Vikings, Season 4 Episode 6 – “What Might Have Been”

VikingsNewTitleBy Leslie Mahady

I hear Paris is lovely in the springtime. Anyone ready for a road trip?Ships

This week sees more positioning of Hirst’s dominos. People leave—that sums up this episode. King Ecbert sends Aethelwulf and young Alfred on a pilgrimage to Rome. Ragnar’s fleet sets out for Paris, finally. As soon as Ragnar leaves, Harbard shows up in Kattegat again. Much of Ragnar’s fleet is separated in a storm.

RolloRollo once again says he will not betray the Emperor or Paris or his wife. Why do they keep asking him the same question? I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t trust the guy who’s betraying his brother and all his people. Count Odo now privately says he’ll deal with Ragnar himself and take the throne! He’s jealous that pagan Rollo has the Emperor’s affection. (Did I actually feel a pang of pity for him?) He says “pagan” with Floki’s inflection on “priest.” None of us has seen Rollo praying or crossing himself and he still believes in the Seer’s predictions. Will he become conflicted like Athelstan?

Ah, Athelstan. We saw him again this week, too. It was a drug-induced vision from Ragnar about what he’s lost in his pursuits for, um—do any of us remember why Ragnar’s doing this anymore?

Our Favorite Moments:


In Mercia, Ecbert announces that Alfred will go to Rome with Aethelwulf and the priest who has been teaching Judith to paint. He has to again turn the screw on all parties present and remind us of why Alfred exists. Aethelwulf is a little upset about leaving. But I’m sure he likes the whole holy pilgrimage thing, and the weather in Rome has to be hella better than in Wessex. Alfred learned that the journey will be by foot and take three months. He’s young, but doesn’t like the idea. Aethelwulf seems genuinely upset for Judith and clearly doesn’t want to leave Kwenthrith. Now my Ecbert is left to guard the henhouse. That will be fun going forward. Will Aethelwulf travel through Paris on the way to Rome?


Yidu plays the siren again this week, literally. She insists she go to Paris as Ragnar’s pharmacist. After the fleet sets out, she sings a song to calm the boys. YiduStormShe is heard across the whole fleet. A storm then hits and the fleet is scattered. Once they are on the Seine, she becomes restless. Is she looking to escape or did her plan to delay Ragnar not work?


Floki, once again, is not on Ragnar’s ship. But most fans will agree that he isn’t a double agent for Ragnar this time. The Brothers Grim make him feel important again. Floki isn’t even fazed when Harald and Halfdon tie Frankish guards to the signal pyre and light it. They know how to enjoy spring break.


Sigurd is left behind. Aslaug sends him to play with Bjorn’s daughter, Ziggy. He insults Ziggy saying, “You’re so dirty. Don’t you ever wash?” Is Aslaug neglecting her? When Sigard looks for Mom, he finds her nursing Ivar, who should long since be weaned. We’re reminded that all the children are neglected for Ivar’s needs. Last time he arrived, Ziggy died as compensation. Will another Ziggy die this time? I had hoped to see Aslaug give Harbard a surprise right hook when he said, “I know all your pain…I’ll put an end to all your suffering,” like Rollo did when Jarl Borg tried to manipulate him again.


Ragnar announces Ubbe and Hvitser are going to Paris with him. He slights Aslaug with the line, “They are safer with me than they were last time with you,” referring to when they fell through the ice. He didn’t let Bjorn go on raids at that age. So let’s face it, he’s simply taking his boys away from Aslaug’s influence.

The Seer reveals the date of Ragnar’s death: when “the blind man sees you.” Thanks for the clarification, Seer. Ragnar discuss Kalf’s death and her baby with Lagertha. LagsShe gives no details on either. Is she actually pregnant? And if she is, is Ragnar thinking, “Damn, why wasn’t it me?” Finally a white horse draws us into a hallucination of all the people Ragnar has lost. Is Paris worth all this? How does Paris lead to a happy life as a farmer?

