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Review: ‘Vikings,’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Warrior’s Fate’

Guys, it has been a long week. In so many ways. In some ways much deeper than others, but altogether it has been emotionally and physically exhausting. Also? By some stroke of my adorable dog’s adorable lack of footing, he not-so-adorably spilled water on my once-wonderful laptop, leaving me bummed and sad but without any place to put my anger because he just looked at me with those big brown eyes and I can’t be mad at that. Which has left the sheer bummertude of having to borrow a laptop to do reviews and do essential Google searches (for new laptops, naturally!) welling inside of me and culminating into a Wineday Friday of epic, call-Chinese-Food-in proportions. Luckily for you, you all get to experience this tragic slosh alongside with me, with some bloody Vikings and plot twists. Isn’t technology grand?

 

Sure. Can we get to Vikings now?

 

Fine, fine. I understand.

vikings_season3_cast

We left last week with Ecbert’s (Linus Roache) increasing adoration of flawless Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Torstein’s (Jefferson Hall) amputation and half-death, Athelstan’s (George Blagden) ever-problematic love life, and the arrival of a mysterious stranger (that Siggy, Helga, and Aslaug have all seen in their dreams) into Kattegat. It was an adventurous episode, with Ragnar&Co. heading away from their ships and further inland, towards the hordes of armies ruled by Princess K (Amy Bailey).

 

We start on the shores that we started. In Kattegat, while looking like an Anthropologie catalog extra, Helga (Maude Hirst) welcomes the aforeseen mysterious man with a bleeding palm into the town, because she wasn’t outwardly frightened by the dreamy prediction (none of the ladies were, even though I see nothing but giant, illuminated red flags around the entire scenario) and doesn’t feel as though this mysterious stranger will bring their hometown to harm.Despite some of their visions literally portraying the opposite. Sure. Okay, yeah. Helgra brings the stranger into the company of Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), because the first thing you do when you run into a creep at the club is introduce him to all of your friends. Bonus points if he is bleeding.

 

Are you speaking from experience?

 

Not at all! (Maybe). (without the blood).

 

The Wanderer’s name is Harbard (played by the enigmatic Kevin Durand) and he fancies himself a story teller. He is semi-grilled by the three women, but at least helga and Aslaug seem completely charmed as they willingly give information about how the men of the town are raiding. Siggy seems to have heaping handfuls of hesitation and I can’t say I blame her.

 

Ecbert is riding in the woods and confronts a few of his noblemen who deign to talk behind his back during their ride; they seem to have reasonable questions and concerns, like, why, if they share their farming techniques are the Vikings not being held to share their boat building techniques, and, why, if they are allowing Vikings on their soil, are they not forcefully converting the Vikings to Christianity? Ecbert, in the most Ecbert-y way, tells them to shut the hell up because he has shit under control. Which I believe. Ecbert has not, for a single second, allowed things to go in a way he hasn’t liked. He calls Princess K their puppet and reminds them that Ragnar is currently fighting alongside said puppet for the greater purchase of Mercia, sprinkled with a vague allusion to Farmville Viking Edition potentially failing. Ecbert is shrewd and knows what he’s doing. Don’t fuck with Ecbert.

 

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) isn’t a fool and smells a rat. He wants to know why they’re fighting Ecbert’s fight. It mirrors Ecbert talking to his noblemen, with the difference being that Ragnar actually considers Floki’s perspective; Ragnar fights because he doesn’t want conflict between his kin and the Christians, Floki knows that there will be no true peace because each side feels that their god(s) is the(are) true god(s) (paraphrasing, he praises Odin without potential for Jesus). Ragnar tells him that if he doesn’t want to fight, he shouldn’t fight. And then Rollo acts as a voice of reason.

 

Let me say that again:

 

Rollo acts as a voice of reason.

 

Jeez. How far we’ve come.

 

But, in terms of religion wars – Heavy-handed foreshadowing? Well, I would say so.

 

Meanwhile, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) is getting a little too into smearing war paint on Thorunn (Gaia Weiss). I say that, but he looks pretty hateful while he’s doing it. Maybe he’s still salty that she has a personality (given, with the script, barely) outside of “Bjorn’s Significant Other.” Princess K stops Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and tells him to spare her brother, because this is the first 7 minutes as told by mixed messages, apparently. Seriously, you hate his guts one second, want him alve the next, want him killed, no nevermind – spare him! At this point, I will be surprised if she’s being entirely honest (ugh, it seems so obvious that she wouldn’t be), but I’m hoping that she is actually the tortured soul she is supposed to be and not a predictable subplot.

 

Oh…

 

Hm?

 

Remember Torstein?

 

Sure thing. Poor guy. One-Armed Torstein.

 

He’s still alive!

 

Seriously?

