Vikings Season 2 Episode 4 Review
Eye For an Eye
Worlds collided in this week’s episode with the fateful meeting between two great leaders, King Ecbert and Ragnar Lothbrok. Deals were made for both personal interests as well the greater good of everyone involved. Often those deals made behind closed doors have a way of becoming undone or fracturing previous alliances for those involved — only time will tell what will be the case for King Ecbert and Ragnar Lothbrok.
Before we see the great meeting of the “minds,” we are treated to something spectacular: how Rollo has become a leader in his own right. By saving Ragnar’s family and moving them deep into the countryside he has not only protected them, but has been on the search for anyone willing to take up arms against Jarl Borg’s men. Although Aslaug may not be used to such harsh living conditions as she awaits Ragnar to return, she and her sons are safe for the time being.
In order for Ragnar to meet with him (King Ecbert), he must place a hostage in the hands of the Vikings and he chooses his son for the purpose, as someone of importance would have more protection from being hurt or killed. With the handoff of hostages in place Ragnar is lead to where King Ecbert is, but with eyes full of wonder as he sees stone statues — he asks who made them only to be told a tale of how giants once lived on the island and are thought to have made them. I found this to be a great scene despite being so brief — Ragnar is constantly trying to learn more of this land and its history. I believe that this is either for Ragnar to find a weakness or to help him with future dealings with the leaders of this island.
When finally the two leaders meet King Ecbert invites Ragnar to bathe with him and when Ragnar consents King Ecbert says, “Now we are equals”. I found that to be a great ploy by King Ecbert to throw Ragnar off his guard and be able to use that to his advantage. Without reciting the entire meeting between the two leaders word for word, King Ecbert says that he’s an ambitious man and as an army ready to fight Ragnar, but he surprisingly would like to make a deal with him instead. This deal involves using Ragnar’s Viking army as a sort of mercenary force to help the ambitious king take more land and by doing so he would grant Ragnar’s forces land of their own. Could the land that King Ecbert wants be referring to be the land that is controlled by King Aelle that we saw in the first season of the show?
With the coming of good news for Ragnar, bad news always seems to follow right after clinging to the shadows of the former. Arriving back at their makeshift camp a ship of King Horik’s also arrived, but was the bearer of bad news for Ragnar as he was told of Jarl Borg’s treachery. In quick haste, Ragnar packs to head back to his village to find his family with his men in tow but King Horik wants to stay and have further dealings with King Ecbert and also asks if Athelstan will stay to translate for him. In that scene you can tell how much Athelstan has come to mean quite a lot to Ragnar as he felt hurt that he wanted to stay, but he also said that he was a free man to make the choice.
As Ragnar’s forces leave, this weakens the remaining Vikings and it looks as though King Ecbert will take advantage of that situation. While on a hunting trip with others, Athelstan is captured and has what could be the worst thing happen to him: cruxifcion for being an apostate. Vikings has never tried to soften the violence and this scene is no exception as a beaten Athelstan is put to the cross. As a soldier is about to drive the spear into his side King Ecbert shows up and puts a stop to everything. — You have to beat your bottom dollar that there is an ulterior motives at work.
With the arrival of Ragnar back to his homeland and the reunion with his family, Rollo explains what has happened while he was gone. While contemplating his next move and how to exact his revenge on Jarl Borg, a familiar face appears to offer soldiers and help, Bjorn and Lagertha. With a full family reunion happening and with an army at his back, Ragnar looks to be ready for an all out battle with Jarl Borg in the upcoming episodes. How will this dynamic affect Ragnar with seeing his first born son and his ex-wife fight at his side? Will old feelings be rekindled within Ragnar and how will Aslaugh respond?
This episode helped flesh out more of each character whether it be a brother’s love, the undying love of a son for his father, or the twisted dealings of those in power. Vikings never leaves the viewer feeling completely “full,” but has them always salivating for a bit more by leaving us with questions that need to be answered.