I thought he looked effectively afraid throughout most of that episode. And not terribly effective as an actual warrior. He killed one dude whose back was turned by cutting off his leg, and then was nearly killed by a second though he was, to be fair, holding his own. If anyone's made out to be an unstoppable badass it's Bronn, who apparently can do pretty much everything - drunk - while laughing his balls off about it.
As for the scale I think we know that the budget is such that expecting several million dollars' worth of battle scene was just not realistic and if that's what you were expecting then... man I don't know what to tell you.
They spent an hour. They got the wildfire thing in, they got a bunch of character development for the Hound, they got some GREAT Cersei scenes (you can kinda get where she's coming from which is much harder to do without a 3rd person omniscient narrator relating her innermost thoughts), they did a good Tyrion rally-the-troops scene, got the scar in there, and the absence of the chain was not sorely missed. It ended a bit abrubtly, granted, and they cut the fake-Renly-Loras thing down to a point where it might not have been super clear that that was what was happening but it can be explained in the aftermath.
Again, i haven't read the books, so whether or not they squeeezed all that stuff into an episode does nothing for me.
re: the Cersei character development - we've already seen that shit in other episodes. Yes, we know the suckiness of being a woman, the fact that Robert was a wanker, the fact that all her dad cared about was his legacy, the fact that she's an overprotective mother...etc. Already seen some limited justification for her actions.
I know you can't expect too much in terms of battle scenes vs movies, it was just the scale of things that seemed bad. That's what i'm comparing to helm's deep - yes it had some lame bits (e.g. Gimly on the bridge killing everyone) but at least the sheer size and numbers wat kinda inspiring. Whether they had the budget or not for that doesn't change the point that it's disappointing.
Also i'm not talking about Tyrion's awesomeness as a warrior - just the fact that he's a) funny and quick witted b) 100% morally sound c) an epic stategist d) also apparently an amazing leader of men.
It's cool and all cause I like him, i'm just getting tired of him. I guess next episode will focus more on others so it's all good.