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Review: ‘Vikings,’ Season 3, Episode 10, ‘The Dead’

It is finally here. I almost can’t believe that it’s been an entire season already. It seriously seems like just last week when I returned from the fogginess of ambiguity of life to review Vikings on my smalltime blog. It seems like just last week when I anxiously started checking my email for the first time in months for comments, replies, and commentary – the things that have kept me going through the weeks. It is seriously so surreal. Remember in Land Before Time, when Littlefoot’s mother warns him that time goes by faster as you get older but he laughs it off because he doesn’t believe her? I feel like Littlefoot. I can’t believe how far we’ve come.

 

Get on with it!

 

Oh uh. Right. So, here we are at the season finale of Vikings season 3. When we last left off, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) has an impromptu baptism that I am sure was in complete honor of Athelstan (RIP!) and not some part of a long-con. Naturally, this turn of events leaves Rollo (Clive Standen), Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) gobsmacked. Just what in the hell was Ragnar thinking, especially after the flack Rollo received after his lol-baptism in seasons prior?

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Anyway. We start the episode in Viking Camp, where situations are – surprise! – still dire. They are approached by French soldiers, apparently sizing them up after their last encounter (when Rollo took the meaning of hulk into his own hands and proved, yet again, that he is still completely lust-worthy despite having a reputation as a horrible person. But, hey! If life has taught me anything, it’s that you don’t need to be a good person to be boneable. You can quote me on that. But, I’d rather you didn’t). They tell the Viking camp that there is loot enough to go around and that they have met the terms of their deal, so the Vikings can just go away now.

 

This leaves the Vikings leaders feeling fairly skeptical, even as the hordes of their brethren pry open the wooden chests filled with gold. As Rollo checks on Ragnar, it seems as though his conditions have not improved – thin and pale in the face, he looks an inch away from needing some Allegra AM-non-drowsy meds. “It makes no difference to me. I’m dying.” Ragnar chokes out as he clutches his rosary, noting that at least he will be able to see Athelstan again. Hey, you know what is a good way to alienate everyone who ever cared about you? Push them away relentlessly with your supposedly newfound religion.

 

Even though Lagertha doesn’t seem to believe Ragnar’s conversion, the others on the camp seem less unconvinced (as weird as that sentence sounds). It seems as if the idea of Christianity poisoning him is the general consensus in the crowd – if it is a long con situation with Ragnar, wouldn’t it be disingenuous to Athelstan to turn people so fully against his faith? It seems weird that he would respect a religion, which by all accounts he did around Athelstan, and then use it as a tool to turn people against a common enemy. Then again, Ragnar is always playing a chess game that no one can see the pieces too. This probably wraps into that.

 

Regardless, the seed of doubt has been planted. Everyone is talking about the Christian wails of King Ragnar. Some of his camp dwellers even entertain the thought of murdering him to save the face of their pagan religion. While I don’t think our protagonist will die by one of the hands of his own, it is telling of the general vibe that the camp has.

 

In Paris, Emporer Charlie and Count Odo are attending mass. Gisla is also there, with one of her telltale glares. Their city is saved (for now) and so Count Odo finds it appropriate to attempt to get to Gisla. She rebuffs his advances (shocker!), but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t vying for his attention. Bafflingly, he disregards those advances. He seems to only have eyes for Charlie’s daughter.She seems mostly disgusted at the idea of having bought off the Vikings to make them leave, but what are you going to do? You’re like, a woman in the 16th century. What sort of right do you think you have, exactly?

 

In the Viking camp, they’re taking the payoff as a cause for celebration. Why wouldn’t they?

 

Floki attempts to talk to Helga (and fails). Bjorn attempts to have a heart-to-heart with Ragnar (and fails), though Father Dearest does impart upon his son a bit of wisdom. “When the time comes, you must lead with your head, not with your heart.” which sounds suspiciously like other advice Ragnar has given him, but I will forgive him for the repetitive oversight because there is a good chance he’s hallucinating from the pain he’s experiencing. Maybe.

 

Meanwhile, Rollo scowls into the darkness. Menacingly.

 

But..wait. Why?

 

Uh, I’m not sure. Because he can?

 

No, but Rollo staring off into the distance with an unreadable expression only means that Rollo plans on ~rebelling from his brother in some way. It’s like the look he gets when he cooks up a doomed-to-fail plot. It is not a good look.

 

But, hey, Rollo is good looking. That has to count for his lack of stable character traits, right?

 

Even the way he gazes at the silhouette of Paris is beautiful.

 

I think you are too biased to conduct this review.

 

I resent that assumption, but I will not deny it.

 

Meanwhile, in Paris, a woman tries to get with Count Odo. Not for the looks (surely) or the grandeur of his position (sure.), but because she appreciates all that he has done. She wants to show him how thankful he is, which is as good a euphemism as any. Sure, she’s married, but he has to test the sex-waters with her before fully committing. So, he leads her down to a……basement? Yeah, no, buddy. you’ve lost me. Sorry. You know what else has lost me? The extreme kink-factor of this relationship. Count Odo wants the lady to submit to being whipped and chained. WWWWOOOAh buddy, you at least should wait until the third date to reveal something like that.

