reviews

Review: ‘Vikings,’ Episode 9, ‘All Change’

When I woke up this morning, I knew something was in the air. Have you ever had that feeling? You can feel it in your room and in your bones, something is about to change. After rolling out of bed, seeing a ghostly image in my eggs where the sunny sides up looked like two giant eyes and the egg whites formed a mouth agape (it looked like this :0, for those of you who have never experienced omens in your eggs), and adding milk to my normally black coffee, the feeling of abnormality could no longer be ignored. It took me a while to figure it out, but then it dawned on me. Today marks the end of an era, my readers. The finale of Vikings is upon us, which will plummet us into a drought of sweaty, beefy, beautiful Viking men and women killing and plundering in the name of power – until next year, of course, assuming that this finale doesn’t disappoint us into swearing off this show forever.

It’s been so good, though. There is no way that they’d drag us through the mud and cleat-stomp our dreams, right?

 

You clearly don’t know how television storylines work: when people are loving the direction a series is going, it’s apropos to completely destroy the beautiful thing you’ve got going. This episode, I’m just expecting Athelstan to shave his head and get an ugly skull tattoo or Lagertha to be killed by a rampaging Santa Claus seeking revenge. Or, maybe I’m just keeping low expectations to be pleasantly surprised and jazzed for the continuation of the series. Who can say?

 

I see your point. I prefer to be optimistic, though – people live longer when they’re happy.

 

Wrong, but keep living those dreams. Anyway, let’s get to the recap of episode 8, “Sacrifice.” After Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) is informed of the miscarriage of his child, he takes his family to the recurring nine year sacrificial fest in honor of the gods at the Uppsala shrine. He wasn’t going to bother showing up if it weren’t for the slight of his “next son” being taken from him, because who cares about Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) feelings? Sacrificial animals and people in tow, Ragnar and co. head to the ceremonial site. During this time, Athelstan (George Blagden) starts having major hair- and lifestyle regrets – even if he keeps palming his cross, every time he asks “Are you there God? It’s me, Athelstan,”  the replies of “yeah, bro. Wassup?” get weaker and weaker. I hear mead’ll do that. Before all the bloodshed goes down, the Vikings are righteously boogieing down with orgies, alcohol, and hallucinogenic mushrooms, but before you know it, it’s time to gather around the butcher table and make the gods pay attention to the Vikings’ cries. Where’s Ragnar in all of this? When Ragnar isn’t chatting up Swedish kings, he’s lusting after other women, ruining his marriage, and throwing his best friend under the bus by means of a surprise nomination to be a sacrifice (I’m sure he’s as broken up about it as you are, Athelstan).

 

Don’t worry, though, Former Priest Fans! Because Athelstan hasn’t completely given his soul over to the Viking gods, he’s not seen as a worthy sacrifice to Odin. Unfortunately, Leif (Diarmaid Murtagh) offers himself as the replacement sacrifice and the episode ends with him hanging by his toes in some very disturbing blood draining ritual.

 

Wow, I forgot about how crazy fucked up that episode was. Why was Ragnar being such a jerk?

 

It’s been coming. You know when your misogynistic pig (does that mean it’s okay to call him a Babe? Ha…hahaha) of a brother is more likable than you are, you’ve got a problem.

 

We open in the turf of Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr), the thorn in the side of King Horik (Donal Logue) and keeper of a name that’s extremely fun to say (I have been using “Earl” most of the time, but to clarify and avoid people yelling at me, Jarl in this case, is more fun to say). Ragnar, being the King’s new errand boy (errand man, sorry. He’s a step or two above a page.) is off to tell Jarl Borg to mind his manners, eat his greens, and stop fucking around King Horik’s territory. Jarl Borg, asserting his dominance, makes our beloved Vikings stand in the waiting area before his meeting chamber, keeping them cold and wet. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) and Rollo (Clive Standen) whine that it’s no way to treat guests, no matter who they are, because we all know how charming Rollo is in his bedside manner. Eventually, Jarl Borg summons them around the campfire and we get to see Baby Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole), looking like a wet rat, an adorable wet rat. Jarl Borg informs them that if they’re there as the King’s emissaries, they can go tell the King that he’s not moving – it’s his land, he wants it back, and that’s that. Sounds simple enough.

 

Ragnar says that King Horik wants to make peace, not war, but Jarl Borg is just not having it. If he wants peace, give him back the land and then they can practice singing kumbayah in tune. Beforehand? No way. Our head Viking starts antagonizing Jarl Borg, saying that if his intent is to try to humiliate the King, why doesn’t he just fight him? After all, the King wouldn’t say no. Intrigued, Jarl Borg approaches Ragnar and compliments his ginormous balls, stating that he’s heard all about his various bloodbath exploits and is pretty impressed. Even if Ragnar’s company isn’t happy that their hands in their Earl’s success isn’t acknowledged (in fact, you can practically feel the sharpened edges of Rollo’s scowl), they accept the dry clothes and ale offered to them. Since they’re going to meet on the morrow to discuss politics further, Jarl Borg dismisses the lot.

 

Now we’re back at home base and around the dinner table seating Lagertha, Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), Athelstan, Gyda (Ruby O’Leary), and Thyri (Elinor Crawley). Everyone seems pretty concerned about Lagertha, who hasn’t eaten for three days and is looking more distracted than usual – it must be Athelstan’s hair, which is still looking absolutely tragic. Attempting to humor the lot, Lagertha takes a spoonful of food. She states that she has fears (sadly, not follicle) and soothing them isn’t going to come from food. Siggy suggests visiting the seer (John Kavanagh), but Lagertha doesn’t seem keen on that considering her dwindling relationship with the love of her life. “Sometimes it’s best not to know your fate.” Someone get this girl a bag of Cheetos and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. STAT.

