Call me a nerd. I’m actually upset at myself sometimes for being able to predict movie plots and twists. When I saw Aidan Gillen listed in the opening credits, I connected this with the knowledge that Sansa Stark wrote to the Vale to ask Peter Baelish (ie. Littlefinger) for help in the previous episode. I knew that the knights of the Vale would come in at some point to turn the tides in the battle of the bastards. The question was how late.
As late as possible, pretty much.
That aside, the episode itself was nothing short of incredible. With a reported budget of over 10 million (I got the feeling that the producers saved much of the season’s budget for this episode, hence the dullness in some of the earlier episodes), the episode was well-shot, with almost-seamless CGI, greatly choreographed, and intense. The moments when Jon Snow was being trampled felt incredibly claustrophobic, very well done by the cinematographer.
The battle at Mereen was entertaining, as well, with strong dragon CGI, and witty dialogue that were to the point.
One more thing about the Bastard’s downfall. While other reviewers were expressing their enjoyment of watching Ramsey getting the shit punched out of him by Jon and the subsequent doggy death, I was clenching my fists thinking “stop! you’re killing him too fast! Don’t give him a quick death!” Ramsey’s psychotic, murderous, raping, and ravaging path spanned over seasons, starting with the torture of Theon. To have him die within a day was way too easy for him. I would have liked to have seen them keep him prisoner and do to him some of the things he’s done to people.
Some are labeling this their favorite Game of Thrones episode ever. I’m not too sure about that. The episode lacked the emotional gravitas compared to the episode where Tyrion gave his epic speech at his murder trial, or when he kills his own father, or the one where Jon kills the whitewalker. I’d certainly place “Battle of the Bastards” in my top 5.