 

Against her better judgment (though, who am I to judge?), the woman agrees to the terms and picks the whip that he will use against her. “It will keep my interest. Undoubtedly.” Yeah, okay, Count Odo is weird and has his kinks but not even I saw him pulling some pseudo Christian Grey bullshit.

 

In Vikings Camp, Helga attempts to approach Floki. My heart aches for her, because she still (obviously) cares for him, even after he’s killed someone as important (to the series) as Athelstan. He tells her that Ragnar requested one. last. boat. He obliges. This whole subplot makes me so sad. It really does. Floki has treasured Ragnar’s friendship through seasons, he’s been there for Ragnar when no one else would, and when no one else would take him seriously. It honestly makes me sad that he has been devolved into a shell of a character, a zealot that has disregarded heart and feelings for what the gods say. I don’t doubt that Floki takes everything the gods give him as fact, I just really hate to see such an interesting character boiled down to a common trait.

 

Anyway. About a month has passed and the Vikings have still not moved from their station on the banks. Gisla and Odo wonder why, so he ventures to get to the bottom of the problem.

 

Bjorn informs Odo that Ragnar is too ill to travel, so they have stayed put. Count Odo opts to see Ragnar to make sure he’s actually, really sick. Bjorn leads him into the tent and, after he’s satisfied that – obviously – Ragnar is in no shape to travel, and after Odo has promised that Ragnar will get a Christian burial after he has departed, Odo leaves for Paris. It seems as if Ragnar’s death is imminent, even though the crossbows of Paris stay loaded.

 

This doesn’t seem good.

 

No kidding. After the next commercial break, Ragnar is being loaded into a coffin.

 

WHAT?!

 

Sudden, isn’t it? Yup. Ragnar is dead.

 

I just wished I believed it.

 

You don’t believe that he’s dead?

 

No. Despite the touching speeches by Rollo, Lagertha, and Floki, it is completely impossible for me to believe that he is dead. I almost wish that I believed he was dead, because the speeches were honestly touching. They were heartfelt, especially Lagertha’s.When she told him that she wanted to fight alongside him in Valhalla, I believed her I believe in her sidelined love for Ragnar. I buy it. I don’t but his death, though, so it cheapens the depth of the words spoken to him. It feels so cheap. It makes the tears that the people Ragnar has cared most about for nought.

 

That, to me, feels careless. In his beautifully carved coffin, he plays the people who loved him most as fools. How can I cheer for that? How can I support that when it is all part of a game of the end justifies the means?

 

Floki saying, “I love you with all my heart. Why do you tear me away from myself?” can relate to the series as a whole, because Ragnar has systematically distanced himself from everyone who ever knew him as a man outside of the king. Honestly, the fact that I know Ragnar is beneath that wooden sheath and is alive just makes the scene worse. I don’t understand it. I wish i did.

 

As per the deal, Ragnar’s coffin-laid body is brought through Parisian gates by unarmed men. He is lead to the gates of the church among bowed heads and crosses, things he is technically entitled to due to his baptism.

 

BUT SURPRISE!!! HE IS NOT ACTUALLY DEAD!!!

 

Huh.

 

Wait, you’re not COMPLETELY SURPRISED?

 

Not at all. Ragnar acting as a trojan horse and Ragnar acting more stupid than he actually is has been a plot device in both season 1 and season 2, both seasons resolved with him on top of the heap without much effort. This practically reeked like a similar plan.

 

I agree. It felt rushed, it felt ill-timed. It feels like we have been in this plot before, hasn’t it?

 

Regardless, he takes this fake-out as an opportunity to hold the coward king hostage. When that doesn’t have the desired effect, he takes Gisla at knifepoint (and Charlie faints). Man, this show does WONDERS for the reputation of French nobles. Count Odo, still, obviously, quite in love with Gisla lowers the guards to allow her return across the bridge, but not before the bridge is ultimately lowered and – BUM BUM BUUUUM – a clear entryway for Bjorn and his men (his men? when did that happen?) to make it through the gates virtually unscathed.

 

Bjorn’s men run towards the gates with their weapons blazing, even as Ragnar collapses in Bjorn’s arms while the people who thought he was dead slowly approach in shades of “what the fuck, Ragnar?” They look at the fallen king and they walk by him. As they should. Honestly, it’s a powerful moment, but the moment the soldiers (and loved ones) realize they’ve been pawns, they can’t give enough to care. It’s too much, it’s too late. It’s a fitting fate.

 

Wow, you seem really bitter.

 

Well, okay. This is how I feel: Ragnar, once upon a time, devoted his life to his family. Over time, he gravitated to power. At times, he would include the ones he loved in those plans, but soon the quest became about more than bettering Kattegat. It became about leaving a legacy (it likely mostly was). How would you feel if an ally, a brother, a friend, a lover, revealed to you that you were only a pawn in his grand scheme? Yeah. Fuck no. I don’t care if the end is glorious, those burned bridges will not rebuild themselves. I love Ragnar as a main character (enigmatic and charming to a fault), but I can’t pretend as if his behavior towards the people who loved him would end in a no harm no foul reconciliation. It is times like these I miss farmer Ragnar.

