Ragnar directs his men to follow their intended path downriver to Paris while Lagertha and her group attempt to subdue one of the two towers guarding the river. Rollo and Odo’s forces are prepared and make short work of Lagertha’s attack while Rollo’s chain across the river disrupts Ragnar’s fleet. After a show of fiery destruction, Ragnar retreats as does Lagertha. In Kattegat, Harbard seduces the women in town including Aslaug. Ragnar and his group return to find their camp decimated and Helga deeply injured, bringing Flocki to depression. Somehow while alone, he becomes psychically linked to Harbard and he lives the same sexual experience with Aslaug as Harbard does with her back home. Ecbert and his forces leave Wessex and stop by an old fort where Prince Wigstan awaits. They broker a deal where together their men will take Mercia and Wigstan will relinquish control to Ecbern and leave on a pilgrimage, tired of the tragedy endured in his life. Back outside of Paris, Ragnar, deeply troubled by Rollo and his defeat, ingests more of Yidu’s drug and later tells Bjorn that they will attack again on the next morning. Alone, he vocalizes different plans while conversing with a severed head in his tent.
Rollo scores one over Ragnar, an act we should have figured would go down considering Rollo’s loyalty to Paris and ingenuity as of late. The entire river slaughter had the right feel and closed-sense of dread as everyone huddled in their rounded shields for protection. Rollo knows their methods and won’t hesitate to exploit them, giving Paris a long respite and confidence toward facing the Vikings again. While the Paris invasion remains the focal point, the other two arcs are still significantly falling behind with Harbard’s angle still the greater of the two, Ecbern’s quest to take Mercia isn’t leading him closer to Ragnar in anyway, unless somehow they cross paths in later episodes and perhaps join forces in an unexpected move. Ragnar might have to suffer another defeat before that can be arranged. Tonight’s episode picked back up and though Ragnar was hit hard, I expect him to bite back harder, even if he is growing more senile by the day.
Rollo’s victory was hardly a costly one, but it was important that he get the early win for himself and his new people. He still has a lot to prove and whether Odo claims credit on the successful defense, both Gisla and Rollo are riding higher than ever before. His calm manner almost betrays a sliver of sorrow, but then I imagine he remembers what he’s gained since betraying his brother and how he finally has the kind of love he’s been yearning for since the beginning. To him, he’s in a good place and no amount of raiding will replace that. This is how good villains are made especially when they feel very justified over their selfish decisions.
Flocki’s transcendent moment was another surreal spike given to us in a “historical” drama. I like how they implant these segments because it continues to add to the mystique of these people and the allure of Harbard, who is still as much an enigma as ever. Never would I have thought that he and Aslaug would share such a scene together, but given the Seer’s groveling toward Flocki gave us some indication that he was connected to the gods, or was one himself. A connection seems to be the safe bet. I liked the placement of it too considering the sorrow he’s enduring over Helga’s injury. That can get very sophisticated with the “how’s” and the “why’s”, but for now I think it’s easier to just absorb the scenes as they happen and move forward knowing there’s a greater story being told here.
I’m expecting Ecbern’s quest to Mercia to pay off eventually this season, and I did think he had a rather important scene with Wigstan. I’m just too much at a loss for caring and it doesn’t matter to me whether Ecbern succeeds or not in taking that area. What I expect is his forces will be in range of Paris and he’ll need to ally with Ragnar otherwise they’re really telling two distinct stories and never shall they meet. With the stretch of 10 more episodes this season I figure more arcs will have to be inserted, but again, I’m trusting that there will be something here to look forward to, just right now I’m not seeing it in the moment.
Everything after the chains went up from the river. There wasn’t as much blood and carnage as the events in Paris last season, but we got our first taste of it here and while only the extras and minor characters took the brunt of the arrow and fire onslaught, the remaining core group was spared the frothy death of the icy blade. I also want think it was a good moment to have Ragnar dive in and save Flocki. There needs to be a reconnection for these two after what they’ve gone through. I don’t expect it will be enough to turn Flocki completely around, but it’s a start. Maybe if Ragnar saves him one or two more times. However if Helga dies, I expect he’ll lose what’s left of his mind and there won’t be any hope for him at all.
Though he didn’t have a lot of screen time, Rollo’s plan worked almost too perfectly. His success drove the Vikings back and for him, this was the boost he needed to elevate his status and gain more favor from Gisla who is also elevated by proxy. I actually want her and Lagertha to meet up now that she suggested it as a possibility. Rollo will have to face Ragnar eventually, but for now he’s savoring the victory as best he can. He needs to be built up as much as possible so that when the final battle does come, whoever takes the day will surely have earned it.
Yidu was very much in the background tonight, and I’m surprised she lied to him about the drugs so much that she actually gave in when he began ransacking the tent. She’s beginning to see the affects of using the drugs to keep him bound to her and it’s disrupting his ability to lead which will cost them even more lives if he continues to slip down that spiral. I wonder if Bjorn will catch onto this relationship.
Speaking of Bjorn, his confrontation with Erlendur was too subtle and weak. He should have known Erlendur would deny the ring belonging to him, and if he’s supposed to being growing into this mythic historical character, I’d hope he’ll burst more into that role and face this conniving brat before too long. I just hope it’s not tin the middle of the Paris raid and more one on one somewhere in the wilderness alone.
Harbard has such a lock on the ladies of Kattegat I wonder what his true agenda is if not to sow his seed and reveal the flaws of Ragnar’s leadership, namely his connection to Aslaug or lack thereof. I’d hope Ragnar and Harbard would someday meet, but I’m not getting that vibe here. The seer on the other hand…
I only caught a glimpse of the head in Ragnar’s tent, but if someone can let me know if that head belonged to someone in-particular that’d be great. And did he actually intend to retreat rather than move forward? There’s a lot of basic madness he’s sifting through and I wouldn’t be surprised either way if Ragnar came up with something so crazy that it makes his fake death in the coffin seem like a cheap prank. He’s creative like that.
7 out of 10. Relatively entertained by the initial boat craziness and Rollo’s plan coming to fruition. I’m disappointed that Lagertha suffered the same kind of defeat, but at least she’s still there to try again. The attack on Ragnar’s people after the fact was definitely a low blow that probably came from Odo than Rollo, but it really doesn’t matter. Flocki’s strange connection to Harbard continues to add the flavor of impossible craziness to the series and I’d like to see where it goes if it in fact has a point. Ecbern’s story still has no draw, but I’m hopeful it will lead him to Ragnar as fate inevitably does considering both had dreams of Athelstan not too long ago. Three episodes remain before the first break, and I imagine Paris will be the bulk of it while Harbard gets busy fathering the entire town of Kattegat. Thanks for reading.
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