 

That’s breakup food. We don’t know that they’re breaking up! Every relationship has some ups and downs, for all we know, mondo non-talking, no-sex fights happen on the biannual bases.

 

Sure, right, okay. You’re right. I need to take a deep breath, grab that pint of B&J for myself, and continue.

 

Over breakfast, Ragnar tells Jarl Borg that King Horik is willing to pay to get him to give up his luscious land, but Jarl Borg informs the crew that the land is priceless, which is why the King doesn’t want to give it back to him. Rollo, always one to make a weirdly poignant point about a situation that also reflects upon his own mental state, says that “every piece of land has a price, like every human.” Jarl Borg tells them that in every piece of land on earth lies precious minerals, his land happens to be rife with them, so this whole “drop the land-fight” stuff isn’t going to fly; the only price he’s willing to accept is King Horik’s head. Get it? Because then the dude will be dead and he’ll have his land. Win/win!

 

But, there is a way for Jarl Borg to bend a bit: if King Horik acknowledges that the land belongs to Jarl Borg, Jarl Borg will lease the land out to the King during his lifetime OR if they defer the ownership aspect and share the mineral bounty. Jarl Borg asks if this is acceptable grounds for negotiation, which Rollo accepts, even though Ragnar says that he hasn’t been given the rights to negotiate in the King’s stead. Ragnar huffs at his brother while Jarl Borg huffs at Ragnar – how did King Horik actually expect a deal to be made if he only came onto his land with demands? You know, this guy makes a pretty good case. I wouldn’t be down with this scenario, either. He’s more understanding than I am, though, and proposes an idea to Ragnar. One of Ragnar’s men should take the terms he’s offered to the King and lay out the possible ideas. Ragnar and his men are welcome to stay at his village until word gets back. There is a condition, because all deals have one, and that is that one of Ragnar’s men stays with Jarl Borg as a form of security.

 

Seems like a pretty nice guy, all things considering.

 

Agreed. He even invites them to visit the legendary ash tree, which never loses its leaves despite the season and is said to hold up the sky.

 

Ragnar volunteers Rollo to stay behind and not see the tree and Floki is sent to deliver word to King Horik. The rest of them follow their guide on horseback to the tree. Casually, Jarl Borg announces that it looks like rain. Tut tut tut! I sense some symbolism! Something’s about to go down!

 

Back at the village, Lagertha travels heavily cloaked to the seer and confides that she fears for the safety of her husband. She’s had strange and disturbing dreams, where dark and monstrous forms haunt her every move; what do they want of her? The seer tells her that nothing can dispel them until they’ve taken what they’ve come for. “My life?” Lagertha asks, but no, it’s something “far more important.” Is it Ragnar’s life? The seer has had enough of the bullshit drama always circulating the camp and even though he doesn’t have eyes, we know they’re rolling. “Why must you all rouse me up from bed to remind me of the darkness of life? Why doesn’t anyone just come over to hang out, you know? What happened to those times when we had pizza and talked about how cute boys are? But no, you just stop calling. Also, your husband isn’t going to die, but he is dipping his toes into water that he shouldn’t be.”

 

Straight from the script, huh?

 

That part didn’t make it out of the editing room.

 

Jarl Borg and Rollo are bonding by the fire. Jarl Borg asks how Rollo and Ragnar get along, Rollo lies and says that they get along just fine, thanks. Jarl Borg tells a story about his relationship with his own brother. They shared everything! Battlefields, mead, women, etc etc, you know how it goes. Everything was rosy until election time came, when his brother poisoned the cups of every individual in the room in order to cement his place in power. The only reason Jarl Borg still stands is because his wife drank from the cup first. Although his brother denied it, Jarl Borg blinded him and burned him alive – that sums up what he knows about love between brothers.

 

“Ragnar would never do such a thing.”

 

“Oh, of course not! Your brother’s a great man. Your brother’s a great warrior.”

 

Are you taking liberties again?

 

Nope, that is the scripted manipulative masterpiece that is Jarl Borg. Rollo tells him that he’s a great warrior, too, but there is a bit of scoff in Jarl’s voice as he says, “I’m sure you are. And yet…I’ve never heard of you.” GOLD.

 

The tree-going camp is nearing their destination when one-eye and remaining blonde dude spot Aslaug (played by the stunning Canadian model Alyssa Sutherland) bathing in a waterfall. They’re quickly caught and chastised by her very sassy, weapon-wielding watchers. The two men tell the women to halt their assault because they’re guests of Jarl Borg, which they do, and they start to be on their way when Aslaug confronts them about their peeping Tom predilections. She says that Earl Ragnar owes her a personal apology that may or may not involve his Little Ragnar.

 

Ragnar isn’t pleased with the guys when they head back to camp. They were supposed to be fishing not getting an eyeful of the future carrier of a Ragnar baby. They tell him that she was hot, they were powerless! Earl Lothbrok asks who she is to dare associate privacy with her nakedness, but in their hormonal kerfuffle they didn’t really catch her name. Intrigued, Ragnar announces that it must be a test from the gods, after all, it isn’t that often that a naked woman demands his attention – but, you know, he has a pretty rockin’ babe at home that he ignores on the regular, he needs to make extra sure that this extra piece is worth it. In order to test her wits, he tells them to tell her to arrive to their camp neither dressed no undressed, neither hungry nor full, and neither alone nor in company.

 

Oh, oh, oh! This riddle sounds familiar!

 

We’ll have to wait for the answer. Right now, Siggy asks Lagertha what the seer told her and Lagertha confirms that Ragnar is in danger. Siggy stands and approaches her mistress, hoping that Lagertha is going to announce that she’s worried about Rollo, which would make Siggy happy, as it would prove that he’s actually getting out of the pouty corner and down to conquering business. Instead, Lagertha says that he’s in danger of himself.