 

Yup. He’s looking rough, but he’s alive! Probably not for long, though. Especially because they’re leaving him behind at the camp (totally will survive that) while the rest of them climb a mountain to fight a fight they shouldn’t fight (right). He desperately wants to go, begging Rollo to let him come. Rollo, doing his bro a solid, carries the hobbling, brutally wounded man with him. At least that way, he can die in battle. It’s actually sort of sweet. Again. This is Rollo we’re talking about.

 

Back at the farm (no, not that one, the other one), Lagertha and Athelstan welcome Ecbert and his slimy men onto their turf. It seems as if Athelstan has been busy teaching Lagertha some English (adorable and broken! kind of like a lot of characters in this show) and Ecbert introduces her to his accompanied nobles. Also. He’s brought a gift and it isn’t the necklace that she’s wearing. It’s a plow. So she can plow her fields with greater success, and I am 100% sure the double entendre of any kind of field plowing is completely unintentional because they’re bonding over agriculture. Plowing. Fertilizing. Sowing seeds. Completely and utterly farm related. Suuuuuuuuuuuure.

 

I am pretty sure she is onto his game. Oh, sorry. Not game. Agricultural interest.

 

Speaking of nature, Ragnar&Co. have climbed the summit that is definitely not a trap. There’s the danger in leading a few hundred men up the broad face of a steep hill? DANGER SCHMANGER. Torstein offers to go first, because he’s looking for an honorable way to die without saying it.

 

He finds the awaiting army and the army is baffled at the bloody, one-armed Viking that seemingly arrived solo. “Is this some witchcraft?” It might as well be. He survives the first wave of half-assed arrows. Soon, the soldiers are approaching him and he calls to Odin, managing to take one down before returning to the giant wooden ship in the sky. And so, the fight begins!

 

Whatever grunty, panting song they have as the soundtrack is bad.ass. It gets me pumped because it’s creepy and visceral and filled monosyllabic weirdness that oddly fits. Some Vikings are lost, but the rest fight like the best of them, grunting and being brutal. The Vikings are completely matched and Thorunn and Ragnar are both wounded. The only thing that halts the assault of the Vikings ia the appearance of Aethelwulf and his archers, who rain down arrows on Burgred’s army. It was dizzying and the effect was chaotic. Man, if there is one thing this show always gets right, it’s the fights. Aethelwulf might be a little shit, but he has his moments and one hell of an ability to make an entrance.

 

Well, if that wasn’t a middle finger to the Vikings….

 

It was. A capitalized Bird if I have ever seen one. Aethelwulf has his own motivations, but ultimately he would be a better ally than an enemy. Considering he’s not about to roll with the Odin homies, it’s fair to say he will ultimately be an enemy. Especially if he finds out that Athelstan and Judith have a little something-something going on. Yup. Bad blood. It will happen.

 

While Aethelwulf is away, Ecbert will play. In his bath(!). Lagertha (!), Judith (!) and Athelstan (!) (seriously, I keep adding !s but how bizarre is this bath party. Bath parties are already bizarre. This is the most bizarre) asks what it is and Ecbert informs her that it is a Roman bathhouse with the images of Roman gods and goddesses painted along the walls. He compares the Roman paganism to that of her own and Lagertha is quick to correct him – her gods are real, they love, they bleed, and they rush around the skies.

 

Ecbert doesn’t seem to believe her, but something tells me that he will soon see the religious aspect of Lagertha soon enough.

 

In the meantime, let’s take a bath. He regales them with stories of the Romans and tries to woo Lagertha because duh. It’s a great place to make out. AND talk about Paris. Pretty much, communal bath houses need to be all the rage again. OH LET ME JUST REACH MY NAKED BODY AROUND YOU to get more wine. Wink. And then Lagertha and Ecbert make out and Judith says it is wrong, which yeah it sort of is, but that is not about to stop Lagertha in her pursuit of the D. Judith storms out with a change of heart and confesses to Athelstan that she wanted something to happen between them and that is the crux of the problem. A good way to solve that problem? Have a heart-to-heart half-naked and wet.

 

Works for me every time.

 

Back in Kattegat, Harbard is telling a story and the women (minus Side Eye Siggy) are rapt with attention. He is charismatic, bringing in lore and mythology to fantastic heights, entertaining the group like he would a group of children or old sailor spinning a yarn to lonely ears in a bar. It’s theatrical, it’s over the top, but he is a storyteller by trade so it is expected. Harbard is able to calm the disquiet of poor baby Ivar, the first who is able to do so with such ease. The bizarre talents of the mysterious Wanderer seem to disappear with five words, I am taking your pain. Even though his introduction seemed clunky, he’s one of the most interesting twists Vikings has introduced in a while.

