* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Battle of the Bastards.”
Holy seven hells! First, I got this recap posted for today! Second, was this a crazy episode or what?! "Battle of the Bastards" promised to be a full hour of must-watch television, and was it ever!
But First Let's Check in on Meereen
I wasn't sure if the entire episode was going to focus on the North, and it did not. We open with Meereen still under siege by the masters. Tyrion has some serious explaining to do to a displeased Daenerys. He tries to point out that the city is actually on the rise, despite the ongoing attack. His queen is ready to destroy the masters and their cities, and Tyrion reminds her that her father had a similar plan in mind for King's Landing if Jaime hadn't killed Aerys. She argues that this is entirely different. Outside of the pyramid, the two sides face off. The masters tell Daenerys and her entourage to get out of Meereen and never come back, but they're interrupted by Drogon, making yet another appearance at a most opportune moment. He takes to the skies with his mother, and they're soon joined by the other two dragons. The Dothraki, led by Daario, charge against the Sons of the Harpy, while Daenerys and the dragons light up the fleet.
The Warm-Up Before the Main Event
Jon and Sansa come face-to-face with Ramsay, who says bloodshed can be avoided if they surrender. How fierce did Lyanna Mormont look in the background, staring Ramsay down as he spewed his BS? Jon challenges Ramsay to a one-on-one fight, which gets declined. Ramsay is almost giggling over his army's numbers vs. his opponents'. Sansa asks for proof that Ramsay has Rickon, and he hurls Shaggydog's head. The battle is set to commence in the morning!
Jon and his allies hold a strategy meeting later that night. When they're alone, Sansa tells Jon that he doesn't know Ramsay at all. She fears that Rickon will be killed before the battle is over because he's a trueborn male Stark heir. Jon and Sansa resume their previous argument about the number of men they have to fight, with Jon stating that it's not as though they didn't try to gather more. Sansa tells him that if Ramsay wins, she's not going back to him alive.
Outside, Tormund and Davos talk about how they both put their faith in fallen kings. Tormund points out that Jon is not a king.
Jon goes to see Melisandre in her tent and notes that she wasn't at the war council. He asks her for advice, and she tells him not to lose. Jon in turn tells her that if he dies, not to bring him back this time. Melisandre says that she serves the Lord of Light, and it's him she answers to.
Out walking, Davos sees a pile of old wood. In a find nearly as "coincidental" as when Jorah Mormont discovered the ring Daenerys had dropped in some grass, Davos spots the toy stag he had given Shireen Baratheon. Davos is a smart man, and if he hasn't figured out what really happened to Shireen already and who was behind it, he will very soon. I've been waiting for this to happen since the beginning of the season!
The Iron Fleet Must Have Had Some Awesome Winds!
Because Theon and Yara have already reached Meereen! Tyrion reminds Theon about the last time he saw him, at Winterfell, and the jokes Theon made at Tyrion's expense. Tyrion isn't completely buying into Theon being a changed man because of his recent experiences, but Daenerys is quite digging the idea of a woman ruling the Iron Islands. Theon tells Daenerys about Euron's plans, including the one where he marries her in exchange for his ships. Daenerys is a bit skeptical of Yara and Theon's plans, but Yara insists that she only wants the Iron Islands back. They reach an agreement, but the Ironborn must basically give up their way of life. So maybe now they'll have to start sowing?
It's Battle Time!
The much anticipated battle is about to begin. In between the two armies are burning crosses with bodies on them. Jon's army looks rather ragtag compared to the very organized Bolton lines. The tension is almost unbearable as you know that Ramsay is about to do something really, really twisted. Because he's Ramsay. Sure enough, he brings out Rickon. It appears that Ramsay is going to kill the boy on the spot, but instead he cuts the ropes binding Rickon's hands. When Ramsay tells Rickon that they're going to play a game, you know this isn't going to be good. All Rickon has to do is run to Jon, but of course it's not as simple as that. No. Rickon starts walking, and Ramsay reminds him that he needs to run. Because Ramsay begins shooting arrows at him. Jon spurs his horse into a run towards his brother, and just as they're about to reach each other, Ramsay's arrow kills Rickon.
Jon gets this crazy look on his face and rides for Ramsay. He loses his horse to archers' arrows and is right in front of the cavalary charge. Luckily for him and not for the last time during this epic, all-out, gruesome battle, he narrowly avoids death when his own men charge past him. The fighting is insane. It's complete chaos and bodies everywhere. Jon is in the thick of it, while Ramsay sits back commanding his archers.
The Bolton troops end up completely surrounding Jon, Davos, Tormund, and their men. They're literally being squeezed from all sides, and Jon gets trapped under the press of bodies. He gets free, but you don't need to peer into any flames to realize that this situation is dire. The Boltons just keep closing their circle, and there's nowhere for Jon and his companions to go. But, just as all hope seems dead, a horn sounds, taking even Ramsay by surprise. It's not that much of a surprise to viewers, though, when the Knights of the Vale ride in and turn this thing around. Littlefinger has turned up with Sansa, and the smug look on his face is gross. If Sansa thinks that he helped her out of the goodness of his heart or to somehow make up for marrying her to Ramsay, she doesn't know Littlefinger. There has to be some kind of price.
Ramsay, not calculating on the Knights of the Vale materializing at the eleventh hour, ditches the battlefield and rides back to Winterfell. Jon sees him getting away and pursues. Soon there's some knocking on the Winterfell gate, and it's Wun Wun. The poor giant is full of arrows and spears from the fighting, but he battles on. It's Ramsay himself who delivers the killing blow to Wun Wun. I swear, if Ramsay didn't die in this episode, I was going to rage quit the show. For like 2 seconds.
So now Ramsay is finally ready to fight Jon one-on-one. After shielding himself from Ramsay's arrows, Jon gets a hold of Ramsay and proceeds to beat him to a pulp. I actually thought Ramsay was dead. Jon looks up and sees Sansa, and he stops.
SEND THE RAVENS: THE STARK BANNER FLIES OVER WINTERFELL AGAIN! ♥♥♥♥♥
Rickon's body is brought back to Winterfell, and Jon says he's to be buried in the crypt. Sansa asks Jon where Ramsay is, and next we see Sansa pay him a visit outside of his cell. Ramsay is a bloody mess, which is just perfect for his hounds, which he himself boasted earlier in the episode hadn't eaten in 7 days in anticipation of Ramsay feeding his enemies to them. Ramsay, an arrogant bastard to the very end, sneers at the idea that his loyal hounds would eat their master. But they do, and at long last, justice is served to one of the most despicable characters ever.
In the Next Episode
IT'S THE SEASON 6 FINALE! NOOOOOOOO!!!!! I'M NOT READY FOR IT TO BE OVER YET! It's judgment day for Cersei and Loras. Walder Frey celebrates getting Riverrun back; wouldn't this be the perfect moment for a certain lady to crash his little party? Littlefinger acts like a creep. Davos calls out Melisandre in front of Jon. Daenerys and Tyrion have a chat—is it about sailing to Westeros? And dear gods, both the old and the new, please let us find out what that damn rumor Qyburn and Cersei were discussing in Episode 8 is all about!