A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×04 (Tell me that make-up on Ragnar doesn’t look like Road Warrior Animal!)

Vikings 4x04

 

SUMMARY

Ragnar learns of Yidu’s past as he invites her to his home away from home and partakes in some of her organic mind-altering substances. Meanwhile, Aslaug brings her youngest son to Flocki to learn the ways of the Viking heritage and tradition. In Wessex, the king of Umbria arrives but finds hostility toward Kwenthrith when he proclaims his intentions to still kill Ragnar. Rollo reveals his understanding of the French language and convinces Gisla to remain a wife to him. Bjorn is attacked by the berserker but kills him, taking the ring Erlendur gave the assassin. Bjorn later arrives in Lagertha’s town and retrieves Tovi as they make their way back to Kattegat. After an evening of traditional celebration, a Viking crew arrive on shore led by the acclaimed King Harold, who tells Aslaug that he intends to become king of all Norway. Aslaug realizes this means he’d have to overthrow Ragnar and ponders on the opportunity as Ragnar returns to greet the aforementioned king.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I wonder if Bjorn knows too little or realizes too much as he waltzed in and took Tovi from Erlendur with the confidence of a wolf. Outside of that minor tense moment, tonight’s episode of Vikings explored a few fascinating aspects including Ragnar’s interest in Yidu, Rollo’s steadfast understanding of the French, and Flocki’s renewed sense of heritage as he laughs in the presence of the seer. And just as everything settles down. a new challenger emerges, with an arrogance that Ragnar senses right off the bat. Casually pedantic at times though a bit more introspective than usual, Vikings sees its long episode count and stretches it’s plot into the minor mid-season area with no definitive plan for a siege, invasion, or massacre. But a fight is coming, and it’s going to be closer to home than we might have thought.

 

THE GOOD

Ragnar is always a careful king, one who ponders and observes without making hasty decisions. His new relationship to Yidu offers him the kind of respite he needs from the everyday life a Viking king must endure. He’s not stressed, but he’s perpetually bored, and that makes for a lethargic Ragnar who finds some simple pleasures in being around a new face, one who traveled a long way against her will. They make a fascinating pair, but like all of Ragnar’s previous interests, they too were all very colorful and exemplary at the start. I think one key note to take away is Ragnar’s passionate lure toward other cultures and what he’s willing to experience to gain more insight on himself and his role as the leader of his people. He never abandons his heritage but he’s willing to absorb more of what the world has to offer and in doing so, maintains a layer of awareness and expertise in people and in how to act tactfully.

 

Unexpected, but welcome, I really enjoyed Rollo’s sudden expertise level in speaking Gisla’s language. And furthermore, how easy it came to convincing her to love him. Just one conversation was all it took to understand each other and that’s progress I was afraid wouldn’t happen due to his apparent inferiority to learning, but as it turns out, he’s quite capable when set to the task. The pair are now a dancing fire, vocal and bright. In a way, her explanation to him with how “Viking” it was to kill his own people, almost made the act forgivable in his eyes. I doubt Ragnar will think of it the same way, unless they both have an understanding of culture that transcends their own.

 

THE BAD

The Wessex scenes were a dismal bust in my eyes. I would have preferred more time spent on Flocki or Bjorn than of Judith’s father trying to belittle her or him trying to threaten Kwenthrith with her son’s life should he actually take vengeance on Ragnar. Neither Ecbert nor Aethelwulf spent any quality time with their “love” and nothing was furthered with us knowing that these affairs are silently on-going. If progress is to be made, someone needs to be caught or confess to their situation, at least before the next great war strikes.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Bjorn fought and killed the Berserker. It was the only part of the episode that contained any violent action, and as such was the best shot segment of the lot. Bjorn is learning more and becoming efficient in both survival and in determination. I’d like to think he knows what that ring is and where it came from, but it’s also more likely that he’ll discover the truth down the road and then make a U-turn back to his mother to right the wrong done to him. He’s keeping his thoughts close to home and for now that’s fine.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’d like to give it to Rollo for his accelerated use of language and with his purpose redefined by Gisla’s hand. If he’s going to be any threat to Ragnar, he needs to gain the respect and loyalty of Gisla’s people now more than ever. And with Gisla on board the others should follow suit. In time, he could be running that castle if Gisla so wishes it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Flocki’s visit to the seer has a different outcome than likely most were expecting. The seer is growing older and more frail in the mind by the looks of it. Whether he sees Flocki as a god or as a manifestation of death itself, it’s too early to be sure and clear. But Flocki finds humor in the Seer’s admiration of him and it could lead to some twisted realizations in the future if we’re given more visions of what’s to come.

 

This King Harold is an immediate threat, one Aslaug seems to be in favor of even after a short time there. This can play out a few different ways, but since Bjorn has returned, I wonder if he’ll have a bigger part to play in this play for power. He’ll be on his father’s side of course, but if Harold just isn’t some one-off villain of the week, I’d hope this will have a lasting portion of episodes to utilize.

 

It would have been funny or even impressive to see Rollo speaking in actual French, but the show has a way with switching to English to showcase whose language is the dominate one when two are speaking at once. Aw well.

 

I’m not kidding, look up the Legion of Doom and compare Ragnar’s face paint with Animal’s, complete dead ringer.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Tonight’s episode of Viking’s was polite in its violence but offered a complacent look into Ragnar’s mindset as he explores a new relationship based on mutual understanding rather than just physical attraction. At least, that’s the symbolism we’re privy to at the moment. Gisla’s comfort with Rollo promises new heights for the pair as Bjorn grows closer to his new defined role as a powerful warrior. Floki is very reserved for good reason, but maintains his servitude to the culture that he inhabits, reinforced by Aslaug’s request that her son be trained by him. More promises of strange battles to come as King Harold marches into Ragnar’s home and passively proclaims his intention to become king of all Norway. For most parts I consider tonight a success, but Wessex needs to pick up the slack as they felt the weakest portion of the tale. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.

 

 

No more words

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