Superman or Batman? Captain America or Ironman? Ragnar or Rollo?

We are poised at the Parisian river towers. Are we ready to make a choice?  Ragnar’s the hero of the show. Even though the show is Vikings, he’s the one on all the DVD covers. He has Odin’s blessing and those incredible eyes. He wants a better future for his people and he doesn’t seek revenge. He’s a visionary. He wants land for his people, not power. He’s just in settling disputes. He forgave his brother who sided against him in battle and saved his life. He’s a great guy, isn’t he?

Rollo has been our villain since day one. He has raped women, recklessly sought wealth and pleasure, hit on his brother’s wife, cheated on Ziggy, betrayed his brother in battle and somehow managed to get on Lagertha’s bad side (We don’t know why. But whatever it was, Lagertha hasn’t killed him for it.)

But Ragnar tried to sacrifice Athelstan. He cheated on his wife, and worse, gave up on her as the mother of his future children. He uses Aslaug as a broodmare. He hid the truth about the settlement in Wessex. And he blames others for outcomes of his own making. Last episode he even blamed Bjorn for abandoning him in the divorce. Bjorn was 12 years old at the time. Beyond all that, Ragnar now has forgotten the end goal. He became so obsessed with Paris that he lied to everyone about his death. It was about winning, not wealth, not land for his people.

In Rollo’s defense, Ragnar said they would be equal, but has never treated him equally. After showing Rollo the navigation system, Ragnar stopped sharing information. Rollo helped his brother in the trial for Knut’s death. (Maybe just to save Lagertha.) He was tortured by Haraldson, rather than betray Ragnar. He still had scars from the torture on his face, when Ragnar left him as a hostage to Jarl Borg during land negotiations. Yet by the time the battle was over, Ragnar blamed Rollo for the whole mess. Later Rollo saved Ragnar’s family when Jarl Borg raided the village, helped Ragnar reclaim his earldom and went on to help make Ragnar king. All Rollo netted was an unfaithful wife and a lot of scars.

Who wins in Paris? Who wins at life? We wait until next week to find out. Or maybe Episode 10; remember how long the first siege on Paris lasted?

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#Vikings #RollLikeRollo #Raid #VikingsHistory #HistoryVikings #Lagertha #KatherynWinnick #Floki #GustafSkarsgard #TravisFrimmel #Ragnar #CliveStanden #Rollo #TeamStanden #MoeDunsford #MoeDunfordFans #Aethelwulf #MichaelHirst #AlexanderLudwig #Bjorn #BenRobson #Kalf #Roland #TeamParmeter #HuwParmeter #Odo #Helga #MaudeHirst #AmyBailey #Kwenthrith #Gisla #MorganePolanski #KarenHassan #Athelstan #GeorgeBlagden #Ecbert #LinusRoache #Aslaug #AlyssaSutherland #Yidu #DianneDoan #JasperJaakkoen #PeterFranzen #Mercia #Kattegat #Normandy #Normandie #Odin #Thor #KevinDurand #Freya #WhatMightHaveBeen

Vikings, Season 4 Episode 5 – “Promised”

Vikings, Season 4 Episode 5 – “Promised”
By Leslie Mahady

vikings-season 4 mainThings are getting real on Vikings. I’m worried about our merry band of thieves. They weren’t ready to go out into the big wide world. The ability to hack someone to bits will only get you so far. These English and Frankish don’t fight fair!

Ecbert has promised to squash rebels in Mercia and put Kwenthrith back on the throne. (She sure loses her throne a lot). Judith admits that she is married to Aethelwulf in name only and they can both do as they please. Ecbert gives Judith a ring that belonged to his wife even though he won’t marry again. Will Aethelwulf go insane when he sees his mother’s ring?