 

Also, to complement the sex and the babies crying (I guess?), Ragnar is surveying his wounded back in Mercia. Floki, ever religious Floki, is beyond pissed and angry that Torstein has fallen for a fight he didn’t want to fight, for a god that wasn’t his own. He’s a mystic, he’s a madman, and it’s been a while since we have seen him so uncontrollably angry (seriously, chills!). Floki hears the gods and Ragnar feels as if the gods have never lead him astray, it is a butting of heads we have seen before, but set over a dead body of a friend, it feels more real. “But look, here we are under a English sky burying our dead. Look at those we have sacrificed for Jesus Christ.” Ragnar, ever-pragmatic, is also hurting and feels the brunt of the wounds his men have faced, but he brings up a good point – he didn’t force anyone to come and is sure that they will bump into Torstein soon enough.

 

And then he says something that completely takes me out of the moment.

 

And what was that?

 

Shut your face.

 

REALLY? YOU LAY DOWN A HEAVY SPEECH AND ALL YOU CAN SAY IS “SHUT YOUR FACE?” UGH. Man, are you kidding? There are so many better ways to say shove it or keep your opinions to yourself without sounding like a sixth grader. This intense moment, ruined. What will he say next? “Be quiet, or I’m telling Helga!”

 

But…

 

No.

 

But, it was delivered so intensely…

 

No.

 

I’m sorry, it doesn’t matter how intensely you say “whiskey waltz banana moon pie sparkler,” it still sounds dumb.

 

I’m sure Floki is emotionally distraught, but that eyebrow twitch had to have been one of “wait, seriously?” Ugh, come on screenwriters. Come. On.

 

Anyway, Rollo calls Ragnar over to his son, who is completely loopy over the deeply wounded Thorunn. Sure, I get it. He has a lot of guilt over not being able to protect her despite the last two episodes essentially building up to her somehow getting hurt because she’s a headstrong woman who wanted to fight and be on her own, despite the fact that war is brutal and unpredictable. He’s distraught. P.S. she’s pregnant and Ragnar gives Bjorn the most shit possible about letting her come along, because now she’ll probably die with his child because of his oversight. Which I am SURE is making Bjorn feel better. Great peptalk, Dad! Man, sometimes this show is just so depressing.

 

Who cleans up this mess?

 

Wait for it…

 

Rollo.

 

You know, Rollo’s characterization has literally been at every coordinate of an atlas and impossible to keep track of. He’s good, he’s bad, he’s a rogue agent, he’s a boozer, he’s a failure, he’s on the top of his game, he’s a player, he’s a lover, he is literally whatever character the writers need in that exact moment. In this episode, he’s a serene councellor who actually gives fantastic advice. Maybe, it is because he’s been at the gates of death once or twice before, but he tells Bjorn that he needs to be strong for her and give her a reason to fight, he can’t give up on her – the moment he loses hope, the second she’s gone forever. It’s a speech he probably should have heard from someone else (cough*dad*cough), but it seems to have an impact. And I am grateful for it.

 

Princess K seems surprisingly chummy with her brother, a.k.a. molester, a.k.a. incestual rapist, and Ragnar punches him in the face. Thousands of viewers across the world holler FINALLY, because this is the weakest double cross in the making since those losers back in Lagertha’s old hometown.

 

Are you feeling alright?

 

I’m sorry, I seem to be getting a slight headache from the amount of times I have rolled my eyes in the past half hour.

 

Anyway, Ecbert arrives at Farmtown with the news that Mercia has been felled. Aethelwulf, Bjorn, and King Ragnar are all unharmed (relatively – emotionally, the word is still out). Athelstan thinks that a celebration is order, with a sacrifice to Freja in order to ensure the harvest is healthy and full. They agree. I sense a ritual! It has been too long. Please be bloody.

 

Why do you want blood?

 

I don’t know. I just crave it. I love when bones are rattled and I want to see Ecbert realize that, woah, the piece he tapped is just a little crazy and, woah, he thinks he likes it.

 

And know what? IT DELIVERS.

 

Lagertha appears to the ceremony drenched in white fabric, looking like an ethereal elven queen of perfection. I feel like we must be in Wayne’s World, because we are absolutely not worthy. The Englishmen stand aside as the scene it set in furs and blood. A cow is slaughtered and Lagertha delivers a heart-pounding, badass speech for the health of the earth that really freaks out the Christians. Her shoulders are then drenched in the blood and even if I can’t quite read the emotion in her smirk, it is the first time that we see a shadow of a doubt flicker in Ecbert’s eyes. And it is, without a doubt, awesome.

 

Unfortunately, in Kattegat. bizarre things are happening…a fisherman has fished up the body of two young children, supposedly drowned. It seems very suspicious, given their new guest in town. But who am I to jump to conclusions? Siggy takes her suspicions where they matter: the Seer (John Kavanagh). She tells him of the visitor and her worries; she tells the Seer about the joint dreams, about how seamlessly he stole Ivar’s pain, and her general doubts about the man. The Seer doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t know the powers he possesses and admits a woeful truth – the gods have not given him any foresight into his future or the future of the individual, he has heard only silence. No one can help them.

