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Sweatpants & TV | Vikings, Season 4, Episode 17: “The Great Army”

Lesley Gayle

This week Lagertha continues to fortify Kattegat. Ivar declares war, not just on England, but the whole world, for dad, for the gods, and for their people. And for his fame, I’m sure. He starts to assemble the Great Heathen army by pulling in favors, and making promises to even those earls and kings they hate. Bjorn heads home from the raids, dropping Rollo off in Normandy. In their desire to control all of Norway, the Terror Twins latch onto the ambitious bastard son of an earl. Ecbert gives Alfred his first off-the-books lesson in ruling, namely don’t give into outside influence or peer pressure. Especially when it comes to alcohol, he tricks the boy into drinking so much he gets sick. (If you can’t trust granddad, who can you trust? Was Ecbert really drunk when Ragnar and he spoke, or has he realized too late that maybe Ragnar got the best of him?)

Judith warns her father of the revenge the Vikings will eventually bring. Floki gives Ivar his first set of wheels. Helga is in denial over her dead child and the future with this terrified, captive child from Spain. Girlfriend has lost it. And Helga has put up with so many of Floki’s psychotic breaks over the years, what else can he do, but deal with it? Margrethe is set free by Ubbe, he wants to marry her. Bjorn stomps off when Torvi tells him he should stand by his mother, rather than raid with his brothers. He makes all his babies cry in the process. (He and Rollo need to both reach a middle ground on dealing with their women.) In the very last scene, Bjorn gets busy with Astrid. What the what?

Our Favorite Moments:

A princess will crown a bear

Rollo has to go home to Frankia. Bjorn reminds him that he’s a dead man back in Kattegat. Rollo offers up land to all his people back North as an olive branch for he treachery. No one on the boat is biting, but it is a far more feasible colony than England. Helga is the only person to say goodbye as he disembarks. (Sniff) Helga is always so sweet. She’s insane now, but still sweet. Floki tells Bjorn they should have killed Rollo because he’ll reach more fame than any of Ragnar’s sons. Yup, he will.

Gisla is grateful he returned. As soon as the children are shuffled away she turns on him, cursing him in Frankish. She clocks him good, crowns him right on the head, like the Seer said. I finally like Gisla for this scene. You can see she loved, missed and worried about Rollo through her rage. It looks like she may finally hug him, but no. You can see her need to completely control him as well. She’ll never treat him like a grown man. He puts up with it. Although he never looks her in the eye. He’s either afraid he’ll be turned to stone, or he’s emotionally separated himself from all this. You think maybe he will compose himself and speak, but no. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll see where any of this goes. This is probably where we disembark from the Rollo-Gisla ship.

Sibling Rivalry

Ivar and Sigurd get into it several times this episode. Ivar starts messing with Sigurd over dad’s knife. Who knows if he really wants it, or if he’s just keeping Sigurd on his toes. Considering how quickly Ivar calm down and switches gears, I assume he was just screwing with him. This scene sets up Ivar’s fighting skills. There is always a way to make a fight end up on the ground. Later, Ivar kicks dirt up again with Sigurd, over Sigurd not wanting to avenge mom. Poor Sigurd is so angry at his childhood. He has good reasons for not avenge Lagertha over their mother. He finally snaps at Ivar, “Are you just really sad she can’t breast feed you anymore?” With that Ivar’s axe is at Sigurd’s throat. The blacksmith is fast enough to prevent his death. Was Sigurd NOT prepared for this? He has seen firsthand what Ivar is capable of.

Ivar’s Revenge 2.0

Ivar blocks off the great hall and confronts Lagertha. Again. Bjorn shows up in the nick of time. He is a tempered, reasoned Ragnar in this scene. If the boys avenge their Aslaug, then Bjorn will have to avenge his mom, and everyone should be focused on avenging their father right now. Ivar doesn’t care, but the other brothers see reason. The other brothers really don’t want to have to kill Bjorn. He is their brother. Of course, Ivar doesn’t really care about his full-blooded brothers either. Heads up, Sigurd. I have a major issue with this scene though, because the boys barricaded the great hall. How did Bjorn get in so easily?

Floki, the Godfather

Floki and Ivar see each other for the first time since arriving home. They hurl insults at each other relentlessly. It’s all good Viking fun. Ivar meets Helga’s new terrified daughter. Floki is keeping his mouth shut about the crazy, and Ivar indulges her too. Floki is still the greatest godfather ever. When Ivar asks for his help in battle “legs”, Floki goes above and beyond with a chariot fit for Caesar. Again, we see Ivar’s charm. He goes from Cindy Lou Who’s wonderment to a Hannibal Lecter mask in the same scene.

Judith

Judith steals the show this week. She travels to her homeland and warns dad of the revenge of Ragnar’s sons. Dad, King Aelle, is still the same self-righteous ass. He refuses to appreciate his daughter’s warning. I’m sure he can’t bring himself to acknowledge that a woman would understand these matters as well as him. Judith’s mom is praying for her soul because of her daughter’s affair with Ecbert. Mom says Judith is damned if her parents don’t pray for her, and implores her to go back to her husband. “If I’m to hell, at least I’ll enjoy the company of my degenerate monarch.” And her father won’t have to deal with her in your heaven, or any other woman who desires to be free. You, go girl! She sees the pit that Ragnar was thrown into and tells Aelle, “It is a sacred place.” Man, she is owning the whore, blasphemer and now heretic. She again tells her father to beware the Vikings, only because she loves her mom and sister. She counsels her sister to learn to read. I can’t wait to see what other trouble she can stir up.

I love King Aelle so much now too. He isn’t flowery and scheming like Ecbert, there is no Shakespearean tone or subtext. He is the embodiment of a male dominated society with his women covered head to toe and his infallible belief in his own righteousness. But he is no longer a simple character sketch, as he appeared in earlier seasons. He’s deep into it now. I LOVE my HATE for King Aelle. I hope we see a whole lot more of him this season!

Next week the Great Heathen Army heads to England! That’s pretty much the whole story from here on out! Doesn’t take an expert to know who is headed to power and fame now, Lagertha. You go ahead and keep Kattegat.

 

Picture source: http://www.history.com/shows/vikings and @TeamParmenter

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

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