“He’s the best we have” is pretty much damning herself with faint praise. Benioff understatedly suggested in HBO’s after-hour “Inside the Episode” that this is not the same girl who first left Winterfell all those seasons ago. Like Sansa, we all probably knew that Rickon Stark had about the same odds as his father did with Joffrey Baratheon when he found himself in Ramsay’s clutches. read more: Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions and Theories. Men on horses, women on dragons, and a plethora of extras that really teased the immense fog of war. In one corner, you have the Bastard of Bolton, the Barber of Blood, and the Bringer of Battle, Ramsay of House Bolton! Wide-eyed and content, Sansa enjoys her victory over TV’s cruelest villain. Ergo, Yara’s rule might be a thing shorter than her doomed uncle’s current one…. It really is the spectacle where the gore sells the grandeur and horror of this TV event. But that wasn’t the real end. Whatever the case, it turned out to be irrelevant since Sansa and Littlefinger’s expected rescue via cavalry charge showed up just in time, providing Jon Snow with the win. A lord that does that will not rule any manor for long. I did not believe for a second that Rickon would survive that sprint, yet as Rheon continued the Heath Ledger/Joker similarities to his head-twitches while watching the young Stark flee, I hoped for a second it wouldn’t end the only way that it could. And really, this feels like as much Sansa’s victory as Jon Snow’s, including in regards to delivering the final coup de grâce upon Ramsay’s skull. Tyrion ever so helpfully points to that plan’s similarities with her father’s bloodlust for immolation. Weiss have made much out of how this hour would show the actual strategy of the battle, however Jon Snow and the heroes abandoned anything resembling strategy for full-on fury. Slogging through life with his shoulders perpetually slumped, Jon didn’t even bother building a full army to face a force that outnumbered his 3-to-1. Updated: June 20, 2016 11:58 AM ET | Originally published: June 19, 2016 10:15 PM EDT, Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2020? All Rights Reserved. Finally able to come home to Winterfell, Jon proved that Ramsay was just as a bad a leader as he was since his fellow bastard dismissed out-of-hand the loss of his army. Rickon Stark, the brother for whose safety Jon was fighting, was commanded by evil Ramsay to run and evade Ramsay’s arrows; having dodged three that the camera closely followed, he seemed safe until a surprise fourth came out of the blue. D.B. Knowing this was his last episode, Iwan Rheon took full advantage of slouching into his character’s now official reigning title as the evilest man on television. To make matters worse, however, this concession didn’t change anything and the enemies were now at the gate. On the side of a brother who failed to live up to her hopes and his own promises, or to the creeper that she kept in her back pocket to Jon’s obliviousness? However, I was so right about her stealing their ships to get to Westeros. By signing up you are agreeing to our, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. And in this specific moment, he is able to persuade his queen that burning every man, woman, and child inside Astapor and Yunkai would perhaps be too cruel. But both are still short followers, including those wildlings that Jon sympathized with for so many seasons. But I still would give the edge to “Blackwater” as being the best achievement in this kind of blockbuster television-making. Get the best of Den of Geek delivered right to your inbox! Thus it makes any cool moments like Tyrion letting the slavers pick which will die amongst themselves feel a bit moot when surrounded by such inanity. Although, for an ending shot, it still might be hard to top “Bastards.”. Alas then that it plays out pretty much how we all expected last week: Daenerys comes home super-pissed that Tyrion let his party get out of hand, and then he had some explaining to do about the mess. Nonetheless, if there was ever a time for Sansa to finally tell Jon Snow about Littlefinger, this should have been it. Jon Snow’s victory over Ramsay Bolton was well earned. Rather, the battle played out on double-time while bending over backwards to service any and all plot demands. And just like former Stanford athletes-turned-judges, one does not so easily take away their expectations from this world. It was Sansa, whose planning of the battle proved that she’d become not just a realist but a master strategist. But another woman of power who has suffered grievously all her life would have slipped into that scene like a glove—and her name is Cersei Lannister. Oh sure, the NBA finals were on tonight too, and Cleveland finally has a trophy to call their very own, but that is nothing compared to the sight of these two warriors of Westeros meeting on the field of combat. Even more fortuitously for the show’s pacing, Viserion and Rhaegal then escaped their Great Pyramid cell to also follow Dany’s command into battle while the Sons of the Harpy were inexplicably chilling outside the city walls, so as to make for easier Dothraki pickings. But whatever satisfaction there is to be had in Ramsay’s demise, I have to wonder what the true fallout will be. Following past seasons’ tradition, this was the most spectacularly bloodthirsty hour of the year. In a season during which Game of Thrones has been showing its advanced age, “Battle of the Bastards” proved there’s life in the program yet. However, its contrast with the much better stuff happening outside the slopes of Winterfell (which I’m about to get to, I promise!) With so many bodies and horses lying on top of each other, Jon Snow is barely able to crawl through the corn syrup. In the meantime, let’s all replay the sound of Ramsay’s cries one more time. I doubt many, even a few episodes ago, could have imagined Sansa smirking with delight at the sounds of an enemy’s grotesque torment and dismemberment. Of course, it would be epic. Hence, quicker than you can count to three, just as many dragons appeared airborne to light the masters’ ships ablaze. But before we dig into all the goodness that was “Battle of the Bastards”—like the underbelly of a Bolton heir who was ever a Snow until his final scream—let us first examine its unfortunate shortcoming. And speaking of ships bound for Westeros, Daenerys did enjoy one great scene that featured neither dragon nor the mystical beast’s deadly belly-bursts. Dealing first with the Dany plotline—there’s still, six seasons in, a primal thrill to watching her ride her dragons and incinerate her enemies, and her new alliance with Yara raised new and provocative ideas about female leadership—a state of affairs that has precious few precedents on this show. On the other side, you’ve got the Wingman of Wildlings, the Commander of Crows, and the Most Stoic of Starks, Jon Snow! I suspect no matter what happened in her absence, this Khaleesi would have been annoyed if she found out that her Lannister Hand offered to extend slavery for seven years to cities she already ostensibly liberated. The sequence of Jon facing down a marauding horde all by himself was striking; what followed, a chaotic mess at which the onetime Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch stood untouched, seemingly invincible like some fur-clad cousin of Neo in The Matrix, was remarkable. Even Melisandre has been drinking the snow-aide, suggesting that she no longer loves her god. Maybe the reason Daenerys has historically had far more trouble leading than she does conquering is because she’s been forced by circumstance to deal only with male counterparts, and all their flaws. After all, this was the scene that opened the night! During all of this, though, I have to wonder if Ramsay would even live to see the next day. (There was no reason to believe this would work, given the dogs’ loyalty to their master, but for Ramsay’s overzealous bragging that he’d been starving the animals for a week to ensure their hunger.). Vote Now, How Princess Diana Became a Global Celebrity, You can unsubscribe at any time. Sansa, who just last season was subject to a brutal (and, rightly, controversial) rape scene, was the one to enact bloody revenge, turning Ramsay’s weapons of war, his voracious hounds, back on him. Aye, that queasy clink of bone meeting tooth reverberated on millions of televisions across the country, along with the undoubted shouts of joy from fans the globe over. David Crow is the movies editor at Den of Geek. As a conflict-focused episode, “Battle of Bastards” is Game of Thrones’ most dazzling and stomach-churning hour yet. The actual burning of Astapor and Yunkai’s ships unto itself, especially with Dany on the back of Drogon, was a thing of beauty. It is quite the beautiful shot of Ser Seaworth at dawn surveying the final resting place of Shireen Baratheon. But no matter the case, bannermen Karstark and Umber saw Ramsay open fire on his own men with arrows.

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