A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×03 (And then there were three)

Dark Matter 3x03

 

SUMMARY

The Raza helps an outer colony planet (Cepheus V) controlled by a Traugott corp. security force from an attack by Ferrous corp. On the planet, they meet with Tabor’s protégé, Adrian who offers his services as handler for them. They also learn that the inhabitants wish for independence from Traugott and are prepared for war. Six convinces them to let him negotiate after their leader is mysteriously killed by an explosion. Meanwhile, the android discovers Five’s secret regarding Sarah’s digital consciousness within the Raza’s database. When the leader of the security force is murdered, Six is held hostage while the remaining force goes to subdue the colony group. Two and Three find and free Six as they intervene on the Colony’s behalf, stopping the security team. Tensions rise when Six’s rival, The General arrives to offer his help to the colony which Six pleads them not to accept. Unable to sway them, the Raza crew depart only to discover The General putting the security force to death. Six returns and kills The General and offers to remain as a force for good to the colony. Two, Three, and Five leave with Adrian and his bodyguard who, for the time being, are granted a temporary stay. The android confronts Five about Sarah leaving Five to admit that she transferred Sarah’s mind into the database unsure it would work. Three, however shows silent frustration with what Five did. On Zairon, Four gathers a group of mercenaries, bounty hunters, and assassins and hires them to find the blink drive and kill the Raza crew.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter continues to build its corporation war framework by losing one of their own to the fight. Never doubt this show’s ability to disband and rework its family for the sake of grander storytelling. We know Six isn’t gone for good, but simply placed in a better position to do good and feel accountable for his actions. After his surprising shot that put The General to a permanent end, he’s off to fight a better fight, but the crew will lose a piece of their positive conscience. Will Adrian and his bodyguard, Solara fill the void, or will they simply be another pair of casualties between destinations the Raza goes to. And let’s not forget Four’s Darth-Vaderesque scene with a group of silent hunters being offered an opportunity to kill the group that remains. This could be a single one-off episode or a series of episodes that covers the bulk of the season. Either way, strap in because we’re in for one hell of a space ride.

 

THE GOOD

At first I wasn’t invested in the what felt like a trivial story between another outer colony biding for its freedom against a group that didn’t understand it was supposed to quit, then it really hit me about what this show is trying to do for us. The defining characteristic here is how Six is morally changing the compass of the crew. They’re not acting as particular as they used to and however we dive into it, the result is that Two and her crew are becoming quintessential heroes, but more than that, they’re becoming symbols. They may not be the right symbol at this moment and time, but they’re evolving almost at the same capacity as the android is becoming more human. Now that Six is off ship, Two will have to rely more on the message and what they stand for from her own perspective and hopefully she doesn’t falter. Hopefully.

 

I appreciate Six giving The General the final shot. I wasn’t expecting it and his choice to kill him means he’s ready to truly move forward. We won’t have to rely on his past guilt, which was very apparent in the premiere. He needs to become a leader on his own and only then can he rejoin the Raza when that happens. He’ll do good if not off screen for a bit of time.

 

THE BAD

The crew is becoming more self-sufficient and capable characters but there’s still an issue with how we’re being introduced to new supporting characters. Now that we’re in season 3, we’re seeing a trend where we swap or introduce new people, and then they die. Nyx was the last to suffer from this instance, and the truth is, I kinda like Adrian and Solara as they are. If Solara is just another replacement for Nyx, then it’s going to be difficult wanting to know more about her or Adrian if they’re just in it for the short term. If they add to the crew’s conflict then hopefully there’s some good stories to tell there, but otherwise I feel they’re just wasting space that’s better served developing the core crew as it is. We’ll see how they shape up.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Six killed The General. His look said it all and after what Six went through back in season 1, it was definitely good this loose end was tied up. Six understood that The General’s help would lead to more destruction and death, and not even two minutes went by when that started happening. I do want to see if Six can hold it together and help the colony restore its own order by engaging the message of freedom.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It should certainly go to Six. He offered to negotiate with the security force and stood his ground against The General and went above and beyond by leaving the Raza crew to help the colony rebuild its foundation. You really can’t ask for a more heroic character that understands how to take responsibility for the bigger picture at stake. He should hopefully inspire Two to become more like him, but her journey is a bit more complicated. Still, Six was the most effective player this time around.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I wanted to touch upon this first. I’ve always been fascinated by the allure and cultural style of Zairon and how they present themselves. While I’ve been led pretty close to believe its primary attributes were rooted in Japanese lore and some Samurai heritage, they kind of swerved me by showcasing a student of Kung Fu who performed a Dao Shaolin sword form using a Darn-Dao blade. Are there in fact Chinese influences that we’re now learning about in this culture, and if so, how much more will we get to learn about them as a whole? Very rarely have I seen both cultures comparatively existing under the same roof. It’s interesting and I want to know a bit more on how that works.

