A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×05 (The scammer with a heart of meh)

Dark Matter 3x05

 

SUMMARY

During a transmission call made by Adrian the Raza become entangled in a plot to save Adrian’s would-be girlfriend by trading her for a data file containing the location of Project Phoenix, a shipyard for a Ferrous Corp. armada. After a failed attempt to retrieve the file at Tabor’s last known whereabouts, Five and Adrian board a station with a vault, but are captured by the security force working for Ferrous Corp. The android breaks them out and they head to a planet where Tabor was rumored to hiding in. Once there, they are again captured by the local sentry android but Three and the android intervene and retrieve the file. Adrian makes the trade for the woman, Ambrosia, but she double-crosses her captor in an attempt to sell the file herself. The crew subdue her but Adrian convinces them to let her go. On the Raza, the crew discover the shipyard is empty suggesting the Ferrous Corp fleet is already operational. Meanwhile, on Zairon, Ishida is suffering heavy losses with defending a sector that is spiritually important to his people and when he discovers an assassin in his ranks, he enforces fear rather than love to subjugate loyalty from his people. Elsewhere, Commander Nieman makes a log reciting an escalation of events and a certainty of victory in the corporation war. He also mentions an Agent Zero, someone who will be necessary to deal with the outer colonies as he reviews Six on screen.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter continues to push the corporate war into the next phase while giving us more back-story on Adrian and Solara, the two newest recruits to the Raza. While enduring Adrian’s wild-goose chase regarding the data file on Project Phoenix and subsequent deception by his crush, we’re also given a wider spectrum on Ishida’s slip into a more darker rule as the “Fall of Ishida” begins its domino effect. Some aspects of this episode stood out very effectively while Adrian as the main focus kept us from diving further into another character’s subplot, Solara, but we’ll get to her later.

 

Five continues to showcase her new talents of bad-assery and the android once more got to strut her emotional stuff which continues to beg the question, why doesn’t she just leave the augment on? Entertaining episode, but not necessarily the strongest of this season so far.

 

THE GOOD

Dark Matter knows the pieces it’s setting on the board and with every episode we’re given just a snippet of the whole, this time the firepower of Ferrous Corp and an ominous threat of a character known as Agent Zero. And before we theorize that Six is a triple agent it’s more likely that Nieman will be sending this agent to neutralize Six as a threat. Hopefully this agent has the fortitude and charisma to be someone other than a single-episode villain, because this show needs more villain mainstays and Nieman isn’t the end all be all for this show, at least I hope not.

 

Ishida’s darker turn is frustrating to watch, but in a good way. If I were a betting man, I’d say Ishida should take on the role of the main villain for at least this season, because we’re being given a gradual slide into that side of him that will do whatever he must to preserve his stature and ability to be emperor of Zairon. But, realistically, he’s more likely a symbol of how being negatively influenced can ruin someone’s career and role. I wouldn’t normally expect his character to lose everything and once more join Raza’s cause, because that would be too textbook, but if he does have a final part to play against Ferrous Corp, he’ll need the Raza and her crew to make things right for himself and his people.

 

THE BAD

This came right out of the gate, but I was certainly intrigued by Solara’s back-story and would have expected some circular tie-in as a means to deal with her grief with what happened at the temple she trained in. Yet we weren’t given any subplot surrounding it, and for the moment I understand that there is nothing to really bring out since she murdered everyone who killed the monks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t capitalize on her grief and make these situations where she has to deal with similar circumstances. The episode simply moved on to Adrian’s plight and I wasn’t really as interested in seeing his development as I was Solara’s.

 

