Mr. Hirst likes symmetry in his cycle of life and death in the Viking and English world. In “Murder Most Foul”, two main characters plan their future families, and two characters get axed, literally. Well, they were stabbed, not axed, but you get the idea.
Lagertha’s group is thrown in prison upon arrival in Wessex. Now everyone regrets following Heahmund – everyone but Lagertha. Bjorn thinks Lagertha has been a fool for love. At least Torvi is willing to knock Bjorn down a few notches.
Alfred soon gives the Vikings free reign of Wessex out of “the love borne by his grandfather for Ragnar.” But Alfred needs them to earn they place, by fighting for him.
Ivar announces his marriage to Freydis. He confides to his wife that he can’t have a child. But she insists, as a god, he can.
Margrethe however, is letting it be known that Ivar can’t have a child.
Floki has the same issues since arriving in Iceland. There is no food for winter. People are still not truly getting along. Now Floki doubts he ever saw the gods and wonders why Odin is using him for his amusement.
Alfred wants to make amends for King Ecbert’s land bait and switch, but he’s in a tricky political spot. Bjorn is beyond rational forethought. Alfred hopes Ubbe can see reason. Playing upon his knowledge of Ecbert and Ragnar’s relationship, the young king asks Ubbe to be baptized. I like these two together. Ubbe is more level headed than Bjorn. I can’t imagine Bjorn really cares about the land. He’s never wanted to be a farmer.
Hvitserk has been caring for Margrethe. She begs him to kill Ivar so she can be queen. He’s very sweet to her. But what good would she be as a ruler, if she can’t have children?
Ivar tells Hvitserk and Harald he’s going to be a daddy. One threat to Ivar’s throne disappears, when Harald announces he’ll go raiding in England. But Harald will have to come back if he wants control of all of Norway.
Alfred can’t give Heahmund back his bishop job without upsetting the church. The bishop who took his job, tells Heahmund there’s a plan to overthrow Alfred. I don’t know this new bishop’s name. It sounds like “cutthroat.” But his name doesn’t matter anymore. After the bishop threatens the King and threatens to expose Heahmund’s affair with Lagertha, Heahmund kills him. He crosses himself afterwards. Because he’s in the house of God. Gotta show some respect after murdering someone on the alter.
Here are the parts I found the most amusing this week.
My Favorite moments:
I don’t like Heahmund. He’s kind of useless. I don’t know if Michael Hirst intended his character to be a complete fraud, but he is. And I don’t see any chemistry between him and Lagertha. So Alfred’s toast of the former Bishop gave me a good laugh.
Ivar’s Baby Momma
Freydis is great for Ivar’s self-confidence. He can do anything according to her – even have a baby without sex. But just in case he isn’t a god, Freydis has a backup plan.
I am reminded of Ivar’s disbelief of the Christian virgin birth. Does he believe it’s possible now?
I love this scene because Alexander Andersen is the only cast member showing his chops. When Freydis tells Ivar she’s pregnant, he’s beyond happy. But I think Ivar must know subconsciously that it isn’t his child. Why else is he having nightmares about Margrethe killing him?
Second verse same as the first
And speaking of women and not-so-miraculous births – remember who King Alfred’s father was? King Ecbert declared that Judith’s infidelity was God’s Will. Well, the women in Judith’s family must suffer from a genetic form of “God’s Will”. Because no sooner does Alfred’s bride-to-be arrive in Wessex, than she’s in bed with Bjorn Ironside. That’s one way to guarantee a Viking inherits that land promised to Ragnar, and then some! I hope her first child is Bjorn’s. I mean, what can Alfred do? He’s the result of his mom curiosity in a Viking priest.
Third Times a Charm?
To stop the raids, Ecbert promised Ragnar land. Ecbert took the land back and killed all the settlors as soon as Ragnar left. Then Bjorn coerced Ecbert to deed the land over to the Vikings, in exchange for not giving him a Blood Eagle. Now, Alfred is promising the same land to Ubbe and Bjorn. But again, they have to again show good faith to the people of Wessex.
Ubbe whips out the deed with Ecbert’s signature and slams it on the table. They didn’t expect to leave Kattegat. After Ivar defeated them, they left fast, and didn’t know where they were going. They had no plan. But in the confusion to get kids, they remembered this deed? I’d bet Ubbe thought of it, not Bjorn.
Heahmund brushing off Lagertha
Heahmund must deny his relationship with the Vikings and Lagertha in public. He told her back in Norway that he’d have to drop her. Lagertha is acting like an love sick idiot. When she approaches him in the market, he reproaches her. WHY is she putting up with him? Part of me feels badly for her. She is at his mercy right now, like with her second husband. And part of me has no sympathy for her. She has truly hit bottom. I hope she guts him.
Hvitersek is irritated by Ivar, but sticks around – why? He’s the only one around willing to speak the truth to Ivar. Even Harald is keeping his mouth shut.
After Ivar dreams of being killed by Margrethe, he tells Hvitserk to get rid of her. Hvitserk arrogantly, and correctly jokes that she’s harmless to everyone but Ivar.
After Ivar announces Freydis’ pregnancy, Margrethe is killed. And I had started liking her!
Now that Ivar is killing those who know his secrets, how long with Hvitserk survive? And will the Vikings accept Alfred’s demands? They don’t have much choice.
Picture source: History & Vikings