This episode starts out in Kattegat, with Ragnar attempting to get others to join him in his quest to go to England. He sounds insane, and just comes off as pathetic. Everyone in town knows that Ragnar lied about the settlement–and because of that, no one will join him. He betrayed them–both as a leader, and on a personal level. It’s great to see, to be honest; Ragnar deserves to suffer some retribution. How long it will last is another question entirely. Most people say they would rather raid with Bjorn–which shows how he has grown in prominence, and I am pleased for that.
We shift to a scene where Bjorn and Ragnar are looking over a map, trying to plot out Bjorn’s quest; apparently Rollo has formed a new kingdom on the coast in the years since we last saw him, and Bjorn will have traverse the waters surrounding it to get to where he is going. In the practical, Viking way, Bjorn decides that he will ask Rollo for free passage, in exchange for some of the spoils. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I think could work. Ragnar, of course, wants ships to go west with, and after a small bit of deliberation, Bjorn says he will provide them. It’s an interesting exchange, and I’m not quite sure what is going on–all I know is that I think Bjorn is making a mistake in giving his father ships that he will most likely squander.
We once again see all of Aslaug’s sons eating, and Marguette is there as well, still serving; she looks noticeably unhappy in having to serve Ivar alone. In return, his brothers are annoyed, especially when Aslaug coddles Ivar and excuses his attitude. Sigurd ends up blowing up at Ivar and his mother, mentioning Harbard at the same time (you know, the person that Aslaug had an affair with), and also says that Aslaug pities Ivar. It’s a pretty vicious exchange and I don’t know how it’s going to go for Ivar or Marquette, in the end. Ivar ends up crawling on the floor and screaming at his brother as the rest just watch in stunned silence. That grudge is definitely set up now, and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.
King Harald and Halfdan roll up into Kattegat, while Ragnar watches from a cliff, most likely not welcome. There is a celebration, as always, and Lagertha shows up to greet them. I have to say the way Bjorn lights up around his mother is just wonderful, and their bond is one of my favorite things on this show. We find out that Harald and his brother have overthrown multiple towns in the time since we last saw them, and are happy to go raiding with Bjorn because they believe, “The Gods are with you.”
Meanwhile, Aslaug and Lagertha decide that they should make a sacrifice to the Gods–and this conversation is uncomfortable to watch. It’s clear that Lagertha is trying to play nice, but Aslaug says she’s Queen, and she shall do it alone. Lagertha looks like she could murder someone…and let’s be honest, maybe she should. Aslaug hasn’t been worth much for a while, and she should not be messing with vipers.
While all of this is going on, Sigurd continues to have his affair with Margurette. She confesses that Ivar wanted to kill her, and explains the exact reason why. So…I don’t think that is going to go well for her. When Sigurd goes to tell his brothers, Ubbe states that he understands why the slave girl is terrified of Ivar–he is too.
Later that night, the sacrifice ceremony is made with Aslaug committing it alone–well, almost alone. At one point Ivar comes up and drinks the goat’s blood and it’s genuinely unsettling. I guess he wants to gain some power, but instead it looks just…evil. Aslaug soon falls into a trance, having convulsions. It’s good that they are bringing this back to her–I missed this aspect of her personality.
However, Lagertha comes up to her, and whispers that she will never forgive Aslaug, and Kattegat has been ruined because of her follies–and that she will never be the queen of Kattegat. It’s ominous, creepy, and genuinely a powerful scene. It is setting up their conflict in such a delicious way.
Ragnar and Ivar, later on, go to the grave that is supposed to be Ragnar’s (the Vikings prepare burial sites with the things they will take to the afterlife before their death), and dig up everything. He’s going to try and bribe people to go along with him to England. It really shows how far he’s fallen. He does indeed attempt to do this, and ends up gathering all the weak, injured, and old to sail with him. It’s embarrassing to his sons, who try and stop him, but to no avail. It upsets Ragnar, but he continues to sell his goods for men. It’s a heartbreaking scene–or would be if I genuinely felt anything for Ragnar besides frustration.
We also get a short scene with Lagertha and Bjorn, where she asks after his children. It’s clear that he loves them so much, and that Lagertha supports his family. There is such warmth in this bond, and as I said before, it is my favorite thing. Lagertha promises to take care of Torvi, and we see Bjorn and his group set out for France.
Before Ragnar and Ivar leave for England, the two of them share a scene with Aslaug, who is unhappy about the entire situation. Ragnar admits that he wasn’t a good father, and is thankful that Aslaug never turned the children against him. It’s a tender scene, and it’s clear that the writers are trying to rehabilitate Ragnar. …In other news, Ivar abuses Marguette again before being sweet to her. I’m already tired of that dynamic, to say the least.
Aslaug has one of her visions, where Ivar drowns–she promptly tells him that he can’t go with his father; Ivar refuses to listen. He states that this is the only chance that he may have to prove himself to the Gods. As much as I don’t like Ivar, the small speech is moving–as is watching him create crutches for himself that allow him to ‘walk’ to the ship.
On the ship, things aren’t going that well. Ivar is seasick and admits to Ragnar that he’s terrified of water, because he can’t swim…and true to Aslaug’s vision, a huge storm comes up. The scene is powerful as we keep flashing between Aslaug having a heavy period and/or miscarriage as she has visions of the ship, while Rangar and Ivar battle with the elements. Ivar is lashed to the mast for a while in order to keep him going overboard, but things go pear-shaped when the ship overturns. Rangar goes in after his son, and saves him…but is it too late?
I really doubt it, but man do they want you to think so…or at least until the next episode.