A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×06 (Android versus Android coming soon, get hyped!)

Dark Matter 3x06

 

SUMMARY

Portia, Boone, Tash, Wexler, and the android from the alternate universe infiltrate the ship carrying Ishida’s prisoners and kill both them and the security force holding them. They then convince Truffault to a deal smuggling missiles to another corporation but betray her as the crew of the Raza learn of their existence. With the help of Tabor, they convince the alternate crew to sell the missiles to another buyer however Portia and Boone sneak onto the Raza to take it over. The android and Five though subdue both Portia and Boone as the alternate android agrees to trade them back for Three who had been previously captured. After the exchange, the alternate Portia meets with Commander Nieman aboard his station and plots to take down the Raza crew. On the Raza, Tabor leaves on Truffault’s ship taking Solara with him, citing a need to be less adventurous and safe. Later, Two rendezvous with the outer colony planet where Six was occupying however they’re stunned when they see the planet is littered with dead bodies.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter never forgets its many plot threads and once again introduces us to the mayhem of Portia and her alternate team. This was a bit of a surprise as I had cornered Corso as the sole escapee from their last encounter. I didn’t expect the entire rest of the crew to make it across sans Corso himself. What does come as more of a surprise is their integration as another formidable group of villains, albeit not the smartest considering they don’t have an evil Five on their team. Tabor’s departure seems like perfect timing, but I wouldn’t be against them appearing again if it meant they can take a more purposeful position in the future. With next week’s promo pointing to Six as the mysterious Agent Zero, it looks like Two and her team will once more be up against the man who betrayed them originally. Fun times.

 

THE GOOD

I have to give props to the curve ball at the beginning when Ishida’s prisoners were spaced by Portia and Boone. It took me a second to realize what was going on and not that Two and Three had become vicious, chaos-driven villains and would stop at nothing to revenge against their former comrade, Four. Portia and Boone seem to have all the pieces they need to “try” and outsmart the Raza crew, however as we quickly realize, Portia needs bigger help to get the job done, and that’s what resourceful villains do, they get better villains to do the work for them. For the most part, I’m glad they didn’t wrap this up by killing all the alternate crew members and for some reason I feel like there’s high potential to include the alternate android in a plot down the road. High hopes.

 

THE BAD

I realize the episode needed Ishida in it to connect with the ship that the alternate crew murdered so we can keep this universe small enough, but I don’t think this was an episode that needed us to remember that Ishida is still maintaining a dubious personality when it comes to malevolent emperor versus the sensible Ishida we remember. It’s the same example we got last time and we didn’t need another one so soon. We know Ishida is plagued with doubt and worrisome over the war effort and still feels accountable for Nyx’s death. We know he’s slipping further from Teku’s influence and more toward an angry resentful leader that needs fear to work as his weapon. The next logical course of action is to either make his turn complete or make him fight the corruption from within using his good senses he was taught to have. We don’t need any more ambiguous decisions, just get on with the tragic downfall if it’s going to happen. More evolution and less reminders.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It was short, but I liked the fight between Portia and the android. I thought it could get really crazy considering Portia has the same nano-tech as Two does (she does right?) and the android of course flipping around was perfect. I like fights that are energized and this certainly fit the bill. I want to see the android handle a sword next time against Ishida or Misaki.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Little tough on this one. There wasn’t a central character theme this time around and almost everyone had  moment to shine one for the most part. I’ll save both androids deserve the award for both the fight scene against Portia and for the other android taking down Tash to handle the trade for her allies back. Both moments were crucial to each side’s success and their little conversation was of course worth a few chuckles considering their emotionless yet suspicious natures about one another.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Just a few plots still floating around the ether we haven’t dived too far into including the mystery of Five’s sister and whether or not there are any more assassins from Ishida on their way to intercept the Raza. If not the latter then certainly the former needs to be resolved this season. We have time.

