Vikings, Season 4, Episode 10 – “The Last Ship”
By Leslie Gayle
Vikings could have jumped the shark this week. They didn’t. It might have been better if they had. The only thing they jumped was time. This fan felt it was much ado about nothing after a year-long build up. I mean really, we had the epic Viking battle and not one “SHIELDWALL!” What kind of a Viking battle is that? I guess the times are a-changing. And we have to learn to live with it or be left in the Dark Ages.
The fight we waited for (for exactly 52 weeks) finally happened. We got right into it when the episode started, but it needlessly lasted half the episode. The Vikings had an early victory when the Franks tried boarding Ragnar’s barge. A Frankish soldier implores Rollo to retreat, and Rollo quickly kills him as an example. Then Rollo rallies his troops. The Franks manage to get the upper hand in the next attacks. Rollo and Ragnar finally meet sword to sword. Both lose their swords and start throwing punches in a sloppy, sibling slug-fest. But these siblings are Vikings. This main event falls short of the shows standards. It pales in comparison to tower battle with Aethelwulf in “Kill the Queen.”
Ragnar sees Lagertha stabbed and finally calls for a retreat to their awaiting ships. He then prepares to go at Rollo again, but is thrown into the retreating boat by a fellow Viking. Rollo’s men assail them with arrows, but Rollo tells his men to let them go. Rollo is crying. Maybe hurt by his brother’s word that, “You were never my brother,” or possibly upset that he failed to kill Ragnar and end future threats upon Paris.
Then we have a six-year time-jump where we meet Ragnar’s son’s and learn Ragnar survived. But he disappeared, leaving Kattegat without their king. We now know none of our favorites are gone. We see Bjorn, Floki, Helga. We learn via a press release that Lagertha is alive and well.
Our Favorite Moments:
Vikings: Next Gen
Ivar the Boneless, born with deformed legs, is now grown. He is one of the few characters who was developed this season, even if his legs weren’t. He has his dad’s crazy eyes and he seems rational to the point of being emotionless. He is the living embodiment of that dream, where the lumbering monster is bearing down on you, but you can’t move your legs. He is both the monster and your paralyzed legs. And you have to keep watching, rather than run, because he has so much charisma.
Floki the toy maker
Eeeek! Helga’s a great giantess, like Loki’s first wife! Sorry, I had to. This is my favorite image this week.
Bjorn checks on his boat order and asks Floki if he knew of the massacred settlement. Bjorn doesn’t blame Floki for hiding the truth because he respects the loyalty to his father. Man, Lagertha did a great job with him! He talks of going to the Mediterranean Sea, and Floki jokes about its existence. Bjorn says, “I learned from my father, the only way to tell if something is real is to sail there.” Floki adds, “Are you kidding? The lore of an imaginary land? Travelling to places that don’t exist? Of course I am coming.” It feels like we’re in the Shire with Frodo and Gandalf, doesn’t it?
Gisla kneels in front of the Virgin Mary, praying for her husband, the father of her unborn child. So she is pregnant. She begging for forgiveness of Rollo’s past sins. What about your sins, darling? You are the one ordering deaths indiscriminately.
The statue starts crying. Gisla lays Rollo’s Viking armband at the statue’s feet, like the rune-carved-antler magic Floki laid upon Ragnar when he was ill. The marble Madonna continues to weep. At this point Rollo and Ragnar meet in battle. During this fight we cut to Kattegat, where the Seer groans each time a Viking hero is hacked in Paris. (I feel you, dude. The melodrama is as painful as a Spanish soap opera.)
Hirst is usually a master at these allusions. I love the concept, but it is heavy-handed. Mr. Hirst, please drop Paris’s story line if you can’t fix it. Were five episodes worth of character development and storyline left bleeding to death on the editing room floor? Sacrificed to get the next 10 episodes of advertising dollars? Because it feels like an accountant did the editing in Paris.
Yo, Adrian, I did it!
When the battle starts, Rollo say “God be with us.” My stomach dropped; we’ve lost Rollo to the Christians. Or have we? His eyes shift, like he’s looking to see who’s watching him. His own men, or perhaps his own gods?
Hirst isn’t done beating up #PoorRollo just yet. After the battle, Rollo returns to Paris looking like this:
Clive Standen has said his character will be “cerebral” this season. Did this mean he’ll have his head bashed in again? The Emperor crowns Rollo with a golden wreath and declares him Caesar. (Oooo, just like young Alfred was last episode!) His coronation must have been really important to the Franks (eye roll). It’s a tidy, concise ceremony after Rollo’s entrance, like we’ve grown accustom to in Paris. It isn’t grand by any means. As with every scene in Paris it was, “Let’s get this over with and move on.”
The Emperor crowned Rollo; the Seer said it would be a princess. There’s a joke in there somewhere. (Yes, I’m still waiting for the Crying Game in Paris.)
My mind is left replaying all the beatings Rollo has suffered for others over the years. At least he is welcomed as a hero, by the people who vilified him last season. But he may be worse off because he has gambled his whole life on a fickle young woman.
Bjorn finds his four brothers and tells them the news about their half-brother, Magnus in England, and about Ragnar’s deception on the English settlement. All the sons, except Ivar, say they would kill Ragnar if he came back.
Then Ragnar returns. (Was he eavesdropping?) No one challenges him as he walks into town. His sons approach him and he spurs them on to kill him and put him out of his misery. “So, who’s gonna do it?…DO IT! WHAT KIND OF KING ABANDONS HIS PEOPLE? What kind of father abandons his sons?” Then he pauses, “So who wants to be king?” and he draws his sword. ~FIN~
History says that Ragnar dies in a snake pit at King Aelle’s hand. Aelle is still out there, pissed at Ecbert and the Vikings. And Ecbert needs killing for the settlement massacre. ROADTRIP!
Vikings will be on hiatus until fall. This space will be filled with past Vikings favorites until then. Thank the gods we don’t have to wait another year.