Again, we’ll break things up in this episode by location. It seems things will be converging soon, and I’m genuinely curious to see what will happen.
The Saxons pour into York, still believing the Vikings are gone. Bishop Heahmund seems to have more trepidation–as well he should, since the Vikings are hiding in the Roman-made sewers under the city. You would think one Saxon would have known that the sewers existed–after all, they knew about the weak Roman walls, didn’t they? As it is, the Vikings ambush the Saxons, pouring out of the sewers like the very rats that they had driven from the tunnels. The fighting is vicious and brutal, and none of the Saxons are making out well in this–they have to retreat, but in the course of this, Heahmund is left behind and captured. He isn’t killed, at least, as it seems Ivar has some respect for him…or sees him as an interesting playtoy. Either way, things aren’t looking good for the Bishop.
Realizing that things are utterly lost for them (glad I didn’t learn Judith’s cousin’s name!), the Saxons retreat, leaving Heahmund to his fate. I feel bad for Aethelwulf. He’s come so far in the past season and a half, and he genuinely feels that God has forsaken him–that he just can’t do enough to please Him.
Still, with the knowledge that the Saxons have retreated, the Vikings decide to head back to Norway and make a pact with Harald to take down Ubbe and Lagertha–just as she predicted would happen. They plan to take the Bishop with them, a mirroring of Ragnar and Athelstan. Though, let’s be honest, as much as he would like, Ivar is no Ragnar, and Heahmund is no Athelstan.
I genuinely never thought I would say that I don’t care about Bjorn’s storylines anymore…but I genuinely don’t. This storyline should be interesting, and I don’t know if it has something to do with me or not–but I just don’t find it compelling. We meet Emir Ziyadat Allah, who speaks Norse–it seems he is more learned than Euphemius. He is also familiar with Kassia, surprisingly. The man seems affable enough, willing to acknowledge Bjorn and Halfdan’s Odin, and providing them prostitutes to bed…but in the end it was all a bid for power.
If you are in bed you can’t be a good bodyguard, and Euphemius ends up dead… Well, not only dead, but cooked and fed to everyone, much to Kassia’s delight. She asks for the Viking’s deaths–but they just might survive due to an incoming sandstorm.
Honestly, I’m just not sure where this plotline is going. It’s shifting so much that it’s hard to make any good assessment of it at this point.
Floki has returned to Kattegat, announcing that he is going to take only the most faithful back to the land of the Gods. Lagertha, feeling her authority threatened already on so many sides, forbids Floki from trying to recruit people. She also feels that Floki finds her unworthy. I am a bit surprised at her actions, to be honest, but given how worn thin she is…perhaps it is what she would do. Regardless, Floki isn’t going to listen to a mere mortal–the Gods want him to bring the faithful, and so he starts to meet in secret, recruiting people.
We find that Torvi’s son is interested in going, as is Ubbe’s wife. As for Ubbe…? Well he seems curious, but is non-committal at the moment.
This episode, for all that happened, again feels like a ‘set up’ episode, moreso than one that has real character development. It is moving pieces along the chess board, but isn’t giving our characters a chance to breathe or deal with any situation completely. I’m just…frustrated with this season, so far; I’m hoping it gets better.