 

Anyway, in Paris, Gisla meets her now-woken father. It seems as though the Vikings raided the city, took what they wanted, and left. This has left poor Charlie in a bit of a rut. Gisla has ordered her father to get up from his position on the ground (he does), but she still storms off in the end. I can imagine. She’s held at knifepoint and still her father is acting like a damsel. Sigh.

 

Back in Viking Camp, it becomes obvious that Ragnar’s Fake Death is not a fan favorite across the board. Of course, all eyes are turned to Bjorn, because he was the only one in the know about the new strategy of pretending you’re dead to infiltrate the enemy headquarters. Emotions are pulled taught, emotions are high, and I can’t help but feel like this is an argument that Bjorn can’t win. He listened to his father, you know? Ragnar, King Ragnar, still runs the show. It just so happens that he was running one of those 10-step plans that no one was privy to.

 

That said, Bjorn brings up the importance of maintaining some presence in France even if they leave in the spring as planned. Floki initially volunteers to stay (probably not wanting to return on the same boat with the same man that has humiliated him ten ways ‘til Sunday. then again, same could be said for the man who ultimately volunteers), but Rollo wins the bid to stay, along with any soldiers that opt to stand by his side. I guess, honestly, with Siggy gone, what does he have to lose? With cursory wiki-knowledge, we all know Rollo does well in France.

 

His staying has not gone unnoticed. You know how I know? Even Emperor Charles has noticed. Folks, that is how low the bar is set. Gisla tells her father to send for reinforcements from his brothers, but Charlie is convinced that his brothers loathe him enough to not come in his moment of aid. So! he comes up with the next best option: putting up his daughter for marriage to someone she hates. Ahh. That will work well. Man, father of the year award! Right here!

 

Gisla hasn’t had a chance to really develop as a character yet, but man, I am really feeling for her here. GOOD NEWS? she gets to see Rollo shirtless on the regular in (hopefully non-rapey) normal circumstances. Jealous. So jealous.

 

But, the French take this as an opportunity to give Rollo a chance for his own glory. His own land! His own wife! His own legacy! Of course, this means betraying Ragnar (is anyone surprised at this point? Rollo’s personality changes depending on the writer’s mood), but whateverrrr. Plot-wise, he’s done that at least forty times by now. What’s forty-one? Besides, tack on the marriage of a woman he’s never met, and bam. Sure. You’ve got yourself a deal. I will defend Paris against my brother. Sure. Whatever.

 

Gisla is less than enthused about her union with the filthy pagan. He’s more beast than man! (mmhmm, girlfriend that is not a negative).

 

Do you need a moment?

 

Yes.

 

Anyway, she also says that he makes her want to vomit and that she would rather her virginity go to dogs. True love! SIGH. But, I will say, Rollo saying his greetings to Gisla was adorable. Ugh. Stop Rollo. Stop with your beard and broad shoulders.

That Hello. Oh my word. Oh man. So cute. Stop me. AAAAHHHHHHHH. Salut to you, too, Rollo. Man. Just…man.

 

This also means that Rollo is potentially betraying Ragnar. Again.

 

Speaking of! Let’s check in on the boats returning home. In the cloak of night, Floki watches Helga sleep from afar before he is pulled to Ragnar’s side by the King’s bidding. Wrapped in a fur shawl, Ragnar stares at his old friend before muttering “you killed Athelstan.”

 

And then we cut to a close.

 

Wow. So, that’s it…

 

Yeah – and wow.

 

How do you feel?

 

There were some parts of this season that I absolutely loved. Moments that I would stop, rewind, and re-watch. However, the finale as a whole felt formulaic, if only because the omnipresence of Ragnar is everywhere. Of course Ragnar knew X would fail. Of course Ragnar knew Y would happen. Of course Ragnar would not die. For that reason (for proving me right), this finale left me feeling a little cold. I don’t want Ragnar to die, because Travis Fimmel is hand-over-fist one of the best parts of the show, but at the same time his ability to plan everything 10 steps ahead feels very, very convenient in a show that relies almost completely on suspense. I don’t know. I mean, ugh. Making Lagertha spineless. Ragnar pointing out the obvious in the end. Rollo possibly betraying him again. It just feels like we’ve been here.

 

So…what’s your series rating?

 

I loved some parts of this season, I loathed other parts. I have some questions and concerns about where they are taking core characters into the fourth season, because the show isn’t giving us any time to develop attachments to new characters and spending entirely too much time devolving the beloved characters into shells. I don’t like what they did with Lagertha, I’m not fond of what they’re doing to Floki, and the ~twist with Rollo in the season finale makes me wonder when he will ever have a consistent character (that the writers will promptly ruin). Vikings has a lot of character issues and a lot of pacing issues that are really becoming apparent as time goes on. Next season really needs to iron out those wrinkles, or I feel as if the Vikings that I initially got hooked on will be completely gone. Oh, I don’t know. Seven handmade ships out of ten?

 

Okay, time for a real moment: every season I have reviewed Vikings, I have been astounded and humbled by the outpouring of support and kindness from every single one of my readers. You all have been there with me through the misunderstandings (woops!), the character depiction ups-and-downs, and the impromptu history lessons. Through the weaker episodes, you helped me see the stronger points; in the stronger episodes, you pointed out things that were maybe – just perhaps – questionable. Honestly, words really can’t describe how appreciative I am of the support. I’m always so speechless when this time comes around. If we don’t see each other on the way (I do plan on updating HDD with sporadic updates for television shows that I have fallen for, though I don’t have the time to do it always!), I hope that I will see you all next year for season 4. Even if I don’t, just a single reading of one review is absolutely amazing and I thank you. Seriously, thank you all so much.

