Warning Major Spoilers if you haven’t seen this episode!
This week was the Vikings’ Christmas special – complete with Cindy Lou Who-dottir. The grinch doesn’t steal the winter stores from Lagertha’s village. But he does knock the spirit out of us.
True to form, Hirst goes overboard on his title theme this week. Every storyline has prisoners.
Ivar remains Oleg’s “guest”. But he isn’t allowed to leave, so he’s actually a prisoner, along with Prince Dir and young Prince Igor.
Hvitserk is a prisoner of his own mind and addiction. Ubbe has him locked up to detox before an important trip.
Bjorn and Harald are prisoners of crazy King Olaf. After losing the element of surprise, Bjorn agrees to meet with King Olaf, to help Harald. Olaf tells them both, despite not believing the world is real, he wants the Viking world to change.
Flat Nose is essentially a prisoner of Bjorn. Flat Nose is completely honest with Bjorn about his role in the Iceland settlement. But rather than cultivating a relationship with someone who has connections in Iceland, Bjorn creates an enemy. He goes with his gut, and makes the unreasonable conclusion that if Floki isn’t found alive, Flat Nose MUST be the murderer.
Lagertha’s villagers are trapped in their situation and have to fight for their winter stores and lives.
Even Ubbe (in a very heavy-handed line) says he’s a prisoner of his responsibilities to Kattegat, when Grunnhild and Torvi want him to check on Lagertha’s village. Or maybe it is an excuse on Ubbe’s part. He looks tired of dealing with strong willed women. He convinces Torvi she has an obligation to stay in Kattegat until Bjorn returns.
My Favorite Moments
Poking a Russian Bear
Ivar pokes a potential bear, by telling Prince Igor he is the heir to all of Rus, not his uncle Oleg. Historically, Prince Oleg died from a snake bite, just like Ragnar. It’ll be fun to see how this one ends.
Poking a Kattegat Bear
Oleg is ready to turn his attention to Scandinavia. He tells Ivar, he’ll be installed as a puppet king over Kattegat after the raid. And he stupidly tells Ivar he is not a god! That won’t go well, especially now that Ivar has been shown so many new ways to torture people.
Ivar’s first act of betrayal is to offer freedom to Prince Dir. If he doesn’t kill Oleg on the raid to Kattegat, he’ll be leaving two people in Kiev, who want Oleg dead.
The first gut wrencher comes from Ubbe. Hvitserk has inherited his Uncle Rollo’s alcoholism. And Ubbe has inherited his daddy’s ego. Ubbe wants to build Hvitserk’s confidence and give him a purpose. But Hvitserk’s addiction overcomes him. He literally misses the boat to open trade on the silk road.
Ubbe considers Hvitserk’s relapse a betrayal and embarrassment. He’s ruthless to Hvitserk, reminding him that he betrayed him once before. Despite the women asking Ubbe to be kind, Ubbe kicks Hvitserk out.
Was I brave, Lagertha?
In the most heart wrenching scene since Lagertha miscarried Kalf’s baby, Bjorn’s son, Hali, is killed by the bandits. It happens after the battle is already won by the village. The bandit knows the child is probably Bjorn’s son, since he is with Lagertha.
The camera work is a little confusing, as to why Lagertha couldn’t get to Hali first. But the viewer is distracted by Lagertha’s fear and the emoting of a baby sister.
Hali just wanted to make his parents and Lagertha proud. Lordy, Hirst knows how to destroy us.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Bjorn and Harald agree to let Olaf bring together all the earls, kings and queens, to elect a king. But once they announce their decision, Crazy King Olaf announces he already sent word to everyone! (So they never really had a choice.)
Harald looks thrilled that his fate is in the hands of a madman, who thinks the world is a dream. He’s worked all these years to win all of Norway, and now it will be handed to Bjorn for no work? There won’t be any blood? What woman will be impressed by that?
Will Bjorn be King of All Norway? Will Bjorn want the position? Is this all a scheme for Olaf to capture all the rulers in Scandinavia? And is King Olaf going mad because of a parasite he’s picked up from all the raw blood he’s eating? Tune in January 1, 2020 to find out!
Picture source: History, Vikings, Bernard Walsh & Johnaton Hession