross, but nothing is grosser than Littlefinger forcing a kiss upon Sansa.

Mockingbird, Game of Thrones, Littlefinger, Sansa

“Mockingbird” may not be the fireworks filled display that last week’s set up, but it’ still a very effective episode that manages to move all of the significant plots forward, except for Jon Snow’s. I’m not sure how Lady Arryn’s death will play out, but it will undoubtedly establish a new status quo for the next few episodes.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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