On the Eve
As usual, things are split by areas. Let’s get to it, guys!
Kattegat couldn’t catch a real break this episode. First, they were surprise attacked by some traders, and then the full on group of raiders come to reign hell upon them. It’s definitely what Halfdan and Herald planned, with the Bastard Egil acting as their proxy.
While the battle initially begins at the gates, Lagertha realizes it’s a distraction, as the main force is coming in from the water. Leaving Torvi to lead the troops at the gate, she goes to deal with the rest of the intrusion. It’s a great scene, really, with Lagertha showing up, setting fire to the men, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The only issue is–Torvi died. She died and, for the record, is not mentioned again in this episode. (For the record, someone has stated she is seen being treated during a later scene–I missed this? If someone can show me this and provide me proof she’s alive, I’d greatly appreciate it).
After being both tortured and threatened with the death of his wife, Egil finally admits that it was King Herald and Halfdan that ordered the attack. It’s going to be interesting to see where this goes, going into the last episode of the season. I have a feeling that things in Kattegat are going to take a backseat to what is currently happening in Wessex, but given how this show likes to time-jump, there is no real way to tell.
Things aren’t going well for the English here in Wessex, either. Adel’s bishop survived the viking attack, but only barely–he manages to say there are a lot of invaders, giving no specifics before he dies. Ecbert wants Aethelwulf to go out immediately, but the prince wants time to plan. Sadly, that isn’t something he really has–despite it being the smarter option. I felt this episode was in some ways a character rehab for Aethelwulf; he has never been that likeable, but the writers made a great effort to tie up his loose ends in a positive way. Ecbert urged Judith to go back to him, and she seemed to look upon him fondly. My favorite interaction was that of Aethelwulf and Alfred–watching him not only acknowledge Athelstan, but accept that Alfred was proud of him, was really touching. Of course, I doubt Aethelwulf is going to survive this season, so it might be too little, too late. Despite that, I truly enjoyed these scenes.
Meanwhile, on the vikings side, there is some bickering over how the next battle should be fought. Bjorn wants to do it his own way, but Ivar finally wins him over; he wants them to use tactics that are more guerrilla-style, as opposed to the traditional shield wall.
In side stories, Helga and Floki’s adopted child runs away; Helga is beside herself. Floki, despite himself, seems to care, and tries to explain to the girl that he understands that the girl must hate them, and he is sorry for everything. She seems much calmer after that, but the moment she sees Helga, she seems scared again. I’m not quite sure what is going on with this–but I’m worried.
Herald, however, throws another hissy-fit over not getting the girl he wanted, and kills her husband because he’s a child, basically. In retaliation, the woman attempts to kill him, as well–but Halfdan kills her before she gets a chance. Well, there goes another female character.
The battle finally begins, and it truly isn’t going well for Aethelwulf. He splits his army up, and they are run left and right as the vikings spread out into the countryside, using it to their advantage. Eventually they have the British surrounded…and it definitely doesn’t look like our Wessex prince will make it much longer. He does, however, make one more valiant charge, and that is how our episode ends.