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Sweatpants & TV | Vikings, Season 5, Episode 13: “A New God”

By Lesley Gayle

At the opening this week, Harald announces he’s leaving Kattegat again, to raid Wessex. Ivar, worried about Harald’s ambition, is glad to see him go. Harold finds Jarl Olafson in charge at Ivar’s stronghold in York. Harald convinces Olafson to attack Wessex and later, Kattegat, to usurp Ivar.

King Alfred is in another tight spot with Heahmund killing Bishop Cuthred. (Hey look, I learned his name!) But Heahmund is forgiven, giving the church another reason to be upset with the king.  Ubbe converts to help Alfred with his political problems. Bjorn isn’t too happy about the conversion, so he warms up to his fake half-brother, Magnus, when he whispers in Bjorn’s ear.

Iceland still sucks. Floki’s people are still upset about food and revenge killings. Floki tells them he was reborn in Iceland. And he hopes everyone will get along for the sake of the child about to be born to both families. But by the end to the episode, the expectant mother goes missing.

We have yet to learn how pissed off Aethelred is about giving his throne to his bastard half-brother, Alfred. Currently, Aethelred is not happy with his brother’s decision to let Bishop Heahmund go unpunished for killing Bishop Cuthred.

Alfred lets Heahmund go because he was protecting Alfred against a conspirator – or so he tells Alfred. Killing two birds with one stone, Aethelred puts mom in her place and undermines his brother by marrying the daughter of Cuthred, the murdered bishop.

Freydis, keeps Ivar in her thrall and convinces him he is a god. And Lagertha for some reason is enthralled with Heahmund as her savior and great winter love. Yuck. Heahmund in fact, only killed Cuthred because Cuthred threatened to reveal Heahmund’s affair with Lagertha, destroying any chance of Heahmund becoming a bishop again. It was not because he loved the king or Lagertha. It was because he wanted his job back.

I understand Ivar’s delusion. Freydis is very convincing and Ivar IS the best thing in the Viking world since Ragnar raided Lindesfarne. But I have no idea why Lagertha, or Hirst, put any faith in this priest warrior. That storyline needs to die fast before the show loses any more oxygen to Heahmund’s inhales between lines! That’s not drama, that’s emphysema.

Heahmund aside, here are my favorite bits for the week!

My Favorite moments:

I Liked Her

Hvitserk is angry about Margrethe’s death. This scene and Freydis’ later actions, make me wonder if Ivar is telling the truth when he says he didn’t order Margrethe’s death. Alexander Andersen plays innocent so well. And Freydis has a knowing look on her face.

Hvitserk reminds Ivar that the people of Kattegat don’t like Ivar. Hvitserk says he is respected as a son of Ragnar as well, and the town wouldn’t look too kindly on his death. Hvitserk still has no idea why he chose Ivar.

Freydis has her real baby’s daddy killed later in the episode, after the announcement of her miraculous baby.

I have to wonder whether Freydis ordered Margrethe’s death to cover up his impotence and Margrethe’s ambitions. Is she the one calling the shots?

Alfred’s proposal

Alfred has neglected his potential bride. He tells her he understands if she doesn’t want to marry him. He gives her every reason why she SHOULDN’T marry him. But she’s still willing.

I wonder if she is willing because she’s truly devoted to the cause of a united England, or if she’s already Bjorn’s baby momma. I think it’s the latter. Bjorn’s got a secondary plan to hand a Viking those lands promised by Ecbert if Alfred reneges.

Fly Home Magnus

Magnus shows up. I was wondering why Hirst let him wander off. Sometimes people in Hirst’s world, wander off never to be seen again. Sometimes they come back to bite you in the ass. Magnus finds Bjorn. He claims to be another son of Ragnar. Remember in Season Four, Bjorn told Ragnar of the Magnus rumors, when Ragnar wandered back into Kattegat. Bjorn was decidedly disgusted by his “father” having spread his seed across England. Ragnar didn’t deny it before Bjorn wandered off to raid with Rollo. That boy has a selective memory on allegiances. So it stands to reason, he might actually believe Magnus.

But WE all know the meeting between Magnus and Ragnar went something like this:

Ragnar’s response was something like this:

At the time, I assumed Ragnar could have denied Magnus, to protect him from being a lifetime hostage to Ecbert. Magnus now wants revenge on Alfred for Ecbert kicking him out of Wessex. Does Bjorn actually believe him? Does Magnus really believe he’s Ragnar’s son or is he working for the English?

We Are All Son’s of Ragnar

This is one of those moments of true brilliance from Hirst. Harald wants Olafson to join him in raiding Wessex and then, raiding Kattegat. Olafson hesitates to form an alliance, due to Ragnar’s reputation. He may not be elevated to god status, but Ragnar has already become a legend in the years following his death.

How on Earth can “King of all Norway” be enough for Harald now?

Ubbe’s New God

Just as he and his brothers are becoming legends in the Norse world, Ubbe jumps ship and converts to the Christian religion. He wants to help alleviate Alfred’s political burden when Alfred promised to protect the Vikings and give them the land. Ubbe and Bjorn differ on whether Ragnar still believed in the gods when he died. Ubbe’s baptism is performed by Heahmund, so maybe it won’t take. Heahmund’s proven to be really bad at his job.

Ubbe isn’t convinced about the idea of everlasting life. He feels no different after the baptism or wearing a cross. Then he removes his arm ring like Rollo had done in Paris. The new symbols are meaningless to him, but removing his old beliefs is noticeable. Unlike Rollo, Ubbe keeps his arm ring close. No princess is going to do any voodoo on him.

Sacrifice Everything for Family?

Freydis has convinced Ivar he is a god. Ivar shares his revelation with Hvitserk, who still thinks Ivar’s crazy. Ivar reminds Hvitserk that his brothers always made fun of him. Hvitserk is quick to insists HE never made fun of him – that was Ubbe and Sigurd. Does Ivar really blame his brothers for his self-loathing? Ivar wants an important person sacrificed to celebrate his ascension to god.

The townsfolk are forced out of their homes to watch as a hooded figure is dragged onto the docks for sacrifice. Is the sacrifice Hviterk? And what exactly is Ivar the god of? And will he claim the largest crowds in the history of god inaugurations? Turn in next week to find out!

Vikings airs on History Channel at 9 pm, Wednesdays.

Picture source: History & Vikings

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

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