 

And as Aslaug approaches the camp, dressed in a net, holding an onion (it’s supposed to be carried in her mouth, but I suppose they wanted her to look sexy and not like a roasted pig), and with a dog as her companion, I can see where Lagertha would start worrying about Ragnar’s lack of self-control. She’s fine as hell and clever? Also, she has an amazingly cute dog. Can we just look at him instead of Ragnar? Skeezy and turned on, legendary warrior Earl Ragnar offers her a bite of his salted fish. She declines and enters into the camp. Aslaug introduces herself and agrees to accompany the men (with her own guards as well) to the ash tree.

 

Stay classy, Ragnar. What is Bjorn doing in all this? Shouldn’t he be slapping a chastity belt onto his father right about now?

 

Don’t you worry about Bjorn. He was giving his father the deathiest death glare that he could muster, it’s almost like he was channeling Lagertha.

 

Our beautiful blonde badass is working on the loom when she hears Siggy cough; being the concerned motherbear that she is, Lagertha asks what’s wrong and is dutifully informed of the Siggy’s trip to a relative, who had to bury her young son after he recently became violently and fatally ill. Visibly shaken, Lagertha leaves the increasingly ailing Siggy to wander the streets and food markets, because we all know how fantastic hygiene back then was and how this will absolutely not have any horrible consequences. While wandering in a food preparation area, Siggy faints.

 

There are a lot of words to describe what’s happening over at base camp. None of them are good.

 

In an attempt to lighten the mood (or build dread, whichever), we’re finally at the legendary tree. Bjorn asks no one in particular if, since it’s so old and so strong, it’s the tree Odin hung himself on. “Why not?” Aslaug notes, “anything’s possible.”

 

Except having a stable relationship in this time period, I guess.

 

Ragnar and co. might be enjoying nature and drinking around a roaring bonfire, but back at home a plague has descended. Siggy the Petri Dish brought it over from the town of her relative. Siggy begs Lagertha to look after her daughter before tending to her, Lagertha looks up to see Athelstan above the continuously paler Thyri.

 

I’m starting to understand what you mean when you say nothing good in this show lasts.

 

There is some good and it comes in the form of the littlest male Lothbrok. Back at Camp Infidelity, Bjorn has taken his mug of alcohol to a far away judgmental corner. One Eye comes up and asks Bjorn what’s the matter, Bjorn, looking back over at his father, says that he’s making a total fool of himself. Mr. Eyepatch says that there’s no harm in a grown man seeking comfort in a beautiful woman and says that one magical day, Bjorn will do the same thing. He may call it harmless fun, a little flirting, but Bjorn isn’t an idiot – he sees Aslaug running her fingers over Ragnar’s lips and watches them having ocular intercourse with each other. “If Lagertha were here, she’d cut his balls off.”

 

And that’s why this kid is officially the best boy Lothbrok.

 

Rollo, during his maybe-lady-maybe-dying at home and his brother hooking up with a princess, is feasting back at Jarl Borg’s abode. He’s a very special guest, Ragnar is very important. Not impressed with Ragnar always being the center of attention, Rollo harrumphs into his cup. Jarl Borg asks what woman he would like to spend the night with – one? Two? Three? Ah-ah-ah, it’s like a perverted Sesame Street lesson. For the first time in his life, Rollo turns down the ladies. Jarl Borg seems as impressed as I am and then asks what Rollo really wants, as if the answer weren’t totally and completely obvious.

 

It is?

 

Yeah, totally! A pool full of Swedish supermodel princesses, medals praising his honor, a diving board made out of solid gold, and many, many, many kegs of alcohol. Did I mention glory? Yeah, lots of that.

 

Somehow I don’t think that’s what he’s going to get. What about Floki? Your love affair with that loon hasn’t been as apparent as it usually is.

 

It’s still kicking, don’t you worry. It just took half the episode for Floki to reach King Horik’s territory. When we meet up with him, he’s conversing about the finer points of Fenrir mythology (pre-attacking children in the Wizarding World). Once they stop giggling about their mutual nerdy interest in such things, King Horik tells Floki that he’s not interested in making a deal. Floki, looking out for his friend, says that, that’s probably not going to work out so well for Ragnar, but King Horik motions to a spider chomping down on a fly that caught itself in the web. King Horik walks away and Floki is starting to understand how this all is going to go down.

 

Speaking of down, Athelstan is infected with the plague, now. Lagertha feeds him a cup filled with the tears of every fan on Tumblr. Athelstan is great and all, but that’s not the part that gets me. The part that gets me is when Lagertha takes the cup of water to Gyda, who looks like she’s already a foot into the afterlife. “I am going to die,” Gyda tells her mother, who fervently denies that possibility.

 

Ignorant to all of this, Ragnar learns about Aslaug’s past, if, you know, that’s code for “sucking face in front of Odin’s hanging tree.” Aslaug asks Ragnar why he kissed her and he says that he had no choice. He also had no choice when they decide to bang in the communal tent within earshot of Bjorn. Maybe, one day, Bjorn will understand that erect penises have minds of their own, when he attends several years of Viking counseling with the seer, furthering the seer’s descent into crippling depression. It’s not all death and dying, folks! There’s also some reproduction happening!

 

The next morning Bjorn approaches his father and tells him that he hates him and he’s disgusting. Grinning, Ragnar says that he couldn’t help himself, but Bjorn is having none of it. He tell his father that he’s going to tell Lagertha, which Ragnar shrugs off. Going further, because Bjorn has a lot of anger after watching his father do the nasty with someone who wasn’t his mother, he says that he supposes Ragnar doesn’t love Lagertha at all, despite what he says and what people think, because people who love each other don’t accidently find themselves balls-deep inside some chick.

 

Ragnar swears that it won’t happen again, but we all know how well he keeps promises and ugh, I hope this asshole has a royal case of Viking crustaceans nesting down south. The Earl, legit caught with his pants down, tells his son that he loves him and then finds himself in quite the quandary.