Last week Bjorn took Torvi back to Kattegat, taking her from Erlendur. Rollo wants to take possession of his promised lands. Gisla tells him he has to wait and that he can’t play games per his Viking rules anymore. Lagertha says she is pregnant and agrees to marry Kalf. And Ragnar is still down the rabbit hole.Lagertha3

I added this photo simply for the beauty of it. There is so much more to Vikings than blood, guts and 1/2 naked men.

The brothers Harald and Halfdan are the new kids in Kattegat, showing up from lands unknown. Will they have the same brotherly issues as Ragnar and Rollo? All we know for sure is that these two are hot to kill Christians and they have hardcore prison tats on their faces. (I think they try too hard to impress.) After being shunned, Floki sits at the cool kids’ table in the Great Hall and tries to impress them with his Christian-killing street cred. We’ll see if he’s truly playing their game, or Ragnar’s game, or plotting to see the whole lot of them catch fire.Brothers

Our Favorite Moments

Oops, I did it again!Lagertha1We’ll call this picture “La Petite Mort.”

Lagertha previously promised Kalf she would kill him one day for stealing her earldom. Vikings are nothing if not honest, so we all know she’ll do it. But when and how? First, she makes sure he understands that she’ll kill him one day. Then she sleeps with him at the end of last season. Did he really think he’d rock her world so hard that she’d change her mind? This season he goes Dutch with her on the earldom. Finally she tells him she’s pregnant and agrees to marry him. You’ve never seen a happier groom. Then in the wedding tent, she guts him. It is such a tender scene. She even kisses him goodbye.Lagertha2

She DID promise. There was a moment of hesitation on her part when he proposed. But “Marry me” was the trigger phrase for her psychotic break after two failed marriages. NEVER AGAIN! She should have taken care of that weasel Erlendur first.

Sister MorphineYidu

Ragnar’s relationship with Yidu goes further, but not further, if you know what I mean. He tells her he wants to share his secrets with her. We all know her secret. She’s a daughter to the Emperor of China. But Ragnar is obsessed with getting HER to admit it. He admits his darkest secrets to her before she owns up to anything. She only says it to him out of pity.
Yidu continues supplying Ragnar with “medicine.” He seems addicted already. Is it the medicine making him all “Twelve Monkeys,” setting the new arrivals on edge with his crazy eyes and red lips? Ragnar admits he has no desire to attack Paris again. He has no fight left. He apparently doesn’t desire for much of anything, since he backs off from Yidu every chance he gets. Is the medicine chemically castrating him, like the eunuchs Yidu describes in the Emperor’s court? Is Yidu in cahoots with Alsaug to keep Ragnar drugged up and coax his secrets? Where’d she get the traditional Chinese garb and her “medicine”? Shouldn’t a slave travel lighter?


Wooden Jesus


Ecbert goes to his altar to speak with God. Not to pray, mind you, but to tell God how things are going to go down in his kingdom. I’m sure he likes talking to God because God doesn’t interrupt him. “Do I not dream… to return to your light? Am I not a man? Yet I would sup with the devil to achieve my earthly goals. Your kingdom, AS YOU SAID, is not of this world. But MY kingdom IS!” Ecbert’s tone is the same he takes when he convinces others that his decision is based on their own goals.

Then, instead of lighting a candle at the altar, he snuffs one out with his bare hand, drops the mic and walks off stage! Are you building up a tolerance for that heat, Ecbert? Are you not a man? Oh, you are THE man!Ecbert2


Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

Ivar1It is difficult to joke about this moment. It’s a terrifying issue. Floki is looking more and more like a high priest. After aligning himself with the extremist newcomers, Harald and Halfdan, Floki starts Ivar’s education into the ways of the Vikings. He probably feels a kinship with this child because he has been on the fringe of society his whole life.
When Ivar is frustrated with another child, he whips out his little axe and strikes the kid on the head, killing him. Not much to say here, except I told you so! Alsaug scoops Ivar up and tells him it is not his fault. Um, no, it’s your fault, Mom. Verdict is out on what Floki thinks of this.