While Adrian proved to be a man of conscience, he doesn’t seem any more capable of being an asset to the team except when it comes to random levity and an occasional reality-checking voice. I’m hoping Solara won’t have to actually give her life to save Adrian in the future unless it made him a stronger person for it. If we’re going to build him up, let’s do it with purpose unless he turns out to be more cannon fodder.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I think it’s done with a reserved fashion, but I’m beginning to appreciate more and more the android’s style when it comes to her emotional side of things. Not just in her character personas she’s capable of emulating but even in casual conversation like she was having with Three which makes me yearn for her character to just leave the damn upgrade turned on so she can exist as a real heartbeat on the show. Nevertheless, I do enjoy these moments where she gets to unleash her human side and I do hope we see more in the future and not just in situation where she has to pretend to save the crew.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving this reluctantly to Adrian for two reasons. For one, he didn’t give up Five as a Raza crew member to the security force that captured him and again for wanting to let Ambrosia go even after she betrayed him. At the heart of it, Adrian is a decent person isn’t really out to scam anyone so there’s no reason to believe that sometime in the future he’ll do a double-cross himself, unless that’s what the writers want us to think…hmmm. In any case, he had growth or at the very least confirmation that he’s not a real imbecile, just extremely gullible.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Just a couple of definitions, but I need to keep track of all these sectors and stations more because there’s just so many. The name Bellerophon (The planet they went to) is in reference to originally a greek hero who slayed the Chimera. When Adrian mentioned “Oslo syndrome” what he was referring to was Stockholm syndrome, albeit a more general idea of it.

 

With tensions rising between Misaki and Teku, I’m thinking Misaki will learn from her past transgression and continue to manipulate Ishida into having Teku killed rather than killing him herself like she did with Nyx. Sometimes I’m having trouble understanding her motivation since technically everyone wants the same thing for Zairon, she just wants to be more closer to Ishida in influence and proximity I imagine. In our eyes, she’s a “villain” while Ishida isn’t proving to be as smart or resourceful as we might have thought in the past given his status. He’s making Grade A mistakes that are going to cost him his fleet and the war as a whole. But this is the point and the story of his downfall, something we already know is a sure bet.

 

I’m actually a bit surprised that nobody picked up on Ambrosia and Goren’s plan being a trap for Adrian since he’s the one that made the call first only to find out she was being “held hostage”. Generally in a plot like this someone like Goren or Ambrosia would be the one reaching out to bait the person in question. Otherwise Goren and Ambrosia were literally sitting around waiting for an opportunity to drag Adrian around space looking for the data file. What if Adrian didn’t call that day, or that week, or that month, what would they have done?

 

Sometimes I think the show is looking for strange reasons to put a wig on Jodelle. They’ve all made her look relatively distinguished, but is her green hair really going to be a dead giveaway to people that she’s a Raza crewmember at this rate? Or is it more simply that unless she looks professional and mature that no one will take her seriously? She’s already managing in a lot of ways to be more than capable of acting, both on instinct and in planning so what are the wigs really doing for her visually? Go with red next time!

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Dark Matter took us around several locations to show how big their newest member’s heart is. In the midst of finding out the firepower of Ferrous Corp, we’re given more insight into Ishida’s role as emperor and Misaki’s over-arcing influence which will inevitably lead him into a downward spiral. The android once more proves to be a reliable and entertaining asset to the group and we have an ominous character making their way to the frontlines in the name of Agent Zero. More pieces to the puzzle are put in place with plenty on the way. Now it’s time to get a little crazy on the show with more science-fiction mayhem. Bring on the weirdness! Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×05 (That wasn’t the greatest love letter in the world, it was just a tribute)

TO 3x05

SUMMARY

Betwixt the unity of blood, a secret revealed pits brother against brother as Aurora lures Klaus with intentions to divide him from Elijah. Camille and Vincent continue to trail Lucien and suffer an ancient vampire’s wrathful nature. And Davina seeks help from Jackson and Haley during a festival where she is targeted by the covens she governs over.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I’m never usually spot on with theories, but I’m glad Lucien, Tristan, and Aurora have been equally identified to be sired by Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah, respectively. This is exactly what was needed to solidify the trio sire war that’s been brewing on the forefront. This has been captivating from the beginning, and now the first major piece has been set in motion. The flashback had a certain flair for being overly dramatic in the vicissitude of the Mikaelsons and their plight to remain anonymous in luxurious fashion, but revealing Aurora’s change was a good moment to place and the right episode to utilize it. And the climax of the episode was one of the better cliffhanger endings I’ve seen in a while leading to some explosive very soon.

