What up, Gameheads. Have you made plans for your Sunday nights after #GOT is over? Just a few more weeks left (though it's not on next Sunday, "The Normal Heart" will be on instead). It’s not like there’s not plenty of other teevees to watch that night—Sunday is overwhelmed with good stuff while there's garbage on every other night of the week. We have free time on Tuesdays, you know!
So “Game of Thrones” has been exhibiting a director pattern this season where specific directors have directed two back-to-back eps, which makes sense, especially with the Joffrey death scene, which bled over into the following episode, and other scenes that haven’t been contained to just one. This week’s episode, “Mockingbird,” was directed by Alik Sakharov, who directed last week’s strong episode, and this one is equally as compelling, a rather talky ep, with some blood spatter to mix it up and keep things interesting.
We open on Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) working out the events of last week’s episode, wherein Tyrion demanded a trial by combat for his wrongful prosecution of Joffrey’s death. Tyrion’s not going down without a fight, and he knows the deal proffered by dad Tywin (Charles Dance) is once again a raw deal for Tyrion, and perfect for Tywin’s interests—getting his dwarf son out of sight and out of mind, and preserving the Lannister name through Jaime’s rule at Casterly Rock. Tyrion wisely reminds Jaime that he’s been able to get away with everything Tyrion’s been on trial for—kingslaying, sisterfucking (well not that so much)—and Jaime levies back at him that he’s his only friend, and his speech isn’t going to save his neck, so mind his mouth. While Tyrion wants him to be his champion in the trial, realistically, Jaime, with his limited abilities can’t pull off this task.
Of course, with whom Cersei (Lena Headey) has in mind as a champion, they are going to need someone more than up to the job, because she’s calling in The Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, yes that's his real name, he's a 6'9" Icelandic strong man, thank you, GOT Wiki), whose main pastime is skewering random unfortunate souls and standing around with fresh blood glistening in his chest hair. Yeah, Tyrion’s going to need a bigger boat … err, sword.
The next best candidate for Tyrion’s champion? Why Bronn (Jerome Flynn), of course. He’s late, and also kitted out in new threads, as he’s been betrothed to Lollys Stokeworth, a dimwit who comes with a castle in the event of her sister mysteriously perishing (an engagement arranged by Cersei, no doubt). Bronn reminds Tyrion that he always promised to double his price, and now that he’s got a fiancée with a castle, Tyrion’s got a lot to double. While Tyrion makes promises about the North, Bronn is all about what he has in front of him, Lollys or the Mountain, one whom he can fuck and one whom will demolish him. He makes the salient point that Tyrion has never risked his life for him. Bronn has always been a businessman, pragmatic and unsentimental, so it makes sense he would make the move that he does. Still though, it’s rough seeing Tyrion going through yet another friend breakup. And who will be his champion now? This is just getting bleak.
Tyrion’s third visitor? Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal). He admits that Cersei has approached him about her intentions for Tyrion—death. Oberyn underscores this with an anecdote about how as a child, he visited Casterly Rock, right after Tyrion’s birth. After having been told that Tyrion was a clawed, red-eyed, tailed hermaphrodite monster, he was disappointed when Tyrion was revealed to be simply a somewhat irregular baby who didn’t live up to the hype. That’s not the point of the story though. The point of the story is that Cersei was a sadistic baby cock-pinching, vengeful big sis from the get go, resentful of Tyrion for killing their mother in childbirth. As Oberyn recounts this tale, the camera rests on Tyrion’s increasingly upset and teary face, knowing that his sister has been gunning for his death since birth. He’s evaded her for some time, but perhaps not now?
Still, the conversation switches to what Oberyn wants. He wants justice, for his sister Elia and her children, raped and killed by The Mountain. While Tyrion claims that King’s Landing is no place for justice, it seems as though Oberyn and Tyrion’s needs and wants have lined up quite well, what with Cersei enlisting The Mountain to do her dirty work. With his own interests in mind, Oberyn volunteers as Tyrion’s champion, in one of the greatest fist pump moments of the season. YAAASSS. Oberyn's given a sanctioned forum in which to kill the Mountain, and he can save Tyrion to boot (that is if he can get past the massive dude).
Riverlands or Something, I Don’t Know, Jesus, On The Road Somewhere
Arya (Maisie Williams) and The Mountain’s brother, The Hound (Rory McCann) come upon the smoking husk of a house, and decide to investigate on the chance there might be food (or soldiers). They come upon a mortally wounded gentleman whom they chat with about death and dying before the Hound puts him out of his misery with a knife to the heart.
Almost immediately, the Hound is attacked from behind with a ferocious neck bite by some unfortunate bounty hunter, quickly dispatched with a fatal twist to the ol' noggin. His partner informs the two that Joffrey’s been poisoned at his wedding (one less for Arya’s list) and there’s a bounty for killing the Hound since he murdered those Lannister soldiers. Arya quickly recognizes him as the man who threatened to violate her bunghole with a stick, and as soon as she learns his name, Needle goes right through his heart.
That neck biter took quite a chunk out of the Hound’s neck, and while he and Arya are camped, she tries to convince him to cauterize the wound, something a man who had his face pressed into a fire as a child isn’t too keen on. In fact, he describes the incident to Arya, working through his childhood trauma and anger at his brother and father. It’s a moment that illustrates just how lonely and vulnerable The Hound is, and why he’s such a defensive loner. One has to realize this is how Arya feels too. In this moment of vulnerability, he allows her to clean and stitch his wound.
Also on the road somewhere? The Brienne n’ Pod Show! The best show ever. This week, they’re eating kidney pie at an inn. And who made that kidney pie? An extremely talkative Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey)! Yay Hot Pie! Remember Arya’s friend who made her the wolf bread? He’s back, he’s making pie and he’s chatting up a storm. To shut him up, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) lets him know they’re looking for Sansa Stark, and Hot Pie denies knowledge of the family and peaces out.
The next morning, Pod (Daniel Porter) makes the extremely relevant point that they shouldn’t go blabbing about their Sansa-finding mission. Fortunately, it’s just Hot Pie they’ve spilled the beans to, and he comes out to say he used to be buds with Arya, and she’s on the road with Hound, dressed as a boy. He even sends them off with a wolf-shaped bread for her (won’t that be stale by the time they find her? Come on). While Brienne takes this as a victory for telling people their mission, I still agree with Pod that it was rather foolish/dangerous.
And then, when they’re on the path, Pod demonstrates his knowledge of the families of Westeros and their beefs, courtesy of Tyrion’s schooling. He suggests that Sansa could be at the Eyrie with Lysa Arryn (GOOD GUESS), and when he hesitates in how sure he is, they take the right fork in the road, presumably away from the Eyrie?
The conquering heroes of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and pals return to a cold welcome from his rival Ser Alliser (Owen Teale) at the Wall. Though Jon has ideas about sealing the tunnel against Mance Rayder’s giants, he’s undermined by Alliser, who tests his knowledge and reminding him he’s a steward and nothing more. In fact, he and Samwell Tarly will have to pull night duty on The Wall just for mouthing off. Rats!