It was a good on-screen fight, and I do not have a problem with the general outcome, but I think it could have been prefaced a bit better in regard to both the outcome and the reason why the fight took place at all:
- Some reference to The Hound being already ill; Arya might have said "you can be sick later" instead, and it would have been enough.
- As Brienne realized he's the Hound, the Hound realizes that's Tyrion's squire / Ser Ilyn's nephew that Brienne's travelling with, and says so. The Hound would know that boy, and see her Lannister allegiances (not by her sword and armour, which could reinforce the point, not make it on its own).
- This would also make a better set up for how Arya escapes. While Brienne is fighting the Hound, she clobbers Podrick Payne with rock or something, before sneaking off. Pod comes to, and by then she's gone.
- After the fight (in season 5, Ep1), they should have shown Brienne injured from the fight as well. These two beat the stuffing out of each other, with many a blow to the face on both sides. The Hound's the strongest & toughest person she's ever fought; even winning, she should look like hell. Instead of just plain sulking, Brienne should have a swollen / bruised face and broken lip at least. Show her feeling mentally and physically beaten. Just that slight touch of realism makes a great improvement. (And as makeup effects go, fake cuts and bruises are minor stuff.)
- And yes, the Hound's Valyrian-blade-grab is... problematic.
The Sansa scene did raise the biggest question mark of the episode for me. Robert Arryn shunted to the margins of the Vale story? Sansa leaving the Vale? So what thing of importance could even happen there in the future ? I found the whole scene raised all kinds of ... not just questions, but speculation about what other portion of the proceedings will be altered in relation to the books.
As to where she might be going "where Cersei could never reach her":
Most likely in my opinion:
- Riverrun - Sansa is a Tully as much as a Stark. Littlefinger knows the place well. Might she encounter the BWB in that area? Blackfish? Edmure ? etc. - a sign that the Riverlands storyline is not dead.
- Winterfell - Sansa instead of Jeyne Poole? *gulp* I seriously hope not.
- Dorne - Sansa in the land of sun and sand. Again, I cannot see this being a natural fit for Sansa as a character.
- Casterly Rock - What a laugh it would be to hide her in the one place Cersei would never look. Mrs. Tyrion Lannister - "trolololol..."
- the Reach - perhaps meaning Oldtown ? It would be interesting to see Sansa in the Reach, and also from the perspective that Lord Baelish may being some trouble to HouseTyrell.
- Iron Islands - Extremely unlikely, but it's true that Cersei would never find her.
I think Robert would legitimize his bastards. Stannis would not want them legitimized, yet also argue that Robert to at least make them acknowledged bastards.
Eddard would be in favour of their being legitimized, and probably counsel Robet to do so - "Robert, you do have children - several of them, so instead of moping about what Cersei did, name them and be happy with the kids that are actually yours."
Barristan would insist that Robert at least acknowledge them for security reasons. Renly would be dead set against acknowledgments and legitimization, but smart enough to know Robert will acknowledge at least some of them; he would push Robert to marry Margaery and make new - legitimate - heirs.
It is hard to say what Robert would want to do, other than wallow in self-pity as soon as his rage abates over being cuckolded.
Robert really resents Stannis, but also really resents ruling. So Robert, trying to be clever names two heirs - Stannis and his eldest boy (Gendry, now acknowledged). Tells them to work out between them which one wants the Iron Throne and which wants Storm's End. Renly loses his shit, but that too is amusing.
However, upon meeting with Gendry, Stannis realizes that Gendry and he have much in common - including nursing a grudge over Robert's general irresponsibility. They might come to like each other instead of being rivals.