This is the first episode of season six that I’ve found more enjoyable than not, and there’s really quite a lot to like about “Battle of the Bastards” from an artistic standpoint. With only two settings to worry about this week, it’s a relatively well-constructed episode, and it seems obvious where all the show’s budget went this year—the battle scenes are truly spectacular. The titular conflict in particular is well done in its grim, dark, ugly bloodbath fashion, while in Meereen we finally get some dragon action. Unfortunately, once you really think about what’s underneath the spectacle, there’s still a remarkable amount of stuff going on that doesn’t make sense, a lot of obvious contrivance, and a heavy helping of the same contempt for the show’s source material and audience that has characterized the show since at least season four. And that’s not even touching on the patronizing disrespect with which the show still treats its female characters, even as so-called critics continue to fawn over how “different” the show is this year.
In short, “Battle of the Bastards” is an episode that looks good and was enjoyable to watch with a bottle of wine in hand, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny as a real quality episode of television.
As always, spoilers under the cut. Continue reading Game of Thrones Recap/Review: Season 6, Episode 9 “The Battle of the Bastards”