 

This may be slightly off the cusp, but as heart-warming as the scenes were with Three and Sarah, I really want one of them to show some kind of heavy side-effect with the situation they’re in. If it’s Sarah, her world-building could be further developed as a scenario where she begins to play god in her own world, building people and a whole town of her own to the point she can’t sustain the populace she made and has to break out or destabilize. For Three, I can see him starting a dependency for Sarah like last time only more internal to the point, he becomes obsessed and stays in Sarah’s world too long to the point his physical body begins to suffer wildly or he becomes stuck inside. I just feel there’s something building here and it won’t necessarily be good for either one in the end.

 

Does Ishida really have the military experience to decide the fate of his armada? Being the emperor means he can make any decision surely, but he also has a great deal of knee-jerk reactions that are preventing him from making effective decisions, something his general(s) should be witnessing and advising more than just what they’re doing now. In the past, it’s been about choosing between one general’s plan versus Teku’s or whatnot, but now he’s just making call after call which are inherently bad each time around. This is the struggle with knowing he’s going to lose no matter what and seeing how each step brings him closer to that downfall. Frustrating but necessary.

 

I also wonder if when it comes down to it, will Two kill Portia and will Three kill Boone, and will the android be forced to kill the other android? There will be a final showdown of sorts, I’m almost certain of it, but what will be the fate of the alternate crew. I’m not in any way caring about evil Wexler and Tash, they’re cannon fodder like they always were, but Portia and Boone deserve a fitting end to their evil ways. That should also be resolved this season.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The doppelgangers return to lay their own foundation in the universe where only one crew of the Raza can remain. Tabor made one last team effort before resigning as a guest character while Ishida continues to make anything but a calculated decision regarding the war he’s in. With a few surprises and some good action, tonight’s episode fulfilled a week long wait in finding out where the Raza ventured next. And as always, there was a stinger of a cliffhanger detailing Six’s new allies as they’re all likely dead save for him. Now we deal with the fallout and the potential for more crucial moments as Six becomes the deadly enemy once again. Five will have her work cut out for her. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×06 (Rebekah is the Kenny of this show)

TO 3x06

SUMMARY

Klaus and Aurora take a stroll through New Orleans, getting know each other once more as Elijah and Freya uncover more of Tristan and Lucien’s plot to imprison their sires starting with Rebekah. Hayley is stalked by an old vampire under Tristan’s bloodline with ties to Genghis Khan and Rebekah is forced into her original body when Aya kills her mortal witch form. Camille is put under pressure by Lucien to find a dark object or watch as her police friend Kinney is slowly put to death.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

What began as a prelude to a three-sided war has now become a two-sided battle with a tricky third party still trying to convince Klaus she’s on Rebekah’s side. While some elements move forward, others take a small step back, most notably in the guise of motivation set upon by three vampires who were made to act like the Mikaelson’s to keeping Michael from discovering their true location. While told rather than narrated in a flashback, we’re given a brief explanation as to why the sired generation despise the original family so much. There’s a flaw in this writing but it can be easily overlooked as long as there’s a destined climax on its way. As a whole, tonight’s episode has some frightening moments mixed with a few trivial encounters and a reoccurring theme that is getting more tired every time I see it. As directions go, while not entirely foreseen leaves a bit of dryness to the over-arcing plot which until has was turning wildly into an inferno. Now it’s seemingly a romantic fire stoked by the wantings of Klaus and his desire to ignite old love. We have a ways to go to fix this.

RECAP

After Klaus and Aurora spend the night together, the previous 24 hours and seen as a flashback where Freya finds Elijah and Klaus settled after their skirmish with a newfound drive to uncover Lucien and Tristan’s plot. Klaus serenades Aurora while Elijah seeks our Freya to find Rebekah and bring her home. Freya uses a spell to communicate with Rebekah who is in another country nearly done with her search to find a spell to bring Kol back to life. Her body is killed by Aya and a team of vampires loyal to Tristan. Freya helps Rebekah escape after she returns to her original body, but Rebekah refuses to leave until she finds the spell. Meanwhile, an old vampire tracks Haley with orders to kill her. Hayley fights, captures, and brings him to Marcel’s gym where they tell Elijah by phone. Elijah intercedes and stops the vampire from killing Hayley and Marcel but sacrifices himself instead of telling Elijah by compulsion what Tristan and Lucien’s plans against them are. Rebekah finds the spell but is captures once more by Aya and daggered while Camille and Kinney are taken by Lucien and ordered to find a dark object needed for a spell against the originals. Camille finds it and is forced to give it to Lucien to save Kinney’s life. Klaus is told of Rebekah’s fate however Aurora assures him that a pair of vampires sired by her line have possession of Rebekah and are bringing her safely back to New Orleans.