 

Sarah’s consciousness within the Raza database is a little tough for me to get a read on. I’m uncertain if the goal here is to give Three more grief and conflict to work out regarding the woman who saved his life, or whether there’s a more subjective storyline being told here. I think its good that Three undergo this next stage in his character evolution, I’m just not certain if the result will be something akin to downloading Sarah into an android form or some crazier altogether. We’ll see what happens. Sarah seems to be in relative control over her situation given the scenario.

 

Cepheus is a constellation containing the Cephei stars which are located between 100 and 5000 light years from Earth. This could maybe give us a general clue on how far into space we’re getting and how much further the show could push the boundary. I want the Raza to blink to the literal edge of space. Give me an episode where they find the edge and all literal hell breaks loose.

 

Now that Four is declaring war against the Raza crew, I’m absolutely convinced that he’ll be involved in a lasting fight with hopefully Two or at the very least the ship itself. I can see a scenario happening where a bigger fight requires them to worth together, but let’s not forget that we still don’t know if Two knows that Four didn’t kill Nyx. And Misaki’s absence doesn’t actually mean she’s alive. I know she is, but there’s always the possibility he’s lying about where she’s at. Not that he’d need to do that, he’s the emperor. He could murder in plain sight and no one would bat in eyelash. Well, maybe his mentor.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Dark Matter is putting the effects of the corporation war front and center as The Raza crew deal with the rough times the outer colonies must contend with. The main theme this season is providing us is the passion of growing leaders and the roles they will play. Ishida is a leader, Two has been a leader, and now Six is growing into a leadership role with Five becoming more and more independent as well. Soon, we’ll have them playing key roles that will better shape this war into their personal favor that could spell disaster for one of them, Four being the most to lose if he somehow loses his way. As much as I like seeing how Two and the others deal with Ferrous corp and the war at hand, I’m hoping to see more individual episodes that deal with their internal struggles and a bit more of the sci-fi weirdness that we know the show is perfectly capable of dishing out. Let’s see what else they got! Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×03 (It’s the Ventrue versus the Toreador with a dash of Malkavian in the mix)

TO 3x03

SUMMARY

The sire war plot thickens as Klaus and Elijah discover their bloodline is indeed setting on saving their own makers for the good of their race. Hayley and Jackson spar when Haley’s new mundane world and angry feelings from Klaus’s betrayal conflict. Marcel has second thoughts about trusting Elijah after his run in with Elijah’s bloodline and Lucien continues to profess his innocence to Camille and Vincent in regard with the serial murders in the city. We’re also given a glimpse into how he became the first sired vampire a thousand years ago.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This will be a slow simmer, but when it comes to boiling, this sire war will hopefully be the stuff of vampire legends. I have a lot of hope that this will get super intricate with enough betrayals and secrets to surpass the last two seasons combined. Thus far, the pieces we’ve been given are not enough to make a lot of sense with, but the promise of sharper stakes and sibling rivalry are a plenty. Mostly a good episode as it feeds us morsels before the entre. Klaus’s quiet moments of vocal reflection are the scenes that help us understand his character, but like always, he’ll retract the second things don’t go his way. Let’s dive in.

