A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×05 (Never forget a shield-maiden’s promise)

Vikings 4x05

 

SUMMARY

Lagertha tells Kalf that she’s with child, prompting an excited Kalf to propose they marry. In Wessex, Judith defies Aethelwulf over their mutual infidelity while Ecbern assures Kwenthrith they will take Mercia. Ragnar grows closer to Yidu and discovers she is the daughter of the Chinese Emperor. Charles is given light to Odo’s ambition for power while Gisla attempts to convince Rollo of the same. While playing with a band of children, Ivar attacks and kills a child with Flocki watching. King Harold (sp?) attempts to persuade Ragnar his men will help take Paris as Torvi reveals Bjorn’s captured ring belongs to Erlendur. On their wedding day, Lagertha murders Kalf and proclaims herself the sole Earl of the land.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

All signs point to a second invasion of Paris, this time with a new pseudo-ally that Aslaug may or may not exploit while utilizing Flocki for her own means. Trust and secrets are the themes rippling throughout tonight’s episode giving light for some and aggressive charge for others. Most of the elements are played casually yet close to heart leaving the only real highlight here at the end when Lagertha followed through with her promise to kill Kalf. Some logical moments play out as intended giving the episode somewhat of a predictable feel. It doesn’t change the heightened sense of mood as we perceive Ragnar’s guilt and curiosity projected onto Yidu who could still be the spy Aslaug wants her to be. Once Paris becomes the prime target, it may not matter unless he takes Yidu with him. Overall, not a superb episode but a solid introspective glance into the mindsets of most of our regional characters.

 

THE GOOD

With Ragnar forever on a path of self discovery it’s important that we understand his motives as much as possible. He teased and danced around Yidu until he finally caved in and chose to trust her first, earning hers in the latter moments of the plot. Like all pursuits, Ragnar discovers what allures them both together and magnifies those feelings, creating an intense atmosphere of emotions and rampant change in his approach to another love in his life. He needs to be given the energy and motivation to pursue both his earthly desires and the means to understand his choices in life. Conquest is secondary to his primal nature to absorb new cultures through one person at a time. Yidu is quickly replacing Athelstan which could be Aslaug’s key to undoing him. It’s the most sensual and exotic plot of the season, almost trumping the need to invade Paris again, almost.

 

THE BAD

Paris’s political power plays are still very much a low-point in the show. Rollo is showing signs of being manipulated by Gisla who on the surface, seems to understand Rollo to a fault, but if she has an agenda of her own, it likely will mean using Rollo to accomplish those tasks. In any case, we know nothing will happen here until the Vikings or Wessex decide to intervene. With the exception of Charles’s strange attitude, these segments might be best left for later parts of the season.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It’s rather short as intended to be, but Lagertha’s murder of Kalf was overdue and oddly unexpected for what may seem like obvious reasons. I choose to believe Lagertha’s heart when it’s in the moment, so her murdering him came as a little surprise even though I knew she swore she’d kill him just like Ragnar swore he’d take Paris. I’ll never doubt her convictions again. But the exact moment was when she and Kalf kissed as though he wasn’t taking a serious wound. He could have fought back in anger, or bled in fear, but he took the strike and still met her with a loving embrace. It was tragically romantic if not for his part in trying to assassinate Bjorn, something we knew he wasn’t one-hundred percent behind.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Yidu and Ragnar tie this week. Together, they made this episode very amorous most notably the wash scene with Ragnar cutting her hair at the end. There’s a strong dynamic here, one I wasn’t positively sure of when she first appeared. Her history is slowly coming out as is his own secrets that she’s no doubt compiling to either retain or spill to Aslaug, depending on where she lands. It’s too early to tell if there’s betrayal in her heart, but one would suspect it will be an issue of note in the next few episodes.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I believe the rune Flocki was showing Ivar was the letter “o” or “os” aka Ansuz which is the rune for Futhark. I barely caught it, and it could have been something else. What’s interesting is even though he showed it to Ivar, there wasn’t a response of identification, we only caught the end of the lesson shortly before Ivar went axe on the kid for trying to take the bag from him.

 

We know now that Bjorn was trying to ascertain the ring’s origin and now he knows thanks to Torvi. It would probably be best if Bjorn wrapped up this side plot before they descend on Paris again. And I suspect it will be a vicious axe kill much like we saw earlier.

 

Is Lagertha really pregnant? Or did she make it up to subdue Kalf into the marriage proposal? I’m not sure that’s the case, because they weren’t actually married before she killed him, at least I don’t think they were. It could easily be more of a message to the people as she seems to be making those in abundance, reconfirming her place and power. With the exception of Erlendur, she has no opposition, which hopefully puts her in a position to rejoin Ragnar in taking Paris, unless she really is pregnant in which case, she’s likely not going anywhere till after.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. A lot of finesse went into propagating Ragnar’s relationship with Yidu which was shot and made very convincingly, but the surrounding segments were more than a little disjointed because of it. Ragnar’s new “ally” is being placed in the line of sight as a villain, yet he tries to convince Bjorn of his intentions to help. There’s an easy summary to decipher here, but with 5 episodes left, it’s still too early to tell how this will play out. Flocki’s influence on Ivar is already showing aggressive results which may not reach Ragnar’s radar for the time being, due to his fascination with Yidu. The Paris and Wessex plots are again, stifling our Viking tale, something I think should be avoided until all parties can once again reunite. Lagertha makes an impact and I’m glad she followed through with her promise, but in a way I’m also sorry for Kalf who seemed like he wanted to do good by her and was unfortunately cast as an evil accomplice of Erlendur’s, who will see a reckoning quite soon. Next week I imagine will speed some things along appropriately. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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One response to “A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×05 (Never forget a shield-maiden’s promise)

  1. Love your summaries of this show. I’m still not sure why I love it so much, as I know nothing about Vikings beyond historical snippets and movies, which I gather, are mostly incorrect.

    I love the characters, with my favorite always being Lagaertha, but Ragnar is getting likable. I say getting becasue his faults are more obvious than his good side. I’ve developed an interest in Rollo, this season. He’s in a real fish out of water situation, and I like seeing how people behave when they’re out of their element.

    I’m glad to see my girl back in her position of power, though. I was seriously pissed when it was first stolen from her.

    Still can’t fathom why I’m such a huge fan of what’s basically an historical soap opera, with nary a person of color in whiffing distance! I usually ignore historical shows, but this has captured me. I blame Athelstan.

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