 

DUN DUN DUN.

 

Yes! So dramatic!

 

But, we’ll have to find out where we go from here next week.

 

What did you think about the episode?

 

I didn’t miss Kalf and Douchelord, so I was happy to see that plot shoved to the wayside for at least an episode, however, there were other moments in the episode where I was hit with the jarring roughness of the writing/plot direction. I don’t get where a lot of it is going – it would be good if it was completely suspenseful and interesting, but so often I feel like it can verge on lazy or easy. However, the fight scene and the ritual scene were patently amazing. It’s moments like those that keep me hooked and coming back for more. So, even though it is grim (fitting, for such a dark episode), I’m going to give it three out of four drowned children. Too soon? My bad.

 

What did you all think? I know some of you have been half-here, half-there on the season thus far, so I am interested in hearing how you feel about episode three.

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26 thoughts on “Review: ‘Vikings,’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Warrior’s Fate’

  1. The brother who raped Kendrith was the other one…remember, the one she had already killed last season and was declared a saint? This is the other brother who, at least as far as we know, didn’t rape her. (I suspect the younger one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she sexually abused him the way she keeps acting around him…it is kind of creepy).

    My favourite episode so far…they finally get the whole set-up stuff out of the way. Siggy got some screentime (I like her character!), Lagertha is fierce, someone finally told Floki to shut up (fanatics are annoying, no matter which religion they follow)….but I really hope that they’ll get the whole Athelstan/Judith thing over quickly, it feels so ooc. Hate this storyline!

    • Oh my gosh, you are so right! I got my incestuous brothers confused! Seriously, I need an inter-relationship flowchart for this show. But, still, their relationship is far from…normal.

      I actually think this was the most satisfying episode so far as well. Partially because I also find Siggy fascinating (her character is so warped, but Jessalyn sells me absolutely), and also because there were some scenes that reminded me why I started to watch Vikings at the start – there was a spark this episode.

      I have to agree! the Athelstan/Judith lust seems like just another way for the writers to make Athelstan conflicted. You’d think after 2 seasons we got the picture!

  2. Okay. My thoughts.

    How does Ecbert manage to keep a straight face when he fires off that Plowing. Fertilizing. Sowing seeds spiel to Lagertha ? And Lagertha..girl ? You didn’t even so much as roll your eyes at that blatant come on. That was NOT a subtle come on by any stretch of the imagination. And if your ex-(and very much dead) husband had said that, you wouldn’t have just stabbed him in the eye. You’d have stabbed him in the nuts, Lagertha.

    Let’s move on to the bath. At least Lagertha is her own woman and not afraid to flaunt her sexuality. Which probably thrills Ecbert to no end. Aside from that wacky Kwentrith and *cough* Judith, the Saxon women don’t come across very well. Although I’m sure Princess K does *quite* get her point across. And Judith makes those bedroom eyes at Aethelstan. but here’s what really, really gets me. When Judith goes to the bench and sits down..and Aethelstan goes over to talk to her. What does Judith do ? She ever so…lets…her hair down. That’s a sign she wants you Athelstan. Then you get her hopes up by saying “Judith” And then you just as promptly *crush* her with that “Blessed Judith” Damn you, Aethelstan. She had *those* bedroom eyes.

    Bad Athelstan. For stringing her along and then stepping on her yearning. Bad.

    Oh..and the mention of Paris. I think that was Ecbert’s subtle way of hinting at something….I wonder if he had a fallout with the King of Franks when he was at their court. After all Ecbert was at the court – remember ? Or he just wants to get all those blood thirsty Vikings out of Wessex. Except for Lagertha, his current favorite bath mate.

    And Ragnar’s “shut your face” answer to Floki. I could have sworn I saw a hint of seething in Floki’s guyliner eyes. Or was it the sun’s reflection ? Now to Ragnar tending to Bjorn’s “weeping and wailing” Boy. What a 180 degree turnabout in parenting. One moment he’s telling Bjorn that Porunn has the right to fight alongside everyone else. The next thing he does when he hears Porunn might be pregnant is to tell Bjorn he oughta have been a *man* and made Porunn stay home. Completely bitch slapped his own son with word and hand. Although I wonder if Lagertha was still fighting as a shieldmaiden while preggy with Gyda and Bjorn ? She’d probably have klanged Ragnar with her shield if he tried that shit with her. Just like she did before.

    And Rollo..a voice of reason ? The same man who sold out Ragnar cause he wanted to get out of under his shadow ? The one who was drinking and feeling sorry until Siggy offered him a red hot knife to shove into his gut. The same Rollo ? Yep.

    And Harbard ? Probably the first Viking serial murderer. Come to think of it, most of the Vikings are *techinically* serial murderers. But hey most of them kill grown men in battle so that doesn’t count, right ? That might be why Siggy has that beady eyed look on Harbard.

