“On the Eve”, of a great battle? The title would imply we have a build up to a battle this episode. But we actually have a battle this episode! And we’ll finish it next week!
This week, Kattegat is attacked by that “bastard son of an earl” that Halfdan recruited. I never learned his name, and it doesn’t matter now. We see Torvi fallen, struck by at least two arrows. Her eyes were twitching so we know she’s alive for now.
Harald forgives his princess who married a lowly earl. I never learned her name, but her name doesn’t matter now, either. Halfdan tells Harald that his princess’s husband ‘can’t be a nobody if she loves him.’ Awww, he’s such a romantic. I mean, burn, that had to piss off Harald, and incite him to blind rage. Yes, it does. The words prompt Harald to kill the lowly earl husband. It would have been great, except we knew he would do it. The princess then throws herself at Harald, telling him she only loved him. She then tries to kill him during sex. And Halfdan, at the ready, kills her for his brother. Poor Halfdan was actually surprised by her attempt. It was messy. The only thing I liked about all this is that she reminds me of Cinderella, blue dress and all. I wish this had been drawn out a little more, and made into a little twisted plot for the Brothers Grimm.
How creepy is it that Halfdan was watching them? Halfdan has his brother’s back, but I think he also wants Harald to keep his eye on the prize. And the prize isn’t a girl.
Ivar continues pushing for command and he is met with jeers by Bjorn; silent concern by the other brothers. They are perfectly happy to let Bjorn take the heat from this. The Vikings get the upper hand on the battlefield. In the end, Ivar does have better plans than Bjorn. Let’s see if Bjorn admits it.
Our Favorite Moments:
Floki & Helga’s Daughter
Helga’s adopted daughter runs away in the night. (So Helga did tag along on the revenge raid. That can’t be a comfort to this child.) Floki’s still going through something. He finds the girl and tells her he understands that she must hate them (the Vikings) and he doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t know how to help her, or Helga. She seems to trust him more than Helga. I like this development for Floki. Will this child (whose name I also avoided learning, because I assumed she’d be dead by now) be Floki’s Athelstan? I know, I’m crazy to think that at this point, but I’m going to learn her name this week. Which will probably be the death of her.
Aethelwulf with Boys
Aethelwulf discusses the impending battle with Ecbert. The boys want to fight as well. Aethelwulf tells them to go to bed. Ecbert then tells Judith to go back to Aethelwulf. Judith looks on as Aethelwulf speaks with Alfred. Even though he isn’t his father, he never makes the boy feel badly about his mom or biological dad. Judith is beside herself. Why is she torn about going back to him? Does she really love Ecbert that much, or does she not feel worthy of this guy?
Bastard Son of an Earl
I love this image of Lagertha. She and Rollo should combine their Stratego boards. Once the fight starts, Lagertha figures out the strategy to attack a lesser fortified area and shifts plans, ambushing the men in an empty alley. After “bastard” is captured, Lagertha puts him on a spit to roast him alive.
He gives up the information on who sent him. Lags seems almost sad that it was Harald Finehair. Lagertha, at least you didn’t sleep with this betrayer, right? You didn’t, did you? Or are you worried that he’s aligned himself with Aslaug’s sons against Bjorn? Does Lagertha let him live, like she said she would? I may be wrong, but I will not be learning his name.
The Lothbrok brothers hate each other. They bicker again over who should be in command. All Ivar’s brothers seem to side with Bjorn. Ivar throws in the fact that dad took him to England, which has to smart, since dad ignored the other boys their whole lives. But hey, they chose not to go with dad. Bjorn warns Ivar that he shouldn’t break up the brotherhood. Bjorn huffs and puffs all this episode, trying to undermine Ivar, without bringing up the cripple’s obvious shortcomings. He still contends the issue is that Ivar doesn’t have enough experience in battle. Floki insults them all with “So this is what the grunting of little pigs is all about.” Between seeing his hero’s sons bicker, and his empathy for his adopted daughter, you have to wonder if he’s done with the Viking way of life.
Ivar convinces Bjorn to survey the battlefield for a more guerrilla warfare approach that the Saxon’s won’t expect. In the final battle, Aethelwulf’s men are redirected all over the hillside several times, as the Vikings move through the woods and attack with arrows. Aethelwulf abandons the fight altogether and instead moves to destroy the Vikings boats at the water. Which is what Ivar expected them to do, because, as has been stated so often here, he’s awesome. On the way to the boats, Bjorn’s men ambush the English along a ravine and finally block their path. Floki is beside himself with happiness. He knows who the true heir to Ragnar’s position is. These are the moments we love and miss this season – bloodthirsty killers and their brotherly love.
Next week is the Season Finale! We’ll finish off the battle with Wessex. Will Bjorn and Ivar come to an agreement on power? Will Judith return to Aethelwulf? Will Torvi survive? Who will make it back to Kattegat in one piece? Was this episode really just the “eve” of a greater battle between the brothers?
Picture source: History.com and @TeamParmenter