Vikings S4E17 Review: The Great Army

reviews, TV

The Great Army

Warning: Spoilers


Hi guys! Hope you have all been enjoying the reviews. As usual, due to the geography, I’ll be breaking things up by location until the end. Before we even get started let me tell you: this episode stressed me out more than any other this season. Seriously, there were a few moments where I had to stop watching to calm down.


Let’s get into it, though, shall we?




Essex is relatively quiet this episode, with only Judith going to visit her father, urging him to prepare for Ragnar’s son’s revenge. He, of course, promptly ignores her, instead taking the time to pass judgement on her life choices. Judith shows her strength and simply tells her father off, stating all she has wanted was freedom, and she has that now. Sadly, I think Aele will never understand. It was great to see Judith showing that power she had in prior seasons; I’d missed it a great deal.


While Judith is trying to save her father, Ecbert is teaching Alfred not to allow himself to be influenced by anyone–including him. It’s a great small scene, where Ecbert has Alfred drink wine while he drinks water–lying about it along the way. While it does teach Alfred, it also shows how deeply Ecbert cares about the young boy. I hope scenes like this continue.



I think it’s interesting that we really didn’t see much of Bjorn’s raid. One episode, and the crew is back on the water heading towards France and Kattegat. Bjorn makes it clear that while Rollo might want to go home with the Vikings–he would never be allowed to live long, given what he did. Before he leaves the Vikings, Rollo tries to get others to join him in starting a farming community in France but…it doesn’t go well. I genuinely wish for the best for Rollo; I’ve become fond of him, despite his betrayals. While all the others hate him, at least Helga seems to be with me in thinking kindly towards Ragnar’s brother.


We also see Helga doing her very best to get her newly adopted child to accept her, but nothing seems to work. It’s so painful to see Helga struggling without help; Floki certainly isn’t providing any.


Halfdan and Halbert are plotting with an Earl’s bastard. I didn’t quite catch his name–perhaps Adle? It isn’t something we need to think about yet; all you need to remember is that his face looks like he could be in the running to play Phantom of the Opera, and is more than willing to play along with the brother’s schemes.


What exactly happens when Rollo gets back into his castle with his wife Isla? …nothing good. While she does accept him publically, once they are in private she is screaming in French at him (we don’t see the subtitles), and hitting him–even punching him. She seems so angry and heartbroken, and to Rollo’s credit, he takes it, instead of acting reactionary like he used to do. While I never condone any person hitting another in a domestic situation, I’m very pleased to see him not trying to match her fury. Only time will tell if she forgives him.




Kattegat is where the true meat of the story is in this episode. The defenses around the town are in full swing, and look amazing. Lagertha really knows what she is doing. While all of this is going on, Sigurd, Ivar and Ubbe discuss what should be done about King Aele. Sigurd realizes that to take on both Aele and Ecbert, they will have to build an army–and Ivar agrees. They decide that they will make all the deals they can with other clans to take revenge for Ragnar and Odin himself. It’s an interesting strategy, and one that I think will prove very powerful.


What is more interesting in all of this plotting is Ubbe’s request that Lagertha come with them; she rejects it, saying that they wouldn’t want her there, and that Ragnar would wish for her to be doing the work she is doing now–and I’m inclined to agree with her (as I usually am). Torvi and Astrid seem concerned about the situation, but Lagertha simply says that if the Gods can’t protect her, no one can. She seems so resigned to her fate that it breaks my heart. I think, like Ragnar, she is simply tired.


Ivar and Sigurd have a short discussion which reveals, again, that Sigurd feels that their mother Aslaug only cared for Ivar and Harbard. I completely agree with him, but it sends Ivar into a fury, and he swings an axe at Sigurd, which is only stopped by the local blacksmith. The rift between the two brothers is being laid, which I am sure will come to fruition in later episodes. While I think Ivar has been given great development over the past few episodes, I can’t help find myself agreeing with Sigurd, who seems to have a much more level head, and sees the good Lagertha can do–and how flawed of a woman Aslaug was.

Ubbe, meanwhile, spends time freeing Margurette; he claims he does so that he can marry her but I’m not sure that is his ultimate aim–it does certainly undermine Lagertha, at least.


Apparently, somehow, Ubbe and Ivar got out word to some other clans that they want to form an army, because they have shown up, and a party is thrown.

This includes some Swedish Vikings–one who is really attractive. Sorry guys, but a man who is nice to Lagertha, presents her a sword, and tells her that she’s brilliant–I’m always going to side with a man like that.


It doesn’t mean that the party goes well; this is the part of the episode that nearly gave me a heart attack. It seems that Ubbe and Ivar couldn’t wait to take revenge, and set their plan into motion, now. Men take the shieldmaidens hostage (including Torvi and Astrid), and the nice Swedish man I liked.

To her credit, Lagertha stays completely composed, picks up the sword the Swedish Earl provided her, and goes towards the two boys, ready to fight them. Let me tell you, reader, I was terrified over this. The only thing that saves her from the battle is Bjorn–who is back!


Bjorn arrives dramatically and says that if they kill Lagertha, they will have to kill him too; while Ivar says that’s fine, Ubbe disagrees. Avenging Ragnar is the most important thing. Hvitserk also understands how important Lagertha is, and was never overly fond of Aslaug…so thankfully he also sides with Bjorn in this situation. After all, Aslaug is the reason Hvitserk and Ubbe almost died back in season two.

Ivar and Floki have a bonding moment in this episode as well, where Floki introduces him to a chariot, which will allow him to fight. Of course, they were used by the Romans and the Scottish around this time period…but I am genuinely curious where they found this one.


Here is where I get angry, viewer; Bjorn goes to see Torvi and his three children, and is just an asshole. Torvi (rightfully) questions his decision to go with Ivar, a man who has always been unstable, and Bjorn throws a fit, yelling and screaming, along with throwing things on the table. He then seeks out his mother–only to find Astrid.


Then, after both of them comment that they don’t tell Lagertha everything…they start to kiss.


Seriously? I know that Bjorn is a son of Ragnar, and I hoped that he would act more like his mother, but I suppose that was too much to ask. He decides to betray his mother with Astrid (with whom he seems to have a history), and his companion, as well. While I suppose this show wanted to have a ‘twist’, I am really tired of Lagertha never catching a break. It seems everyone betrays her, in the end.


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