 

On the topic of Vikings again (I can only talk about my gushy feelings for so long!), I am super interested in where you all think the series is going as it ventures into season 4. On that note, will you still be watching? Did you enjoy the season as a whole? What is your arbitrary rating for the season? Let’s discuss below!

 

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38 thoughts on “Review: ‘Vikings,’ Season 3, Episode 10, ‘The Dead’

  1. I found this season finale to be anticlimactic. Yes, we had some great scenes – Ragnar emerging from the casket and despite being desperately ill, able to take the Princess hostage and open the city gates. The scenes where Lagertha, Rollo and Floki said their “final” goodbyes were moving. It was great to see Bjorn becoming his father’s confidant and stepping into leadership.

    But the continued lack of character development of the newer characters and the multiple, untouched, half-baked subplots were frustrating. Granted, some of this is intentional to bait us back for next season. However, I was left with a feeling of being let down, instead of hungering for more. We were subjected to learning about Count Odo’s predilections. There was no need to go there. None. It was a complete waste of screen time, thrown in only for shock value.

    I completely agree with you about where the writer took Lagertha and Floki’s characters this season. Disappointing.

    As for Princess Gisla and Rollo, a couple of adages come to mind. “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much” and “he had her at hello”.

    Thanks, Shannon for your great reviews! I look forward to them every week and plan to join you for Season 4!

    • Gosh, you and I are of the same mind! Too much of everything! They had so many filler moments that left me scratching my head, I just want the show to iron out some of its flaws. I don’t want to believe that it has it its ceiling, you know? Alas! Until then, I will just keep Rollo’s adorable grin and salut at the forefront of my mind. For so many reasons. Hubba hubbaaaa (I need a moment).

  2. So, here we are at the closure of one season, while the cast and crew are just getting started on the extra large (16 episodes!) season 4 over in Ireland. There will be many a long month before we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor though. On the upside, with more time to film there should be a really awesome trailer for SDCC this summer.

    Well, let’s start the comment with the biggest “What the f?” moment of the show. Count Odo going all 50 shades on us. The scene is completly baffling and came out of nowhere. And for once I think you can be thankfully for the US edition. Because my European edition continued beyond the ‘chosing the whip’ part with liberal nudity (did they have a quota to fill before the end of the season?) and one single crack of the whip. I enjoy a bit of skin as much as the next guy (bathhouse scene in earlier episode was hot), but whips and chains are so not my cup of tea.

    Much like yourself I never really believed Ragnar to be dead either, once swanpride’s comment suggested that they were stealing the tactic attributed to Bjorn and his buddy Hastein (sources seem to argue wether it was Bjorn or Hastein who played dead) at the sacking of Luna instead of the historically correct mass hanging/sacrifice to Odin (guess mass execution of captured prisoners would have made our heroes seem way too unsympathetic). But I was still moved by the coffin speeches, Lagertha’s in particular as she echoes Saxo Gramaticus’s words from her tale ” and Ladgerda, whose early love still flowed deep and steadfast”. But Rollo’s and Floki’s were good too. Yes, Ragnar is an ass for fooling them. But it was great scenes.

    The only question that remained was wether Ragnar’s coffin also held weapons (not like the guards bothered to check), but seeing as Ragnar wasn’t faking his injuries I wonder if he’ll ever make a full recovery (internal injuries of the puking and peeing blood kind were quite leathal in those days, they don’t just go away with a little rest) I guess a valuable hostage such as Gisla makes more sense.

    And then of course there was the twist we have seen coming all season. Rollo is offered Gisla and the land that will become Normandy if he protects Frankia against his brother. Historically the early Normans did just that, forcing prospective raiders further south and protecting Paris from further lootings.

    Now then, what about the future, what does it hold.

    *rattling of runes and bones*

    If there’s one thing the tales that mention Ragnar are filled with it’s internal strife. We could definatly be heading for some civil war among the vikings. Kalf and Erlandur will still need to be dealt with, their ambitions are not going anywhere. Especially if Ragnar’s convertion was genuine. And I think Rollo will indeed turn against Ragnar again and start building his own legacy. There’s a debt to pay in Wessex as well, and considering how fast Michael Hirst is working through established historical points I wouldn’t be surprised if Ragnar isn’t even dead by the time The Great Heathen Army rolls onto English soil on the show.

    Exploration wise it would be nice of the production to start paying back their hosts. Ireland is full of Viking heritage and could be the next target if Frankia and Wessex are too well defended. To further build on Ragnar’s wish for land to settle they could easily do the founding of Dublin etc. Definatly a possible plotline for Bjorn or Lagertha if they sail out on expenditions of their own.