RECAP

Aurora lured Klaus to a shop and proceeds to coax him back into her good gracious while he remains resolute that she made poor choices involving him back in the past. Meanwhile, Elijah acquires Marcel’s help in tracking Tristan’s movements after discovering he’s hiding an alliance with someone that may be Lucien. Camille and Vincent attempt to track Lucien still believing he’s involved with the serial killings while Hayley uses her curse spell as a means to gain protection from Hayley and Jackson. She fears retaliation from the son of the mother she had Hayley kill to maintain her leadership among the covens. In a flashback, Aurora finds out about Klaus and the others as vampires and attempts to convince Klaus to turn her. He refuses and she tries to presumably tries to commit suicide. Rebekah finds her and gives her blood to heal. Afterward, Aurora leaps to her death and revives as a vampire. Klaus accepts her until later when words gets out about multiple killings that could lead Michael to them. Aurora wants to leave with Klaus, but an unfortunate slip of Klaus’s secret causes Elijah to discover compulsion and makes Aurora tell him about Klaus killing Esther. Elijah then makes Auroa shun Klaus which breaks his heart as he leaves with his family. In the present, Davina confronts the son but is unable to convince him to join her. Lucien tires of Camille’s pursuit and presumably sets her up as the serial killer just as she revealed to Vincent her room full of dark magical supplies. And finally, Klaus learns the truth about Elijah’s compulsion and later confronts him about it. The two fight and Elijah declares that they will indeed become enemies now.

THE GOOD

The intrigue is palpable now with the brothers on very thin ice. I think it should take more than this kind of betrayal to cause dissention, but considering it was mostly about fanning the flames of anger they’ve always shared, mostly on Klaus’s side. In any case, it was the spark needed to begin splitting the Mikaelson’s up and it’s a positive venture from our perspective. Much like relationships, this show is about pitting the family apart and then finding the means to bring them together again. For now it’s very much about splitting them apart and they’re off to a rambunctious start now that Aurora has planted the seeds of hatred. But was it done for other means than love? Signs are pointing to yes easily.

Aurora is painting an interesting picture as the newest addition to the present crew. Her vampiric loyalty to Rebekah should be without question, but how she’s playing with Klaus and Elijah is tipping point of their scale is the real crux of the war which should hopefully be starting very soon. And by war, I mean an insane amount of blood shed between the three families. We’re missing a few more batting for Rebekah, but I’m sure we’ll get there with plenty of time to spare. Aurora has allure and an eccentric passion that fits well with the paradigm of the show. She’s not truly insane, but rather in strange fits of control that suggests she’s been pining for Klaus for a very long time. Will she get him and worse, what will she do if she doesn’t?

THE BAD

This serial killing subplot has run its course. Revealing who it is now won’t make much of an impact unless it has some mind-screwing moment that we just can’t conceive of as possible. Keeping Camille relevant is fine, but I think there’s better ways to do it then to disperse her from sire war. Now that she’s arrested, it’ll be up to Vincent to find a way to get her cleared. Maybe some dark magic will be involved.

Hayley’s subplot faired no better. She’s gained her alliance with Hayley which is fine, but I felt as bored as the covens did when they were just standing in line to offer her animal as gifts for the festival. Her growth as a leader is essential to become a mainstay character, but the vengeful son is completely in the right here and the idea that Davina would even try to convince him to join her was just preposterous. This isn’t shaping up to be an interesting segment and probably needs to be dropped completely.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I’m always liking the fights they’re showing on this season and tonight Elijah and Klaus’s quick brawl in the courtyard was a gripping moment that had me wanting at least another five minutes at the end to just to see what happened next. The build up was fantastic, and though I think this is a rerun of Klaus reacting very poorly to another family betrayal, lest he not forget that it was Esther murder that sparked a bit of this whole mess and again Klaus made some poor choices that cost him some family loyalty. Still, I hope this isn’t the last time those two duel.

CHARACTER MVP

Aurora should get the top spot tonight. She’s a little all over the map emotionally, but I do believe that’s the sticking point is she’s completely unhinged and though she appears to want Klaus as a lover, I think it’s easily to conclude she’ll turn on anything and anyone if her personality encounters any vexing moments. There’s an unhealthy obsession riling inside her and it comes out very easy to translate and understand. And if she’s indeed screwing with everyone on the show, then that means she’s well on her way to become a major player in town.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Okay, enough of just Rebekah flashbacks, get her back in New Orleans and in her original body. She needs to be involved, I just don’t understand why they keep writing her off all these episodes in the present. That third side needs to have a presence.