Crazy Little Thing Called Love (The moment our jaw hit the floor again)


Roland approaches Emperor Charles about Count Odo’s ambitions. He offers Count Odo’s mistress, Therese, as a witness. She’s been letting Count Odo whip her in his private dungeon to gain intel. And then giving that information to Roland, who is also her lover. The Emperor wishes to know why he should trust Therese’s word. Here’s where things go south. (Like Deep South in the Bayou, where people have limited options for procreation.) Roland tells the Emperor that he trusts her because she is—his SISTER! What the what? Maybe she’s a step-sister, but I’m going to err on the side of them ALL being CRAZY.Rollo

Rollo is getting antsy about taking possession of his lands. Gisla reminds him they have to stay to defend Paris. (Won’t Paris always need defending?) She lets slip that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Odo died in battle. She has a fairly nonchalant attitude about killing people considering she isn’t doing the killing. Is Rollo playing to her whims or just playing her?

The Seer said a princess would crown a bear. Rollo seems confident he knows the meaning. But have the Seer’s predictions EVER been that straightforward? “To crown” also means “to hit on the head.” Run, Rollo! Run! They’re all crazy!

Lunatic Fringe
Are Ragnar and Rollo both trapped on their own Odyssian fantasy with Circe and Calypso? Ragnar with drugs and Rollo with wine and women? Are the French worse than the English? Is Kattegat now a breeding ground for extremists? We may know next week. We may know this fall.

Special Thanks to TeamStanden for help throughout this process.

Picture source:

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Vikings, Season 4, Episode 4 – “Yol”

Special thanks to @TeamStanden and @MoeDunfordFans for helping me with photos and info!

vikings-season 4 mainIt’s the holidays on Vikings; the middle of winter. The English are fasting for Advent, the North is celebrating the Yule, and the French have a major Epiphany celebration. At least the princess does. And she does it in front of God and everybody.

All the Lothbrok men are finally getting some love (some more than others.) There is very little news from Wessex, except that King Aelle wants Kwenthrith’s son dead.

As happens after every midwinter celebration, the sun returns. For this solstice it is the literal son, Bjorn, who returns. Aslaug continues her plotting against Ragnar, and Harald the Finehair arrives on scene to openly challenge Ragnar’s throne?

For anyone who hasn’t purchased the cliffnotes: Yol is the “Yule” and also “the road or way” in Persian. The phrase “the way” is used in all religions to some extent.

Not much is happening in Wessex. Judith’s father King Aelle is visiting for Advent. He’s a major bore. Everyone has to eat gruel due to his religious convictions and he threatens Kwenthrith’s child. Then he calls his daughter a hussy for sleeping with Ecbert and illuminating the gospels. Heaven forbid. (You forced her to marry into their family and now you complain about it?) I love when Judith tells him off. Let’s see who she helps in the overall power struggle for England.

Our Favorite Moments:

Method to their Madness?

floki4Floki, who’s been over the edge for a while now, visits the seer. The seer cryptically says that he has been waiting for Floki “in the ground for 200 years.” I assume this alludes to the dragon that lives beneath the Tree of Life in Norse mythology and escapes at Ragnarok. Instead of the customary licking of the seer’s hand (blechh), the seer licks Floki’s hand and Floki giggles childishly. Maybe the gift of sight has been transferred to Floki, maybe the Seer now knows Floki to be Loki, or maybe it just tickles. I assume Floki figures prominently in betraying Ragnar or the collapse of the whole Viking way of life. Floki, being a religious nut, would rather see the apocalypse than a Christian king in Kattegat. (But ignore me. My seer skills have been lacking.)