 

Good for Bjorn! You know, I thought he was just a bratty little jerk, but he’s actually a bratty little badass.

 

A brief glimmer of hope for the future is quickly dimmed when we are taken back to PlagueFest. Dead bodies are everywhere, the population has dropped dramatically, and those who are still alive are mourning their dead loved ones. Siggy, alive and well, uncovers the body of Thyri and devolves into sobbing, mourning, heart-wrenching cries. Lagertha looms over her own daughter, who asks about Athelstan. “He is so weak that he cannot eat,” Gyda tells her mother not to pray for her, but to pray to the gods for him and I’m crushed.

 

Lagertha watches as the pyres of human bodies are burned and we’re taken back to Camp Unaware-That-Everything-At-Home-Is Dead. Princess Aslaug saunters into the tent hiking up her skirts for a romp with Ragnar, who, after looking in the direction of where his son is laying, tells her no. Disappointed, she leaves the tent and it’s a very, very small victory for the Lothbrok family.

 

Because even the camera crew is pissed off at Ragnar, Lagertha is again filling our screen. She holds the reign of a sacrificial goat, begging the gods to accept the offering. She then takes the blood and smears it upon her face, looking like she’s about to confront the shadows that have been relentlessly ruining her life. The next morning, it’s announced that the fever has passed. Athelstan rolls over, only to find Gyda non-responsive.

 

No.

 

Yes. Athelstan smooths the hair from her face, but her glassy stare is one that probably makes him wish for his old god.

 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a time of telepathy or cellular service, so Ragnar is pouting by the riverside, as he wasn’t able to have sex with a pretty, pretty princess the night before. Aslaug is about to make his day, though, and approaches him with some very fan-fucking-tastic news. She’s pregnant. He laughs in a way that is both happy and self-pitying.

 

We see Floki approaching Jarl Borg’s with the not-so-great news, and it’s just in time! Ragnar’s party has also arrived. Reunited. Around the dinner table, Jarl Borg asks Floki what King Horik said pertaining to the deal. Floki, wanting to be invisible, requests to finish eating before spilling the spoiled milk. Jarl Borg asks again and receives the news that there will be no compromises, only the paying off of pesky Jarls, very poorly. Jarl Borg tells Ragnar that his time has been wasted (but a quick camera shot over to Aslaug reminds us that the trip wasn’t totally for naught, because, hey! Sons!) and that the group must leave in the morning, that is, of course, unless Ragnar disavows King Horik.

 

“Good. War.,” says Floki, who is stuffing his face like he was discussing the weather.

 

I’m surprised Ragnar didn’t stay for the sole purpose of having all-hands Aslaug access.

 

Me, too.

Lagertha says goodbye to Gyda and light her pyre on fire as Athelstan looks on. All I want is for Lagertha to take Athelstan, Bjorn, and maybe Siggy and go found a different city, where hopefully things won’t consistently fall further into shit.

 

That night, Ragnar gives into introspection and slits his hand down the center of his palm, smearing his face with the blood that accumulated. Bjorn awakens from slumber to find one of Odin’s ravens cawing at him, but he stopped learning how to speak crow at the 102 level, so the gist of what he understood was “Ragnar caw caw the caw in caw caw caw.” It was just as confusing for Bjorn. Ragnar starts zombie walking through the building and spreading his bloody hands on the walls like some sort of hackneyed occultist. It all has a purpose, though, he has to see Aslaug once more so he can lay his head upon her abdomen and think of all the shit he’s fucked up with his wandering dick syndrome.

 

We end the series with Rollo and BFF Jarl Borg conversing about the lack of alternative for war – Ragnar isn’t going to support Jarl Borg, but will he? Together, they can carve out a new kingdom. The death of Ragnar and the start of the Legend of Rollo. Rollo, in a moment that has been building up since the first episode, vows to fight against his brother. He then dramatically looks down into the flames and the credits roll.

 

That was really, really depressing. Did they re-shoot the ending or were they banking on getting picked up for more seasons? Imagined if it had been cancelled, that would have been the worst ending in the world. There are so many questions and loose threads and plotlines that lead to nowhere, and now we have to wait until next year to get any sort of gratifying closure?

 

Yup.

 

I…I don’t know what to feel.

 

Me neither, honestly. In terms of ratings, if it were any episode other than the finale, I’d rank it pretty high, like 28 out of 30 wooden bowls of goat blood, but considering the lack of satisfaction I’m feeling, I’m going to have to demote it to a 23/30. The angst and confusion combination post-season finale has never been enjoyable to my fragile emotional state. I will say, though….the episode definitely lived up to the title.

 

Since I’m in a whirlpool of sappy feelings already, there are some other things I’d like to address.

 

One: all of you, every single person that has read my Vikings reviews and enjoyed them (or not necessarily, my style isn’t for everyone), have made me so humbled and grateful. The series turned out to be more popular than I could have ever imagined and, although the numbers might seem small to well-established blogs, all the views have rocked my world. I just wanted to say thanks, from the bottom of my heart. You guys are seriously amazing.

 

Two: I’d like to keep as much as my new found readership as possible! If you’d like to see me recap a particular show, see a type of entry, have any questions about anything, or want to stay updated on things HDD related, drop my a line at or follow my Twitter, Hot Diggity Daffodil’s Facebook page, or send a message to HDD’s very own email address (hotdiggitydaffodilemail@gmail.com). I promise that I don’t bite! Of course, you can also comment below. I’ve been absolutely loving all the comments lately!

 

Three: Thank you all again. I know I already said that, but you all are just so fantastic (as if y’all didn’t know that already). It’s been a bumpy ride, sure, yet you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be covering season two in 2014!