RECAP

In the past, Lucien tries to convince Klaus to give Aurora a note but later sees Klaus and Aurora together. After raging, Lucien is taken into a dungeon by Tristan who tortures him. Later, Klaus attempts to reconcile but Lucien attacks him and gets Klaus’s blood on his wounds which heal him. He then leaves to kill Tristan but is killed by a guard. Later that night Klaus laments that he tried to give Lucien blood to heal him again but it didn’t work. Upon setting his grave on fire, Lucien wakes and discovers he’s now a vampire. In the present, Lucien is taken in for questioning but he tells Vincent and Camille that he’s being set up. Meanwhile, Marcel is greeted by Aya (sp?) a descendant of Elijah’s line who captures Marcel and takes him to Tristan’s where Elijah finds them both. Tristan arrives to tell Elijah that there is a weapon that exists that can kill an original and they must discover it from Lucien and therefore must be kept alive for the time being. Elijah then finds Klaus and warns him to keep Lucian alive for this very reason. Tristan later reviews the crime scene of another murder presumably impressed and ignores a call from his sister who killed all the monks in her dwelling and leaves for New Orleans.

THE GOOD

It’s more prep work, but now we’ve completely identified Elijah’s sire line and the force it’s going to be starting with Tristan and the Stricts (sp?) led by Aya who are an old sect of vampires. They seem to appear more formidable than Lucian who right now only has a small harem if you can even call it that. I’m still fuzzy on how and why Elijah would sire Tristan but I’m sure we’ll get to that in the coming episodes. We’re establishing for now that there are prominent sides and they both claim they are the on the noble cause for their sire line. It’s a good premise to show that neither side is technically in the right or wrong and that whoever truly is committing the serial killing acts is likely on the side that’s slightly more evil than the other.

The flashback continue to tell a good story. I like the idea that the first sired vampire was more an accident than a plan of action which technically makes Lucien the 6th strongest vampire in existence, 4th if you count the fact that Kol and Finn are dead. They make this known when Aya takes out Marcel and Elijah takes out Aya, both using little force to subdue their weaker kin. We’re also seeing a much more reserved and innocent Klaus, someone who hasn’t discovered the true power of his race, but is quickly on the verge of such things.

I like Aurora’s set up and we’re finally going to get to see her interact with all our present cast which will likely include some serious mental instability considering where her mind is at right now. She loves her brother, but we still don’t know if she’s a part of her bloodline or not. Right now I have to assume Tristan sired her even though what I want to find out is that she’s part of Rebekah’s line. I don’t want one side versus the other. I want three sides all triple manipulating on all fronts. That will make for a stronger epic saga in my opinion.

THE BAD

Hayley and Jackson’s scenes were okay, but felt slightly out of place tonight. They had zero interaction with anyone but themselves and it was just so we wouldn’t forget about them and to cover the fact that Hayley is still very upset over the events in her life and is afraid the hold on the curse may not last. The sparring also was the wrong approach. He’s telling her not to hold back but they use sticks to fight, something that both should have broken on the very first strike. Granted, having her punch and kick a punching bag with Jackson holding it probably would have had an even less effect, but in truth, I think this kind of scene was better suited in an episode that showcased them more.

The interrogation scenes at the precinct really didn’t do it for me either. At this point, the viewer knows Lucien is innocent and it takes nearly the entire episode for Camille, Vincent, and Klaus to catch up and it ended up taking another murder happening outside of Lucien’s questioning which inexplicably sets up his alibi in real time. I’m not certain I really care who’s committing the murders because if the goal is to set up Lucien, then I’m hard press to be invested in that outcome. Lucien still has a lot to do to prove himself especially to Klaus and right now he’s still not quite likeable as a character.

Minor but Marcel getting the brush off from Elijah really shouldn’t be the precursor to his dissention from him. I get that choosing sides means sire or family or vice-versa, but I think it could have been handled with a little more finesse and Elijah is all about finesse. In a way, Elijah’s blue-blood style fits with Tristan and what he represents. I like that dynamic and how Marcel is still a bit under that radar because him and his vamps are not living in luxury as they once were. Maybe he’ll miss that more than his loyalty to Elijah, if you can even call it that anymore.