    And Ragnar’s “I forgive you” moment with Burghred. That’s the Ragnar we all knew and loved.

    I give it four out of five bandaged hands.

    • I had SO MANY THOUGHTS this episode, too. It seems like we’re not alone! They definitely gave us a lot to think about and a lot to muse over.

      Yeah – I can’t say that I think Ecbert and Lagertha actually have that much chemistry, but the fact that Lagertha is treating the boning like no big thing is amazing. Ecbert definitely thinks that he will have some sway over her after their X-rated canoodling, however, I’m pretty sure Lagertha is just in it for the sheet twisting fun. He has another thing coming.

      I have to agree with the Athelstan point. There is absolutely no way that he doesn’t know what he’s doing in that situation. You do not have an emotional conversation about now having desire and denying it while you both are less than 2 feet away from each other, soaking wet, and holding your towels. You just do. not. Sure, bro used to be a monk, but considering they made out previously and he’s definitely digging on her, too, you’d think that he would know better. It’s like he’s deliberately teasing her or getting a kick out of those interactions. Bad Athelstan!

      I understand Ragnar’s anger at Bjorn, but it still seems so, so misguided. Then again…Ragnar’s in it for the heirs, you know? He literally chose legacy over love. He knows that Bjorn will grow into a legend, he might be concerned that he won’t have an heir to carry on the name. Or something? I don’t know. The only scene that I totally loved from Ragnar this episode was when he socked Princess K’s brother in the face, because it felt like emotional, aggressive Ragnar that he keeps mostly locked up. It was a reminder that he was a Viking farmer/soldier before he was a pseudo-diplomat.

  3. Oh and one more comment. That gift of the plow has to be one of the most blat…er….original gifts I’ve ever witnessed in trying to get into a girl’s pants. The innuendo wasn’t lost on me..

  4. Here we are, time to pour myself a horn of mead that looks suspicously like a cup of tea and talk a bit about the latest episode. European version ran an additional 3 min, it was probably Athelstan (any naked monk butts in your version?) material cut as usual, whoever makes the cuts really doesn’t seem to like him.

    The Wanderer plotline both fascinates and creeps me out. Kevin Durand plays him well. But darn it Aslaug. Unless your name is Lagertha you do not get a pass for telling the stranger in town that hubby and all the warriors have gone raiding. Habard tells a good story though, but Helga’s got a good head on her shoulder and recognize that the story isn’t his. It’s Thor’s. It’s part of one of my favorite stories about Thor. How Thor and his party is tricked in various competions by Utgarda-Loki, the King of the Giants. Harbard admits that it indeed wasn’t him who did those things, but he was there none the less. You know who acompanies Thor on this journey in the saga? Loki (Aslaug told his part to her boys in season 2, how he competed in an eating contest against Fire). Fire is also part of Loki’s domain. Is the flaming ball of snow another hint?

    I read somewhere that we would get an answer to whoever killed Siggy’s and Earl Haraldsson boys this season. Two boys dead then, two boys dead now. Coincidense or is something darker afoot in Kategat. If Habard is not a god, he could be a serial killer.

    So, while their wifeys were cozying up to a charming stranger. The boys in Mercia had it rougher. If I had anything alcoholic I would have raised a glas to Torstein, wanting to leave this world like a true Viking warrior, despite riddled with fever. He’ll have a seat waiting in the Golden Hall for sure.

    We often mention the music, many of the themes seem to be by the band Wardruna.

    And really, more boneheaded military tactics from Burgred. Is it to show is bumbling inexperience?, But having your whole army dug into a natural hollow where it could be easily picked of by archers? Dumb dumb move.

    I’m as surprised as you are by Rollo being the voice of reason. When did he turn into Yoda with all this sage advice? And Floki is well, awesome, his harsh words to Ragnar are laced with grief for Torstein. But then again, he’s not wrong. The Christian God did eventually mean the destruction of the Old Ways. Or did it really? Even today the Norse pantheon is very well rememberd, not many other pre-Christian religions except maybe the Roman and the Greek has fared as well. We have the names of the days of the week, and the old stories of their adventurs are still remembered. Stan Lee certainly did his part when adapting the old tales into Marvel comics. Also certain hollidays in Scandinavia such as Midsummer are all pagan in origin.

    I too had to roll my eyes at Ragnar’s “Shut your face” though, that was, really bad. A better phrase would have been “Hold your tounge!”.

    I am fairly certain Thorunn and any child she’s carrying will not die, but maybe she won’t be as pretty anymore, she took a bad slash to the face. (then again Rollo’s facial scars from season 1 seem to have gone ‘poof’ haven’t they?). Dad being a jerk and Uncle Rollo being the sage advisor is probably just more fuel for the fire that will drive Bjorn to go carve his own legend.

