Vikings S4E9 Review: “Death all ‘Round”

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“Death all ‘Round”

 

Warning: Spoilers

 

We open with the vikings rolling their boats through the forest. They are making ample progress now, and everyone is working on something. Some time must have passed, as Lagertha is showing quite heavily now in her pregnancy. A french farmer and his son spy the vikings and express the hope that they will be left alone.  Which…well. A shame they wished for that, because Harald and Halfdan’s men pay them a visit, which leaves the entire family dead (with the added insult of their women raped before hand). If we needed any more evidence of how horrible these two are, in contrast to Ragnar, we have it now.  When they report back what they did to Bjorn, he seems unhappy, but says nothing else of it. He’s too busy worrying about Ragnar, who looks an utter mess.

Meanwhile, Floki is having visions. I’m starting to think they are wrapped up in him becoming the new Seer, a plot point we haven’t touched on since he visited the Seer in episode 4. This time he sees Aslaug in the rain, crying for Harbard. Floki is broken from the vision, however, by Lagertha’s screaming.

She lost the baby, and both Ragnar and Bjorn run to her side. She said that despite knowing she could never have another child, she hoped she could change the fates. Ragnar comforts her, and Bjorn looks upset. This is the dynamic that I love between them, something we haven’t seen in over a season. This family unit, here, worked, once. I wish it could work again. Lagertha sobs into Ragnar’s arms for a moment, but then tells him to go away. 

But they don’t. They simply sit back, and sit with her. I teared up, readers. They both love her so much, and she loves them. Even in her pain, in her struggle to be strong, they understand how to be there for her. This show started with this family, and it will end with this family. They are who matter.

In Paris, Rollo and Gilsa go see Emperor Charles, who announces Gilsa’s pregnancy and Rollo’s new title to the court…along with with another surprise announcement–Roland is now a count. But it comes with requirements attached. Not only does Charles wish for Therese to be his mistress…he wants something from Roland, as well. Guess who happens to be bisexual, guys. It isn’t only Therese who has to sleep with Charles, but Roland, as well. I honestly didn’t see that coming.

Gilsa, for her part, is incredibly frustrated by Roland becoming Count (she doesn’t know about her dad’s bisexual sibling thing, apparently). She tells Rollo in private that they need to try and remove Roland–I agree with her. Rollo doesn’t see what the big deal is, and tries to have sex with her. Given her religion, Gilsa thinks that having sex while pregnant is a bad idea, and stops him. Rollo, to his credit, respects her. It’s going to be a hard few months for him, though. Again, I truly enjoy their relationship dynamic more than I can say. They truly love each other.

We are introduced to a new setting, this episode, as well, with Aethelwulf and Alfred reaching Rome. They meet with the Pope, who seems to be a sweet man, but is set on turning Alfred into a symbol in the fight against the pagans. As this is the Alfred who becomes the historical Alfred the Great, it’s great foreshadowing.

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As the child meets with the Pope, we also cut back to Wessex, and Ecbert’s crowning as the joint King of Mercia and Wessex. King Aelle (Judith’s father) is unhappy with the prospect of having to share a border with Ecbert now. Ecbert simply tells Aelle to watch his step, or he’ll be annexed as well. Frankly, I don’t think it matters if Aelle watches himself or not–he’ll be going down sooner or later. Ecbert’s ambition is too great

Back in France, the work continues towards Paris, which is now in view. Lagertha can barely walk, bless her. She watches Ragnar, and as if he knows, he chooses not to take the Roseroot. What he’s saving it for, I don’t know–but the withdrawal symptoms are taking a toll.  

In my favorite (read: not favorite) plotline, Bjorn and Tovi have sex, and he finally admits that he has no idea what Tovi wants from him. It seems that Lagertha’s miscarriage has had an effect on him, and he’s coming to his senses. Tovi is a good woman, and despite the horrible situation she’s been put in regarding Bjorn and Erlandur, she is trying to do right by her son and the man she cares for. This entire time though, Erlandur is watching…and instead of trying to kill Bjorn, he just watches like a creep. Please just do something. I am so tired of this plot line dragging on. Be done with it, or drop it.

In perhaps our saddest plotline of the night, back in Kattegat, Sigurd finds Siggy dead in the river. He runs to tell Aslaug but…well. Aslaug is doing her best drunken-Cersei impression and doesn’t care that she let Bjorn’s child die. Ivar doesn’t care, either, but Ivar has already proven himself to be pretty horrible so it seems that Sigurd is now the only good person left in the family (in Kattegat, anyways). We can only hope he can survive until Ragnar returns.

In France, things come to a head with Erlandur and Bjorn as the viking boats are finally placed back in the river. Tovi tries to reason with Erlander, but it doesn’t work, as he again tells Tovi she has to be the one to kill Bjorn, continuing to show himself to be a coward. Taking up the crossbow, she approaches Bjorn and tells him the truth of the situation. Bjorn makes no attempt to stop her, but instead tells her to get on with it. In an amazing move, Tovi turns around and shoots Erlandur through the heart.  Again, women on this show prove themselves not to be trifled with, and when the chips are down, when they are backed against the wall, they will strike out hard and fast to protect the ones they love. Good for her.

Ragnar, for his part, isn’t doing so well with his withdrawals. He’s coughing up spiders. Or stomach acid. Or spiders. Depends on if he’s hallucinating or not, really. Bjorn comes to assist him into his armor, and Ragnar explains that no matter how weak he is, he needs to save the last of his medicine for the fight with Rollo. He doesn’t care about France, or Paris; killing Rollo is the only thing that matters, now.

They take to the boats, with Tovi now in full armor and crossbow (Lagertha also looks fully recovered as well–the full family contingent). The camera pulls out, revealing Floki’s new invention–floating trebuchets. The assault on Paris is next guys, and Ragnar and the crew are now more ready than they have ever been.

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