The fans are still praying for a return date announcement for Season Four! We’ll get some Viking therapy with Season Two’s “Lord’s Prayer.” Ragnar meets his match in battle, Ecbert’s uneasy alliance pays off, and King Aelle proves to be one hell of a party animal.
The Vikings head off to England again and are met with battle tactics that Ecbert lifted from the Roman manuscripts, thanks to Athelstan’s translations. Horik is hot-headed, just wanting revenge on Ecbert. Despite his misgivings of heading down a hill after Ecbert’s troops, Earl Ragnar has to let King Horik lead. Ultimately the Vikings are surrounded when Aelle’s men box them on the hillside.
Each season we see Rollo knocked down pretty hard. Rollo’s Season Two beat-down happens in this battle. He is fallen and trampled by a horse. The Vikings retreat, leaving Rollo on the battlefield. A horse! And Ragnar shrugs it off with a, “Whatever. It’ll take more to kill him.” Did he just hope to leave his brother behind in England? He sure didn’t want to leave Rollo behind in Paris.
Athelstan finds Rollo barely breathing. Ecbert takes Rollo as a hostage to negotiate terms with Ragnar. When Rollo awakens, he wants to kill Athelstan as a traitor. Or maybe because Ragnar pushed Rollo to the side for Athelstan?
In Ecbert’s hall, everyone is celebrating the victory. Aelle feels particularly full of himself. I wonder if Ecbert regret’s bringing this drunk ape to the bathhouse? How unseemly! You invited him, Ecbert.
Ecbert tells Aelle that they should hire the Northmen as mercenaries to curb the rebellion in Mercia. If not, they’ll be facing attacks “again and again, times without number.” Methinks your flowery language is lost on the likes of Aelle, Ecbert. But it works. They decide to send a negotiator to define terms and recruit Viking mercenaries.
Ecbert has already declined Athelstan’s pre-battle offer to speak to Ragnar on his behalf, for fear of the Vikings killing Athelstan. But this time Aethelwulf, Ecbert’s son, suggests that they send Athelstan. Dear old Dad thought nothing of sending Aethelwulf as a hostage in the past. Bluff called.
Back in Kattegat, Aslaug gives Porunn her freedom. I’m shocked Aslaug goes through with it after Porunn says she wants to be like Lagertha. “Why does everyone want to be like Lagertha!” Aslaug respects Porunn’s spirit and probably wants to make her stepson happy, or distract him.
Athelstan arrives in the Viking camp on a donkey. Is he Daniel going into the lion’s den? Ragnar guesses correctly that Horik plans on stirring the pot again by killing Athelstan. So Ragnar walks Athelstan out of camp. They discuss whether Athelstan will return to Kattegat with Ragnar and if he is Christian again. “I wish it was so simple. In the gentle rain I hear my God, but in the thunder I still hear Thor.” There’s a lot Ragnar still doesn’t understand about how the Christian God works.
Kwenthrith returns to Wessex to inspect the Viking mercenaries who stayed to fight for her throne. She is very disappointed that Ragnar isn’t among them. While manhandling one of the specimens, she manages to shock Ecbert again. We learn later that rattling Ecbert isn’t an easy task.
Back in Kattegat, Helga introduces Floki to his daughter. He starts to act kookier than usual. He insists their daughter will be named after Loki’s wife, a great giantess. In Helga’s words, a monster. Then he tells Helga she needs to take their daughter and leave Kattegat. Floki knows a major power struggle is about to go down.
Bjorn also comes home, to the surprise of his newly freed girlfriend. He’s happy, until he realizes she now has a choice of with whom she spends time. Bjorn tries to play it cool and is left looking like a deer in the headlights. For a boy with Lagertha as a mother, he sure hasn’t learned much about how to manage a woman. Neither has his dad.
After the intrigue of Floki gaining Horik’s trust, and whether Siggy will kill Ragnar’s children, Horik goes to the Great Hall expecting an easy kill. Instead, Ragnar’s cronies are waiting to kill Horik. Meanwhile Lagertha takes on Horik’s wife Gunnhild. You know with that name, she’s a major shieldmaiden! But Lagertha totally schools her, and orders Horik’s children killed. They seemed to have a mutual respect/hate thing from the beginning.
Ragnar’s win is a little less impressive, with all his buddies beating Horik down first. It ends with Ragnar going full berserker and bashing in Horik’s head. (That’s another death covered in “Top 25 Memorable Deaths.”) Despite the gruesome ending, Ragnar looks fabulous dripping with blood. Season Two ends with Ragnar alone on his mountain top, preparing himself again.
Next week we start highlights of Season Three. And like all us fans, our Vikings are champing at the bit to set sail again.