Previously, on Vikings, the Lothbrooks & their besties went to England to farm/help people win crappy thrones.
This program contains violent scenes and some sexual content that is not suitable for younger viewers, unless they are Viking children, in which case it’s par for the course. This disclaimer is also applicable to this reviewcap, along with a healthy warning for naughty words and, of course, spoilers. This reviewcap is also super late getting posted because sometimes the gods are angry.
The aftermath of the ass whooping Ragnar and friends gave the usurping uncle is pretty brutal, and bad-haircut Brother on the opposite shore is not the most thrilled ever about it. Much meading and rejoicing goes on in the woods while everyone sews themselves up and eats and chills out and recoups. Torstein is super freaked out and not hungry, and Ragnar and Rollo go to hang out with him and try and talk him down. Kwenthric is drunk drunk and going on about how pleased she is with the way things went, aka dead uncle. She demands the king’s head. Ragnar’s like JFC, Floki can you go get that for me? And Floki’s like hey fasho, and walks off to go get it.
Oh, hey, here’s Kwenthric’s backstory of being prostituted as a child by her brother and uncle. Ragnar is extremely uncomfortable and appropriately horrified. Floki brings the head of Kwenthric’s uncle over, and she takes it and starts stabbing it a whole lot. Floki thinks this is awesome. Ragnar thinks this is super sad and messed up and walks away.
Porunn is drinkin’ with the other raiders and Bjorn is like listen let’s talk. He tugs her away and she’s like today was hella fun let’s do this all the time, and Bjorn is like you rocked it but NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE DURING A FIGHT EVER. She challenges his belief in fate and the gods, he’s like whatever, she’s like stop treating me differently cuz I’m a lady, he’s like UGH WHATEVER marry me? And she’s like you could have just said, yeah, duh, and he’s like good, and they are ENGAGED AND IT IS PRECIOUS.
Rollo is having a moment. There is weird music and it’s in slow-mo, so God only knows where this is going. There is a collapsed/dead enemy soldier lying in the dirt that seems to be bugging him, so he wanders over and grabs an axe? And then freaks out and starts hacking him to death with it. Because apparently he wasn’t dead he was just sleeping. So Rollo shushes everyone, who are like DUDE WHAT WTF WHAT WAS THAT WHY? Torstein is also like what was that about? when Rollo goes back and sits down, although he’s way calmer about it than the traumatized, terrified usurper soldiers. Rollo tells him it was the angle of the guy’s leg, he couldn’t help himself and like what. What is going on. Are they foraging? Are they eating hallucinogenic mushrooms? What the hell is this?
So they have a chuckle over that before Kwenthric joins them. Drunky drunk drunk. Wants to know where Ragnar is. They are super confused because language barrier, and stare at her like she is a drunk crazy lady. They are not wrong. Rollo is all very charming smiles and then goes for a grope, which she thinks is momentarily hilarious, but then he leans in and she smacks him in the face and he falls over, and she tells him NO like he is a very bad puppy. She is also not wrong.
Rollo and Beardy have learned the word “no”, so at least that’s progress.
Cut to a camp that is less bloody and less drunk and here’s King Ecbert, loungin’ and shootin’ googly eyes at Lagertha. Lagertha asks Athelstan to ask Ecbert who used to farm the land that is now theirs, probably because it’s just too weird and awkward to sit there quietly with him staring at her. Ecbert’s like uuuuh just had to kick out some Saxon’s NBD. Lagertha’s like oh cool so is there some guarantee they won’t get pissed and start trouble or like is that just…. are we just winging that? Ecbert gives his personal guarantee. Lagertha thanks Ecbert and tells him it was always her and Ragnar’s dream to farm and live peacefully with others and whatever, and Athelstan just whispers the translation into Ecbert’s ear while he GAZES WITH ADORING WONDER AT LAGS. He asks a question and Lagertha’s like whaaaaaaa? And Athelstan tells her Ecbert wants to know if she’s single and Lagertha is like OOOOH OKAY with a slightly deer in headlights look and Ecbert is kind of adorably half smirky.
