A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×10 (The seer cries and a king lies. No wait…a seer wails and a king bails)

Vikings 4x10

 

SUMMARY

Ragnar’s fleet is confronted by Rollo’s forces on the river as the two armies collide, boat to boat. Rollo and Ragnar meet and battle with neither gaining singular victory. As Flocki and Lagertha sustain injuries, Ragnar is separated from his brother as Rollo declares victory over stopping the invasion of the Vikings once more. He returns to Paris and is rewarded as “Caesar” by King Charles. Ragnar disappears upon returning to his homeland. Years later in Kattegat, Bjorn receives word that the settlement that stayed behind near Wessex was destroyed shortly after the Vikings left years prior and Kwenthrith’s son, Magnus, also the son of Ragnar, is alive and with King Ecbert. Distraught and angry, Bjorn tells Ragnar’s other sons who proclaim their hatred toward Ragnar and plans to kill him should he return. Later, Bjorn goes to Flocki and invites him to sail the Mediterranean when their ships are ready. Sometime later, Ragnar returns to Kattegat and faces his children announcing any to challenge him for his role as King. Everyone stands in silence as Ragnar stares intently toward the crowd awaiting.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If this were the final episode of the season, I think the bloodlust and battle would have ended with a major death, but alas it was not so. What we did see was the culmination of brotherly turmoil met with steel and fist yet neither succumbed to death. When the seer wailed in dismay, I thought for sure someone would meet their fate and for a brief moment I feared it to be Lagertha. Though, she hasn’t been seen since the end of that battle, I’m certain she survived. What transpired was the second longest time-jump since Bjorn became a man and with it the transgressions of Ragnar along with the judgment of his kin. With stories still to tell with our main cast, I expected Ragnar to persevere and live on, but with a decade of roaming the lands underneath his feet, are we given the king set to a new goal, or did he in fact return home to die by the sword of one of his sons? A satisfying breather between this double-sided season, Vikings holds true to the bedlam of war and rewards our thirst with a sea of death with promises of future glory to be told.

 

THE GOOD

Shooting straight out of the gate with the final battle was the right move. We lost almost no time as Rollo and Ragnar met on sea instead of the castle, which I’m sure many thought we’d be returning to including myself. The boat to boat skirmish was an interesting bite to it as both sides utilized similar tactics most notably their collisions, archery, and axe to shield. While Rollo rallied his men to victory, Ragnar pursued only his brother for that final clash. It was marvelous to watch the two throw down as this was meant to be their only scene together all season and what a rush it was. punching faces until they could barely stand, while blades whirled around them. Excellent crafted battle, maybe not the best as Paris holds that honor, but a fine attempt nonetheless.

 

The time jump was a bold but necessary move. By now, Ragnar, Flocki, Rollo and Lagertha have to be reaching ages around the 40’s, and in some cases it’s easily seen, but now we have our first glimpse with Aslaug’s sons who all harbor similar misgivings over their father who essentially abandoned them for those missing years. Yet, when Ragnar returns, he’s as confrontational as ever and allows for any challenger to assume his title. No one can truly say Ragnar is fearful, but at his age, he’s reached a certain catharsis of anarchy that his family may never truly understand save for Flocki. I imagine his sons aren’t ready to shed blood on their own father, but then again, they could swerve us at the start of second half by making a decimate choice.

 

THE BAD

Not giving the brothers a final strike means we’re either bound to see it once more, or one of the brothers will be put to rest first without definitive closure. Without knowing what this show is truly becoming, it’s hard to ascertain if Ragnar and Rollo are meant to drift further apart from here on our or whether they’re destined to fight each other forever. I want the show to continue being about them and it very well maybe, but at the same time, the history of the Vikings so much more that keeping the spotlight on Ragnar could keep other fantastic parts of Viking lore from ever being showcased on this show. For the interim I would prefer the brothers maintain the height of this storyline mainly because I would hope there is still closure to be had, unless history dictates that isn’t the case.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Easily the brothers meeting one on one. It’s what we’ve been waiting for and when Ragnar called his brother a bitch, you knew just how serious it was going to get. As with most sword fights, they can only last so long before either both warriors disarm each other or one kills the other. They opted for disarmament which was the better call because their punching match far outweighed their test of steel. And as much as I would have been fine with Ragnar winning, it was good to see Rollo finally feel that moment of worth and the support of the city as Charles crowned him in front of the populace. Good fight and I hope they will once more meet on the battlefield.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The brothers meeting and dishing out their two-way assault earned them as dual winners tonight. Rollo reveled in his glory as Ragnar sought solitude to deal with yet another defeat on his hands. As logical as their actions were, what drove them to rage against their faces with bloodied fists brought out that raw hostility only matched once before during the premiere of season two when they were on opposite sides. They’re at their best when they’re fighting and even more-so against one another. It’s a shame it might be some time before we get to see this again, if we do. And points for Ragnar for returning to his home with all but his sword ready to face against the entire town if need be. I’d hope he has some plan, but in all likelihood, he’s honestly looking for someone to send him to Valhalla.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Unless I’m mistaken, we didn’t get any indication that Rollo knew Ragnar was coming downstream from the north. The fact that he met Ragnar in the river was very surprising and at first I thought it cheated the epic battle that would have come from the castle, but at the same time, Rollo had something to prove and prove it he did.

 

On that note, hearing him rally his men with his own speech really helped turn the tide. It’s amazing how far he’s come as both a warrior, a leader, and as someone who isn’t just looking for glory, but a place among those he protects. If I had only just started with this episode, I’d have thought Rollo was the protagonist and Ragnar the villain.

 

Props for young Ivar, he has his father’s speech pattern and inflection down to a T. There’s a sinister expression mixed with a calm voice that calls to attention his thought process as very different from his brothers. He didn’t grow up to be psychotic, but that remains to be seen what he will represent in the coming season.

 

Charles putting to death the siblings, Roland and Therese was an acceptable means to an end. The king of Paris proves he’s pathological but not without some reason behind it. The image of him putting the golden wreath on Rollo’s head and calling him Caesar has definite symbolism which could spell a strange doom for Rollo if he doesn’t understand what’s to come. If Rollo becomes too beloved and popular, Charles could feel the pressure of his position and be forced to act accordingly to save his name and title. With Rollo’s son now a relevant part of the storyline, it’ll be interesting to see how Charles reacts if he’s in fact still alive by this point.

 

It’s unlikely to have happened, but I wonder if perhaps Ragnar and Harbard met during the decade that took place between the present and the battle on the river. I’m sure the two would have had an interesting conversation about the gods, Aslaug, and who knows what else. Maybe such a meeting can still occur.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. They gave us a battle that took half of the episode, but none of the expected casualties. Our eyes glued on the brothers as they flung every fiber of their might and though they meant to kill with every strike, both survived to live on. A lot of beats came and went with the thrill of anything manifesting as the shock moment, but none came. What came after the time jump was a father who raged for his town to make good on their distrust of their fallen king or to let him once more lead them to some unspoken victory. The seed has been planted for the Mediterranean a new target for the people of Kattegat as Flocki and Bjorn marvel at the prospect, but will Ragnar be joining them, or will one of his sons put him to the blade. Instinct says Ragnar still has a role to play as the main character and that’s easy to accept if that’s the case. Or it’s possible Ragnar will linger on Paris and Wessex but if so, it better include Rollo and he crossing paths again. All in all, it was a fun episode to watch and our cravings to watch the crew battle was satiated for the time being. I know not how long this break will last, but we’re promised to get 10 more episodes out of this season, and it sure beats waiting a whole year to see what happened next. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the season as much as I have thus far.

 

 

No more words

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