Tea with the Mad Hatter & CaterpillarRagnarmouseRagnar’s relationship with Yidu finally emerges with Aslaug’s blessing. Like Athelstan, Yidu becomes Ragnar’s therapist and spiritual guide. He is consumed by thoughts of death and the bondage suffered by both kings and slaves. With Yidu’s comment, “They wouldn’t dare rape me,” she comes across as a bit of a Lagertha character. (Let’s see if we ever learn why “they wouldn’t dare.” I’m imagine it is because she is a princess or sorceress, but again, none of my predictions have been correct yet.) Ragnar takes her off to his private retreat where he frees her from slavery and she gives him some really good drugs. We assume after eating a snake and going all Jim Morrison that Ragnar has gained some great knowledge. Or maybe just a new girlfriend with some really good drugs.YiduRagnar emerges from his sanctuary at the Yol festival in Kabuki makeup. Is that a butterfly on your face? I wonder if the story of “Ran” or “47 Ronin”, or both, will be played out on this stage.Kabuki1


Teach Your Children Well

Ragnar tries to bond with his son Ivar the Boneless. I like what they are doing with this young character. At maybe 5 years old, we can already see the bloodthirsty Tasmanian devil he is reported to be, despite his handicap. He loves his axe and could use a bottle of Ritalin. Aslaug is clearly grooming this child to hate and overthrow his father. She finally brings him to Floki and asks that Floki teach Ivar the way of their gods: “The True Path.” (Yol, for those not paying attention.) She doesn’t want Ivar influenced by his father’s open-minded ideas about the rest of the world. It’s interesting to note that since her arrival in Kattegat a decade ago, Aslaug hasn’t had an opportunity to LEAVE Kattegat. She is as isolated and handicapped as her son.


The Elephant in the Room has an Epiphany (in the same room with your mom and dad, their friends, your babysitter and your priest)


As a reminder, this is Gisla when we first met her.

When an envoy from Rome arrives at Gisla’s request, Rollo begs the princess to halt the annulment. And he asks in her language. THAT knocks her majesty off her high horse. She’s now mesmerized simply because he can speak French? I am having a difficult time reconciling her complete contempt for him, followed by her acquiescing so quickly and sending the Pope’s envoy away. Maybe the DVD release will have deleted scenes that explain things.

After Gisla’s hips are adjusted during a delayed honeymoon, she enters the Epiphany feast as Sandy in black leather and does a rendition of “You’re the One that I Want” for Danny. Alright, not really, Vikings isn’t a musical. But Gisla and Rollo let everyone know that the ice queen has melted. Things are definitely consummated now.

It is nice to see Rollo happy. For years Ragnar abused him as his personal battering ram. He now gets to be the princess’s battering ram! But how vested is he in this relationship? We know he believes she is somehow part of his destiny. But we haven’t seen the same look he gives Lagertha.

Have you noticed that Gisla gets the same eye rolls from her dad that Rollo gets from his brother? She’s doing exactly what you wanted, buddy: making Rollo happy so he’ll stick around and fight your battles. You may not have wanted her to do it within earshot of your whole court and the clergy on Christ’s birthday, but you let that dragon out; deal with it.

I like that Count Odo’s sadistic little plan for Gisla backfired on him. And I like that Gisla the Formerly Pious would desecrate a religious holiday so publicly. But her turn around on this seems either the shallow hormones of a teenager, or the cunning manipulation by a Great Oz running Paris behind the curtains. I’m only seeing the former as a possibility.


Fork in the Yol
I am not going to quote Robert Frost, but you know where I’m going. I think all the dominos are now in place. Spring will be early this year, and there are already a few cracks in the dam.RagnarTub
Special Thanks to TeamStanden for help throughout this process.

Picture source:

#Vikings #RollLikeRollo #Raid #VikingsHistory #HistoryVikings #Lagertha #KatherynWinnick #Floki #GustafSkarsgard #TravisFrimmel #Ragnar #CliveStanden #Rollo #TeamStanden #MoeDunsford #MoeDunfordFans #Aethelwulf #MichaelHirst #AlexanderLudwig #Bjorn #BenRobson #Kalf #Roland #TeamParmeter #HuwParmeter #Odo #Helga #MaudeHirst #AmyBailey #Kwenthrith #Gisla #MorganePolanski #KarenHassan #Athelstan #GeorgeBlagden #Ecbert #LinusRoache #Aslaug #AlyssaSutherland #Yidu #DianneDoan #JasperJaakkoen #PeterFranzen #Mercia #Kattegat #Normandy #Normandie #Odin #Thor #KevinDurand #Freya #Yol