Totally gonna go over well.
Back to Scumbag Rapist Brother’s army, who are super anxious about the Vikings headed their way. Their anxiety is in zero ways assuaged when they see that all the heads of their allies are hanging off the boats like giant hideous Christmas ornaments. This unease is driven home in a major way by Ragnar sitting beneath them and smiling like a Cheshire cat. Cue a state of panicked readiness amongst SRB’s army while the soldiers pretty much just run the hell away as the head-bedecked boats drift out of the mists.
Kwenthric is like HEY BRO JUST ABANDON YOUR ARMY AND I WILL MAKE SURE YOU STAY SAFE I TOTES PROMISE. SRB’s second in command is like ‘dude no we gotta gtfo for real’ and after some hesitation, SRB agrees and they boogie.
Torstein is still acting weird, and wanders into the river by himself, shirtless. He has a huge wound in his stomach? So that’s bad???? It’s bandaged, so that’s good. He staggers back toward camp but collapses before he gets there, and just sits in the water and shivers.
So that’s…. happening.
Best Cart is rolling up to a farm that’s humming with activity. Ecbert apparently recruited some aid to help the Vikings start getting their farming on. The Britons are kinda bitchy about what the Vikings brought to work with. Ecbert gathers up a pile of rich, moist earth and goes and gives it to Lagertha, saying this is his gift to her, in her own tongue. She replies by telling him it is worth more to her than any bling ever could. Ecbert has got it SO. BAD and looks SO PLEASED with himself, and she smells the dirty and touches it with her fingers and is just pleased as punch. Athelstan thinks all of this is adorable.
Back in Kattegat! Helga dreamt of a faceless stranger, carrying a ball of flaming snow and his other hand was- COVERED IN BLOOD, uh oh, Aslaug interjecting, and then Siggy says ‘and the trail of smoking blood behind him?’ and I guess with all the men gone the ladies are syncing up because hey, shared dreams! They all admit to being excited instead of scared. Siggy asks Aslaug wtf it means, because Aslaug is touched with that creepy, creepy foresight, and Aslaug is like I straight up have not a single clue.
Seer’s hut! The Seer fondles dead animal bones, like ya do, and reconsiders the omens he told to Lagertha. To recap:
Harvest celebrated in blood
A trickster whose weapon cleaves you
A marriage of plow and sword which will sustain you until you become a virgin once more
Come on, man, Lagertha’s gonna convert? For real? FOR REAL? C’mooon, boooooo. The creepy Seer voiceover happens while Lagertha shovels dirt/manure? in an earthy way. I know exactly nothing about farming so that’s all the insight I can offer. In the hut next door, Athelstan oversees some thatching, and Ecbert is like hey bro, you should bless this house. Ask God to watch over it and stuff. Athelstan is like uuuuuuuuuuuh yyyyyyeah sure. And leads the household in prayer. As he does so, one of the Vikings walks in with a carved wooden statue of Odin???? Probably??? and puts it prominently on the stairs and gives everyone a very serious COME AT ME BRO expression, and Ecbert and Athelstan are both like weeeeeelp there’s the tension.
Over to Hedeby, where Kalf is starting to sew discontent over the fact that Lagertha left her position to go farm in England. He talks some seriously sexist smack about Lagertha while presenting himself as a humble alternative who’s on the right side of the Gods. Everyone’s like yeah sounds good and cheer his name.
Lagertha, covered in dirt and smackin’ an ox on the butt, is greeted by Athelstan and Ecbert, who is going to get out of peasantville and head up to his villa, and wants to invite her along for a few days. She’s like hell yeah, I need a bath super bad.