THE GOOD

Bringing Claire Holt back as Rebekah. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. With all respect to her replacement witch body, I much prefer Rebekah in her original form. Vincent will probably have issues with his ex-wife being dead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t brought up at all. Rebekah put up a heck of a fight and though she was still daggered has every intention of Killing Aya when she’s free. And I believe it too. Marcel may have a thing for her, but I certainly don’t want that to develop at all. It’s time to let the original daughter back into the family fold. Stop keeping her off screen, it literally makes no sense why they keep doing this. She’s been daggered so many times, I lost count.

Aurora is quite lavish and crafty considering she should have as much reason to hate Elijah and the Mikaelsons as the other two. Yet, she maintains an on-screen loyalty that hasn’t wavered as of yet. What is strange is that she has yet to meet with Tristan since she’s been in New Orleans which you’d think would have happened already. She’s a strong character, and hasn’t been prone to any real psychotic breaks since she came back into the picture, but I wonder if that’s because she has Klaus where she wants him. Take that away, and who knows how crazy she’ll get.

I wish they would do more with characters like the Red Sorrow. Vampires with ties to real life historical figures is a novel concept, one that’s hardly touched this series, but when it does there’s a pull that makes me want to like the series more. It’s unfortunate that our resident cast is forced to overpower this idea because they have all the screen time and this Red Sorrow had no build up, just a general urgency from Elijah that he needs to die a.s.a.p. Still, I wouldn’t mind more characters introduced this way, it saves from having no-name vampire cannon fodder torn to bits every time.

THE BAD

By telling a brief story and now showing a flashback with how Elijah turned Tristan and that he, Lucien, and Aurora were compelled to act as the Mikaelsons for over a century was a bad idea. There was too much present plot to keep a flashback from happening, but I gladly would have sacrificed Lucien’s scenes with Camille and Kinney to get another flashback of Aurora and the others trying to be the Mikaelson’s for a spell. That sounds infinitely more amusing than the plot Camille is forced to continue being put through.

The serial killer is a red herring, unless it really is Lucien and by telling us now or having it be some other random compelled character just won’t have any kind of payoff here. I’d even endure more Davina and her witch problems then be given more of this atypical off-beat drama. The dark objects are being squandered and now that Lucien has what he wants, object wise, we’re hopefully moving past this arc and into greener pastures, but with more blood.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Rebekah fighting off Aya and her horde. I just enjoyed seeing her back in action and in a lengthy fight too. Equally I hated how Aya took her out toward the end, but she made a promise to kill her later and I’m certain Rebekah will fulfill that vow. As an original, there was no doubt she should always win against Aya regardless of how trained the younger vampire is. Age equals strength in this universe and Rebekah is more powerful by that fact alone.

CHARACTER MVP

Tonight it goes to Aurora. She’s keeping her loyalties loud and clear and even went so far as to secretly plan for Rebekah to be taken into her custody away from Tristan which is a bold move and should earn her place with Klaus. But I fear there may still be a long con at work here, but I’m not sure what that will entail. If she knew of Tristan and Lucien’s plan, why wasn’t she in it on it from the beginning. It makes a little more sense if Aurora is a traitor, but I do believe her feelings toward Klaus is real. That’s how it usually works with betrayal, the act is necessary, but the feelings are real. Just as retaliation of said betrayal, and Klaus more than anyone knows how to hold a grudge. That and Aurora’s hair and color is just so incredibly buoyant and vibrant.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Why doesn’t Freya have enough witch power to rip heads off and not just snap necks. That would have made Rebekah’s escape a lot easier.