Advertisements

57 thoughts on “Review: ‘Vikings,’ Episode 9, ‘All Change’

  1. I appreciated the reviews.

    I don’t like what has happened to Lagertha, because she is pretty hot and badass in her own right. However, I can’t keep but still feeling the love for Ragnar. I can’t imagine that it is easy to rise up the ranks as he has done without making mistakes and I respect the ambition. It doesn’t excuse the infidelity, but I still can feel where Ragnar is coming from even as he is messing it all up. Of course, I am also of the Y-chromosome persuasion, so your mileage may vary.

    Of course, that probably proves that the show is doing its job. If it’s nothing but BJ’s and rainbows all the time, then there wouldn’t be much drama. I will definitely be back next year if you continue to review. Thanks again.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I’m pretty bummed about everything that’s happened to Lagertha, who I agree is smokin’ and badass. She had a very, very rough end of the season. It really gave her a chance to shine as the strong character she is, though. Even if I’m still super angry at Ragnar, it’s true that he has his own vision of his life and the drive to get there. If the seer says he’s going to have 20 sons, he’s going to have them by any means….I’m still mad, but I do kind of, sort of get it from a propagation of the species standpoint. It’s like I said last week, though. Lagertha is the top of the pyramid of hot badass babes (that totally worship their husbands), anything otherwise is just a downgrade. Princess or no princess!

      Also, “BJs and rainbows” is officially one of the best phrases I’ve ever heard in my life. I legitimately laughed out loud!

      • I’m with you. I can’t wait to see what they do with her character. That will be what I am most intrigued for when this thing starts again. I also like the development of Bjorn’s character even if it was very late in the season. I still love me some Floki. I think the only thing that stands between Ragnar and the complete ruination of his life is Floki. If they ever get rid of him, I won’t be able to watch anymore. I still don’t know what to think with Rollo. Will he actually go through with his betrayal, or will he pull off another rope-a-dope like he did in the trial episode? With Siggy by his side, it seems like it will be the former, but maybe he remembers ‘bro’s before ho’s’ before he goes through with the betrayal. I love the Jarl Borg character as the new antagonist to start next season. I also still feel like Ragnar is going to crawfish on his deal with the King at some point next season. I just get a vibe that something is off with King Horik. Also, I think I am going to be annoyed with the new baby storyline next season (unless she wears netting all the time, of course). I understand why they did it for the storyline, but if you mix women and babies and lineage, it usually gets all drama-y and in a bad way in my opinion.

        That should probably have been more than one paragraph. Oh well.

      • Yess! Bjorn started the season as sort of a punk – I wasn’t totally sold on him, but his late character development was actually really cool. It started off with him trying to be the man of the house, to actually being a semi-moral compass. He may worship his father, but I loved that he stood up to him to let him know the feelings that he had. That took a lot of guts.

        I also agree about Floki. If Ragnar fucks up that relationship, I’m jumping from the SS Ragnar, because that’s probably the only friend he has left. He’s ignoring his wife, sexing other women in front of his son, not respecting Rollo’s feelings of inferiority, offering Athelstan up to be killed…I mean, it would be kind of funny if he weren’t the main character. If his relationship with Floki falls through (or something bad happens to Floki at all), I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I love that crazy dude. Speaking of Rollo, I’m not really sure what they’re going to do with his character. All season he’s sort of flipped and flopped between being a bad guy and being a good guy, I’ll be interested in seeing whether or not his character stays consistent next season. And what is Siggy’s character going to be like now that she doesn’t have Thyri? All these questions!

        I love love love Jarl Borg as the main antagonist – best foil for Ragnar since Earl Haraldson. He knows exactly what Ragnar’s about, which will make him so fun to watch. It’s about time for Ragnar to actually face a threat! I’d much prefer Jarl Borg to be a central character than King Horik. You’re right about that guy, something is just super weird about him.

        Ugh, Lagertha vs. Aslaug is going to get old; I’m already tired of it. The baby mama drama can possibly get really cliche, really quickly, so I hope they don’t milk the plot until it becomes trite. We don’t need some garbage Vh1-worthy plot in the show. I think I read that Aslaug will be a more prevalent secondary character next season, there’s no getting away from that story (unfortunately).

  2. And the fact that Lagertha is the chick swimming around in the opening credits…you think they would of paid her better tribute in the show…

    • Lagertha was definitely put through the wringer towards the end of the season, but if they wanted to cultivate the image of a very strong warrior woman, they did a really good job. She had a heartbreaking miscarriage, her marriage is falling apart, and her daughter died – throughout that time period she was ruling in Ragnar’s stead and never stopped being that leader, even when things everywhere were going very poorly. I don’t like that they made her tragic to give her strength, I don’t think the severity of her life falling apart was necessarily needed to show that she’s a badass, but she comes out of the season finale looking like a hero.

      • Well I did do some reading…and there are different accounts of her actual historical person.

        So for season two, as of right now they aren’t quite sure what they want to do with her. Either they are going to make her slowly deal with it and fix the marriage, and they’ll have some bumps with that. Or, she’s going to say f you dude, and then she’ll become the Arl there. It’s open either way, because accounts and legends constantly contradict themselves with the story of these two characters.

        I think, personally, I’d be ok with her accepting Ragnar back into her life. But buds going to have to grovel and make up for it. But then there’s the fact that she can’t seem to have kids anymore. Although, there’s no historical facts relating to this, it could make for an interesting show if they decide to use the other chick as a sergate mother lol.

        But not having kids, could just be her body trying to heal and deal with stress. So I was thinking, what if nothing is said about the affair…because of the plague, the kid decides to not say anything seeing as how there’s enough going on. And what if, Lagertha and Ragnar end up having another kid, a son. Then dun dun dun, she finds out about the other woman. Gets pissed off….lots can come of that wether she decides to keep him around or not.