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Klaus tells Elijah that he won’t betray him. It’s those little moments when Klaus stops being selfish and has what looks like genuine moments of forgiveness and mercy that adds to that every conflicting character. He almost gets philosophical in his words because he’s old enough to be that way I suppose, but still. He had a similar moment with Camille about appreciating her sentiments with being asked not to kill Lucien, but I felt his sincerity with Elijah was much more genuine.

CHARACTER MVP

Klaus tends to win these when he has moments of sincerity and reflection that don’t end in hostility and unquestionable melodrama. Tonight, he’ll get the top spot because he’s starting to slowly get what’s at stake here and really wants his family to stay as one. At least under his conditions. I’m certain that will soon change when the blood flies on that painting and we finally understood who’s doing it and who’s getting it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

No Davina or Freya tonight. The witch plot is stale even when they’re not around because they’re certain to show up by the following episode. It’s so far removed from the vampire plot that I fear it may get too forced when the sire war really starts to heat up. Speculation really, but right now unless Vincent and Marcel get back in the game of Davina’s power struggle, I don’t think it’ll shape up into anything worthwhile.

Now that we know Klaus and Aurora were once lovers, will those feelings reemerge when Aurora arrives in New Orleans? Or was she involved with another after the fact? I think knowing who sired her will really help uncover the answers to those questions. But my money is cautiously optimistically on Rebekah. After all, Klaus did it, won’t the other siblings want to try it out as well to see how it works?

The way Lucien turned is a bit fascinating because he didn’t ingest blood but rather took it straight in the wound. I know later Klaus said he tried giving Lucien more, but by that time he was already dead and law states the victim needs vampire blood in their system before death to rise again. In this case, taking it directly in the blood stream was how this worked and considering how blood circulates, it counts if its in your stomach and being filtered. Just an odd thought about how that really works.

So, blood uncovered an address on Aya’s business card? What? Number 01, why do they have business cards and number 02, how does that even work with its reaction to blood, or vampire blood for that matter? I could see that as an effect if the vampire blood belonged to sire Elijah, but I don’t think that was the case here. As far as I know, all of Elijah’s vampire gang are from Klaus’s line.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Pretty decent episode. Interrogation aside, the flashback and further set up of the sire war is still holding great interest with likely cloak and dagger-like vampire shenanigans to follow. The arrival of Aurora should hopefully spice things up even more and hopefully we’ll get to know what this new weapon of death will be. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a person who can kill the Originals and not just an object this time. To imbue someone with such power would cause a real power shift in the city. One I think Marcel would be eager to claim if he could take that chance. Until next week, thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×03 (Witty Jack and the impulse to preserve entropy)

Hanni 3x03

Episode 3 “Secondo” embellishes the merger of Hannibal’s three protagonist actors set on different stages, each with a supporting cast member to reflect and philosophies with. Relationships both internal and external are composed through the evolution of murderous acts and the search for a soft theme of understanding and acceptance. The past is murmured throughout giving the core villain some semblance of a reason for his existence, yet in the end, Hannibal’s vision is clear; he intends to eat Will Graham.

While close-ups of life and death in the guise of animals and victims were the core focus on our voluptuous cinematography, I found the vision in this episode less detailed and more strained than imaginative. Will’s travels into his psyche as well as that of Hannibal’s were less poetic and engaging than the real conversations he had with Chiyo, who is a fascinating new addition to this richly gothic series. Hannibal and Bedelia’s misadventures were a bit of the same as seen in the premiere, but they managed to rotate who had the mental advantage this time around. Jack and Pazzi’s scenes were the least concerning or interesting even though their tones were better matched than Will and Pazzi’s were the week prior. The real struggle is pace and it’s greatly subdued by creative camera work even though we were fairly warned long before the trailers began to start the Hanni crazy once more. The showdown is very clear which is the biggest positive that has been released thus far making the anticipation of Hannibal’s capture that much more enticing, especially if he’s orchestrating the result subconsciously.