Over to the viking Vikings, they’re cutting the heads off their masts because THAT CANNOT SMELL GOOD, and Kwenthric looks disappointed. Ragnar rolls up like we can’t find him where the shit. And Kwenthric is like he probably went back to town to get reinforcementsssssss? Ragnar’s face here is even more priceless than usual and sums up to HEY GREAT as he stomps off. At the villa Lagertha and Ecbert are eating a feast, with the Nice Sister, aka Lady Judith. She talks about how fascinated she is by paganism, and asks Athelstan about what it’s like to live with them. Athelstan is like awe listen, you’re a good Christian woman, I can’t talk about the crazy raunchy pagans with you, and good Christian married stigmata-kissin’ Lady Judith pops a grape as saucily as she can manage and literally says TRY ME. Ecbert thinks this is hilarious. Lagertha is enjoying the meal and wondering wtf is going on. Athelstan then gets pretty saucy himself and describes the pagan world to Lady Judith as being completely inverted from the natural order, Christless, and being ruled by a living god with one eye who knows the secret of every heart. When he says ‘Odin’, Lagertha’s attention sharpens right up. Judith asks if Athelstan believes in Odin, and Ecbert gets a pretty serious look on his face, eyes on Athelstan. Athelstan says he has to question what belief even is. Lagertha is like uh hi excuse what you sayin bout Odin? Athelstan tells her he loves Odin, but ALSO Jesus, and he doesn’t know what else to say, and Judith doesn’t speak Viking but she speaks Sexy Tortured Ex-Monk and is one zillion percent down for whatever it is he’s going on about. Ecbert keeps things moving with another present for Lags, which is brought to her in a kerchief, and it is a beautiful necklace of gold leaves and pale blue/white stones that I trust will be available in the History Vikings store asap because I nnnnnnnnnnnneed it? Ecbert puts the necklace on for her and touches her hair like a lot, a whole lot, and it’s quite sexy, and she’s quite pleased, as well she should be.
Back in Kattegat, Siggy is freaked out and going to talk to the Seer, who is….. not…….. there???? Drop of blood on her hand, looks at the ceiling, looks like veins running through the canvas? And then down and the Seer is on the ground ALL TORE UP and she screams and wakes up, obvi, duh, hello, but still what the what. Aslaug also wakes up. Helga also wakes up. The ladies chat about the sheer amount of blood, but Aslaug reassures them it was totes just a dream, and NO ONE is comforted by or believes that.
In Mercia, someone on a horse is in a hurry and gets stopped by Lady Judith’s hubby. They get this guy stretched out and staked into the ground???? And start asking him questions. Someone is messing with a brand at a fire and poor messenger guy is super not down for this. He earnestly tells them he doesn’t know where SRB is, and Lady Judith’s horrible husband says he doesn’t believe him and okays the torturer. The kid doesn’t talk, and they put the brand close to his face until his skin starts blistering. He breaks SUPER HARD and tells them eeeeverything, and then Lady Judith’s douchebag husband unties him and is less douchey but still takes a potshot at the Vikings by being like “see we’re not all psychopaths”.
Back at the villa, Athelstan is fondling scrolls and quills and illuminated manuscripts, and Lady Judith wanders in. She asks him to hear her confession, and Athelstan is like uuuuh. And she’s like this is serious and he’s like yeah okay whatever let’s do it. So they get into a confessional, and Lady Judith is like I have thought-sinned and Athelstan is like ‘eh could be worse’ and she’s like no it’s pretty bad and we’re like ATHELSTAN COME ON YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THIS IS GOING and Athelstan’s like well why dontcha tell me about it. And Judith is like okay so here’s my sexual fantasy starring YOU and not my husband, let me break it down for you. And Athelstan’s like starring who now? And Judith is like YOU WHY DO YOU THINK I GOT YOU INTO THIS CONFESSIONAL and Athelstan is like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? and she leaves.
So then we see the roiling mists above Kattegat and a cloaked stranger in a fancy outfit with burning snowball and bloody palm, and Aslaug, Siggy and Helga wake up in various states of alarm/anticipation.