        Or, what if the kid decides to tell his mama anyways. A more of, this plague happened as a punishment, you lost your daughter and half your village because of your sin, type thing. That could also be interesting.

      • I agree that it will be super interesting to see what they do with our lady badass. The creator of the show is really smart because he’s pretty open about how he’s not about to give up Katheryn Winnick/Lagertha. She’s far, far too popular, so even with this drama unfolding, I have a feeling that she’s going to be the one that comes out looking like a strong character and the Lagertha we’ve all become enamored with. I mean, a lot of Vikings had multiple wives, so maybe Aslaug will live in their house as well? I’m intrigued to see how it all plays out. I actually really hope they do it well, because if they write it wrong they’re going to turn Vikings into Beverly Hills Housewife.

        OH. That plague perspective is such an interesting idea! I wonder if he’d look at it that way? Like, ohhh sure you had fun, but you were punished when half your followers died. BTW your daughter is dead.

        There are so many threads and stories…that premier will be crazy intense.

  3. Hey just wanted to say I stumbled onto your recaps by accident, but they’ve become part of my weekly vikings ritual and I’ve really enjoyed them. Thanks for the unique insights into my favorite show. Sadly I’ll have to wait another year to see how the drama unfolds. Also I think Floki deserves his own spinoff reality show.
    Thanks again,
    Sean

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad someone laughs at my jokes other than myself.

      I would also be allllll over a “Life in the Eyes of Floki” television show. Could you imagine the cryptic loony bird in his every day life? It would be so, so magical.

  4. Just found you. Vikings has become my must-see TV, even over Game of Thrones. I love your review. I’m guessing the ending was re-written once the show was picked up for a second season.
    Ragnar pissed the hell outta me last week and made me hate his ass this week. Apparently he loaned his brain to Rollo who stuck it in his head and decided to actually think for once. (Back in the beginning my son called Rollo a dick. How right he was!) Meanwhile Lagertha continues to rock the house. Along with Athelstan. Damn that Siggy! Although she did get her revenge – comes with a price unfortunately. I’m sorry the two daughters died. I liked both.
    And Bjorn is so growing on me!
    Did you know Floki is the brother of Eric from True Blood? Lots and lots of Skarsgards out there!

    • Ragnar’s entire attitude has been such a pain, lately. He’s like Harry Potter in the fifth book – moody and full of himself. Everything is “me me me me me my unborn sons me me me.” That’s okay, though, because Lagertha, Athelstan, and Bjorn can start their own badass club that doesn’t include Ragnar. I feel so bad for Siggy, though. Yeah, she’s kind of a bitch and sort of a terrible person, but the death of Thyri was so sad. She’s had everything taken away from her (but I’m glad the eyeliner is gone – she looks 800x better!).

      I did know about Gustaf and Alexander being brothers! Their father is also an actor. It must run in the family, huh? I think their other siblings are also pretty famous in Sweden!

      • Yes, I love their father. Have you read The Saxon Chronicles, by Bernard Cornwell? Loosely based on Ragnar Lothbrok. It just so happens I read the series last year and lo and behold… Vikings!
        I realize Viking men, and men in general during that period, wanted sons and didn’t feel obligated to remain loyal to one woman. However since the original mythos has already been altered I’d prefer to see Lagertha triumph. She kicks Aslaug’s ass. Even though IRL Aslaug gets to take credit for all Ragnars vengeful sons.
        And a Viking stylist needs to get hold of Athelstan’s hair. I was so pissed at Ragnar for bringing Athelstan along as a sacrifice. Athelstan is too trusting.

      • I haven’t! Do you recommend it? I’m always up for a new book (I’m reading a beautiful mammoth of a novel right now called Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell which is definitely worth a read, if you’re into that sort of thing).

        Yeah, I always try to keep the fair-weather sexual partners in mind, but it’s something that my modern perspective has some trouble overlooking, even if I know it’s true to the period back then. Besides, Lagertha is amazing! Any other lady is just a step down.

        Athelstan’s hair just gets more and more tragic. Whyyy? WHHHHYYY? Maybe his hair is in mourning because of Ragnar’s betrayal? That’s the only acceptable reason – perpetual bad hair day post-breakup.

      • Definitely recommend The Saxon Chronicles – kind of turns the story on its head a little. The only disappointment is the author has not yet completed the series.

  5. Another reader here who stumbled on your blog through the Vikings recaps and have been enjoying your unique style and viewpoint greatly. Especially your humours view on some of the names Roth (Rolf) and Toastegg (Tostig)

    I’m suprised they would introduce Aslaug and the famous riddle already and make a cliche love triangle out of it, As the ‘canonical’ Ragnar did not meet Aslaug until he was already divorced from Lagertha. But you seem have opened the relevant wikipedia pages and probably already know that and I really shouldn’t be spreading ‘canonical’ spoilers anyway.

    Also, not that Ragnar isn’t a douchebag to Lagertha at the moment and like most viewers I have really enjoyed their relationship. But let me play devil’s adovate for a bit and ask you to remember that terms like ‘infidelity’ or the vow to keep to only your wife are concepts from the Christian marriage ceremonies. The Vikings as far as we know made no such promises in theirs. Remember the first episode? Lagertha telling Ragnar not to sleep with ‘too many’ women while in Kattegat. Sleeping with other women than your wife was not really that great a sin to the vikings, unless it happend ALOT then it would be good grounds for the wife to call for divorce. Sirings sons outside of marriage was perhaps slightly more problematic, but it happend. Knut of the perforated kidneys was Haraldsons half-brother after all. But I guess Bjorn really doesn’t need any more competion for his father’s attention.

    What do you think of the idea of Lagertha divorcing Ragnar but keeping her leadership role of the village? Being of chasing glory and sons while your lands are plagued does not a popular leader make.

