This week’s episode of Vikings, “Revenge,” was filled with sex, scandal and sacrifice as the great army lands on English soil to exact their revenge for Ragnar’s death.
On the eve of the brothers’ journey Lagertha plans a human sacrifice to appease the gods, but more happens before the sons of Ragnar set sail on the journey to England. Ubbe finally marries Margarete after Hvitserk approves of the union. After the wedding, the brothers run an obstacle course per viking tradition.
The after ceremony is when things get hairy for the brothers. It’s clear that Hvitserk still has feelings for Margarete making googly eyes at her right in front of Ubbe. Surprisingly though, Ubbe doesn’t seem to care. In fact, he looks like he enjoys watching his little brother make out with his new wife so they decide to share her, leading to a three-way consummation on the wedding night.
Ubbe is not the only one caught in an interesting relationship this episode. Something is fishy about Astrid and her relationship with Lagertha. After last week’s make-out session with Bjorn, the two were staring at each-other while Lagertha makes the sacrifice of a young man willing to meet the gods. As Lagertha slides the knife into his chest, a comet flies by, signaling another sex scene for Bjorn and Astrid.
This brings up a lot of questions regarding Astrid. Who is she exactly? Where does she come from? How did she meet Lagertha? Does she and Bjorn have a secret history together? My guess is that Astrid is up to no good and trying to create a rift between mother and son, although it doesn’t seem to be working since Lagertha makes it known to Astrid that she knows about the affair but doesn’t mention anything to Bjorn.
Meanwhile, we learn some backstory about King Harald, who sees his princess arrive at Kattegat. Her name is Princess Elsa from Denmark, and she looks just like Frozen’s Queen Elsa. She’s the woman who made Harald want to better himself and become King of Norway. There’s a problem though, she is already married to an Earl. This upsets Harald because he was an Earl when he met her, but his status wasn’t high enough for her to marry him.
His brother slips him a knife, but Elsa begs for her life causing him to let her live. Later on we learn that there are only two people Harald loves, besides the gods of course, his brother and his princess, and if he wants his princess to live, she will live.
While Bjorn is claiming leadership over the great army, Floki recognizes that something has changed when they were raiding, a truth that he doesn’t understand yet because the gods haven’t gave him an answer. The change in Floki’s character is similar to how Ragnar changed from a loyal viking to someone more open to the other gods worshiped around the world. Which brings up the question, is Floki going to be our next forward-thinking viking?
During the final minutes of the episode the great heathen army has landed on the coast of England, interrupting Aelle’s prayer session and Ecbert’s dinner. While we didn’t learn much about Aelle, we did learn about why Aethelwulf is so angry with his father in a scene which, for the first time, made me care about Aethelwulf.
There are many reasons for his anger towards his father: taking his son’s wife Judith as his own mistress, forcing his son to adopt Alfred, and generally using his son for his own gain. It turns out though that Ecbert does all this because he has absolute trust in his son to lead their army, but when Aethelwulf asks if he loves him? Stunned silence.
Meanwhile, Aelle gets the surprise of his life when the viking army doubles in size right before his eyes. Disappointingly, we don’t get to see an battle, just an epic charge leading to a terrified and blubbering Aelle being dragged to the spot Ragnar died. Floki does the deed by nailing him to a falling tree while Bjorn slices open his back with a hot knife and hacks him apart.
The episode ends hauntingly with the vikings hanging his body, skin flayed out like an angel’s wings above Ragnar’s grave site.
Episode Rating: 8.7/10
Vikings airs on The History Channel at 9 p.m.