Vikings, Season 4, Episode 3 – “Mercy”

Vikings, Season 4, Episode 3 – “Mercy”
By Leslie Mahadyvikings-season 4 main

You say “Mercy.” I say, “Merci.” Let’s call the whole thing off. Ragnar shows mercy and ends Floki’s punishment and we all wish someone would show Rollo a little mercy, as his wife calls for a divorce. (Seriously, girl. Your insufferable attitude is getting old.)

It’s still winter. Nothing much to do but scheme for the Spring and have sex with someone other than your own spouse. Kalf expresses his undying love for Lagertha (Is she falling for it?), while discussing the murder of her son behind her back. Ecbert makes a pledge to Judith regarding her “freedom’ that sounds like wedding vows. (Is she falling for it?) And another bombshell romance heats up that I think has left fans forgetting all about Rollo’s potential betrayal. Or maybe it’s the appearance of Athelstan’s ghost that has us forgetting the petty squabbles for power.

Oh, yeah. Bjorn fights a bear. Since his name means “bear,” is this some textbook allegory about fighting himself? (He WAS pretty drunk when he made that decision. And God only knows what was actually in that barrel of mead he found.)BjornBarrel

Our Favorite Moments:

You Tarzan, me never gonna be your woman

PitifulRolloParis has been  a series of funny gags. But it isn’t funny anymore. Believe me, I wish it was. That princess makes even the most hardened hater feel bad for Rollo. She whipped out a knife on their wedding night, laughed at him in his new clothes and insulted all his efforts. Now it is just painful, like watching animal cruelty ads. The acting is brilliant, down to the detail of Rollo struggling with a goblet after a lifetime of drinking from a horn. He reaches out for his wife when he senses she’s upset and she again insults him in front of everyone. (At this point, I don’t even wish a good death upon her.)
PitifulRollo2The future “Earl of Greystoke” realizes he isn’t like the other apes and needs to learn man’s language. He begs Odo to finally teach him. (I’m not being snarky here. His treatment just makes you hate the Franks!)

The question is: How much does Rollo already understand, but can’t speak? He has been creating strategy with Roland and Odo. He seems to know enough to look up when prompted to “look” and gets angry when he hears the word “savage” again. We’ll see.

Athelstan, Athelstan…Athelstan1The one character everyone wanted back, returns. As a ghost. (He really is dead, people. Get over it already.) He washes Ragnar’s feet and repeats the word “Mercy” with his signature compassion and tranquility. Not a word is spoken by Ragnar. It ultimately prompts Ragnar to end Floki’s (and Helga’s) suffering. (I bet Floki will be pissed when he learns the “priest” was the one who got him pardoned!)



Athelstan appears to Ecbert as well. Unlike Ragnar, Ecbert speaks to him. He doesn’t know Athelstan is dead at this point, and it’s Ecbert, he talks, it’s WHAT he does.

Athelstan remains silent and crosses himself. The king assumes he’s being blessed (Of course he does. He’s awesome! Who wouldn’t want to bless him.). I don’t know, Athelstan looks PRETTY pissed to me. Ecbert did massacre a whole settlement, cut off his girlfriend’s ear, and started sleeping with his son’s wife since Athelstan last saw him. And that’s what we know about. If our monk had any influence on Ecbert’s morality, I hate to think what he was like before. Actually, I hope this ghost doesn’t cause Ecbert to grow a conscience. King Ecbert is best when he’s bad. He is so very good at it. He’s like Kevin Spacey-in-a-Grinch-suit-dipped-in-gold bad.Ecbert

Ragnar toying with his food and his wife’s mental state

RagnarRavenWe see that a Viking king still needs to gut his own fish for dinner. (Who can blame Rollo for wanting a cushier gig?) Ragnar recounts a myth about Harbard (Odin) to his sons and taunts his wife about sleeping with the wanderer named Harbard. Then he bites the head off the fish he cleaned. We have to wonder if our hero is devolving into this:

There’s a transcendental moment when a raven flies overhead. Ragnar senses it is a sign of his son Bjorn’s struggles, fearing his death. At that moment, Yidu interrupts Ragnar’s thoughts and awkwardly asks for the fish. I can’t wait to see how Ragnar teaches her the language or how he torments his wife.