    Character wise it would be lovely if Lagertha finds her spine again (or tear herself a new one, preferably from Kalf). Bjorn returning home to be a single dad is going to be interesting (will we see Thorunn again?, doesn’t seem like Gaia Weiss is in Ireland for filming). Besides going on his awesome looting tour he still have two boys to sire, so if Thorunn is gone is there a future for him with Torvi once they stomp Erlandur? Seeing as Floki seem to have survived after all, I kinda hope he mellows a bit and mend some fences with Helga. Those two are just too adorable. Rollo and Gisla together should be interesting as well, if she is indeed a combination of the historical Rollo’s two ladies Giesela of France and Poppa of Bayeux much like Judith over in Wessex being a bit of a combo character.

    As always the Viking community in general and this blog in particular is a big part of why I’m still enjoying the show. Sure season 3 had a few flaws, but they are fixable and I’ve already called quits on too many shows I once liked this year. Glad to hear you want to try and do some non-Viking updates/reviews as well.

    If I can leave suggestions I wonder if you’re a fan of Outlander, as it definatly has quite a few common denominators (historically laced drama, gorgeous scenery, strong, well written and well acted characters) with Vikings with the added bonus of any naughty steamy goodness not being cut since it’s a premium cable show. Your point of view on that show would be highly entertaining I think. If comic books and superheroes is your thing at all, Netflix’s Daredevil was also a very pleasant surprise. Dark, brutal and decidedly made for a very different audience than the bright kid friendly movies.

    • What!? Oh, well, for the first time in every season, I am so thankful that I got the US-cut. A more detailed version of Count Odo’s 50 Shades moment? HARD PASS.

      Yes! Once Swanpride planted the seed of doubt, it was hard to actually believe that he was dead – so the entire thing felt a bit too farcical. I mean, the final words the people supposedly closest to him gave were so lovely and heartfelt, but it just felt so cheap to me, you know? Way to disappoint those who love you even more. The way they walked by his fallen body in Paris was so telling. Wordless, but this show is always better when they leave words out of it, isn’t it?

      Ohhh a civil war in the Viking camp could be so interesting. I wonder if they’ll take it that route? Or if we’ll be heading back to Wessex? I mean, who knows about Wessex at this point. It’s entirely possible that it won’t even be brought up next season! I would love to see them return to their raiding (and trading!) routes. Politics are great and all, but so exhausting! If I wanted to hear White House-level political banter, I’d re-watch House of Cards.

      I hope for all of these character fixes as well!! Really, honestly. This show can be so gorgeous and so deep, but they’ve gone wayward with some of their pillars this season. I really hope to see strength in Lagertha. I hope to see willpower in Bjorn (and Thorunn! what will happen there? Is he going to single-father it? ugh, just pleaseee don’t continue the weird Erlandur/Torvi/Bjorn creepy love triangle thing). I hope to see a mellowed Floki, too. I am so excited to see Gisla and Rollo! He treats her horribly historically, I really hope that’s not the case in the upcoming season.

      I actually watch both Outlander and Daredevil (I’m hooked and in the middle of a Netflix binge!), if the audience is there I would definitely consider reviewing both of those! They probably won’t be the most consistent in terms of posting, but it could definitely be a lot of fun! I realize now that I really shelved my blog for far too long before, I think it’s only right that I put a bit more TLC into it. Might as well make use of my Netflix binges!

  3. Hate to lose you for another season! You’ve been the most fun of all, well, you and finally, Rollo. Believe me, he will dance naked on the beach! It’s a good life, Rollo. It’s interesting to me how the writers have conflated several historic story lines. And, uh, yeah, like I really thought Ragnar was dead although he may soon die.
    I was disappointed in the finale. Seemed rushed and predictable. Although Princess Gisla’s speech was hilarious. So French! But overall this season I: A. I miss Athelstan. He really was an integral part of the new Ragnar story and my favorite character next to Rollo. B. Not enough Rollo all season and then Bam! Rollo becomes all important– which, by the way, he actually is. C. Lagertha. Need I say more? I want my Lagertha back! D. The character assassination of Floki. Too much like the character assassination of Shane in TWD. I quit watching TWD over that. E. Ragnar was always a little nuts but in a fun sort of inscrutable magic way. Now the writers have made him flat out nuts and frankly pretty insufferable. He no longer seems to care about his people. That ain’t Ragnar. Although might be, depends upon which history one reads. F. Oh, almost forgot about her – Aslaug! Why, on earth, did we need that creepy wanderer? Why have an affair with him? She and Ragnar were already pretty much estranged and she didn’t get pregnant so the point is? To use him as a vehicle for Siggy’s death? I don’t like it. Short cut writing. He was immaterial to the story.
    We shall see what the writers can manage next season. They just stole one of real Bjorn’s best stories to use in the finale!

    • Thank you so so much! I will be around time and again with miscellaneous reviews, and I am planning on being here for season 4!

      Oh gosh, I agree with most of your points. The season finale was forgettable and predictable and the season was just everywhere in terms of plots. Honestly, no one was safe from actin’ a fool. Floki, Lagertha, the fruitless Wanderer plot, ugh! It just seems so trite when you lay it out in bullet points like that. I really hope they fix some of these issues moving forward.