Kalf also had a dream last night, about Ragnar cutting out and eating his liver, which, let’s be real, if Ragnar heard the shit Kalf was saying about Lagertha, he ABSOLUTELY WOULD DO THAT. Inar is like u scared bro? And Kalf is like uh the guy was a farmer and now he’s a king, so yes? And admits he wants to be famous more than anything else, that he wants to be immortalized in poems and the personal attention of the gods. Kalf is a moron.
Back in England, Porunn, Rollo, and Floki are playing a game that involves flipping coins into a hat or something. Torstein is still in TERRIBLE shape, and is like ‘uh hey guys can one of you cut off my arm?’ and Rollo’s like ‘well, I mean, we could…. not… do that’ and Torstein’s like it is LITERALLY KILLING ME PLEASE CUT THE DAMN THING OFF, although with impressive calm. Bjorn volunteers, but Torstein is like thanks but Floki, plz. And Floki is like well, okay, sure, and has Bjorn cut Torstein’s sleeve off. They get the infected arm strapped to a wooden plank and heat up some axes in a fire and holy crap they are gonna straight up cut off Torstein’s gangrenous arm. Ragnar holds him down and Floki is like how about your head? And Torstein’s like ‘haha’ and then Floki shOVES THE AXE BLADE THROUGH HIS SHOULDER LIKE BUTTER AND STARTS POUNDING IT WITH A HAMMER AND THEY PULL HIS ARM OFF HIS SHOULDER AND IT’S JUST. THAT HAPPENED. AND. THE SOUNDS ARE TERRIBLE and Ragnar doesn’t even watch cuz goddamn.
They didn’t even give him a shot of whiskey or anything, they just cut that sucker off good grief.
At Ecbert’s villa, Athelstan is gracious and thankful for Ecbert’s hospitality on behalf of himself and Lagertha and Ecbert squeezes Athelstan’s athelhands and is like dude ilu and thank you for getting me in good with this Goddess. Ecbert has Athelstan tell Lags she’s always welcome at Ecbert’s digs and she tells Athelstan to tell Ecbert that she loves his gift and the necklace is so beautiful it must have been made by dwarves which is THE CUTEST. Ecbert is like we don’t have dwarves here and she doesn’t even let Athelstan translate, just catches Ecbert’s arm and his face transforms because SHE’S TOUCHING HIS ARM, and Athelstan tells Ecbert she said of course you do, you just don’t see them. Ecbert is so freaking in love he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Athelstan goes to say bye to Lady Judith and tell her her penance. She says her penance is that he’s leaving. Athelstan is like it’s a good thing chill out and Judith sadfaces as he rides away. Ecbert is like so you love Athels? And she’s like no he’s just fascinating. And Ecbert is like watch yourself, interesting people are dangerous. And Judith is like sooooo like you? And Ecbert’s like I’M IN LOVE WITH THE MAID OF FLAXEN HAIR and skips away.
Torstein looks…….not good. He’s missing an arm, to start with, but he’s also a sort of terrible ruddy purple color, and I feel horrifically bad about not remembering his name in the first recap now since he’s so, so gonna die. Judith’s hubby rides back from his messenger torturing trip and is like “hey we found ‘em” and Ragnar’s like “Great let’s go kill ‘em”.
Kattegat is very misty, and Helga is doing some shopping, and then boom, there’s the cloaked stranger wandering into town from the fields. She stands there waiting for him and he walks up to her holds his hands up, one bandaged and bleeding the other empty, and says he’s injured himself rather badly and asks for her help. Her eyes fill up with tears.
Meanwhile, Torstein’s bleeding out on the sand in England.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Lagertha turns to see Athelstan standing with his hands outstretched, stigmata bleeding. It’s super intense and they’re both freaked out. I am also freaked out. Everyone is freaking out.
You can freak out with me on twitter if you follow @eruditechick. There’s a lot of freaking out to be had.