    Will look forward to your season 2 recaps in 2014.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      I’m pretty bummed about the Aslaug addition, not because I dislike her or anything, she seems pretty cool, it’s just that the show was a really good one without the trashy tv love triangle. What can you do, though? Dramatic love draws viewers (look at True Blood!).

      Ahhh, I know that men were quite promiscuous back then, so historically, it makes sense for them to loosen the drawstrings on their pants more than I’m accustomed to, but my modern sensibilities were just up in arms about it. Rollo basically said as much last episode, too (the whole “oh, you’re going to get mad at me just because I took a bunch of shrooms and slept with half the women at the ceremony? PLEASE!” speech), but that didn’t stop me from becoming slightly judgmental! You could be onto something with Bjorn being more angry about his father dividing his attention up further, we’ll have to wait until next year to see. Is it 2014 yet?

      I actually think the idea of Lagertha getting a divorce settlement in the form of being the leader of the village is awesome, she’s already proven herself to be an amazing leader!

    • I do agree that their view of marriage was not Christian at that time. However, this particular episode between Ragnar and Aslaug felt like betrayal and not just sex with some hot princess in a net dress. It felt like he was pushing his wife to the side. In other words, I am pretty sure that everyone would agree that Lagertha is his queen, but now there seems to be doubt in his mind whether he wants to keep Lagertha as his queen, which feels like infidelity even on their terms. This is in contrast with the ‘mushroom girls’ who would not be in competition for the top spot.

      • Agreed! If Ragnar had handled it in a different way and wasn’t acting like such a douchy jerk about it, us fans would be more sympathetic towards him, instead of fully on Team Lagertha.

    • That interview with the creator is really fantastic. I love to hear his insight into the characters! They better not have Athelstan get recaptured and killed as a traitor by the Saxons, though – I would not be okay with that plot twist.

      I’ve see some of those behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors and I really appreciate the historical tidbits that they talk about. I think it’s really cool that, despite taking some liberties sometimes, they keep a lot of Viking traditions included.

  6. Oh rats! I hope this isn’t a repeat. I just typed out a whole response and it disappeared. Anyway, to recap – I stumbled upon your “Vikings” blog a few episodes back, and couldn’t wait for this one! Your review has become part of my enjoyment of the series, and I am BUMMED that we will have to wait until next year!! What will you be reviewing until then?

    • Thank you for your support! I’m glad I’ve kept you reading! I actually have no idea what I’m going to review until then – I might start doing random shows on Netflix or something like that. I’ll take suggestions. I’m pretty hesitant to start a series that is already established (Game of Thrones, Mad Men, etc), because I feel like they’ve been blogged about to death. Maybe I’ll hit up a couple SyFy originals, those practically write the jokes for me!

      • Im not a “game of Thrones” fan, but please think about Mad Men! I would love your perspective on that show!!

  7. You did a fabulous job summarizing these episodes. I really enjoyed your spin on things. Your comments were so on the mark! While I enjoyed the series, it was too over the top many times and took it away from being a great show imho.

    • Libby, you may be right. Who knows if Ragnar and his pals are historically correct? Still, just like King Arthur, it is fun to imagine that they are!

      • I was talking with another commenter last episode and he observed that the mythological accuracy is…vague, sometimes, and it seems like they’re taking a bit from all different kinds of stories about Ragnar and other legendary Vikings to superglue a TV-friendly story together. He likes to look at it as an homage to Viking lore. I think it saves him a lot of frustration!

    • I will definitely agree that there are some plot twists that they threw in there kind of took me out of the moment. There were times when I’d hit “pause” on my player and have to take a couple seconds to judgmentally scrunch my eyebrows and wonder what made them think that x or y was a good decision for the show. However, since I wasn’t really going into the show wanting to be amazed by the historical accuracy, I think I was able to let the absurdity wash over me (as long as I took out my frustration with snark!). Will you be tuning into the next season?

      • I will watch another season especially with you as faithful commentator! For now I have tuned into Bletchley Circle on PBS. A superb crime drama set in the 50’s.

      • Thank you so so much for the continued support – you’re the best. Oh! I LOVE crime dramas! I will definitely have to check that out, and soon!

  8. Been reading your recaps since ep 4. Great way to unwind after an episode as I love your style. Also linked your blog to my friends who also follows (Hey better late than never.. right)

    If you want to keep your readership I would hazard a guess that most people that follows Vikings also watch Game of Thrones. I would love to read your take on that series, but it is already halfway into season 3. Between Vikings, Game of Thrones and the last season of Spartacus its really been a swashbucklin’ autumn without peer.

    • Thank you for the advertising and your continued support! It means a lot to me and every view helps. You guys all have made these past two months utterly spectacular.

      I’m not sure I’ll start Game of Thrones, as it’s so far into the series already (but dang…it’s amazing). It really is a fantastic era for television. I love, love, love historical/science fiction/mythical dramas…maybe I’ll find another one to review while we’re waiting for Vikings (is it 2014 yet?).

  9. Oooh, my daughter’s friend who loves Vikings said last night she is so pissed at Ragnar she’s now on Team Rollo. Like I said, Rollo finally used the correct brain!

  10. Don’t know which I will miss more until Season 2 – Vikings or your funny insightful reviews! PS Some of your stuff is so good I am stealing your material! See you in 2014.

  11. Just found your reviews and love them… I am so disappointed with the Ragnar development as they spent 7 episodes developing him as a guy who loved his family and had a great if uncommon relationship with the ultimate badass Lagertha and then in just two episodes he becomes a smirking jerk who blames his wife for a miscarriage, sacrifices his friend with no warning and then makes a baby wihout a second thought??? It makes you question his previous good guy status and feels like rushed writing.. It would have been better if we had seen him struggle a bit emotionally or have some complex feeling or show some understanding to Rollo or Lagertha his way hotter than Aslaug wife… I just hope that they have him show some feeling for Lagertha and his daughter and keep my new favorite character Lagertha in the spotlight!

