Vikings season 4 is well underway, and I’m quite content tuning in to every weekly episode. This is one of my favorite shows of all time, specifically because I believe Ragnar is such an original character, and also because the story is highly entertaining.
In episode 2, tilted “Kill the Queen”, we see Ragnar trying to deal with his errant friend, Floki. It was clear he wasn’t sure what to do with him, and he’s torn by this indecisiveness. We also see Aethelwulf going to rescue Princess Kwenthrith from the castle where she is imprisoned, to take her safely back home to Mercia.
One of the things that most struck me about this episode was seeing the stress of kingship that is taking a toll on Ragnar. He is grave, solemn, and he’s always been very in his head, but now even more so. However, we still see his good heart by how he treats Helga, the wife of Floki, by giving her food for the winter and emotional comfort.
Ragnar knows that if he lets Floki go, it will undermine his rulership. How can a traitor be forgiven? Such values are not in tune with the Viking ideology. But he also can’t bring himself to kill him. He was once his best friend.
In this episode we also continually see the marriage dynamics between Ragnar and Aslaug. Ragnar snaps when Aslaug dismisses the murder of Athelstan, hitting her twice. By now I think it’s safe to say that Ragnar hates Aslaug, but I want to see this change. I know there’s a-lot of unhappy history between them, but there’s a thin line between love and hate, and I’m hoping the show turns it around. Historically, it was Aslaug who warned Ragnar of his death. She saw it in one of her visions and warned him not to go to England. If she hated him so much, why would she ask him not to go?
There are lots of Lagertha + Ragnar fans out there, but I don’t see them ever getting back together to be honest. There’s a better chance of Ragnar and Aslaugh patching things up between them, finding some common ground that they can bond through, and making their marriage work.
Episode 3, titled “Mercy”, was a different ball game. I have to admit that I saw the trailer for this episode before watching the actual episode and came to the crazy conclusion that Ragnar was going to kill Helga in order to avenge Athelstan’s death and make Floki suffer. But I don’t even know why I thought that, other than the fact that it would be totally unpredictable.
But no, episode 3 goes in the different direction entirely. Both Ragnar and King Ecbert have visions of Athelstan, the man they both admire so much. In Ragnar’s vision, Athelstan tells him to have mercy. And that’s exactly what Ragnar does. He lets Floki go.
What makes Ragnar great is his wisdom. He thinks everything through, thinks way more than he actually talks.
In this episode we also see the famous Bjorn – Bear fight. It was sort of a letdown to be honest. They hyped it up so much that I felt somewhat cheated. Nevertheless, I like the direction they’re taking Bjorn. He was Bjorn Ironside in the sagas, a name his father gave him in the show way back in season 3, and he was a viking even greater in fame than his father, supposedly indestructible in battle. We see now why it is important to harden this character, to toughen him up.
Lagertha on the other hand had only one measly scene, and it was a sex scene. We know she isn’t buying Kalf’s lies, she’s way smarter than that.
Stay tuned for the next review 😉