In this week’s episode of Vikings, “The Great Army,” Ivar declares war on the whole world in the name of Ragnar and Odin. This episode wasn’t about the sons of Ragnar though, but the show’s leading ladies who stole every scene and kicked ass. Judith and Gisla finally had their time to shine showing the warring, and ignorant, men in their lives that they aren’t to be trifled with.
Not all is well with the sons of Ragnar though, particularly between Ivar and Sigurd. Sigurd really isn’t that torn up over Aslaug’s death like Ivar is, because he still holds a grudge that Aslaug never paid much attention to him, just Ivar. This results in a tussle between in the two brothers over a knife Ragnar gave to Sigurd that Ivar wants to use to kill Lagertha. It’s all child’s play really because they are both still boys in my eyes, not men. I don’t think Ivar or Sigurd are mature enough to actually handle the reality of killing someone, or the consequences that it would bring.
Meanwhile, on the coast of Francia, Bjorn is dropping Rollo back home to an angry Gisla, but not before warning Rollo that he will avenge his father’s death and that means killing Rollo due to his betrayal in the beginning of the season.
Rollo makes a counter-strike though and offers freedom to anyone who wants to settle in Francia, but Bjorn is firm in his belief that a traitor is still a traitor. Floki, on the other hand, thinks that Bjorn should have killed Rollo while he still had the chance because he thinks that Rollo may become more famous than any of the vikings.
Rollo’s wife Gisla wasn’t thrilled when the viking-turned-catholic returned home. So much so that she sucker-punched him right in the nose while screaming angrily at him in French. Although Rollo makes the saddest of sad faces when his wife is upset, it was great to see Gisla not be okay with her husband running off with Bjorn for some raiding fun. While things aren’t looking stellar for the couple, I’m still holding out hope that the two will work out their differences because they’re one of the few interesting pairs left on the show.
Back in England, Judith is on her own mission. Leaving Ecbert’s kingdom to warn her father King Aelle that the sons of Ragnar will have their vengeance and that they should be prepared for what’s to come. Aelle doesn’t seem to concerned though about vengeance, but more about the shame Judith is bringing on their family but having an affair with Ecbert.
Before leaving Judith gives her younger sister some advice: learn how to read because being a free woman has its perks. I want more Judith scenes, she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters, and it’s really a shame that we don’t get to see her more often.
Meanwhile, Ecbert is offering his own advice to Alfred. First, he starts by reading Alfred a boring book and then makes him chug lots of goblets of wine with him until poor Alfred throws up. The lesson? Don’t ever let yourself be influenced by other people, specifically people like Ecbert, because Ecbert wasn’t drinking wine but water. He also tells him must have his own thoughts if he is going to be a great ruler some day, which reveals that Ecbert not only wants Alfred to be ruler, but that he’s betting on his son Aethelwulf not surviving long enough to be king.
In Kattegat, Ubbe is trying to get under Lagertha by releasing Margrethe from slavery so he can marry her. While there are obvious ulterior motives to this marriage, I hope that the writers do something with Margrethe. Anything then just have her stand by Ubbe’s side and look pretty which is the direction her character seems to be heading in.
During a party held to greet new vikings who are here to join the great heathen army, I couldn’t help but think of the Game of Thrones red wedding scene when the two men went to lock the doors and Torvi noticed that something was wrong. In a clear nod to the HBO drama, knives are pulled on Lagertha’s people while Ivar knives his way up to Lagertha.
She knows that it’s the end, drawing a sword to face Ivar and Ubbe when Bjorn storms in and saves the day by reminding them that they have to avenge their father, not Lagertha, and the sons of Ragnar frustratingly agree letting Lagertha live another day.
The biggest shock of the episode: Bjorn has three kids! Who knew? They just appeared when he was having a tense argument with Torvi about his desires to travel with Ubbe and Ivar, who just tried to murder his mother, to avenge Ragnar’s death.
The best moment in the episode has to be the ending. There’s a great parallel to Ivar and Ragnar’s last enjoyable moments together when Ivar is riding on Floki’s back to see the surprise Floki has been working on for him, which are his “wings” resembling a roman chariot.
Most bizarre plot-twist: the final moments of the episode with Astrid making out with Bjorn. It came out of nowhere, and I really don’t know where the writers are going with this one… Will Astrid betray Lagertha? Or will Bjorn betray her? Was he just angry at Torvi and needed to let off some steam?
Episode Rating: 8.5/10