By Lesley Gayle
The Great Heathen Army gets to England and makes pretty good headway in their first fight. True to the title, revenge was had this week. And it was satisfying on some level. Which is good, because other things going on this week, were not satisfying at ALL.
Ivar insists that dad left him in charge because he knows all of England’s defenses. None of the brothers want Ivar in charge. Floki is going through something. But the gods haven’t revealed it to him yet. He insists Helga stay home with their freaked out child. It isn’t yet known whether she put her foot down and went on the raid. She did cover her grown child’s eyes at the human sacrifice. Don’t know why she’s take her to a revenge raid.
Ubbe marries Margrethe and then turns around and shares her with Hvitserk on their wedding night. Not quite sure where this is going. How much does Ubbe really care about her if he isn’t jealous. Is it a game by both parties in the Lagertha scheming? I wonder if Ragnar and Rollo were once so close as to…nope, shoving that thought out of my head. Ragnar and Rollo are both gone. It doesn’t matter from here on out.
Lagertha sacrifices a really young, cute, willing, Earl who showed up last week. Why would he do that, he’s an earl? He does seem kind of scrawny to fight in the army anyway. While Lagertha’s doing that, Bjorn gets unnecessarily busy with Astrid again, and the director tries to draw parallels between the sex and the sacrifice. Torvi and Lagertha seem to know what Bjorn is up to. Is the sex part of the ritual? Is Bjorn going to give his mom and her lover a child of their own?
Aelle is unfazed by the army, because he’s always right. Ecbert is told of the army’s arrival. But rather than discuss strategy, Aethelwulf finally has a long overdue talk about other things. Methinks this means some characters are saying goodbye, like Ragnar did before he left Kattegat.
Our Favorite Moments:
Harald’s princess shows up in Kattegat. Halfdan the Black is jealous of this girl, and doesn’t appear to approve of her arrival. This is the princess that inspired Harald to become king of all Norway, because she didn’t want to marry the king of a minor territory. Harald’s beside himself happy. But uhm, (whisper) she’s married now. She has to say it twice before he hears and understand it. And she’s married a lowly, unknown, Danish EARL, not a king. I wonder if she’ll say, “It was me, not you.” (No really, it was you, Harald. You’re a little too intense.) Seriously, were lines of communication so bad that he hasn’t kept in touch with her AT ALL. They knew Rollo had taken over Normandy. They knew the settlement had been massacred in Wessex. He just trusted her word and ignored her all these years. He should’ve at least sent her the heads of all the earls he defeated over the years, like a promise ring or something. (And that reminders me. Who’s ruling his lands right now? He certainly isn’t governing them himself.) Anyway, I think someone’s husband will end up dead and maybe a princess too, if she’s lucky. Harald warns his brother that he loves only his brother and this princess. And currently Harald doesn’t want the princess dead. I don’t even want to think about what he has in store for her.
Like Father, Like son, the Bjorn addition
Bjorn goes on and on (and on) about being in charge on the army. It sounds vaguely (read “exactly”) like Ragnar yelling at everyone is Paris, about being King. Will Ivar keep his mouth shut and bide his time, like dad told him to? Let’s hope so. No need to elaborate. Ivar is awesome as always.
Aethelwulf grows a pair and cries about it
Wulfy finally confronts dad on everything, about being sent into harm’s way ever few years, his dad taking his wife as a mistress, being forced to raise his wife’s bastard child. He asks if daddy ever loved him. (Knowing Hirst cuts so many scenes, I am guessing that Ecbert sees his dead wife, every time he looks at Aethelwulf and it’s overwhelming for him.) We get no answer to Aethelwulf’s question, only crying and silent emoting. Thanks, Hirst. Like Aethelwulf and now Ecbert, you have broken us. No really, Aelle is better off than us, after seeing the silence between these two. Aelle doesn’t have to live with any of this! But we’re still here, left with that deafening SILENCE! IMMA go tell my babies I love them right now!
Aelle, pompous self-righteous ass that he is, has every confidence he’ll defeat the Great Heathen Army easily. The build up to the battle scene was awesome. Aelle was still cool and confident as the first group of Vikings appear over the hill. Then we see the endless stream of Viking hordes filling the landscape. And Ivar arrives on his chariot drawn by a white horse. Of course he has a white horse, he’s our hero.
The bishop says, “God help us.” And Aelle, finally seeing the writing on the wall replies, ”I don’t think He can.” The horde screams and beats their shields for a long time. There’s lot of build up. Everyone starts running towards the English, aaaand, “Cut”! Cut to battle? No, cut to Aelle being dragged behind a horse. WTH Hirst! You build up sex, that was really unsatisfying and weird, and then you build up this battle scene and not one ounce of English blood is seen. Like Lagertha said, ‘It isn’t worth it if it’s not enjoyable.’
Aelle’s “Come to Jesus, er Floki, Meeting”
Aelle begs for his life with silver and gold. Where’s your faith now? Floki gets right in his face and tells Aelle that he is a carpenter, just like Aelle’s Christ-god was. Then we cut to Floki literally nailing Aelle to a tree. That had to hurt, literally and figuratively. Then Bjorn blood eagles him. (Yes, “blood eagle” IS a verb now.) The revenge is so epic that is awakens Ecbert and Lagertha. (I bet Ecbert’s packing his bags as we speak.)
The revenge is bloody. I won’t say it wasn’t necessary, after having no battle to quench our blood lust. But it was the goriest thing that Vikings has shown to date, at least in the edited American version. (Not the grossest thing though. That award still goes to the communal wash basin.)
Ivar gets up front and personal to see the life go out of Aelle’s eyes and Floki delivers the last rites with his quirky hand motions.
Next week Kattegat is attacked by that bastard son of an earl. And The Great Heathen Army moves towards Wessex for the revenge Ragnar really wanted. Hopefully there will be an epic battle in the last two episodes. We need our raw meat, Hirst.
Picture source: http://www.history.com/shows/vikings