I like the imagery of Klaus breaking a brick wall to reveal an old painting of Aurora to showcase the physical manifestation of locking away his feelings toward her, but let’s be realistic. Burning the painting or ripping it up would have been easier, because then you really won’t ever see it again. But in all fairness, deep down inside, he wanted Aurora back and used this as a means to bury the memory but never forget it. Still, a classy thing to do for an old guy.

If the Red Sorry was being stabbed from behind while he had Hayley and Marcel’s hearts in hand, shouldn’t he have not let go and just took the hearts out as he pulled away? Or did he just not have those hearts in hand. It’s hard to see through those ribcages.

They didn’t do a good job selling Kinney’s loss of blood throughout the episode. That guy should have looked very pale and sickly and that wasn’t very apparent.

It’s also a bit of a letdown that the one things Tristan and Lucien have planned is a way to imprison the originals. I mean, that’s it? No crazy power switching or soul swapping, or permanent death that doesn’t affect the bloodline? I sure hope those visions pull out an interesting twist soon, because Lucien and Tristan’s plan, as told by Aurora, is very poorly innovative.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The highlight was Rebekah returning to the fold. The Red Sorrow’s scenes could have been handled a little better, but the idea was well placed. Klaus may be too trusting toward Aurora which hopefully backfires, because right now, everything she’s doing is working to her advantage, we just can’t truly tell if she’s working alone or with Tristan and Lucien. Camille needs a better subplot to work through and I’m hoping her moments with Lucien are at an end, because he’s a miserable character with no redeeming qualities as of yet. When Klaus and Elijah work their differences out, they can produce some stellar moments that showcase just how powerful the Mikaelsons can be, but I’d much rather see that sire triple war that I keep mentioning play out to its bloodiest. And stop daggering Rebekah. She deserves better. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×06 (When you’re exotic, you can afford to be villainous)

Hanni 3x06

The abstract, the overly sensual, and the contemptuous freedom all pay tribute to the opus that is Hannibal’s near dark achievement upon his show’s namesake. Episode six, “Dolce” recounts why the subtle but maddening pair of Will and Hannibal are both electric and necessary to see engage each other as intellectual sages. As cunning as they can be, there can sometimes be no greater friend than luck and the dark mistress, misfortune, tossing their lives around and reducing them to hanging slabs in a freezer. The art of the ironic becomes karmic flattery as whoever eats first in this climax, wins.

What I both love and despise simultaneously on this show is the repeated mode of characters unwilling to say whether or not they intend to subdue and/or kill Hannibal. What boiled over was finally seeing Jack Crawford put the action to the test and try to beat Hannibal to death. Now, Will and Chiyo race to find the killer but never do we know what they intend to do until the moment comes. It’s agonizing to witness but that’s the metaphor with how to enjoy really well made entrees. Most aspects of this episode were well played and toppled with a feverish need to skip straight into next week while other particular moments were left with some eyebrow-raising actions that I’ll try my best to decipher. As a whole, there was much greater good than bad, but it’s also safe to say there was much more evil than good this time around.

Bedelia nurses Hannibal’s wounds and after declares that he must leave her. She prattles mockingly that though one day he may get to eat her, today is not that day. Will and Jack reunite and together they search for Hannibal. After Hannibal leaves, Bedelia prepares to inject herself with a concoction of sedatives and likely drugs when Chiyo arrives wanting to know where Hannibal is. They converse briefly and Chiyo departs. After Bedelia injects herself, Will and Jack arrive. They question her in her deluded state but she maintains that she is Dr. Fell’s wife and that Dr. Fell is not Hannibal. Meanwhile, Mason discovers Pazzi was killed and prepares a contingency plan involving paying the Florence police. Margot and Mason discuss bringing a child into the world even though she is unable to bear children. Later, Margot and Alana are seen having sex and converse over plans of their own. Will leaves Jack at Bedelia’s home and finds Hannibal at an art museum. The two settle on old topics but Hannibal leaves Will to decide how events will end. As they leave, Will reveals a knife in his hand but is gunned down in the shoulder by Chiyo. Later, Hannibal drugs Will at an unspecified home and prepares him at a dinner table. Jack and Chiyo ride an elevator together at the complex where Hannibal is but divert paths. Jack then discovers Will in the home at a table but is cut in the ankle by a hiding Hannibal. Jack wakes in a drugged induced state and watches as Hannibal begins to cut into Will’s head with an electric circular saw. The scene ends with Will waking inside a freezer hanging upside with a captured Hannibal. They are greeted by Mason Verger.