I wonder if Elijah taught compulsion to his siblings or if they figured it out on their own. Speaking of which, when did the term vampire start getting used in this universe? You can tell the characters in the flashback want to say vampire but they just can’t because it hasn’t been invented yet.

It’s strange hearing a vampire refer to the heartbeat of another vampire. It’s a little disjointed when simple things like sunlight and heartbeats are no longer an issue or a part of normal lore for vampire stories. When was the last time any vampire died or was consumed by sunlight on this show? Not even a sunscreen joke?

I’m glad the dark magic supply closet hasn’t been forgotten. Vincent fears what he sees which means we should be seeing them in play soon and hopefully by Vincent himself who seems to recognize a lot of artifacts.

Lucien and Tristan having a truce or an allegiance generally feels like a red herring. How many more players are in this game and when will they start showing up?

At this point in the flashback scenes Elijah hasn’t turned Tristan yet. So if they left the castle, when does this switch occur?

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very solid episode with a climactic ending that promises more brotherly rivalry which is something we’ve been waiting for since the season started. They are at their best and worst when they’re on opposite sides and it’s time to settle old debts of betrayal. Klaus is certainly overreacting from a 1000 year secret, but if that’s what it takes to get him angry at the world and Elijah again, so be it. Aurora is now confirmed as Rebekah’s bloodline which I was hoping for since the beginning, and it should necessitate her return to the show as a present character. The Davina and Camille subplot were there but not very engaging in comparison but they didn’t drag the episode into a series of bored moments, just barely. I know Camille won’t stay in jail for long and Davina’s role as regen will come to a head soon, because the build up feels predictable there. In any case, it’s time to unleash the vampires all over the city and start the real battle. Let the bloodshed begin. Thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×05 (When you absolutely positively have to bring out your inner Morpheus, accept no substitutes)

Hanni 3x05

Chronological deconstruction and a fetish for snails entice and strike forth as the fifth episode of Hannibal draws the killer’s enemies closer than ever before. Rather than postpone events from the third Hannibal book so called by its namesake, the events of one Inspector Pazzi and a bounty orchestrated by Verger are integrated within the prequel plot to Red Dragon making this particular entry a fascinating and duplicitous watch. The cast has been set and a betrayed Will is left on the tracks. As it undoubtedly stands, he will be the last to catch up to our graceful yet pragmatic eater of men, who has earned the ass kicking of a lifetime.

Wonderful job conducting the symphony of murder and violence albeit a bit repetitive for those who have seen the 2001 film. The first half laments, reflects, and establishes moments that narrate the oncoming slaughter that Hannibal is known for when he’s unavailable to taste his victims. The atmosphere drives the existing dialogue into more fractal surmisings of what’s to come. Where the plot out did itself was the last fifteen minutes where it formally reenacted the book/film’s events, replaces key characters in a candid scene, and sets up the best one-sided tussle since the premiere and finale of last season. Every step of the way I was onboard for the carnage and wasn’t disappointed because it’s just not time for Hannibal to be caught yet, but the clock is ticking, and our villain knows it.

Will and Chiyo travel by train and converse about her first meeting with Hannibal and somewhat gloss over what’s to come in finding him. In the middle of the night, Chiyo kisses Will in the back of the train after informing him that Hannibal is indeed in Florence. She then knocks him off the train, presumable to face Hannibal alone. Jack dines with Pazzi and his wife, who the former discovers at the museum under the alias Dr. Fell. Pazzi speaks with Verger via laptop about the bounty and he’s told to attain a viable fingerprint to attain the cash advance. Pazzi visits Hannibal again at the museum but is subdued and disemboweled for his efforts. Hannibal prepares to leave when Jack ambushes him and beats him severally. Hannibal barely escapes while Jack is forced to watch his enemy slip away.