    • I agree that Ragnar’s character was slightly contradictory/flat in this past episode – I’d even agree to the feeling of rushed writing. It sort of felt like they were acting on a deadline, you know? What they could have done was add Aslaug in the next season…I feel like it would have felt less rushed, then. There could have been more of a building of marital tension over the end of this season, a little internal strife, instead of him just becoming a giant douchenozzle. I just wanted a bit more buildup and for it to feel more natural. Is that so much to ask?

  12. I just found your reviews. Solid work. Floki is seriously the man. Not really happy with Ragnar’s (mis)conduct since he took power but it is making for some solid TV. Can’t wait for season two – supposed to be 10 episodes.

    • Man, I would be so okay with Floki having more screentime! He’s one of the best characters in the whole show – his motives are always clear, his character is totally consistent (something Ragnar and Rollo could both learn from imho), and his eyeliner has me mentally singing Walk Like An Egyptian every time he comes onscreen. Who could ask for more?

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the reviews! Season two should promise to be just as insane as this one, I think!

  13. They disapointingly portrayed Alaug as a swedish prostitute – her parents were Brunhilde and Sigurd. In Ragnar’s saga he was already divorced from Lagertha and King of Denmark by the time he met Aslaug. From the Encyclopedia of Norse Mythology:

    Aslaug:
    According to some authorities, after the first meeting of Sigurd and Brunhild, the lovers parted after plighting their troth; but others say that Sigurd wedded Brunhild, with whom he lived for a while in perfecthappiness until forced to leave her and his infant daughter Aslaug. This child, left orphaned at three years of age, was fostered by Brunhild’s father, who, driven away from home, concealed her in a cunningly fashioned harp, until reaching a distant land he was murdered by a peasant couple for the sake of the gold they supposed it to contain.
    Their surprise and disappointment were great indeed when, on breaking the instrument open, they found a beautiful little girl, whom they deemed mute, as she would not speak a word.Time passed, and the child, whom they had trained as a drudge, grew to be a beautiful maiden, and she won the affection of a passing viking, Ragnar Lodbrog, King of the Danes, to whom she told her tale. The viking sailed away to other lands to fulfil the purposes of his voyage, but when a year had passed, during which time he won much glory, he came back and carried away Aslaug as his bride.

    • How is she like a Swedish Prostitute? She doesn’t take anything in trade. Rather she sleeps with Ragnar due to mutual attraction. Historically, Aslaug is one of Ragnar’s three wives and will bear him more than one son. Lagurtha will wind up with a “divorce” but never stop loving Ragnar and still has a role to play in Ragnar’s future, IIRC.

  14. I don’t think Rollo will betray Ragnar. We’ve been down this path before with Jarl Harraldson – where it looked like Ragnar would betray Ragnar and then saved his life by his testimony – and earned some rather nasty facial scars. And Ragnar returned the love by pitting himself against the Jarl whilst injured, just to save Rollo from further torture.

    Rollo is changing for the better, I think, and Loyalty is a major virtue for the Vikings. I don’t think Rollo will turn. What remains to be seen is how him actually saying he will “fight his brother” is actually some kind of deception…

    • I think you’re right on track about Rollo. The more I think about it, the more I think in the end he’ll show up on Ragnar’s side and it will be such a twist exactly what we’ve seen before from him – I think it’d actually be really consistent with his character. However, I do wonder how far his lust for power will take him.

      • I hope you are right about Rollo, but I’m not holding my breath. Grrr – I’m missing those barbarians already – how am I going to wait until next year??

  15. Do some Game of Thrones recaps , also do not worry about that fool who got onto you about cursing earlier in the season. Its 2013 , if you did not curse you are abnormal and it probably means HIS reviews get no return viewers. Haters hate, be yourself.

    • I don’t know that I’ll pick up GoT, actually. Too many people do it and I’m not sure mine would be any better than the masses already out there! Thanks for supporting me against the (now infamous) Bernard – being anyone else but myself seems like a crappy deal, I’m glad I had such wonderful readers that made up for his shitty disposition.

  16. I discovered your reviews of “Vikings” a while back, and I loved them as much as I loved the show. I also live in Seattle, and I needed some relief from the endless gloom. I rarely laugh out load at anything I read, but I was laughing so hard at your take on this show that I had tears in my eyes. I look forward to reading your reviews for the second season. I wish I could watch the first season again – but no DVD has come out as yet, and we have no idea as to when it will be available. Anyway, thanks again for your humerous writing and insights into the Viking characters. Until we connect with all of them again in 2014, keep up the great writing.

    • This is such a wonderful compliment! There isn’t much that can detract from the rainy gloom of the Pacific Northwest, so the praise is high. I really hope I can deliver just as much next season – you guys are the absolute best and continue to inspire/motivate me to continue writing. I’ve also been looking for an online stream of Vikings or a DVD release, but no such luck (unless I want to venture into sketch-o foreign movie hosting…), please let me know if you find a way to re-view them!

  17. I just watched this on youtube. Jarl Borg is channeling Don Vito Corleone and Rollo is channeling Michael Corleone. The famous line of Michael Corleone to his brother: remember Fredo to never side against the family again!! They are evil/vile mobsters trying to become legit.(carve out a Kingdom) The real historical Rollo goes on a journey into France up the Seine river probably with this Borg guy’s crew. He raids a village and kidnaps a woman named Poppae, and kills her father. Poppa happens to be the emperor’s grand daughter. The emperor makes him a deal he can’t refuse and he leaves Scandinavia forever. I think Aslaug is going home with Ragnar. Ragnar is going to pitch his family to the curb. Horik IMO is a bad dude. I am hoping the Borg screws him up real bad. I think Rollo is going to disappear when it’s time for them to go home. Rollo is going to stay with the Borg and never go home again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s