Warning: Contains major spoilers if you haven’t seen these episodes!
Vikings’ new season started with a two hour review of Ragnar’s sons new lives, and an introduction to our new victims.
Ivar made his way to Russia via the silk road. He seems thrilled by new lands, just like his daddy. Ivar becomes the prisoner of Prince Oleg. Oleg is the brother-in-law of the last King. Ivar’s assistant is tortured and ultimately quartering to prove the Russians mean business. However, Ivar convinces the prince that he’s simply fleeing his brothers and isn’t a threat.
Oleg takes a liking to Ivar. The prince becomes a mirror image for Ivar to reflect upon. Prince Oleg regrets killing his unfaithful wife, and thinks nothing of killing his brothers.
Ivar thinks he is about to be quartered as well, but instead goes parasailing with Oleg. After acclimating to the freedom of flight, he convinces Oleg the old gods favor him.
Bjorn now rules Kattegat. He tells the good folk of Kattegat of a new age, with trade, not raids as their main livelihood. But soon after, he must decide whether to help King Harald, who has been usurped by Earl Olaf. Gunnhild is upset at the prospect, when Harald’s men bring up the fact that Harald could have forced her to marry him. And Lagertha doesn’t like the idea either, since he tried to marry and ultimately betrayed her.
Ubbe and Hvitserk defer to Bjorn’s opinion on the matter.
Bjorn’s burden of leadership also includes punishing the henchmen, who carried out Ivar’s terror. Bjorn decides it is better to banish the men. What could go wrong?
Lagertha retires to farm-life. And we hear the decision repeated three times, by Lagertha, by Bjorn, then by Ubbe – unnecessary ego preening and screen time for Lagertha. While setting up her farm, Lagertha buries her sword, vowing to never lift it again.
Flatnose returns from Iceland. Ubbe is excited about the prospect of finding the wanderer who promises a land West of Iceland. And despite Flatnose claiming Floki was never found, Ubbe hopes to find him. But he has some healthy skepticism of Flatnose. He isn’t lying about Floki walking away. But what is Flatnose hiding? Was he cast out of the settlement for the final murders? He did snap, after being the most gentle of the settlers.
Torvi is pregnant again. But this time with Ubbe’s child. I still want to know how many kids she has had and lost. Her children are like those of a comedy sitcom, never seen or heard from. There seems to be two right now. Her adult son Guthred is dead. But I’m certain I saw three babies last season.
Prince Oleg decides Ivar’s arrival is a sign. He will invade the Rus Viking’s homeland of Kattegat. Ivar’s agrees to help.
Ivar travels with his host to Kiev to retrieve the future King, from his brother. Oleg, who is called “the prophet”, claims he was appointed regent of Prince Igor. Oleg poisons his first brother to secure the boy.
Then Oleg out maneuvers his other brother, by accurately guessing who his brother secretly married and taking the new bride hostage. Unlike Ivar, Oleg seems to relish killing and tormenting his brothers.
Is Ivar reminded of his past actions? Does he care? He used to care.
The stress of leadership may be too much for Bjorn. He asks the long dead Seer for guidance. I guess the Seer does not get the reward of Valhalla in death. Bjorn decides to help Harald out of honor. He ignores that Harald has promised to kill Bjorn to become “King of all Norway”. Maybe by not executing Ivar’s men, and helping Harald, Bjorn will create a new age for Vikings. Or maybe he’ll lose everything.
Ubbe and Torvi wish to go to Iceland immediately. So Bjorn, proving again he isn’t ready to rule, suggests Hvitserk will watch over Kattegat. Ubbe states the obvious. Hvitersk is sick, suffering from PTSD and alcoholism. How can Bjorn not see this?
Bjorn requests that Ubbe wait on Iceland to help Kattegat. Ubbe reluctantly agrees. But is he reluctant? When with his three younger brothers, Ubbe always assumed he was in charge, as first born. And we now know that Bjorn’s paternity is questionable as first born.
My Favorite Moments
I’ve Got No Strings, to Hold me Down
Initially scared, Ivar finds he likes being suspended by ropes to fly. Later he says he wishes he had someone to hold him up like the marionette puppets.
I wonder if this theme of strings and puppets will continue. Considering all of the strings Oleg pulls behind the scenes, will Ivar be trapped as Oleg’s puppet?
Floki’s unmistakable boat arrives in Kattegat’s port. It’s only Flatnose, but Ubbe’s optimism at being reunited with his father’s old friend is a welcome sight. I hope we all see Floki again!
He is suffering from PTSD and alcoholism. He’s broken, but he may be more sane than anyone. Lagertha is proud Bjorn doesn’t rule like Ivar. But Ivar’s henchmen tortured and killed the people of Kattegat. And they feel no remorse. Does Bjorn not understand how the mind of the average Viking works? Ragnar spared Rollo and Horik’s son. Rollo betrayed everyone in Bjorn’s life. And Horik’s son sought revenge on Bjorn. Vikings seek revenge. It’s what they do. Maybe Hvitserk is the real “prophet” seeing the future.
Neither Bjorn nor Ragnar were very smart about women. The subtext from this scene with Gunnhild and Ingrid, after Bjorn asked for his brothers’ advice, is brilliant. Bjorn remains clueless when he sees Ingrid at the docks.
Ivar & Igor
Ivar genuinely feels close to the hostage prince. Will he prove another Aethelstan, or is he playing Ivar for his own safety? When Igor plays a lute, we have Ivar enchanted by a stringed instrument. OK, that one is a stretch.
In the end, Bjorn insists Flatnose, a potential threat, go with him into battle. And the banished criminals move into Lagertha’s farmland. Will Bjorn regret his stay of execution, or putting Ubbe in charge, or helping Harald? Stay tuned next week to find out!
Picture source: History, Vikings, & Bernard Walsh