The two other settings in this episode offer similar themes but starkly different explorations of the complicated workings of Westerosi family life. The Hound and Arya have become a staple of these past couple of seasons, almost seeming like a family themselves, a warped father-daughter partnership that has them learning from each other. Arya, especially, has picked up a number of tricks when it comes to the art of killing—this week’s lesson being where a man’s heart is on his body, a useful bit of information if the heart is the specific organ you wish to penetrate with your weapon.
More than we’ve seen before, though, or at least spelled out more clearly here than previously, Arya and The Hound are shown to share a certain kinship stemming from their respective estrangements from their real families. Granted, Arya was separated by exterior forces who, as far as she knows, murdered everyone she was related to, while The Hound was merely maimed by his brother, as well as abandoned by a father who would not or could not hold The Mountain accountable for his atrocity. Thus, they find a certain balance in each other, and we finally get to see a softer side to Sandor as a result. That final shot of the two of them together is a keeper.
Then of course, we have the culmination of all these examinations of strained sibling relationships in our final confrontation between Littlefinger and Lysa. I can’t say that the fight between Sansa and Robin felt completely organic, but that little kid is crazy enough to drive anyone who spends more than a couple of minutes with him completely insane. More insane than anything, though, is Petyr Baelish’s obsession with Catelyn Stark and, by extension, Sansa, with whom he shares a certain contender for one of Game of Thrones’ creepiest kisses. The moment he tosses Lysa through the Moon Door is a famous one in the books, because his final line, “Only Cat,” ranks up there with “The things I do for love,” when it comes to lines delivered right before throwing someone from a great height. In an episode highlighting complex and rocky relationships in families, changing the wording of this shocking and heartless reveal (which is obvious to us in the audience but the first time Lysa hears it from the deceitful Littlefinger’s mouth) makes sense. It punctuates an episode revolving around siblings by ending with two fraught words: “…your sister.”
- The Adventures of Brienne and Pod continue, with their banter solidifying this relationship as one of the most enjoyable in the series’ history, up there with Tyrion and Bronn, and others that don’t immediately come to mind. It’s as satisfying to see Brienne get a chance to boss someone around after routinely being the recipient of condescension and abuse as it is to see Pod occasionally get the best of her. They also have perhaps the two most interesting and pleasant faces in the show, so any screen time is welcome.
- They seemed to be going for equal opportunity when it came to nudity this week, with Daario’s backside getting exposed back to back with Melisandre’s everything. Then again, that description alone is indicative that the equality wasn’t really achieved. Not that I’m sure it necessarily matters, but you know, equality.
- Daenerys is getting pretty good at both heeding the advice of her counsel and manipulating them, getting both her playboy Daario and her forever-friend Jorah to do what she wants by making them think she’s doing what they want.
- Hot Pie!!! Sometimes the callbacks to forgotten characters feel a bit cheesy, but was it ever nice to see Hot Pie again, making his pies, talking about making his pies, and then melting our hearts by crafting that pastry direwolf for his old friend Arya.
- I shall neglect to dwell any more on the two scenes I mentioned earlier as being weaker, to my mind. Other folks who got something out of them will be far more interesting to read.
- Two weeks isn’t that long, right??
For more on “Mockingbird,” check out the latest episode of our Game of Thrones podcast, The Cast Beyond The Wall!