By Leslie Gayle
We’re told at Ragnarok that Fenrir the wolf will break his invisible chains. Looks like Fenrir’s chains are only invisible until it is too late to stop the boats.
After a nice leisurely cruise, this week starts with a jolt. It took six episodes to get here, and it will take another six to leave Paris, I’m sure. But, we knew the battle was just the beginning.
On the eve of the great battle, Ragnar is tweaking. He plans to power the boats up river past the towers, while archers distract the back of the towers. Thing One and Thing Two (Harald and Halfdan) ask to be at the front of the flotilla.
The plan doesn’t work so well. No one counted on marshes around the towers or a chain being raised across the river to capsize the boats. (See Ragnar, if Rollo had been on your side, he would have done some recon beforehand, like he did last year in Paris. All those years of eye rolls over Rollo’s annoying questions are ironic, no?)
Rollo does what we all knew he would. There was a moment when Count Odo thought Rollo wouldn’t release the chain. But Count Odo was wrong about a betrayal within Paris’s players. At least for now. The only surprise for me in this battle was that Rollo followed through with attacks on Lagertha’s troops. I waited for him to call off his archers, which he did, only to start them up again.
Bjorn confronts Erlunder on his father’s ring. Erlunder proves to be a bad liar. He barely looks at the ring, before saying, “no” and walking away as fast as he can. Roland’s men raid the Viking camp during the river battle. Supplies are destroyed and Helga is badly burned but Ragnar’s boys are safe. Everyone is starting to understand that all this is Ragnar’s fault.
Our Favorite Moments:
The gods must be crazy, like a fox
Aslaug has taken up with Harbard. And Harbard, sly god that he is, has taken up with every lady who has a Viking hot to make a name for himself. Now we know why Odin extolls the virtues of dying in battle; to get rid out all the men! Sigurd, snake in the eye, is watching all of Harbard’s exploits. After the breastfeeding incident last week, I wonder what he’s thinking of mom.
The Sword in the Stone
His next trick may be to pull a sword out of a stone.
Ecbert heads off to Mercia, with much fan fair, reminding us of why he is King. It’s about the pageantry and synchronized horseback riding. (Mom, quit going all fangirl over the arch villain!)
We meet the mysterious “W”, Prince Wigston, who’s had three generations of his family murdered gruesomely by Kwenthrith’s insane relatives. He’s sick of the game and wants nothing more than to renounce all claims to Mercia and retire in Rome. His final act will be to relinquish his forces and hand Mercia’s throne to Ecbert. Ecbert would be one kingdom short of a monopoly. Man, does “W” know how to play Ecbert. He acknowledges Ecbert has the cunning to pull it off and adds “Your Kingdom will be HUGE.” What king doesn’t want to hear THAT as he take possession of another man’s ancestral family jewels?
That’s a painfully sharp and rusty looking crown, isn’t it? And this all seems a bit too easy, doesn’t it? Hirst has all the cards on the table in England. Is he giving us this shiny bauble of a storyline to distract us from all the hidden storylines in Paris? Or is this all going to go South, too?
The Prophet and Loss (Oh, I get it now.)
Floki goes overboard in the battle and almost drowns. (Why has the boat builder not learned to swim?) Ragnar goes out of his way to save him, showing he still cares, or that he still needs him. After the battle, we see the aftermath of the raid on the camp. Ragnar’s boys are safe, but Helga is badly burned. Ragnar is more concerned with getting more drugs than in helping anyone.
After his near death experience, Floki has sex with Aslaug. Which is confusing to everyone because Aslaug is back in Kattegat. Oh, Floki has had his first vision as a new Seer. We now know how the gods reveal themselves to the prophets. In his vision Floki is Harbard (Odin) having sex with Aslaug. The camera lingers, possibly waiting for Floki’s signature mischief-maker smile, but it never appears. He doesn’t find this turn of events funny? Does this mean his career as an arsonist is over?
Lagertha’s Baby. Is she, isn’t she?
Ragnar is still concerned for Lagertha and her baby. She tells him of the Seer’s prophecy. She misquotes it though. The Seer never said she wouldn’t have another child. He said he couldn’t see a child for as far out as he could see. And now we know Floki may have taken over the Seer’s gift of sight, so who knows where this goes.
There’s that far off look Rollo gets when he speaks of Lagertha. Mmmm hmmmmm.
Gisla is at the battle dressed to the nines. Is she experimenting after being let out of Paris’s walls, or is this who she is now? If we have to deal with her for the long haul, I like that she’s acting more like a Viking. Rollo is calm about per presence at the battle. Is he so confident that he’s not concerned for her safety or does he not care? Women are common in battle for him, but he sent Ziggy packing when she wanted to defend Kattegat and Ragnar tries to keep Lagertha out of battle all the time. Crazy theory, is Gisla just a hostage to hand to his brother until Rollo gets the land he was promised? We’ll see.
After the fireworks Gisla sees the Viking women and Rollo brings up Lagertha. He neglects to mention that Lagertha ruined him for every other woman. But hey, why start that fight after this great victory. I can’t wait for these two women to meet. That could go any number of ways.
Tomorrow we retreat?
At the end of the battle, Rollo catches a glimpse of what his brother has become. A crazed King Lear screaming at the heavens. Does he think his brother needs to be put out of his misery for everyone’s sake?
We end the episode with Ragnar telling Bjorn they will head downriver the next day and “garbled growl.” As soon as Bjorn leaves, Ragnar tells a decapitated head, “Tomorrow, we retreat”. All righty, Hamlet, see you next week.