During a candid conversation, Bedelia openly states to Hannibal that he’ll eventually be caught. Hannibal determines Will has moved onto his old estate where he cannot return to. Will arrives in Lithuania and finds the Lecter estate. He spies on a youthful woman, Chiyo who kills wild game around the property. She prepares the carcasses and gives them to a prisoner who is later identified as the man who killed and ate Mischa, Hannibal’s younger sister. Will discovers the prisoner and is caught, but Chiyo and Will come to an understanding over both knowing Hannibal and his legacy. Meanwhile, Jack arrives in Italy where he resides at the church where Lecter was last seen and he converses with Pazzi about Hannibal, searching for Will and the religious aspects of life and afterlife. Hannibal invites Sogliato to dinner and during the meal impulsively stabs him in the head. He later cooks him as a meal served to the Albizzo couple. At night, Will lets the prisoner free but he returns and attacks Chiyo who is forced to kill him. Will set up the scenario so that Chiyo would free herself and the two align to find Hannibal. Will prepares the body as a large moth(?) to be displayed as a sign. Later, Bedelia converses with Hannibal about what forgiving Will will entail and Hannibal surmises that he must eat him.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hannibal and Bedelia’s scenes even through they ran the same theme between the two which is both subverted and straight to the point. Her fear still exists on her sleeve but she wears it as prominently knowing it will do her no good to fear him, because in some unknown capacity, he needs her. As a reoccurring motif, Hannibal delights in serving his guests human meat and they adore him unknowing of the ingredients. Yet it is here that Bedelia sees the art for what it is and even trembles a bit at the process of keeping the lie intact. Her resilient nature comes in the form of guessing at Hannibal’s reason for human consumption and uses Mischa as an instrument to goad him. What I like the most is the calm demeanors they elicit while she tells him he’s going to be caught and he’s practically doing it on purpose. Hannibal, in a way is like an entity that requires conflict to satiate even deeper desires than eating flesh. It’s almost incidental at this point because what really drives him is the nature of his own capacity to feel for others. He accepts and states how entropy leads to chaos which poignantly covers the second law of thermodynamics in that chaos must always increase. He embodies that element and does his best to thrive in the moment while still playing chess at the maximum performance possible.

Will and Chiyo made a great pair. She’s a bit of an enigma still because she’s not Lady Murasaki, who has yet to be revealed. How the two are integrated we’re not sure yet, but the mystery is fascinating to discover and Will needs a real ally, one who isn’t the ghost of Abigail. The only part I struggled to understand is the age of the prisoner who was played by Julian Richings, a fantastic actor (His portrayal of Death in the Supernatural show is second to none) We’re in 2015 which makes WWII very far away. Unless they are placing Hannibal’s childhood in the 60’s, this seems like a difficult concept to grasp on when his childhood trauma took place. It’s a nitpick, one that I’m happy to discard in favor of the plot at hand. As for Will, he’s still playing the neutral victim who forgives but doesn’t forget what happened to him. I like Chiyo because she’s new and at the same time someone who suffers at the hands of Hannibal but for vastly different reasons. I’d like to think she’ll be a formidable supporting character, but then again, her nature could be something else entirely given who she’s associated with.

I don’t have much to elaborate on with Jack and Pazzi’s scenes. It’s good to see Jack back, but we know next to nothing about his time spent recovering and why specifically he’s looking for Will. He mentions that both he and Will died when Hannibal cut them both, but it was told in a strange affirmation as opposed to an awakening of the spirit. Pazzi duplicates his mannerisms and concern over finding Hannibal, but at least with Jack the dialogue flows a bit more freely as Jack is normally a very sensible and upfront being. They kept their scenes short and for now what I saw was an acceptable length. I’d like Jack to have more purpose and direction when next we see him.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The dinner scene when Hannibal stabs Sogliato in the head with the ice pick. I swear I felt the point touch my temple for that fraction of a second which was a brilliant quick shot. Bedelia’s reaction was also priceless including Hannibal’s remark about being impulsive and technically not responsible for his death. He banters at the expense of his own amusement while Bedelia struggles to maintain her calm manners as she pulled the ice pick from Sogliato’s head. It was all around a funny and gruesome scene to watch.

