It’s dark, unforgiving world without Ragnar on this week’s Vikings episode “Crossings,” which felt more like a filler episode leading up to the foreboding all out war we can expect to see in the last leg of the season. For the first episode sans Ragnar, the show seems to be heading in the right direction focusing on minor characters who always received less screen time.
Floki and Helga were both the stars of this week’s episode, making major personality changes since the start of the season. They are both traveling with Bjorn and Rollo to raid the Mediterranean, a place so distant that even Ragnar never dreamed of traveling there. On the ship Helga has a revelation— she wants to be mother again.
Floki on the other hand wants no part in fatherhood because of how horrible the death of their first child Angrboda from fever was in the beginning of the season. The issue is swept under the rug by Floki, but Helga has other plans when they arrive at a Muslim town full of innocent people.
Even though vikings traditionally raped, pillaged and brutalized many of the places they raided, it’s still hard to watch these people you’ve been seeing develop into full-fledged and interesting characters throughout the seasons delve back down to their roots of violence, particularly the rape of women. I admit it was upsetting to see characters we’ve grown attached to like Bjorn, Rollo and young Hvitserk break into a room full of terrified women and just start raping them for no reason other than because they can. It made it even worse to see that Rollo and Bjorn seemed indifferent to the whole situation in a “been there, done that” fashion.
I understand that it happened during the time period. I understand that vikings were known for it, but if you’re going to have a rape scene give it some value and don’t just use it as an excuse to show us that the viking characters are vikings (not necessarily good people) because we understand that by now.
Instead give us something interesting like what Floki and Helga were doing during the mass rape scene. Helga spotted a little girl whose mother was killed by King Harald (or his brother Halfdan, I seem to always confuse them in battle). She chased the little girl throughout the episode, and when she finally found her, she claimed her has her new daughter. The whole thing was a bit out of left field, but it makes sense since Floki won’t give Helga a child that she finds alternative means of getting what she needs.
Floki meanwhile was with Harald and Halfdan when they find a temple full of praying Muslims. They were going to slaughter them, but Floki stopped them, moved by how they were praying so devoutly to a god that wasn’t visible. It’s a big step for a man, who not so long ago, murdered someone due to fear and religious differences. It will be interesting to see where the writers are taking Floki as the season progresses, he may just be the next Ragnar.
While Bjorn’s raid dominated most of the episode, the more impactful scenes came from Kattegat.
Ivar has gone full dark side from sitting in the rocky fields screaming for his lost mother and father to sitting in Lagthera’s throne room fantasizing about poking her eye out with a knife. He challenges Lagthera to combat in the beginning of the episode to avenge his mother, but Lagthera refuses to fight a cripple.
But Lagthera knows her time is growing short. She asks the seer if one of the sons of Ragnar will kill her, and he confirms her fate. Only which son will it be? Ivar and Ubbe would be too obvious since the two clearly want to kill her, maybe Magnus will turn out to be actually Ragnar’s son and be the one to do the deed.
Lagthera has other problems to worry about though because a storm is coming narrated by the last words of Ragnar, ripping though Kattegat.
The episode ends with the viking god Odin making his grand entrance and letting each of the sons of Ragnar known that their father is dead. The use of the supernatural was always a high point of this show for me, and the brilliant introduction of the one-eyed Odin combined with the ghost of Ragnar seemingly creating a tempest upon Kattegat letting us know that he did, in fact, make it to Valhalla makes for a thrilling ending.
Episode rating: 8.5/10