Will and Hannibal’s reunion was the grand moment that paid in droves. Whether they truly understand each other or not, their words are minced with regret, longing, reflection, and in some ways a sense of finality. Even though there should have never been doubt about Will’s intentions, there in fact was enough reason to consider that maybe the two would leave Florence together. Though, it was silly for Will to believe he had the upper hand by simply letting Hannibal walk out in front. Granted, he didn’t anticipate Chiyo’s involvement, which almost makes her a strange “Chekhov’s gun” in human form. Because she hasn’t properly met Hannibal again, it’s rather absurd how close she’s treating the situation that only she can subdue Hannibal, or not, whichever the case may in fact be.

Where the show kind of loses me is Bedelia’s actions from near start to finish. Her line to Hannibal about him one day getting the chance to eat her but not today, was masterfully said. It just oozed such a gross accomplishment that I could’ve just imagined Hannibal proving her wrong right then and there. And then I felt they blew it with her. The drugs, the groggy conversations, and the impractical exchange with the corrupted inspector just felt weak and winded, almost as if they didn’t know what to do with her now that her scenes with Hannibal were over. As a purpose driven character, I have no surface level understanding on her nature and desire except that she’s the embodiment of Will had he chosen to leave with Hannibal. Now, I’m uncertain if she has a place on the show and what the future will hold for her. She’s entirely too charismatic to remove, but now that we know she didn’t just create breadcrumbs for Hannibal to be caught, she’s even more layered than we could have ever figured. Evil or not, she’s condensed psychodrama.

Alana and Margot’s relationship took an unexpected left turn. What fits is Margot’s personality. We know from the book that she’s into women and she does in fact want to bear a child using Mason as the father. That all translates accurately. Alana’s place as basically her mistress is just sudden and unprecedented. Granted the mirrored imagery and kaleidoscope fragments of their love scene was tantalizing and sexy, but altogether thrown in without a lot of context. Maybe that comes later, but a few hints would have been nice to have, unless I missed them.

The climax had raw and gruesome moments as Will’s head became a fountain of CGI blood dancing upside down and turning into the finale season 2 would have shown if things had gone differently. Everything about it was almost perfect except it felt slightly rushed and Chiyo never showing up seems rather convenient. Unless she’s the one who breaks up the mid-murder scene and is responsible for Mason getting his prized possession, I can’t imagine it going down any other way. Perhaps Bedelia came to her senses and told the corrupt inspector where to find Hannibal. There’s just not enough information to know. What I will say is that until Hannibal started cutting, I wasn’t sure who he was going to feed to who. Hannibal did mention needing to eat Will to forgive him, but that also means that he had to rush the meal, unlike Bedelia who had not marinated long enough yet which confesses that in order of eating priority, Bedelia is actually on a higher list than Will.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Will and Hannibal conversing in the art museum. It’s what puts the exclamation point on a show that has dozens of great things going for it. These two guys can have a conversation about anything and they will make it interesting because they rarely get straight to the point. They dance and dawdle in higher meanings while keeping their true intentions dark and hidden. Separately they are capable, but together they form the yin and yang that makes the metaphorical constructs and vivid hallucinations that much more poignant.

CHARACTER MVP

Tough one between the top two billing stars. So, the hell with it, Hannibal and Will both get the MVP slot. They’re a working duo and should be recognized as such. Will for his trance-like monologues and never-ending duality, and Hannibal for being able to funnel it all into clever poetry phrases like a “home again, home again, jiggity jig.” The best moments between the two are, I believe, still to come.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Kind of a side-note, but if Mason is going to imagine himself walking up to a marinated Hannibal, glazed in whatever that was, wouldn’t he imagine himself without the scarred face? I know, I know…different actors.