    Over to our friends in Farmville: Viking Edition (hah! loved that) King Ecbert is awarded the price for most hillariously obvious double entendre EVER. Bravo Linus Roache! Plowing and fertilizing eh? Athelstan must be a good teacher though, because Lagertha sure seemed to have learned Old English pretty fast

    Communal Bath Time! Let’s all get naked, have a good soak, drink some wine and talk about Paris I except the editor’s scisccors had to work overtime here for the US version. But there’s interesting things here beside the tantalizing hints of a naked, wet Katheryn Winnick. In a wide shot Lagertha is clearly seen as not bothered. relaxing with the girls in full display (not actually seen on screen though, no such luck even for the unrated edition) while Judith seem uncomfotable, huddling, covering herself (getting naked with your father in law should make anyone uncomfortable). Glad they left in Athelstan’s “let me reach my wet naked arm around you to grab some wine” scene though. I get the feeling the unrated version of the Athelstan/Judth talk was longer though, he tells her to go sleep and goes back into the bath only to spy Lagertha and Ecbert getting busy with the…..plowing.

    The ritual scene was amazing, even drenched in a few gallons of ox blood Lagertha is a vision. Ecbert and his Lords were spooked though and I have no doubt the Harvest in Blood in coming.

    An OH MY the promo for next week. Power, corruption, lust and carnality all around. And the music.

    I’m still all in on this season. I’m loving it, despite any flaws.

    • More Habard as Loki (Loge), but then those howling wolves near the Seer remind me that Odin (Wotan) as The Wanderer also ventured on earth as Wolf (“the singularly appropriate name of Wolf” to quote Anna Russell.)

      More modern sensibilities intrude … I thought it was Californians played hide the salami in hot tubs.

    • I feel like Athelstan ALWAYS gets cut for the American edit. I don’t think he’s disliked here at all, but I guess they figure character development shmaracter development?

      I am actually super into the creepy Harbard weirdness. Initially, when the three women started having the same dreams and stuff, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes because it seemed so contrived, but in practice I think it is very interesting. I really hope that the Seer doesn’t die (I’m fond of him!), but it could be a super super cool way to introduce more mythology into the show. What better way than to have a god trounce into Kattegat with a mentality of “fuck this place in particular!” Whether or not he is just a spinner of stories who fancies himself a god but is really a serial killer, or is a truly mythic, I’m excited to see where it goes.

      Honestly, I am still sort of on the fence about this entire Mercia plot. From the absolute joke that is their military prowess (come on now, in what stratosphere is that idea good?), to the flimsy reason for them to be there at all, some of it just makes me scratch my head. The tensions are getting higher and higher. Major acting kudos to Gustaf, because I actually, really felt Floki’s (justified) anger.

      You know, I think you’re right about this being the possible starting wedge between Bjorn and Ragnar. I wouldn’t be surprised if his less-than-sympathetic reaction to Bjorn/Thorunn won’t come back to bite him later on? I also think Thorunn will survive, but will their relationship? We’ll see. The foundation of their relationship was “you’re hot, I’m hot, we should hang out and bone,” and there has been little other development in their relationship, so her potentially being scarred might throw a wrench into it. Then again, Bjorn didn’t take kindly to Ragnar dropping Lagertha for another piece of Scandinavian booty, so maybe he’ll stick around regardless.

      Ahhh thank you! It is like our own little Farmville, isn’t it? That interaction actually made me wonder about the timeline of this show again. I’ve had moments in the past where I’ve wondered just what the pacing is (one scene is spring, the next is winter, and then Bjorn is magically a teen! This show is good at hopping around!), but the fact that Lagertha seemed to get all of the – uh – hints with crystal clarity, meaning her English must be pretty advanced! That definitely does not happen overnight.

      Lagertha has never been shy about her sexuality or body and I am so glad that that hasn’t changed at all, because she just oozes confidence and badassery and UGH LAGERTHA NEVER CHANGE. But, aquatic, uh…plowing? Not only is that a completely new agricultural feat, but it was definitely way too hot for American TV! (but thank you for the link!)

      Also, thanks for pointing me in the direction of the band who produces a lot of the music – I am so into it. I will have to listen to them!

      • Thankfully I think the Mercia plot is all about done with this weeks episode, time to clean some house back home (Kalf, Einar) and then…Paris.

        While Wardruna is responsible for some themes (Their Helvegen/The Way to Hel” was the epic music when the raid to Wessex was reading last year in episode 8), after my first post I found out the crazy music in the battle scene this episode is an artist called Tanya Tagaq and the song is called ‘Uja’. What she’s doing is Inuit Throat Singing.

        Bjorn sticking by his woman would be a really good way of showing he’s not like his father in that aspect.

        On another note, I was recently very dissapointed to find out that it seems like the US DVD’s for season 2 were still the edited versions.