  4. I was quite disappointed with the season finale. I absolutely love Ragnar, but this season left me cold with his character. Desperately awaiting a revived Ragnar who leads, loves, and fights like the man he was in the previous two seasons. Rollo is exactly what he appears to be – he’s a fighter and a unfortunately a fool. He doesn’t realize that the shadow of his brother is in part his own creation. Perhaps, he’s comfortable in the shadow, because there he can pity himself into oblivion with ale and women. Siggy was such a strong woman and she could have helped him develop into stronger man – but alas she is gone. Gisla has such a strong personality that she may be able to guide him to greatness. What can I say? That man definitely needs a strong woman. Historically he hates her and mistreats her, but hey this is Hollywood and who knows? They might come out of this little scrape with true love, yummy love scenes, and a newly developed Rollo!?! Btw, Count Odo’s desire to break Gisla sent shivers down my spine – why must strong females be broken in this series? On to Lagertha- I agree with you that she must be redeemed in season 4 – her story could be compelling and providing a foil for Ragnar’s leadership is essential.

    Thank you for all your time – your insight into the series is fantastic. I love reading what you’ve written about the characters I’ve grown to love! Cheers to a much more developed season 4 and shirtless non-rapey caring Rollo!!!!

    • Honestly, this episode felt more like a filler episode than a season finale! To me, at least.

      I am wondering what will happen between Rollo/Gisla. He does historically hate her, but it wouldn’t be the first time the show has…ahem, adjusted historical facts for tv. I actually hope that happens in this case, because I am completely #team(nonrapey)Rollo and want him to have some character development that doesn’t make me cringe! She’s a strong woman, but he needs that! Come ooon Vikings, give Rollo a chance to be adorable and sexy. Think of the fans.

      Ugh! I agree!! Why do all of the strong ladies in this show have to forcibly be broken down? It has been an ongoing face-palm moment for me. Come on writers. Be better about that.

    • I think there will be a rivalry in France between Odo and Rollo, in part because Odo wanted Gisla and now he doesn’t get her. I think that Rollo will eventually break Odo, and Odo won’t get to do any breaking of Gisla. They are just setting him up as a villain.

  5. I miss my show….the only reason I might watch season 3 is Lagertha, even if they totally pointlessly depowered her this season (honestly, they didn’t even show how it affected her).

    • Lagertha’s transformation from strong shieldmaiden to weak sexual submissive who leaves her legacy (earldom) in a position ripe to be pilfered – makes me do a face plant. So, very sad. She has nowhere to go but up from here in character development. I sincerely hope that she not sleep with anyone in season 4. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Lagertha become a true leading character with strength and conviction? C’mon writers get it together!

  6. I’ve been following this your blog recaps since season 1, and I still think you’re funny, sometimes hilarious, but you also have some thoughts on the shows which I find very interesting although I dont always agree. Great work! reading this post episode is become a part of my vikings experience so I certainly hope you return for season 4 😀

    As for the next season I guess its going to be more England since its still pretty unresolved over there with the farmville burning and all. Ecbert the machiavellian badboy has been a highlight of the season for me, but him and his folks dabbed off towards the end. I’m also curius how the show will handle Rollo and his new little dukedom. Settling a bunch of vikings and giving them power turned out (pretty obviously in retrospect) to be one of the greatest mistakes in french history.

    “..Salut”, *Awkward smile*

    I was laughing.

    • Yes! I really adore how we all have come to be able to be so open with each other while we exchange our opinions on the show. It is really magical to me! I am glad you were along with us for the ride and I am so excited for season 4!

      I am also very excited to see where the next season goes, historically. Vikings tends to blend the lines between historical times, so it’s entirely possible that they’ll conflate lines again for the sake of good television. Still! I’ll be buckled in and watching, especially if it means more Rollo (hopefully shirtless, but I will survive if he is wearing clothes).

  7. Too much intrusion of modern sensibilities for my liking. Count Odo into BDSM, the androgynous “Wanderer” (different from Wotan or Loge also turning up as a wanderer) and those occasional martial arts kicks from the shield-maidens. Maybe half a bottle of akavit for the final episode. Perhaps I should play the old Kirk Douglas – Tony Curtis movie “The Vikings” that opens with one of the English kings throwing Ernest Borgnine as Ragnar into a dog-pit, and see what plot developments might be coming our way in 2016.

    • You have to wonder! There were definitely some decidedly pop culture-y additions to this season. What’s next? Snapchatting between Viking camps? (Actually, that would be hilarious. ANYTHING to not see Count Odo’s predilections)

    • Yeah, my question was – Was BDSM so well-developed back in the 10th Century? And were all BDSM-ers so polite? Was pretty icky.

      • As me and Shannon concluded above, for once you can be thankfull the US edition spared you the even more graphic scenes shown in the European edition. While the ideas weren’t formally written down until the 18th century by a well known Marquis, I’m sure the taste for it must have existed much earlier. With liberal access to dungeons it was easier to get away with as well.

    • I will admit there was a bit of eye rolling from me during some of these scenes and because I watch the shows on DVR a tiny bit of fast-fowarding (is that even a word?). The dungeon was definitely an eye roll and a yawn. Where’s the originality? “Ecbert the machiavellian badboy” – Love it! He is a total badboy in a dweeby kinda way. I’ll take Rollo the badboy anyday as long as he doesn’t talk – much. hehehe

  8. Totally off topic … Have you seen Turn? My fellow history drama lover friends are encouraging me to take a gander. I’d love to hear if anyone has an opinion either way.

  9. The following information came directly from my friend who is trying to pique my interest. She also sent me some clips and now that I’ve watched them I may be feeding my addiction with this series.

