In this week’s highlights, Ragnar’s life gets more complicated as he deals with an old enemy, an ex-wife and the birth of a disabled son. He doesn’t even know about the complications that Ecbert is has in the works!
This first moment is one of my all-time favorite Vikings scenes. Ragnar has arrested Borg and will be giving him a blood eagle. (That whole messy business is covered in our Top 25 Most Satisfying Deaths.) Horik encouraged Ragnar to wait until they find another earl willing to raid with them.
While they wait for an earl to volunteer, Thorstein and Ragnar blow off steam with a little drunk target practice, in the dark. This must be how darts came to be played in pubs.
Rollo interrupts the fun with a messenger from an earl who wishes to raid with them. This unknown, Earl Ingstad, will meet Ragnar in the woods. Earl Ingstad turns out to be Lagertha, who took over her dead husband’s lands. Lagertha is rather smug now that she and Ragnar are equals. “I’m sure this is difficult for you!” Sure, and him wanting her back doesn’t help.
Helga tells Floki that he will be a father. He seems excited and immediately asks Helga to marry him. This is the start of the buildup for the conflict with Horik. The audience doesn’t know if Floki is truly at odds with Ragnar, but Floki doesn’t want Ragnar’s blessing for the wedding.
Back in Wessex, an overtly inebriated Ecbert is discussing what to do about the Vikings since both he and Aelle have been hit several times. Ecbert believes they should join forces against the invaders. Aelle, rightly so, doesn’t trust Ecbert’s intentions. So Ecbert suggests a marriage between his son, Aethelwulf and Aelle’s daughter, Judith. This is back when marriages were more of a hostage situation for the bride, so I don’t know why Aelle would find this to his advantage. But Aelle agrees to it. Maybe because Aelle is really drunk too. The fate of two young individuals who’ve never met, being decided by two drunk guys. What could go wrong?
Aslaug delivers the child she prophesied would be a monster. The child’s deformity is kept a mystery to all. Aslaug warned Ragnar that sex was a bad idea when she got pregnant, and he wouldn’t control himself for one day. Ragnar has to make the decision to accept the child or not.
We are then introduced to Princess Kwenthrith of Mercia. Mercia is beset by family feuds and murders. Kwenthrith has killed one of her brothers. She is introduced to the audience by Athelstan. When he first sees her, he announces, “So this is our fratricide.” Kwenthrith has already developed her own unnerving power look. She definitely wants to be his pet *and* wants to bite pretty much anyone she meets!
Kwenthrith flirts with and embarrasses Athelstan and Aethelwulf at dinner. The unscrupulous King Ecbert is unsettled when discussing the death of her brother. (Although by next season we all learn he excels at feigning innocence.) Kwenthrith’s brother had raped her, but he is already on his way to sainthood via the Pope. See Ecbert, there is hope for you! You haven’t done anything that bad. Yet.
Ultimately Kwenthrith ends up in bed with King Ecbert, who is probably too old to meet her needs. She asks that he send for Athelstan. The king sends her a few of his guards instead. Athelstan’s a holy man after all. And we wouldn’t want to tarnish him. Or more likely have Athelstan gain any sympathy for Kwenthrith’s cause.
The next favorite moment adds nothing to the plot. But I would be remiss if I didn’t include it, because it’s repeatedly listed as a fan favorite, mostly by female fans. This scene has some unintelligible quality that creates a turning point, where many ardent Rollo haters forget exactly *why* they hated him.
Rollo has been training Bjorn for battle and life, something Ragnar did for Athelstan, but never did for Bjorn. As he watches Lagertha sail off to Hedeby for recruits, we’re reminded once again that Rollo holds a torch for Lagertha.
Last up for this week is the fate of the last son that Ragnar has with Aslaug. Ragnar tries to leave the child out to die of exposure, instead of immediately ending his life. Aslaug finds the baby and takes him back home. Ragnar is unable to convince Aslaug to let the child die naturally, as is their way. Ragnar gives up the fight and they both name the child. The poor kid has a few hurdles in life. He has no use of this legs, dad tried to kill him on his first day, and his mom is desperate for love and attention. I can’t wait to get to know his story once Season 4 resumes!
Next week we’ll finish favorite moments from Season Two and see how many licks it takes to get to the center of a king’s skull.