We’re eight episodes in, and Game of Thrones’ fourth season has already had a major amount of talking points. We’ve had Joffrey’s death, Lysa’s death and now we get the fight between the Mountain and the Viper. It was a great moment, and one of the most spectacular scenes that Game of Thrones has given us so far this season, ending in a heartbreaking moment that presented yet another cliffhanger ending that looks set to wait until episode 10 for the resolution. Like the Blackwater (s2x09) episode back in Season 2, The Watchers on the Wall (s4x09) seems to be primarily focused on the Night’s Watch and their struggle against Mance Rayder’s army.
This could have easily been a season finale in any other show, and in any other show it could have taken multiple episodes to complete. However, The Mountain and the Viper handles all these various plot threads well – Arya, Dany, Sansa, Jon (if briefly) and Tyrion all get some great scenes this week and as a result this is another stellar episode that the show has given us.
When I first read A Game of Thrones, one character who I wasn’t a big fan of was Sansa, but this episode really was a big moment for her. With Lord Baelish on trial for the suspected killing of Lysa, Sophie Turner delivered a great performance in the scene where she backed up Littlefinger’s story. It was executed well, and puts her firmly in Littlefinger’s camp. Even though it’s not as game changing as any of the other events that we’ve seen, it was nonetheless an important sequence.
Sticking in the Vale, one of the highlights of this episode was to see Arya’s reaction upon learning of Lysa’s death – she burst out laughing. That was one of my favourite scenes of the episode, as Arya would know it wouldn’t be as easy as that. After all, back in Season 3, she was so close to getting reunited with Robb and her mother only to be cut short at the last moment. Could the same thing happen again here, with her so close to reuniting with Sansa?
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany got a big moment this week in terms of her storyline as it affected Jorah massively. The fact that Jorah was a spy was revealed, as well as his unrequited love for Daenerys, promises to have a big shake up in things going forward and yes, whilst Jorah probably should have told her a lot earlier, it was interesting to see this revelation finally be exposed. This certainly puts Jorah in an interesting place now.
Of course, the biggest moment this week would always be Oberyn’s death. Of course, there will be a lot of ‘What ifs?’ asked about this scenario, what if Oberyn had acted faster? What if Oberyn hadn’t been so desperate to know the answer? Of course, this was always going to be his downfall, and the big shock moment proved to be very gruesome indeed. It may not have quite the same impact as the Red Wedding due to Oberyn being a relatively new character, he shall be missed.
Having read the books beforehand, I was really looking forward to seeing this episode, hoping that the fight would be as awesome as it was. And indeed, it failed to disappoint before the end, and it delivered arguably one of the strongest scenes of the series to date – the fight, and the way Oberyn’s death was handled afterwards – being fantastic to watch, and the wait for the aftermath should be very interesting indeed.
Jon’s part, whilst there – was brief this week, and a teaser of things to come. His storyline hasn’t been particularly great this season but the next episode should hopefully change things, and finally what they’ve been building up to should come to a conclusion.
So, with only two episodes left, it should be interesting to see where things go from here. Dany, Tyrion (his scene with Jamie before the fight was another highlight), Arya and Sansa all had good storylines this week and even Ramsey and Theon’s section was strong. Next episode, The Watchers on the Wall – looks set to be epic, and with the same director as Blackwater it could well end up being one of the best episodes of the season, much like this one has been. However, we’ll see. Until next week.