By Leslie Gayle
It has been six weeks and no Vikings. My brain still doesn’t understand why it’s awake at 11 p.m. on Thursdays and only Thursdays. But I count myself lucky. The UK just started showing Season Three last week!
This week, our highlights pick up after Ragnar’s trial. Soon after the trial for Knut’s death, Haraldson attacks Ragnar’s farm. Ragnar is seriously injured and the Lothbroks hide out at Floki’s house. (Does Haraldson not know where the master boat-builder and Ragnar’s best buddy lives? You’d think an earl would be up on these things. No wonder he loses power.)
Thorstein arrives and he is introduced to Helga, Floki’s girlfriend. “Hello, Helga.” Floki insults Thorstein’s manhood for ogling her, but later invites Thorstein to bed with him and Helga. Hello, Helga, indeed! The scene cuts after the invitation; no need for an overt sex scene. I love this scene for two reasons. This moment shows these characters as free-love hippies. Bloodthirsty, free-loving, hippies. And I appreciate the writing for what it is. Unlike other shows, sex is used to explain the culture and characters, not to keep the viewer interested or to boost ratings. It isn’t necessary, because the characters keep you interested.
While Ragnar recovers in hiding, his brother Rollo crashes the wedding of Haraldson’s daughter, Thyri. He hopes to go on the next raid despite the differences between Haraldson and his brother. I don’t know why, but this is a funny scene to me. Rollo knew he couldn’t trust Haraldson’s promises. Or, he felt, even then, that the gods had something more momentous in store for him. When Haraldson taunts that Rollo could be the one dancing with his daughter, Rollo flatly says, “I was not fated to marry her; that old man was.” No regrets. Maybe he had an inkling that the gods had something else in store for him (and knew Haraldson’s wife had the hots for him).
As soon as Ragnar kills Haraldson, Rollo is one of the first to pledge his loyalty. Ragnar tells Rollo he doesn’t need to swear. Rollo asks Ragnar, “How will we ever be equal now, my brother?” Kattegat is kind of small to share power.
In addition to the eye rolls that Ragnar throws at everybody, there’s another look that evolves throughout Season One. This topic is worth mentioning now that Ragnar has gained some power. I’ll sum the look up with this meme. Cat lovers will appreciate it.
By episode 4, Ragnar has had two successful raids on England and is a clear threat to Haraldson. Ragnar practices a coy look before the trial for killing Cnut. It doesn’t impress or sway anyone.
Then, during one of his philosophical sessions with Athelstan he works on the look. He has power over another human being now, a slave. That isn’t quite enough motivation.
On the third raid of England, Ragnar captures King Aelle’s brother. Ragnar and King Aelle agree to negotiate. Ragnar wants to learn how this king lives. And now that he’s an earl, he probably looking to gain even more power. Ragnar almost has the look perfected when he walks into the villa. But after Aelle’s initial greeting, Ragnar knows he can compete with this buffoon. And…
…there it is. Aelle is one grumpy cat about it.
The culture clash at dinner is amusing, with Floki and One-eye breaking never-before-seen ceramic dishes and Floki admiring the workmanship of their goods. Wanting to one-up Aelle, Ragnar points to the bishop and asks if he is a holy man. Ragnar brags, “I, too, have a man of God at home.” He’s so proud of his pet.
Aelle, of course, has no intention of handing over his silver. After fending off Aelle’s ambush, another humorous moment is set up. Ragnar asks Aelle’s brother, Aethelwulf, why he shouldn’t kill him. Aethelwulf claims Ragnar will then have no bargaining chip. To which Ragnar jokes, “I have this [his axe].” Viking humor is an acquired taste. They’re absolutely hysterical once you get to know them.
Aethelwulf’s body is sent back to the villa, dragging behind a horse. We assume Aelle relents to the treasure, because the Vikings leave on their ships in the next scene, a silver coin flips into the river as Ragnar waves goodbye, his new look perfected. From here on out you’ll notice this look on every character who hungers for pure power.
I will say goodbye here as well. We still have a few scenes to cover in Season One. But you won’t have to wait a whole season, or even a week to get to the first Ragnar v. Rollo conflict. Next week we’ll get through the Jarl Borg standoff and a great foreshadowing from young Bjorn.
Picture source: http://www.history.com/shows/vikings