The Lost Moment
So we’re coming up on the last two episodes of the year, and it’s clear that a few things are coming to a head in Kattegat, and the wheels are turning in Wessex as well. We’re so far from the real history of the time, I can’t even really make comparisons to actual historical events anymore–and I remember when there was a time I could! But, well, the show is mostly fictional now, and I don’t think it’s any worse for it.
We start back in Kattegat immediately where we left off last week–with Ivar about to sacrifice someone. While I saw speculation online that it would be Hvitserk, it is instead a poor random blond woman that Ivar is attempting to pass off as Lagertha. Besides the hair she looks nothing like her–and people know it. Some brave (and probably now dead) woman starts screaming that the sacrifice isn’t Lagertha, and others join her in yelling, “Hail Lagertha, Hail Ragnar!” It’s clear that Ivar’s grip on the town isn’t as strong as he believes, no matter what fear/intimidation tactics he attempts. This is further implied later in the episode when three men are executed, accused of trying to raise a rebellion against him.
Of course Ivar is one to back down, and he continues to sacrifice the poor woman, determined to show others that he’s a God. One of the things I enjoy is that Ivar keeps demanding others recognize he’s a God, that he’s direct descendant of Odin–the more he says it, the more it’s clear he’s trying to convince himself, as well.
Hvitserk is watching all of this with growing discomfort and horror, and at the feast afterwards, calls out Ivar in front of everyone–I can’t decide if this is exceedingly stupid or (slightly) smart. He’s certainly putting a target on his back, and I don’t think Ivar is going to stand for it for long.
[Side note–who the hell is that random girl in bed with him? Did I miss something? It’s yet another generic blonde woman, so if we’ve met her before, I certainly missed her]
While his gut tells him to stay in Kattegat, his mind tells him to leave–so Hvitserk goes to the Seer to gain some insight. It’s the first we’ve seen of our old crotchety soothsayer in the back half of this season, and he doesn’t look that great. He sees some great darkness coming for them all; Hvitserk will accomplish what others have failed to do–but the cost will be too high. I assume it will be killing Ivar, but at what cost, I’m not sure. Hvitserk seems unsurprised by this information but is looking for an out, still–perhaps he could sail away? But no, that won’t work. The darkness will come for them all (repeated again, and again) and for once, the Seer is scared.
He has right to be. After Hvitserk leaves, Ivar comes to visit…and after the Seer refuses to acknowledge that Ivar is a God (because he isn’t), Ivar kills him in a fit of rage. Welp. So ends another one of our oldest characters–we have had the Seer around since the beginning of the show…so this leaves only three of our original cast still around. Bjorn doesn’t count, as he started out in season one played by another actor.
We start out our time in England not in Wessex, but on the river traveling away from York with Harald and the other Vikings. Not much happens here–though we do learn that Harald is hellbent on killing Lagertha for killing his wife…you know, the wife who begged for death. Of course, he didn’t know that, and still thinks Astrid loved him. Which, hey–guess we all have delusions, buddy. We see some young viking woman step forward to say that she feels in her gut that Harald may one day find happiness again–and that her own destiny lies here. If I’m not mistaken, it’s Bjorn’s first wife, Þorunn, whom we haven’t seen since season three. I’m not quite sure why she would be back except to cause more relationship drama within the show, but I always enjoyed her character, so I can’t say I’m unhappy to see her return. [Note: I’ve confirmed recently that it is NOT Þorunn, so I’m not quite sure what she’s about now, speaking of ‘destiny’.]
The news of Harald and the others traveling on the waters has reached Wessex, and Alfred makes a grand show of demanding that Lagertha and the others assist them–or else. Ubbe seems more than willing, but of course Bjorn is annoyed over the situation–and has shaved his head. The only reason I mention this is because Alfred points it out. It seems odd, but as Ragnar shaved his head towards the end of his life, I can only think that it’s an allusion to that?
Speaking of haircuts–Alfred gets one as well, chopping off his long locks for something more traditionally masculine. This is done in tandem with him asking for Ubbe’s assistance in learning to fight. I really enjoy their dynamic, as Ubbe works with Alfred to learn to be unafraid of axes flying his way–it’s very much an older brother/younger brother dynamic, one that is lacking between Alfred and Aethelred.
The dynamic is so lacking that yes, Aethelred is willing to conspire against his brother to have him, Heahmund, and the Vikings killed. While I understand that he’s frustrated, and we’ve seen some seeds of discord sewn between him and Alfred, I find his escalation to assassination planning a bit much. I suppose he is doing it for the country, and not for his own gain…but he will become king if Alfred is killed, so it isn’t entirely altruistic
None of this is helped when Alfred insists that he’s the one to lead the army, instead of Aethelred–but at the last moment his brother can’t give the signal, and the conspirators lament that “all is lost.” Of course, I doubt that’s the real end to the plot–for even harboring the idea of taking out his brother, I’m sure Aethelred will have to pay, later.
Of course, there are other people who want Alfred dead, too. Yes, of course that means Magnus is still going on about how much his life is horrible, and how his “anger kept [him] alive.” Seriously–the fact that Bjorn believes all of this means he’s either a bigger idiot than I originally thought, or the writing is becoming more hamfisted.
Bjorn is so sure of this Magnus idea, and perhaps going over to help Harald against Alfred, that he takes his new half-brother to meet the other Vikings…who promptly reject him, insistinting that Ragnar never fathered a son with Queen Kwenthrith. Lagertha is quite kind as she lets Magnus down, while Ubbe is more dismissive–but of course this only leads Bjorn to throw another fit about how he believes in Magnus, and storm out with him.
I’m getting exhausted of all this relationship drama involving Bjorn and his family; I feel the writers aren’t quite sure to do with him any longer, so he is stuck in a cycle much like Floki.
So that’s it for this episode! I will say things are finally picking up in Iceland…but at this point it’s just a small family drama of death and sadness and more crying. It seems Floki may have found his backbone–but until I’m sure he has, and the plotline is really moving forward…again, I won’t comment in any depth.