If Hannibal and Will have been caught, where’s Jack? Not to mention, were they just shipped all the way across the seas and if so, how did Will survive the trip with such a nasty head wound? We’re missing a lot of pieces here in-between scenes.

It’s almost ceremoniously sad that we’re getting all the book 3 plots before Red Dragon even starts. Sadder still that I think it was done in anticipation of the show being cancelled before it’s time. After all, how would the show write if they managed to do the Silence of the Lambs storyline and what would happen after?

Why Will was willing to kill Hannibal outside in broad daylight is beyond me. Was he expecting to survive himself? And if so, was he planning on returning home at all?

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very solid episode with only a few supporting character flaws that didn’t resonate as well as it could have. The slow-motion and close-up art style mixed with the surreal images worked out better this time. There seemed to be more meaning behind it and I think they were better placed, visually as well. There’s a bittersweet moment coming and it will be the overdramatic capture of Hannibal, assuming they stick with the basic script. Lady Murasaki had yet to be mentioned or seen, which means we may not get to that character at all. As tensions are brought to a final meeting between villains, Will literally hangs in the middle. The outcome is all but pretermined, but it’s always about the journey, right? Great episode and very twisted cliffhanger to contend with. Until next week, thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×06 (Humanity are the pawns in a war between the gods)

Vikings 06

For every new arrival joining the cause of Ragnar’s raids, there’s another who fatefully departs into worlds beyond. The second half of season 3 begins by building more walls around Ragnar who must now journey to Paris without the aid of his most trusted ally.

The passage of time is sometimes a little staggering to get used to, but 9 months have presumably past with the birth of two children. Siggy, a daughter born to Bjorn and Thorunn, and Alfred, named by King Ecbert son of Athelstan and Judith. For her transgressions, Judith is punished until she reveals Athelstan’s name as the father. Ecbert uses this as a sign and tells Aethelwulf that the child was meant to be and Judith is spared from anymore pain. It’s a disturbingly quick segment that places Judith in a screaming frenzy, unable to cope with the pain she was forced to endure. Realizing how the episode ends only makes her suffering that much more potent and unyielding for she’ll never see Athelstan and his smile ever again.

In Kattegat, Kalf and his allies arrive to aid and prepare the raid in Paris. Athelstan shows Ragnar how impossible it will be to penetrate the island and Flocki grows ever more agitated at Athelstan’s presence. In a serene moment of solitude, Athelstan feels the presence of his god and undergoes an effect of being blinded before he realizes the sign he received. After disposing Ragnar’s wrist band, Flocki recovers it and has Bjorn inform the populace of Athelstan’s soft betrayal. Ragnar pays no mind of it and reveals help in an ally that knows how to breach Paris. Afterward, Flocki receives a sign himself in the form of a bleeding carving and returns to Kattegat to murder Athelstan. And murder he did as Athelstan looked on in a praying position ready to be sent to his god. By the end, Ragnar buries Athelstan far from home and with new determination, dawns the Christian cross around his neck.

Back in season 1, I had a lot of reservation when it came to pass that Athelstan might be sacrificed and taken out of the series that quick. He seemed to have a bigger role to play and it turned out he did. Though that role has now come to an end. Even though Flocki is at times a closer nemesis than Ragnar will ever see, his killing blow to Athelstan wasn’t painted in such devastation. In fact, Athelstan was prepared for whatever awaited him. It was a peaceful departure, one that he was comfortable knowing he still served his true god. If anything, Flocki will be left with more anguish because his surface level dementia will not be so easily satiated no matter what he does for his gods of the north. Flocki is always and forever conflicted about the path of others and the uncertainty of his own. Whether his sign was genuine or not, to him, it was the excuse he needed to vanquish those from his land that weren’t really born of it.