    Turn (airing on AMC) is a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (2007) a history of the Culper Ring.

    The series is based in 1776 and 1777, where a Setauket, New York farmer and his childhood friends form an unlikely group of spies, called the Culper Ring, who eventually help turn the tide during the American Revolutionary War. The series begins in October 1776, shortly after British victories recaptured Long Island, Staten Island, and New York City for the Crown and left General George Washington’s army in dire straits.

    Cast:
    Jamie Bell as Abe Woodhull
    Seth Numrich as Benjamin Tallmadge
    Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster
    Heather Lind as Anna Strong
    Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull
    Kevin R. McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull
    Burn Gorman as Major Richard Hewlett
    Angus Macfadyen as Robert Rogers
    JJ Feild as Major John André
    Samuel Roukin as John Graves Simcoe
    Ian Kahn as George Washington
    Stephen Root as Nathaniel Sackett
    Idara Victor as Abigail
    Ksenia Solo as Peggy Shippen
    Owain Yeoman as General Benedict Arnold
    Nick Westrate as Robert Townsend

    She included the cast, because she knows that I LOVE Owain Yeoman (Mentalist) and I’ve heard pretty good things about the cast overall.

  10. I continue to see Lagertha as strong. Sure, she’s slept with some men this season, but it was because she wanted to — not b/c she had to. And she owns it…she’s not trying to hide it for fear it may hurt her reputation. She’s a woman, living a long, long time ago, and she’s more independent and purposefully living her life WITHOUT a partner, in order to retain than independence, than most women are today. And to top it all off, we get the absolute confirmation that Lagertha still loves Ragnar. She goes into battle with him when maybe it would be much easier on her heart to just stay home and mind her tiny earldom. But she does not choose the easy path, bc Lagertha, too, believed that the survival of their people relies on further expansion. And she’s a leader and she goes and does what she needs to do. She also doesn’t backslide. She doesn’t fall back into the role of being Ragnar’s wife — nor even a confidante — – when she LOVES that man. She keeps her distance and keeps her independence. I think, when I was younger (I’m 43 now), I may have seen her role this season more like you do. But now that I’ve lived long enough to have to make some really difficult choices, I see her situation much differently.
    Rollo was cuter than I though even possibly for such a manly man could be with his little “hello” and grin…lol
    I have heard in interviews that Michael Hirst writes each episode by himself — no team of writers to collaborate. And that makes me soooo sad. Bc a skilled team could really help keep things more on track in re character arcs and eliminate many of the complaints mentioned here.
    The short seasons make it difficult also. It’s like there’s not even enough time for everyone to get a dang line sometimes!
    Anyhow, love your reviews. They are my absolute favorite, and I read a net of others. I’m waiting for you to get a big job off somewhere 🙂

    • Sorry for all the ridiculous typos…I’m on my phone, and it’s not an ideal typing/proof reading situation 😳😳

    • Indeed, Michael Hirst is the sole writer on Vikings. There is no team of rotating writers like on most other shows. While he certainly had a few stumbles this year, for the most of the time I love that it’s only a single voice guiding the show and not a cacaphony of people pulling in different directions and characters behaving differently depending on who’s writing this week.

      • That’s a good point. I, too, feel he does a fabulous job. Maybe what I’m thinking of more is an editor — like for novels — who kind of helps point out things that maybe don’t jive so well, etc. If anything, though, I feel if there were a few more episodes per season, he would have had the time to flesh some things out a bit more. But I guess I didn’t exactly send in my check to help out with budgetary concerns….so I’ll just shut it for now 😉

      • Well, we’re supposed to get 16 episodes instead of 10 for season 4 (hence why filming has already started) so I guess we’ll see next year if more episodes gives him more time to focus on character issues and flesh things out. It’s rather funny though, on most other show people call for less “filler episodes”, here we want more slower, character developing ones.

  11. Oh! I was also going to say that I think Ragnar misses the old Ragnar too. It’s his fate to lead, though, and leading can be a lonely job. He’s shared this info with his Bjorn, warning him of the consequences of power; he’s berated his people that he ended up in his position due to other people’s actions–not his own. But, Ragnar is not a little b1tch so he has led bc it’s his fate, and he’s accepted it.
    I do wish I could watch him and Lagertha, though, season after season on their little farm….I loved that…

  12. I don’t really think it’s that much of a betrayal of Ragnar to marry up in the world and become ruler over a pretty decently sized region. Everyone can’t just follow Ragnar blindly everywhere for the rest of their lives and I think he pretty much knows that.

    I don’t think anyone really thought that Ragnar was dead for real IRL. Obviously the characters in Vikings did but I didn’t believe that for one second. Ragnar dying of illness in his raid and being buried in Paris just seems too……. idk …….. BS. I just didn’t believe it. That was a sweet coffin Floki made.

    I really thought Ragnar was going to deal with Erlendur and Kalf this season. It’s going to be interesting to see how that turns out but honestly, I just don’t see Erlendur as any kind of real threat. Kalf maybe.

    So in the end the seer has another prophecy right. The dead did conquer Paris. Has that dude ever gotten a prophecy wrong?

