The favored Vikings gain a bit of respite between battles, and though the brother of Kwenthrith runs to fight another day, a trap may await Ragnar and his band should they venture too far out to find him. Lagertha and Athelstan are treated to more of King Ecbert’s hospitality, and an ominous dream carried through Helga, Siggy, and Aslaug together brings worry and foreboding in the village of Kattegat.
The second episode gave us a bit more room for the crew to breathe as they rest and entertain themselves after their landslide victory. Torstein unfortunately suffers from his injured left arm and at his request has Flocki sever it at the shoulder, claiming he never liked that arm anyway. There was a brutal calmness for those involved yet like comrades, they supported their brother and ripped away his weakness. Yet, Torstein doesn’t appear to be getting any better. As I start to like one of the supporting characters who’s lasted this long, it’s a shame to venture at the possibility he may not live beyond the next episode. No amount of hallucinogens will save him from his pain, which begs the question, will Ragnar put him to a warrior’s death or will Torstein survive his amputation?
Our next piece of subterfuge comes in the form of Aethelwulf capturing a lone soldier and forcing him to spill the whereabouts of Brihtwulf’s brother’s location. Yet, as cordial as Aethelwulf appeared after the fact, it begs the question on whether or not he’s planning something for the Vikings. A possible alliance with the enemy? I’d believe it.
Where the episode gets a little flat for me is the courting of Lagertha at the hands of Ecbert. There’s a bit more intrigue between Athelstan and Judith involving her attempt at a confession which she reveals her sexual feelings for him. Their fraternizing will eventually spell a bit of disaster, but in the meantime, it seems like harmless fun. Ecbert spots it and even questions Judith about it, but considering his own agenda with Lagertha, he’s a little preoccupied to be truly worried about his daughter in law. This will of course spark some heated confrontation between Aethelwulf and Athelstan, but that’s down in the future assuming Athelstan falls for Judith completely.
As for the strange dream the women shared at Kattegat, I find it fascinating how much more eerie and supernatural events make it through on a show rooted in historical presentation. The man with hot blood asks for help from Helga, and she tears up not knowing what his actual appearance will mean for them. The seer of course offers only more metaphor shrouding future events in confusion, yet like always, his words will land on truth in some aspect, but never what we expect. I like the mythology it’s diving into, but wonder how deep down the rabbit hole they intend to go on such mystical abilities.
Another key note was Kwenthrith’s reveal to Ragnar with what her brother and uncle did to her when she was younger. Her anger and hatred spring forth as she demands the head of her uncle. With it, she stabs and spits at it, finally feeling some sense of satisfaction over his death. Now, is she truly trying to reach out to her brother? I highly doubt it. It seems an unrealistic ploy, one I assume she thought would keep her brother within a blade’s reach. Instead, he wisely flees and the Vikings are left to either meet their enemies further inland or to disengage their assault. Ragnar will likely take the chance to eliminate this last threat before returning to Ecbert. If not, Ecbert’s good graces may be short lived.
It was peculiar watching the way Torstein was going through his suffering. Everyone seemed to know what he was going through, but at the expense of pride, very little was done to ease him of his suffering until he requested his arm be removed. It was such a bold and crazy move that I thought maybe he’d be talked out of it, but that’s not how these guys work, which makes their way of life ever the more simplistic. Arm doesn’t work, get rid of it. No antibiotics to take care of the infection. And that’s that. His dip in the river had a strange ambience that almost felt transcendent, yet all it did was put him in worse shape.
I believe Athelstan stood out a bit more this time around. He told Lagertha that he loved both Odin and Jesus Christ. It’s not really anything knew, but he’s beginning to be more excepting of his duality and in that there’s a confidence rising. He flirts with Judith and then there’s the haunting ending scene where he mirrors the wanderer’s pose with bleeding hands, similar to his stigmata from last season. It’s hard to know where his character growth is heading, but his allure from both beliefs continues to make him perplexing and interesting as a character.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I think that Rollo’s scene was just to give him something to do in this episode. He hasn’t had any real moments to thrive or start some new path, which is a little off putting considering his nature is to strive and sometimes betray in order to rise. He’ll never really betray again, but his efforts to become more important or as important as Ragnar have been fleeting at best.
Is dreaming the demise of the seer something even more daunting than the wanderer showing up? I’ve been expecting more to be revealed about the seer, yet we may not that much more from him this season.
Lagertha appears to be entertaining Ecbert’s courtship almost to the point, I’m surprised by her willingness to be so thankful. It doesn’t seem like her style, unless she’s diverting or really interested in this farmland.
Bjorn asked Porunn to marry him, like a boss. She’s excited. It’s what you do after a hard fought victory with your loved one, right? I imagine they’ll get married the day after they return home, provided that’s in the workings this season.
Kalf is now the appointed leader of Lagertha’s people. I hope this doesn’t mean that he’ll invade Kattegat while Ragnar is still gone. That would be a little too formulaic. He claims he wants fame above all other things. And how does one become famous? I imagine he’ll have to take on Ragnar the old fashioned way.
“The Wanderer” was a bit more laid back than last week’s premiere. It offered some insight into a few characters, but not much more other than that. Aethelwulf is predictably being deceptive and King Ecbert’s subplot wasn’t very entertaining to endure aside from Judith and Athelstan having their moment. It was the strange dreams the ladies in Kattegat shared that held the most interest and with the physical appearance of the wanderer himself, played by well known actor Kevin Durand, he’ll mark the next phase in which this season will go. It score a 6 out of 10, just one number lower than last week. Should there be more battles to help build those numbers in the future? Why not. Vikings fight and raid and live in the moment. Let them entertain as they do.
No more words