  5. Did you notice the heavy foreshadowing in the scene with the seer? The howling of wolves, blind though he is, he kept looking around. Seems the Gods have abandoned them, or a God has appeared, as in Odin, maybe? Loki?
    In any case, this Wanderer does not bode well but only Siggy seems to have noticed.
    Yeah, caught the ‘shut your face’. And I was like… I don’t think anybody used that expression back in Viking days. Perhaps Ragnar should go back to being inscrutable. Maybe shut his own face. But he did have a point. Floki was the one who was so happy he was miserable and he wanted to get the hell out of Kattegut.
    And Rollo, oh yeah, Rollo. At this point I’d make Rollo King of the Danes because he’s got his shit together. Totally together. I would join him in Egbert’s bath in a New York minute!
    Yes, I did catch that look from Egbert at the end. He’s like… Whoa, what have I gotten myself into???
    But Lagertha’s worth it. We’ll see.
    Overall I’d give the episode a 2 out of 4. I half-loved it. Same as last week.
    Perhaps the Gods have deserted the writers… Definitely brains have deserted Aslaug and Helga.
    I’m not liking the foreshadowing re: Judith and Athelstan. Athelstan is way too smart to fall for her crap. He, more than most, understands the dangers of cuckolding Prince Stick Up His Butt.

    • I agree! I don’t understand the sudden ineptitude of Aslaug and Helga. They seemed reasonably clever beforehand, but it’s like the Men in Black memory wiping pen has made an appearance, because they are totally chill with this creepy stranger just lurking around even though they prophesied his arrival as a group beforehand? Come on, ladies. Get it together. He’s not THAT charming. I really hope nothing bad happens to the Seer though…such a cool character.

  6. “if that wasn’t a middle finger to the Vikings”
    I believe that was the plan all along. Ragnar, Rollo’s hair and the rest coming from the obvious side, so the others (can’t spell the names, sorry ) can ambuse the brave little prince charming. By the way – how young was this prince half an hour ago? did he aged rapidly under the shield wall? he actually blamed his young age for his choises and at the same time Baby Bjorn is about to become a father or a widower!

    As for Rollo I never saw his character in a bad way. He is the perfect viking warrior in the old viking way. And here comes his brother and wants to change averything. My Rollo is just … strangling to find his place in this new world. Would you like to be Ragnar’s brother?

    New to your reviews Shanbanana. I enjoy them immensely. Love your inner conflict. Forgive my spelling.

    • HA! Rollo’s hair has been MAGNIFICENT hasn’t it? Sometimes it is distractingly voluminous. I didn’t know they had Herbal Essences back then. I agree that his sudden change isn’t necessarily bad (every Viking camp needs a yoda and Floki is too busy having inner angst over happiness and eyeliner to really help right now), it’s just interesting that he’s having his zen moment in the middle of the Mercia plot. Will he revert back to his old ways next episode? Possibly, but time will tell!

      Welcome to my reviews! I hope you stick around 🙂 I love hearing input and theories with fellow Vikings fans!

  7. Great recap. I look forward to reading it each week. Somehow I think we have the same sense of humor. Anyway, so you think Ecbert tapped Lagertha? Also, I wouldnt be surprised if the writers put Rollo and Lagertha together. That would be a good way to start conflict between Rollo and Ragnar. Remember Rollo has a thing for her.

    • The edited US version apparently didn’t show them actually having sex. But watch the unedited version I left a link to above and you’ll see there’s no doubt.

  8. The bloodfest at the end must have made Ecbert wonder what he REALLY is getting into with Lagertha and her farmin’ homies. Lagertha’s throwing the blood back and forth over the furrows so proudly and brazenly in a Busby Berkeley number with fellow blood flingers surely had all the Saxons watching in rapt horror…wonder…it’s like the first time someone’s seen Cthulhu. Although I’d rather take a bath with Lagertha than ol’ Tentacle Face.

    Kewpie doll to whoever gets the Busby Berkeley reference. 😛

    • Ah, the only thing I know about him is his kaleidoscopic choreography! If by that reference you meant that Lagertha looked like a flawless fever dream of psychedelic proportions, I AGREE. I love that she hasn’t changed. I love that she freaked them out. Lagertha, queen of my heart.

  9. Right – I think we’re on a roll. The pace was faster and doom was lurking from behind every corner in this episode. Fabulous!

    When Siggy finds herself once more in the Seer’s tent seeking for councel, a wolf can clearly be heard howling in the hills around Kattegat, making the Seer feel extremely ill at ease. Could this be Fenrir, son of Loke and the one who ultimately kills Odin? Perhaps the Wanderer is Loke, who after all is a shapeshifter and trickster. Perhaps the gods have not left them, maybe they’re simply among them…causing trouble in paradise and reason again for Ragnar and crew to return home and to rescue his dear family….

    Alas! Another battle of strategy-ignorant English soldiers. They were hiding like rabbits in a hole. I don’t think any other formation could have made them more vulnerable. Serioulsy scriptwriter?