CHARACTER MVP

I found Bedelia displayed more bravery and composure during her one on one scenes with Hannibal including the intimate bathtub scene where she threw the preverbal grenade in Hannibal’s lap by asking how her sister tasted then casually slipped away to let her hair rinse in the bathwater. She’s playing at scenarios detailing Hannibal’s rise as a cannibal when he won’t specifically speak to his childhood, yet Mischa’s fate seems to be relatively commonplace among both Will, Chiyo and kind of by Bedelia. She’s stoking the fire, but convinced she won’t be burned. I hope for her sake she doesn’t tread too close the next time she decides to poke at the master villain.

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m surprised Jack didn’t immediately tell Pazzi that Hannibal had killed a lot of people in America when Pazzi mentioned not hearing from the monster in twenty years. It’s not like Hannibal had been hibernating the whole time with only thoughts of killing in Italy.

Still no sign from Dr. Bloom yet. She’s listed in the show’s credits, let’s get going already! I’m starting to think we need an entire flashback episode detailing the missing eight months between seasons.

I don’t agree with having Will speak to an imaginary Hannibal during episodes like these. Season three is anticipating the reunion and I’m fine with keeping the two separated until the gut-wrenching climax when they must face each other again. Will’s interpretation of Hannibal doesn’t fully represent the monster and I’d like the two to be genuinely real when they speak to one another.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Some previous seasonal cliché’s made their way back into the fold of this episode but I feel the show has evolved into new territory and needs to explore those elements while we further dive into the psyche of our tried and tested characters. Some of the imagery just didn’t compare to last week’s episode and that was bound to be a serious possibility because that heart/body/stag/thing was just such a gruesome highlight, it would have been difficult to top. I enjoyed the new character interactions but felt Jack and Pazzi was the weakest of the three, understandably so. The core of Hannibal is beginning to surface which will be interesting to see how far it goes, but I hope it doesn’t include moments where Hannibal truly loses his composure and does more than just react with an ice pick. Hannibal isn’t an angry person and shouldn’t suffer from the indignities of being called out or mocked as a person of intellectual value. He wins when he eats the person who annoyed him, not because of the kill. Thanks for reading all, see you next week.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×03 (Ecbert and the adventures of his triple innuendo)

Vikings 03

Battle flows through the hands of the heavy hearted as Ragnar takes the fight straight to the would be prince of Mercia while King Ecbert witnesses Lagertha perform an animal sacrifice to bless the crops on their new land. Meanwhile at Kattegat, the wanderer, Harbard arrives and offers amusement and a bit of solace to Aslaug’s child, yet it is Siggy who keeps a watchful eye on the man. After two children are found drowned in the vast lake, she goes to the Seer who can offer nothing, for the Gods have kept him in the dark of any visions or foretelling.

From start to finish, Vikings was paced itself yet was quick to settle the fate of Torstein, who gave his life to distract the enemy. It was a generous departure considering Flocki had nothing but irritation in his heart over what he perceived as a pointless death and threw it back at Ragnar. Flocki has never been one to hide his emotions even if at times they make no sense to himself. Patient Ragnar saves himself from any kind of argument, yet takes some frustration out on his son, Bjorn, who allowed Porunn to go to battle and as a result, suffered a facial wound that may render her severally scarred. It’s still a mystery as to whether or not Porunn is with child, but at this point Ragnar is already punishing Bjorn for acting with the will of a little girl.

The battle itself had a flair for sloppiness. The mist was daunting and you could feel the dampness soak as both sides shot and flung their weapons with crazed accuracy. And at the end, Aethelwolf poised his archers above the bowl where Kwenthrith’s brother was being protected, and together, the Vikings closed in until he surrendered. At first I was expecting a strong comeback since he had held the bulk of his army inside, but by cornering himself like that, he was defeated with nowhere to run. It was a muddy mess showcased on purpose. In itself, the fight was a job, and Flocki enjoyed it the least.

