television -> Vikings Season 2 Episode 3 Review

Vikings Season 2 Episode 3 Review


by James Chantrill
Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

Treachery was indeed the reason for the season in this week’s episode of Vikings both within Ragnar’s ranks and with those he once called ally.  With alliances already on thin ice from the previous episodes we got to see even more of that ice to slowly start to crack between comrades.

The raid on Wessex in full swing, Ragnar and his crew come upon a village of some significant religious importance as a Saint is buried in the local church, but some long-dead saint matters not to the pillaging plunderers from the North.  What I found to be great in the opening to this episode is the speech that King Ecbert gives to his court.  In this speech we learn that King Ecbert is no stranger to the raiding parties of Vikings and other “pagans” as he was with Charlamagne when he was a younger man.  I really enjoyed this since we get a little more back story into what could be this seasons “big bad” and also a little taste of what King Ecbert has in plan for Ragnar’s raiding party.

As Ragnar’s crew raids another village we see the animosity that is slowly building between Floki and Athelstan.  With the previous raids we get to see that combat that we all love Vikings for, that no-holds-bar violence that curbs our bloodlust for one more week.  As mentioned with this raid we see a distrust that Floki has and it seems that it’s more based on jealously than anything else.  Floki who was once Ragnar’s “right hand” now feels slighted by Athelstan’s new importance to Ragnar.  While having to dodge Floki’s words and distrust for now, we also are shown that softer side of Athelstan as he goes to a building that was once important in a life that once was and how the ghosts of his former life still reach out to him.   I’m very intrigued by the writer’s decision to make Athelstan more of a prominent figure to the show and to this episode in particular.

We finally got to catch up with Ragnar’s first family.  What has Lagertha and Bjorn been doing for the last four years?  The answer is simple: surviving.  Lagertha has remarried to a new jarl in Scandanvia where she and Bjorn seem to be talked down to and ridiculed for being Ragnar’s ex-wife and son, respectfully.  It was a shame to me to see Lagertha so beaten down when she was once a shield-maiden that faced death with a bloodlust that could only be settled with the blood of her enemy dripping from her axe.  Then to see Bjorn as a young adult, played now by Alexander Ludwig, have the fury of Ragnar’s blood and ambition boiling in him to just be talked down to by his new stepfather was another disappointment.  I can only see Bjorn doing something that is going to put himself and possibly Lagertha in danger in the near future.

Jarl Borg is someone that never forgets those that wrong him and he hasn’t forgotten what Ragnar and King Horik did to him right before the raids.  Even though Jarl Borg has remarried and it should be a time of rejoicing and celebration, his mind drifts back to that betrayal and he seeks revenge.  Instead of attacking King Horik’s land and people he goes for the one that was the messenger and personal scapegoat, Ragnar, and his village.  At the meal on his wedding day Jarl Borg tells his plan of revenge on Ragnar by having his own raiding party on Ragnar’s village. 

With the unsightly view of Jarl Borg’s ships on the horizon we see Rollo who was once the laughing stock of the village transforms from town drunks back to the great fighter he was born to be and conjures up what little force he could to fend off the invaders.  Once again, we see the true savagery of the Viking culture as those that were once allies are now thrown back into fighting each other.  What was great about this final scene of the episode was how the village rallied around Rollo as they tried to defend their home and each other.  Even though Rollo would have fought until his last breath, an elder told him what was necessary for him as the village protector and that his most important priority was the protection of Ragnar’s two sons.  As much as he hated leaving his people to die by the hands of Jarl Borg’s men Rollo showed his loyalty to his brother by leaving with the two sons and Aslaug.

This episode was fantastic we were shown so much from the thin ice between allies starting to crack (Floki & Athelstan), the plans of King Ecbert, the treachery of Jarl Borg, the love of a brother and many more things.  It seems that Vikings is really taking leaps forward with each episode that we as the audience get the privilege to witness.  With more and more character development in each episode, the writers are really finding the footing that wasn’t there in the first season.  With a steadily increasing pace and a unique approach to historical storytelling, I’ll be waiting eagerly for the next installment into this always-improving series.

Keywords: Vikings, treachery, history channel, Ragnar, Rollo
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