    Finally something credible and truly Viking-like happened: Thorstein seeks glory by joining the fight and killing some poor English soldier on the way to Walhalla. Porunn is not Xena warrior princess, and gets seriously wounded. Surely this is what happened to many of these shield maidens, and thank you script writer for inserting that horrible aspect. I thought Ragnar’s reaction was a bit over the top but he was right; Björn should have had the strenght to keep her home! But then again, gender equality among the Vikings has always existed, and it just might have taken a much stronger man than Björn to keep Porunn home. Someone like Ragnar perhaps?

    And what was this Floki conversation all about? Floki who loves adventure. Floki who wanted to escape because he was too happy. Well…now he’s not happy anymore. Is this what he seeks? And what he says is so contradictory with everything the Vikings stood for in the days of the raids: they did raid to enrich themselves, and mostly, they
    they sailed out to seek for more fertile land and space to settle. One battle more or less was not something they feared if it brought them closer to their goal. This is what the Vikings did: dream of other worlds, sail out, raid, conquer, ignore the other religion, settle fight, etc. Floki agreed to it. He sought it himself and then he complains about it afterwards?

    Loved the ritual on the field; loved the scene with the beautiful Vikings, not just Lagertha – but all of them. Such grace, strenght,and deep belief. The camera really did a great job there filming this gorgeous group of settlers, the ritual and the nature around them, the trees, the plowed field, the animal…
    And I suppose it will all be destroyed in the name of fanatic religion….

    And on a final note…Don’t you think the former History channel rules are quickly fading as the episodes show more and more skin, and suggestive scenes? Not that I mind – I just hope it won’t take over…

    • Honestly, I HOPE the gods are walking among them to cause a little chaos. That’s what they do. The mystic parts of this show are my favorite, so I would sooo love to see more of it!

      I think I can get where Floki is coming from. It was okay when they were raiding and died to better themselves (read: Vikings raiding for Vikings), but I think where it got hinky for him was doing it for the Christians. He has absolutely never been a fan of Christianity (remember how PISSED he got when Rollo was baptized in jest in Season 1? So. Mad. and he’s always hated Athelstan), so I think he’s just filled with anger. Unless you’re looking at the big picture (very big), Mercia doesn’t make much sense for them. It wasn’t even part of the original “deal.”

      I loved the ritual as well. It was gritty and grim and gorgeous. I got goosebumps during that scene!

      Hmm…I’m not sure. It seems like the steamiest scenes are censored in America, but shown in Europe – so I don’t think we’ll be getting TOO distractingly sexy.

      • It’s probably because the History Channel on which “Vikings” is shown on is a public cable show..so they’d have to stay away from “R” rated stuff because kids could be watching. Now if it was on a premium cable channel like say HBO, we wouldn’t be seeing any editing of the saucy parts.

  10. Honestly with the way that Kwenthrith throws rape allegations around and the fact that she is insane as well as her gettign with pretty much every character in the show, I’m really not sure that I believe that she was raped. or maybe she was and that’s why she is so crazy. Either way, Kwenthrith is really strange and the Mercians are honestly coming across as the most incompetent kingdom ever. Hopefully this is about the end of the Mercians for now because I think they have been played out.

    I get the feeling that no one really knows what to think about Habard and I really don’t know what to think about him either. The show is really trying to hint that he is a bad guy but at the same time, I don’t want to hate on someone just because a show hints that he is bad – that happens all the time and it doesn’t always turn out to be true.

    I think Ecbert is trying to get the Vikings to move on to greener pastures, now that he has a solid puppet in Mercia the Vikings are honestly just going to be a big unknown that could really screw his plans up, he’s trying to get them to move onto greener pastures. From history, we know that it’s not going to work.

    Ragnar definitely needs to get back to raiding because if Floki feels a certain way, you know that some of the men in his camp are going to feel the same way.

    That was a real weird episode but it was decent. I would give it a 7.5/10, solid effort, nothing special.

    • If she is lying about it, I would take issue with so much of that plot, because rape and brutality is 1. a really sensitive topic to today’s media and 2. the lying of such matters is also a sensitive topic to today’s media, it would really play into an incredibly negative trope that that would really, viscerally disappoint me (of course the woman is using rape as a tool of emotional manipulation! ugh). Please don’t go down that route, Vikings. I’d much rather have her nonsensical and unbridled anger.

      Re: Harbard, TOTALLY. I am really interested in seeing where they take him. Is he a god? Is he a murderer? Is he just a storytelling vagrant? We’ll have to wait to see!

      I agree about the needed return to raiding. Ragnar needs to do damage control. Maybe that’s where Paris comes in?

      • WIthout spoiling anything in particular, I’d bet that Paris will play a major part in this season arc of “Vikings” And I suspect something will happen with Rollo along the way.

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