After the battle, Ecbert, Judith, Athelstan, and Lagertha enjoy a moment in a bathhouse which gives way to Ecbert and Lagertha getting intimate while Judith leaves, uncomfortable with her thoughts. Athelstan reassures her even after she told him her longing of him and they remain ever faithful. Lagertha and Ecbert’s coupling are pushed forward while the other two remain fixed and innocent. There hasn’t been any visible deception from Ecbert regarding his plan with Lagertha which stems the question, is he in fact taken with her? His nobles offer nothing but shocked and appalled attitudes toward the “pagans” and try to be a voice in his head for reason to at least change their religious views. The struggle now is whether he’ll listen to them and risk alienating Lagertha, or whether he’ll continue to play along watching their lifestyle slowly transform the land and possibly him in the process.

Back at Kattegat, Harbard finds Siggy, Helga, and Aslaug and is treated to some aid for his wounded hand, which is offers a great story at dinner and an ability to calm Aslaug’s crying child. The more friendly and innocent Harbard seems, the more Siggy and we the audience feel he’s anything but. Is he really acting alone or is he part of a darker plot conspired by people like Kalf? Could he be an opposing force to the Seer himself given Siggy’s suggestion that he may be something more than he seems. Harbard isn’t ignorant to Ragnar being the king and though the death of two children raises a lot of questions, there’s no way to know if Harbard is directly responsible or if it just seems that way.

And finally, Ecbert sees first hand what one animal sacrifice looks like as Lagertha is drenched in blood and it is offered into the earth to help with the growth of food. The nobles don’t like it and they continue to push Ecbert to do something about the Vikings, at the very least turn them from their Gods. That won’t be an easy accomplishment, and I think if anything, Ecbert would be more susceptible to losing his own convictions at the hands of love and lust. Lagertha may be falling for him, but what will that mean for Ragnar when he sees his ex being intimate with another king?

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I very much enjoyed Harbard’s story and his portrayal with pretending to be Thor through it. This kind of mythos deserves more moments like these where the people are doused in the old tales, much like the telling of Ragnarok, which by far was the best story within story shown yet. This called back to that a bit and I appreciated the delivery.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Kevin Durand brought his A game this episode, and put on a stellar performance, acclimating to a seasoned character who easily integrates into the group and offers mystery and intrigue as a neutral character we don’t know. His story was fascinating to watch and I believe he’ll be a mainstay hopefully for at least the rest of the season.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I actually thought Porunn’s makeup was very well done, an interesting contrast to her pale complexion and eyeliner. When she sustained her injuries, it was interesting to note that Bjorn seemed at first concerned about her face and what would be the result. It took Rollo to talk a bit of sense into him, saying to coax her back from the dead. I liked that moment.

Aethelwulf actually played his part without any deception during the battle. I suppose that means that the deception will come later, possibly at the focal point of Judith’s choice to lie with Athelstan or not.

It might be a bit distracting, but I’d like to see some kind of text telling us how much time has passed between certain scenes. It’s almost impossible to tell how many days or weeks happen between let’s say the start of the battle of last week’s episode and the end of it. Minor gripe.

With Torstein gone, there aren’t many male supporting characters left on Ragnar’s side. Rollo and Flocki were always mainstays, and Bjorn is still green but relatively invulnerable to any serious plot issues. I wonder if this number will continue to dwindle to the point one of them will be next. Hope not.

I still find it odd how easily Lagertha and Ecbern are becoming intimate. It’s not so much forced as it is too simple. Athelstan and Judith have a lot of layers to get through before their passion is realized while Lagertha and Ecbert aren’t wasting any time at all. I ponder if their relationship will be long lasting or not.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very entertaining episode and Harbard’s inclusion to the plot is a good addition all around. The battle was decent though the archery work always feels a bit stubborn and off when there isn’t 300 people all firing arrows at once. Torstein’s death stung, but he got the death he wanted, even Flocki doesn’t agree with it. I think Porunn will recover, because Ragnar and Bjorn shouldn’t be fighting, not this early, though it’s poetic that Rollo is consulting the son considering the role he played against Ragnar over the last two seasons. Still, there’s trouble brewing and it’s happening at the right pace. Keem ‘em coming.

 

 

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