1) In the books, the defense of the Wall lasts several days and consists of several skirmishes, none too big. The most important moments were the defense of Castle Black from the south and the destruction of the ram, with subsequent fight in the tunnels. I'm pretty pissed we got no ram, cause it's kinda the central piece of the siege. 2) The only "big" battle that happens is when Stannis arrives. I dont think it could have happened in this episode, because we got no real feel of the Mance army - we only got to see like a thousand people pointlessly snarling at the wall, even though they cant see anyone, 2 giants and 1 mammoth. 3) The only reason I'm pissed Stannis didnt show up yet, is because I wanted to see more of Stannis on the wall this season and his dry wit, but seems we are not getting any of that. To summirize the disappointments: no ram, we dont see Mance main host at all. I think the episode was alright. I'd give it a 6 or 7. In no way does it measure up to episode 9 of other seasons. The battle didnt have the scale, and nothing important happened plotwise (like the arrival of Stannis, which shouldnt have happened so soon anyway). The thing is, I believe the siege of the Wall should have started in episode 7 or so, or even earlier, with each episode spending 10-15 minutes at the wall to show the highlights of the siege. It shouldnt be this one thing that happens, should be more of a background setting for a couple of episodes. Substitute pointless Craster's plotline with attack on Castle Black from the south in episode 7, let them set the first ram on fire in episode 8, and have the intire episode 9 focusing on the wall, starting from the 2nd ram with giants and battle at the tunnel, then parley in the middle of the episode, finish with THE battle, when Stannis smashes Mance - and there you have it.