  13. “You don’t need to be a good person to be boneable.” – Shannon
    Ha Ha I quoted you anyway. 🙂

    Be back later to give my opinion about the show. You and I share the same opinion about Rollo. Hated him in Season 1.Lusting him in Season 3. WTF????

    Gisla is less than enthused about her union with the filthy pagan. He’s more beast than man! (mmhmm, girlfriend that is not a negative).

    The above comment by you had me LMFAO!!! You got that right! Whew! Rollo! Lawrd Have Mercy!

  14. I’m not at all cool with Lagertha this season. I could get over Lagertha sleeping with Kalf even though he betrayed her. I just really hated how they made her less of a leader to prop up other characters including Kalf.

    Michael Hirst (while brilliant) has a tendency to write badly for strong female characters if not actively making it a priority to do the opposite. Just think Anne Boleyn in season 1 and part of season 2 in The Tudors. Then, Natalie Dormer, who played Anne Boleyn, talked to him about showing the other facets to Anne for the rest of the second season. I think he slipped into that mode this season with Lagertha, Thorunn and Aslaug (and this is from someone who has never really liked Aslaug).

    I absolutely love Rollo. His “hello” in French was so adorable. He totally loves his new wife’s spirit. And I’m cool with him not being completely on Ragnar’s side if his journey to who he is historically is compellingly shown.

    Ragnar continues to be a can’t help but be drawn to jerk but I preferred season 1 and 2 jerk to this one.

    Floki was totally destroyed and I miss his relationship with Helga. They were the most stable couple on the show.

    • With respect – it is not easy to write history of dark age for female characters. Hirst did his best. Siggy, Lagertha and now Gisla are very convincing.
      In Season-3 Lagertha is lost. She was developing as something unique for her age – female chieftain, yet she leaves her people alone (!?) to join her ex-husband for quite a long voyage. She looks for support and has none. He former husband and her son are no longer available, almost completely detached.
      Kalf, man she clearly likes and wants, turns out to be a leading personality. He wants her as his wife – not as his leader. I am not sure what Season-4 will be to her.

  15. HISTORY FACTS – COULD BE A MASSIVE SPOILERS.
    Please, do not read it if you are unaware of history of Dark Age.

    Vikings series take most of what happened with vikings in 9th century and put it together as a mix. It was in fact Bjorn (very real person) who infiltrated town in a coffin – but that was in Italy, not France. Also authors combined two sieges of Paris – the 845 and the 886 in one. 845 was the first and was a success. It was commanded by Ragnar. 886 was not, walls were never breached and Rollo was present as one of commanders. He was later offered Gisla and lands for his men to stay and defend France. He did that and lived for 50!! more years (he was older than 80, when he died – insane age for that times). He established Normandy (North-man-land) and married Gisla. However it was not her, but other French woman – Poppa, who gave him sons. The grandson of his older son became known to the world as Wilhelm the Conqueror.

    I like series. That show demonstrates that every larger than life historical person was in fact flesh and blood. My favorite character is Rollo. It is a great example of troubled man with great potential. Amazing warrior, originally he is completely worthless as the leader. He has no vision, no perspective, no plans. He fights and wants to die well. When he becomes second to his brilliant brother, as they sail west for the first time, he betrays him in local meaningless conflict and kills several of his friends in the process – that’s it, he is done, no honor, no good death. And yet he is sparred and forced to live. His life becomes years of unconnected events with only his wife Siggy keeps him connected to his past, where he was great warrior with untarnished reputation.
    As life moves on however, he grows. He becomes a chieftain, leading warrior of his brother’s army. He earns respect, he earns fame with what he does best – war. Yet in his heart he still wants greater purpose. So when his wife dies, he goes to seer and receives the prophecy – that his life will be turned around in France. So while there he looks for that, searches for that and finally finds that in a fiery woman on the city walls. As she is the heart of defending Franks – he is the avatar of attacking Vikings. This connection becomes clear when he receives the offer of the king to stay and fight. He is unconvinced with land, title and money until they offer him HER. I like their meeting. She demonstrates spirit and he demonstrates believe in his fate. That despite anything, he can be happy and content.
    It would be interesting to see if they will combine figures of Gisla and Poppa in one for Rollo or they will follow history and due to inability of Gisla to produce heir, will add Poppa to the mix.

    Second best character is Ecbert. He is so multifaceted. It is interesting how the introduced Alfred as son of Athelstan. It was in fact Alfred, who became king of kings. Only British monarch ever called “The Great”. It would also be interesting if they will allow Ecbert to unite England and therefore combine these two historical figures or not.

    I admit, I wanted a little more development for Rollo in France before waiting another year for Season-4. But overall it was not a bad season.

  16. Just finished watching this season. Thank you so much for your blog, it’s been a huge addition to the whole Vikings experience (and your commenters are great!), hope you also review other shows; meanwhile, I’m getting a huge book on Vikings history!

    • soon, soon! i very recently got back from a 2.5 week vacation and jetlag has made itself my master – i plan on catching up very soon! they may not be hot off the presses, but they will come 🙂 thank you so much for popping in and i hope to see you in season 4!!

      • Hot diggity dog! Err, I mean daffodil!!!! 😇😅 glad this site isn’t defunct, hope you had a splendoriffic vacation, and I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts, but mostly how you express them!!!

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