Does Flocki in fact disappear, far from Ragnar’s wrath? Will Athelstan’s murder be so easily discerned that Flocki won’t have a place with the Vikings anymore? And even if he doesn’t leave, how will he treat Ragnar who may be wearing the cross wherever he treads. It’s a golden bullseye and many of the Kattegat won’t understand the meaning behind it, but Flocki will, and he certainly won’t like it one bit.

There’s a smaller piece of subplot pertaining to Thorunn convincing Bjorn to partake in bedding Torvi, who easily gives in. It’s an interesting sentiment given a man like Bjorn wouldn’t normally partake in such acts, yet Thorunn’s permission absolves any guilt in the matter. Like Ragnar, this could have stunning repercussions with a pregnant Torvi coming into play while the raid in Paris commences. Though, it’s good to see Thorunn is still able to manage without suffering any extreme depression from her looks. That could easily be her deception but we won’t know until she plays her next hand.

The dynamic of the episode shows a few paired events, namely the birth of two children and two signs from opposite gods. There’s a mirror of violence in that Judith’s birth results in her disfigurement, much like Thorunn’s prior to her birth. After Athelstan’s sign, he discards the wrist band, and in Flocki’s vision, he sees blood which generally signifies the need to spill it. In both acts, they fall victim to what they must do to bring them closer to their faith even if one of them has to die. A certain die has now been cast, but will revenge be taken, or will things simply move on to bigger issues namely, the sacking of Paris?

FAVORITE MOMENT

The final scene with Ragnar was highly reflective and very well thought out. There’s a simplicity built in Ragnar that gives him a lot of freedom to be expressive even if his mannerisms and tone seems to suggest otherwise. Alone, he can vent and be truthful about what stirs within him and what he feels he must do for the good of his people and essentially himself. He let go of Athelstan, a character he had grown to love as he freely admitted. Now Ragnar wears Athelstan’s cross much as Athelstan had worn Ragnar’s wrist band. The sentiment will be shared alone, but how far will he go to prove his friendship to Athelstan was true?

CHARACTER MVP

Ragnar dips ahead with his solemn dialogue and his pension for generally stealing the spotlight when the time calls. Flocki was close this time around, but he ultimately gave in to a desire he already had been building up. It’s less development and more self-destructive since his nature is to defy change while Ragnar is more open to absorbing it.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I almost didn’t recognize Kalf. Hair has a way of growing fast in a years worth of time. Soon Ragnar’s other kids will be as big as Bjorn, or even bigger and then their story will have to be told.

At last appearance, Lagertha left Kattegat as if she were on a new quest to reclaim her land and title. Now she’s back and little to nothing has changed except the conversation with Bjorn about the need to get back land and title. I felt something was missing here or maybe she rode off with little more than the time needed to figure out her next move against Kalf, which we’re still not sure yet.

With Ecbert embracing the baby Alfred as a sign from god, how will he use this to his advantage and is it more toward manipulating Aethelwulf, or the people of Wessex? He always has something brewing, but Aethelwulf was in on it the last time. What’s changed now?

Ragnar murdered the old man who told him that the Viking farmers had been slain. It’s obvious he doesn’t want this information to go public which could be as simple reasoning as Ragnar doesn’t want revenge to distract his people while they prepare to raid Paris. There could be deeper reasons involved, but I’m fine with the simplicity of it.

Now that Kalf has joined the raid, will he see it through, or find a golden moment to strike against Ragnar when he least suspects it? This show is all about betrayals and cheap alliances, making Kalf no easier to trust than the last several who once allied with the king of Kattegat. I expect the alliance to hold until the bombshell in Paris drops, and it’s bound to be crazy for certain.

OVERALL SCORE

Strong 8 out of 10. I wasn’t expecting Athelstan to depart so soon given his importance and relevant screen time on the show. Vikings is keeping a morbid pace with slaying it’s prime cast every few episodes and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. If Rollo ever get’s taken out, that’s where I may draw the line, but knowing him he’ll find a way to survive or at the least die with his brother in glorious battle. The epic undertaking of Paris is soon to be unveiled, and hopefully there won’t be any more prominent sacrifices before then.

No more words