The events on the train I believe were meant to solidify Will’s bestowing of freedom that he effectively puts Chiyo through. This eventually backfires into her wanting to either find Hannibal herself or possibly track down Lady Murasaki. By pushing him off the train, it resets Will’s entire meter of trust and once more changes perspectives on how he’ll engage Hannibal and Chiyo should they cross paths again. It was almost disappointing seeing her do what she did, but I understand that in a few very short scenes this season, she is establishing a vast amount of growth and it’s almost unnatural how quick she’s adapting to this freedom she was force to have due to Will’s involvement. Is she an enemy of Will now, and is her goal the same as Will’s? If it is, then it truly is a race, if it isn’t, then Will has to find Jack soon because Hannibal may still have an ally or yet another enemy gunning for him, we just don’t quite know for sure yet.

Hannibal’s relationship with Bedelia maintains and accentuates her ability to regain some composure lost early on this season. Now she’s freely partaking in his meals knowing which involve humans and which do not. Tonight, they bordered on some possible sexual innuendos which at the moment are not confirmed or denied. She’s showing more control and appealing to his senses that every move he makes is leading his enemies closer. Whether her trips to purchase specific wine repeatedly is her own method of delivering breadcrumbs to those who catch it is not currently known, but either way, it’s working. Now comes the true test to see if she assists Hannibal in staying hidden or if she’ll capitalize on Jack’s surprise attack and either flee or deal with the serial killer herself.

It’s worth noting that in the original 2001 film, Hannibal has the same conversation with Pazzi about Verger being the one behind the bounty, yet as he answers Pazzi’s phone, it’s Dr. Bloom who speaks briefly with Hannibal and not Clarice Starling, who as of yet is not known on the show. It’s interesting they chose to mirror this moment but replace a central character. Dr. Bloom’s reaction is priceless yet I feel their short reunion was over in a flash and we’re left getting less than a taste of familiar wounds. Dr. Bloom is completely allied with Verger who continues to ridicule her for having been so close to Hannibal. It’s all he has to torment and even though she helps him, he can’t help but abuse her the only way he can. It’s textbook inferiority complex, but the truth is it’s demeaning for Alana to be so driven that she only sees Verger as a means to exact personal revenge. Her role is better suited for his sister, but she’s likely being saved for the inevitable fate of Verger, which we may never see as the show has been…well we all know what happened.

The absolute pinnacle of achievement came after the unfortunate demise of Pazzi. He was a believable character but it took Hannibal to convince the audience why Pazzi would go for the money and not the fame, instead of Pazzi himself convincing us. In the books/film, Pazzi wants to give his wife a luxurious life, a life he can’t afford because of his obsession and nature of work. That really doesn’t translate on the show and his death suffers because his debut made him more developed and sincere about capturing Hannibal yet tonight, he just wanted the money because of the way Hannibal explains it. The effect of his death just wasn’t there. And that’s why the next scene was perfect.

Jack followed up and found Hannibal at the museum and a spectacular battle erupted, where Jack attained a good portion of revenge putting Hannibal in a very exposed position. Knowing Hannibal never truly died in any medium, his narrow escape was one of exhaustion and desperation. Jack was a machine and Hannibal was the human this time, blood for blood. It was the most fun watching since their fight in the last season. Very well done.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I stand by the last scene with all my thumbs up. It was raw and brutal, almost depicting Hannibal accepting his fate if not for the way he used Pazzi’s body to survive and hobble to freedom. He’ll lick his wounds and either face his enemies on all sides or disappear with Bedelia his accomplice once more. That’s the exciting piece because we just don’t know what’s going to happen next except that episode 8 is called “The Great Red Dragon” which means he has to be caught by then, if it’s to follow the book’s motif. Aside from that, great finale to “Contorno.”

CHARACTER MVP

Chiyo’s move against Will was a surprise, but Jack’s almost “Terminator” like attack was the revenge we had been waiting for so he gets the edge this week. Not to mention he shared a moment of release as he passed Bella’s ashes into Florence along with his ring, truly letting his wife depart. It was cathartic and also helped telegraph how he was changing in order to face Hannibal as the man we saw at the end. For that, he’s ontop of his game, far different from the man Will talked to in the past, the Jack who wanted to let things go.

ENDING THOUGHTS

How Hannibal will be caught is the crux of this half-season’s mystery. This is a classic case of journey meaning more than the destination even though we know what’s to come. Hannibal is losing his edge, but will he retain his powerful psychiatric persona when behind bars and necessary to aid in the capture of both the Red Dragon and Buffalo Bill?

