I have been a huge fan of this show from the get-go. I binged on season 1 and have been following it ever since. Ragnar is one of the most interesting and intriguing characters on television right now, and he continues to absorb the viewer as much as he ever did. He’s not a stereotypical viking in the sense that he is all brawn and not much else. He’s an Odin-character, and that means he’s wise. He thinks more than he says, he plans, and he’s completely unpredictable.
In fact, during the early seasons and younger years as a warrior he felt himself to be descended from Odin.Now, his religious views are somewhat more muddled. He’s lived since then, let’s just say. But Odin is the archetype he certainly emulates, just as Athelstan’s archetype was that of the Christ. In fact, Ragnar is emulating Odin now more than ever in his later years.
The passing of time is something that we see right away starting season 4. Ragnar is older. His latest battle-wound almost did him off. He’s limping, he’s using a cane. He’s as clever as ever, of course, but he has certainly aged. Years of being King and of constant battle and plotting can do that to someone.
The show kept it strictly viking this first episode. Not like last year in season 3, where a bunch of other foreign characters were given tons of air time. And I think I prefer it this way. I like it when the show sticks to its source material.
Now, to the juicy stuff: The relationships.
This was an episode defined by relationship treason.
Rollo betrayed his fellow northmen, just for himself and his own benefit, so he can gain power and prestige in the Frankish court. Ragnar was right when he told Bjorn it was a stupid idea to let Rollo stay in Paris. He knows his brother is a traitor at heart, and this isn’t the first or the last time Rollo will betray him.
Earl Kalf betrayed his previous associate in the name of Lagertha, though to be honest, we all saw it coming. Lagertha is intoxicating, and now she’s fiercer than ever. How so? She’s proving her womanhood is powerful, she can make other great men in positions of power do terrible things in her name. Lagertha has always been an extremely powerful character, She’s not Ragnar’s ex-wife for nothing. And now we continue to see her evolve… but I’m not really sure what to expect from her this season. It seems she hardly spoke in this episode at all.
Queen Aslaug, Ragnar’s wife, has accepted her loveless marriage. Now, it seems, she has set her sights on something higher than love: The crown. I suspect Ragnar will see this coming.
Bjorn wants to prove his manhood, and good for him. His father still doesn’t truly see him as a man, and that’s because he’s not. He makes stupid decisions such as arresting Floki and letting Rollo stay in Paris. But even though Ragnar chastises him, he loves his son. And we can see the fear in his face when he thinks Bjorn might die.
I’m very excited for this season. I have a feeling it will be the best one so far.