A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×09 (Yes Aelle, your kingdom is next. Start packing)

Vikings 4x09

 

SUMMARY

While Ragnar and his men continue to transfer the boats across the land, Harald, Halfdan, and his men track down a farm and pillage it, murdering the family who lived there. Meanwhile in Rome, Athelwulf and Alfred meet the Pope, who gives young Alfred a sword in an assembly. In Wessex, Ecbert is officially crowned king of Mercia and he shares mixed words with King Aelle who is doubting their role as allies. In Paris, King Charles humbly asks Roland, now a count, if he can sleep with his sister, Therese, to which Roland agrees. In the forest, Lagertha suffers a miscarriage while Erlendur unsuccessfully attempts to kill Bjorn at night. In Kattegat, Aslaug continues to mope at the departure of Harbard. As the Vikings find the north side of the river and prepare to move the boats back into the water, Erlendur orders Torvi to kill Bjorn, and as she nears him to do so, instead shoots Erlendur above the chest near the heart. Ragnar begins to hallucinate and tells Bjorn he’s saving the remaining drugs he has for when he faces Rollo, who is more important than the taking of Paris itself. On the waters, Ragnar vows to kill Rollo.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The penultimate episode to the mid-season finale brings about an average sense of danger and politics as Ragnar inches closer toward his intended destination. Erlendur’s presumed demise couldn’t have come sooner as we all knew he wouldn’t be successful. His cowardly act in making Torvi his assassin proved to be the wrong course which robbed us from watching Bjorn dismantle Erlendur himself. Lagertha’s moment in tragedy struck hard, and next to watching Harold’s brutal aftermath of the family at the farm, were the more emotional moments of the episode. What permeated the air was a lack of anxiety over what was building and aside from the last minute of the show, not much escalated into a frenzy of hype and excitement. Ragnar teeters on the precipice of emotional madness as he legitimately thinks he’s seeing spiders, one of the more outlandish hallucinations found in the lore of withdrawal. While I will be gearing up for the bloodbath that’s soon to follow, the build up to it hadn’t been as fulfilling.

 

THE GOOD

Taking care of Erlendur’s vengeance plot before the siege of Paris was the right move, and though I would have preferred a one on one battle between him and Bjorn, Torvi being the one to choose Bjorn did have more significance for her as she was the conflicted and often tormented member of the group. I would suspect that the wound isn’t fatal, but it may not entirely matter at this stage since everyone is on the water and I doubt Bjorn would let him take part in the siege considering the betrayal, and if he did die, then good riddance.

 

It may seen counterproductive, but keeping Ragnar on edge like this helps put him on a wavy course with Rollo, who has been seen as nothing but the prince of calm since Gisla accepted him as her husband. The two will meet on very different terms, almost shadows of their previous personas when they met last. Granted, Ragnar was very physically sick, but now he’s more mentally ill than anything and that paints a contrasting picture. At this stage it’s hard to say if Rollo will subject himself to the savage spirit in order to face his brother again, but at least there’s always that chance.

 

THE BAD

It’s not so much the details as it is the breadth of the European lands that disjoint us from the vision and culture of the Vikings, something that they’ve barely dipped into this season. We’ve learned more about Wessex, Paris, and now a bit of Rome then we have of the show’s namesake. I almost feel like they threw in the family’s murder at the farm just to remind us that sometimes Vikings actually pillage and plunder the towns they occupy. And since it was the Harald and his brother we’re supposed to actively dislike that makes it more of a despicable act. I realize Ecbert has a much larger role to play, but right now, his part in this universe is too far removed from Ragnar and hasn’t made as near an impact as he should have back last season. He’s building his title and lands, I get it, I just want to know where it’s going.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The set up at the end when they showcased the additional platforms on the ships. We’re seeing another portion of Ragnar’s plans come to fruition as he doesn’t intend to be tricked by Rollo’s chains again. I wish the build up was more, like seeing Rollo’s face when the alarms sound and the Northmen are coming from the north this time. But, yes we’ll see that in one week’s time.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Lagertha went through a traumatic episode with losing her unborn child alone, and how it led up to it and how she persevered through it really shows her strength and fortitude as a shield-maiden on this journey. If she had to, she’d lead the charge on Paris herself, and who knows, that could still happen.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Sigurd mentioning his finding of Siggy was an interesting throwback to one of the more enduring characters of the past. Whether it was a portent for Aslaug to consider or not is unknown, but Siggy was eventually removed through the presence of Harbard or the gods he allied with. Things are still a bit fuzzy on how that all went down.

 

Now that the seed has been planted, I would expect Ecbert to begin staging his next conquest against Aelle and considering Judith really dislikes her father, I’m sure she would give Ecbert her blessing on the matter.

 

When Flocki rolled his eyes in the back of his head, we’re given some impression that he’s in tune with what’s happening back in Kattegat, or at the very least he’s trying to recreate the same communion he felt only a few episodes ago. Whether he’s somehow connected to Aslaug or whether he’s connected to Harbard at all is presently unknown as we don’t see another scene like this again in tonight’s episode, but they’re still keeping us fully aware of his clairvoyant capabilities which we’re seeing for a reason.

 

With both Harbard and Flocki gone, Ivar has become more aggressive toward his mother which could spell a strange encounter in the finale, considering Ivar’s newly found violent nature. How this will manifest is still up to the gods, but I imagine Sigurd is keeping a close eye on everything as he seems the most level-headed of the family currently.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. A little above average, Vikings dispels with Bjorn’s rather annoying thorn in the side and concludes Ragnar’s trek through the wilderness and onto the river of conquest. All meaningful points that will lead us to hopefully a similar collision as the last time Paris was under attack. Beyond the Vikings, we’re given some time in Rome with the pope, a few segments with Charles and Rollo, and of course our greedy king of Wessex who will likely be devouring more land as the days go by. Leading more on the political machinations of Europe’s monarchy’s tonight’s episode had less build-up and more of a mild sweep of carnage mostly dishing out punishment to the undeserved by Harald and his men. Ragnar’s descent into withdrawal held an interesting merit as he’s purposefully saving his solace for the fight with Rollo, an act that could be very disastrous should be lose composure before the effort is in place. We have a reason to glue our eyes to the TV next week, they just weren’t very glued tonight. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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