That moment our jaw hit the floor

Aethelwulf and Kwenthrith bond while trying to leave Mercia undetected. Who knows what all has gone on since the battle they fought together. But they clearly are soldiers in arms now. (Literally and figuratively) While the audience wonders if Ecbert will send in someone to Kwenthrith’s room to kill her, Aethelwulf shows up. As the only character left who could feasibly be sainted, Aethelwulf hesitates for a split second (at least we all want to believe he did) before hopping into bed with Kwenthrith. And we all know her history with Ecbert and Ragnar and half the foot soldiers in Wessex. I make it sound sordid, but they are really cute together. We’ll have to wait and see if he saves her or is playing her.

Oh, What Poor Dumb Animals These Mortal Be

Things are still moving slowly. But it allows for great acting. Lots of sad, mournful eyes this week. I love that Hirst rarely relies on dialogue to tell the story. We’ll be waiting to see how all these hook-ups will play out. Who’s toying with whom, who will get burned, who will get killed off? Will Ragnar or Rollo ever hook up with anyone again?

It seems Athelstan and that bear have it easier being dead. At least the incessant dripping has stopped.

Special thanks to @TeamStanden and @MoeDunfordFans for helping me with photos and info!

All other picture source:

#Vikings #RollLikeRollo #Raid #VikingsHistory #HistoryVikings #Lagertha #KatherynWinnick #Floki #GustafSkarsgard #TravisFrimmel #Ragnar #CliveStanden #Rollo #TeamStanden #MoeDunsford #MoeDunfordFans #Aethelwulf #MichaelHirst #AlexanderLudwig #Bjorn #BenRobson #Kalf #Roland #TeamParmeter #HuwParmeter #Odo #Helga #MaudeHirst #AmyBailey #Kwenthrith #Gisla #MorganePolanski #KarenHassan #Athelstan #GeorgeBlagden #Ecbert #LinusRoache #Aslaug #AlyssaSutherland #Yidu #DianneDoan #JasperJaakkoen #PeterFranzen #Mercia #Kattegat #Normandy #Normandie #Odin #Thor #KevinDurand #Freya #Mercy

Vikings, Season 4 Episodes 1 & 2 – “A Good Treason” & “Kill the Queen”

Vikings, Season 4 Episodes 1 & 2 – “A Good Treason” & “Kill the Queen”
By Leslie Mahady

vikings-season 4 main

The long dry season is over for fans, but the forecast is pretty miserable for the players. Our Vikings are learning the curse of modern man: Everything is amazing, but nobody is happy.

You know things are depressing when Rollo is our comic relief for two weeks. The first episodes show Michael Hirst setting up his dominos—slowly—precisely—like the Chinese water torture that Floki is handed as punishment. Ragnar’s forces are back in Kattegat. They have more money and more power. But goats still roam freely in living rooms and Scandinavia still has terrible lighting.

LightingApparently winters are getting worse, too. (Why does no one have a coat when the snow starts?) Aslaug is scheming for her own power and buys a raven-haired beauty of a slave. (Even without the power of sight, she sees this one coming, right?) Rollo is setting up his future in Paris like a bull in a china shop. And England has an honest to God princess in a TOWER! (Okay, she’s a queen, but a damsel, nonetheless.)

Our Favorite Moments

Floki and Ragnar’s conflict.