I’m not satisfied with Dr. Bloom’s role this season. I realize she literally has no place if she’s not with Verger because Chiyo essentially replace her as Will’s compatriot, but there’s just not enough to warrant her position because she’s being set up to fail along with Verger. She might have some substance later when Hannibal is incarcerated, but until then, I don’t mind keeping her off screen to build her up as a credible opponent for Hannibal and not just a bond-villain-sidekick.

Will Hannibal flee to Lady Murasaki for help? I don’t watch previews so I don’t know if something like that has already been given away. But she might be his only hope for survival if Bedelia is set to turn on him at a glance.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. I’m not going to say I was bored with tonight’s artistic style, but some shots just seemed overzealous such as the close-up of Pazzi dialing the phone which had no significant meaning for me, while other shots, such as the victim dressed in Will’s design was absolutely stunning. Close-ups have their place, but that’s not how to win the Hannibal crowd here. It has to be truly unique and resonate with both the characters and ourselves. Will’s viewpoint tends to be the spark of these fantastic surreal shots, but lately we barely get a glimpse into his mindset as we’re more given the culture of Florence as a substitute. There’s nothing wrong with that, I enjoy the change of style there, but sometimes it’s good to up the ante and it’s been very hard to follow up on that deer/heart/corpse which still haunts me. In any case, the last fifteen minutes were very engaging and brutally terrific. The dawn of Hannibal’s capture is near and this snippet is leading us to the endgame. Until next week. Thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×05 (Nobody ever suspects the kind and gentle king)

Vikings 05

If a king is too nice and lenient, surely he must be a scheming tyrant. Ecbert reveals his true agenda as his son Aethelwulf carries out a plan to massacre the northmen who stayed behind to grow crops in Wessex. With it’s conclusion, Ecbert determines which nobles were planning the attack against his elusive wishes and likely will be disposing of them. In Kattegat, Flocki discovers the strange truth between Harbard and Aslaug relationship that puts Ragnar on a path straight for Paris.

With the season half done, Vikings rallies the cry of a siege larger than any they’ve undertaken before. If such a raid is to succeed, Ragnar will need everyone on his side and already he’s lost Lagertha due to Kalf assuming rule over her land. And news of Siggy’s death puts Rollo further into a pit of anger and despair over his place in life. All this and an eerie telling by the Seer that the bear will marry the princess which won’t spell good fortune for Ragnar and his people.

As the homecoming drums signal the return of Ragnar back home, All isn’t well with the northern folk. Porunn is distant and sullen putting Bjorn in a state of uncertainty over their union. At the same time Rollo is heckled by other warriors over Siggy’s death prompting Bjorn to stop Rollo from fighting and getting himself killed. It’s easy to say Rollo is quickly becoming the most conflicted character on the show. He’s lasted as long as Ragnar and lost everything he’d hope to gain. His kinship with Ragnar could be next if he’s truly snapped.

Ragnar encourages Kalf to join his raid of Paris even though it may be a lost cause. He isn’t winning the support of Lagertha in doing so and now he has to deal with Flocki’s belief that the man who slept with Aslaug was Odin in disguise. The look in his eyes suggests he finds Flocki’s conclusion trite at best. How does one confront the possibility that a king’s wife was seduced by the father of all their gods? In a way, one could view this scenario as a test set up by Flocki. Out of all the Vikings who worship the gods of old, Flocki is the only one that determines the real identity of Harbard. His greatest fear as of late is that the Christian faith will do away with the gods and he ridicules anyone who associates with the Christian god including Rollo and Aethelstan. His fear that Odin came to Kattegat to seduce Aslaug could mean many things, but more so than most, Flocki thinks his own faith is being tested. Will he use that for or against Ragnar?

To what end will Ecbert’s plan take him? If earning his trust with Ragnar is no longer the issue, then the only conclusion is he intends to destroy the Vikings completely when they return to Wessex. This could mean an alliance with Paris that will result in Ragnar’s worst defeat in history. To ignore a laughing seer’s prophecy could spell disaster for everyone in Kattegat, yet it’s clear some union will take place between a bear and a princess we don’t know the identities of yet.