FlokiArrestFloki is arrested for Aethelstan’s murder. Ragnar is honestly pained by this decision to punish Floki. He seemed happier feigning ignorance. When Floki escapes, Ragnar gets a small glimpse of life without Rollo as his right hand man: He’s left with slack-jawed fools. “Well, go get him!(Eye roll)” Helga helps Floki escape. Ragnar clearly respects Helga for being a faithful wife, as his own unfaithful wife schemes against him. Finally, we see our golden boy crack and hit his wife. That scene has to be more cutting to some fans than any of Rollo’s betrayals.

Rollo—Will he? won’t he? Of course, he will; the real question is, ”Why?”

Rollo gets his much-hyped wedding and everything the Seer promised. But he too is miserable in Paris without an interpreter or anyone to play that coin-toss game he enjoyed with his old mates. Rollo-TS

That’s because he kills off ALL his own men, leaving himself as the only Northman left to found Normandy. Is this the rash Rollo we love to hate, or a new savvy Rollo? (I am disappointed we won’t get to know that Erik guy better. He seemed like a stand-up kind of guy in the two minutes he was alive.Eric8-ts)Eric1-TS

Lagertha and Kalf: frenemies with benefits.

LagerthaOkay, so Lagertha seems to be doing better than everyone else. Every man wants her. Every woman wants to be her. She gets revenge on yet another guy who tried to rape her. And that cutie Kalf agrees to share power with her. Does anyone really believe Kalf is going to make it through this alliance alive? (To quote another oracle, “You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you. Not too bright, though.”)
Kwenthrith and Aethelwulf: frenemies without benefits. For now(?)

Mercia’s queen has been locked in a tower by rebels. The original Disney plot! But bloodier. King Ecbert sends his faithful son Aethelwulf, to rescue Queen Kwenthrith. (Or maybe to die. Who knows with Ecbert.) I love this moment because it’s a damsel in a TOWER! And boy, does she let her hair down when she is cornered! This fairytale’s end is the most personally brutal scene for Vikings to date, including the blood eagle (Yes, I’m sticking to that statement). Both our heroes ended up in no-holds-barred street fights for survival. Anything within reach is a weapon. There’s head-bashing, rock-throwing, nails, teeth, stuff you don’t want to think about when you hear “zombie apocalypse.”

I think these two will make a cute couple. Albeit, a couple in need of therapy.


Parallel Universes:

I love the parallels on characters, morals and strategy that Michael Hirst is already setting up.

Lagertha cuts off Einar’s genitals with a knife. It’s payback for trying to force a marriage and himself on her. Then Gisela, after being forced to marry Rollo, whips out her own knife. She cuts Rollo’s hopes for their wedding night short, but she has no real follow-through.

Kalf ambushes a faction that disapproves of Lagertha. To keep his hands clean, he has archers do the dirty work. Everyone thinks he’s a sweetheart for it. Yet everyone hates Rollo, who uses the same method to kill ALL his people and rid himself of any dissenters. What’s the true motivation for each of them? Love, loyalty or power? Whose method of crowd control will work better?

Kalf emphasizes that he and Lagertha “AREN’T married” as a power couple, while Rollo reminds his wife they ARE married (even though she can’t understand a word of it). We’ll see where that juxtaposition goes.

Finally, Ragnar’s comparative religious course has already explored Pagans versus Christians. With the introduction of his slave from Asia, we will definitely explore more philosophies. Bjorn’s arresting Floki already forced Ragnar to “act,” causing that karma wheel to roll (I bet a Norse Dharma wheel will have spikes, like that wicked one we saw in Paris). Will Bjorn’s decision to leave Rollo in Paris pull us into a Bhagavad Gita dream sequence and the warrior’s call of duty? (I can already hear the conch shells and bullhorns.)Ragnar

Fans are in for a long, dark winter with lots of commercials. It will definitely be frustrating, but I doubt the thaw will be boring.


Special Thanks to TeamStanden for several screen grabs.

Picture source:

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