Kalf’s profile led to the possibility that he was planning something quite more violent in nature when Lagertha returned home. Yet, all he did was summarize his rightful place as ruler and even mildly offered Lagertha and he join. If he’s playing at a longer game, it could mean he doesn’t intend to stop at just ruling at his current stead. Now that he knows Ragnar’s plan to raid Paris, he could easily use that time to conduct his own raid of Kattegat, something that’s been done at least once.

The episode ends with Ecbert playing at his charade that he didn’t approve of the northmen’s massacre in Wessex. He did so to discover his enemies and his son played the role to Ecbert’s satisfaction. Does this mean he’ll continue to play at ignorance when Ragnar returns or is that long past and now the only thing left is war? It will be a time before they meet again and meet they shall.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There were a few to choose from, but my favorite scene was when Bjorn and Rollo fought in the rain. There’s something about the end of a man’s rope that he begins questioning his own way of life and the inevitable fate that will be declared on him. He wanted a fight, though more so he wanted to be beaten, to feel something other than the loss of Siggy. Until now he had her support no matter where he stood, but it’s gone now, swallowed by the cold ice and water of the lake. Rollo is on the verge of becoming a broken man again, and he’s at his best when he doesn’t know what to do. Conflicted natures go a long way to discovering what one must do to survive.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I want to give this one to Rollo even though he hasn’t been displayed as much. In the last few episodes, he was simply there to fill in a moment here or a segment there, never really adding to the plot but just to be one of the many Vikings doing what they do. Now he’s back to sharing a pain that we’ve recognized since day one. He’s lost a lot and it’s time to understand where his future lies. He knows he’ll attend some joining, but the seer won’t translate beyond that. His answers will have to come from elsewhere.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

The seer’s prophecy is always dancing between the literal and the metaphor. Obviously he isn’t referring to a real bear, maybe. Perhaps there’s a man in Paris that dawns the symbol of one or perhaps it could refer to someone even closer to Kattegat. My first thought was Aethelwulf and Kwenthrith would be married, but that doesn’t really fit considering Judith’s situation and whatnot. There’s a lot of theories to pass around on the subject, but one thing we know, the seer is never wrong.

I think Bjorn will support Thorunn long enough to help her return to the way she was. Her injuries are permanent and the scars will be forever linked to reality that maybe she wasn’t as prepare as she thought. Still, I have positive thoughts that the two will eventually be fine.

Ragnar has the most peculiar reactions that always make me think he’s never taking any situation seriously. Flocki’s tale of Odin, his attitude toward Kalf, and even his reaction when his son cried after he picked him up. He’s always so preoccupied with the chance at raiding that everything else just has to fall in place or he won’t deal with it the way he’s supposed to as a king and father. Aslaug thinks Ragnar was sleeping with a number of women in Wessex which wasn’t true, yet Ragnar doesn’t dignify the accusation with a response because he wants to be back at what he does best, raiding.

It appears as Lagertha is heading out on her own, but to what end? Will she take Kalf up on his offer or plan an attack that may not see the side of victory? It doesn’t seem likely that she’ll be joining Ragnar on that path to Paris although it seems prevalent that she confront Ecbert when his betrayal is revealed.

This episode also dealt with both sides of unfaithfulness and how it’s viewed. Aethelwulf was raging in anger only to be quelled by the massacre of the country northmen. On the other side, Ragnar dealt with his news of his wife with silence and a look of passive annoyance even when he ignored Aslaug’s accusation. As different as cultures can be, there’s still the threat of miscommunication and a reluctance to deal with issues at heart. Looking for others to embrace when problems need to be sorted out is the culmination of any couple’s life struggles regardless of country or worship.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. “The Usurper” dealt with the aftermath of Harbard’s time in Kattegat and Ecbert’s true motives were known in cunning fashion. Some characters were given more opportunity to explore their anguish and for once, nobody notable died. As always with Vikings, alliances are formed and shattered in the blink of an eye making friends into enemies in as easy as a breath or a trip to and from home. I don’t expect Ecbert to maintain a relationship with Ragnar for long and expect a huge problem when they set their sails toward Paris. Ragnar will do what he has to, for his family and his people.

 

 

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