There’s a reckoning for everyone in the season four finale of Vikings with a body count of three main characters by the end of the episode, and the introduction of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as next season’s Knight of the Templar wielding a sword inscribed as Ananizapta. A magically sword perhaps? We’ll have to wait until next season to learn more about our new deadly priest, but for now let’s break down the craziness of last night’s finale.
Starting with bloody, muddy chaos emulating Game of Thrones’s “The Battle of the Bastards” we finally got the big battle scene we’ve been waiting for. While it was nothing compared to the latter, the vikings fought fiercely causing Aethelwulf to retreat after the devastating loss. He manages to make it back to the kingdom to warn his family, but Ecbert refused to leave and tells his son that he will renounce the crown in his favor. Throughout the past three episodes, the relationship built between Ecbert and Aethelwulf has been phenomenal, and this scene culminated the father-son bond these two have deep down despite their tension throughout the season.
Ecbert is uncharacteristically full of glee as his family leaves him behind, so what’s his big plan? It’s only Ecbert and the bishop left in their deserted kingdom waiting for the viking raid. He knows that his time has come, and as much as it sucks to say this because he’s my favorite character, we know that his time has come too. His character has reached the end. Linus Roache has portrayed the decaying king perfectly, and it’s fitting to see Bjorn give him the option to choose how he dies. It would have been too sadistic to watch Ivar blood eagle him, he was no Aelle, but Ragnar’s friend.
But Ecbert doesn’t go without a bang. Before he slits his wrists, he royally screws over the brothers by signing over land he technically isn’t king over anymore, making it an illegal sign-off.
Ecbert wasn’t the only tragic death of the raid though. Poor Helga, killed off just like that by a knife in the throat courtesy of her adopted daughter, who commits suicide shortly after. Floki is devastated as he buries his wife and walks out on the vikings. It’s obviously not the last we are going to see of Floki, so it should be interesting to see where a Helga-less world brings him in the upcoming season.
In the final scene featuring the vikings, we learn during a feast that Bjorn wants to explore the Mediterranean, Ivar wants to raid more, the other brothers just want to settle down and farm. Surprisingly, Halfdan wants to go with Bjorn leaving his brother King Harald for the first time we’ve seen on the show.
The episode ends with Ivar possibly making the biggest mistake of his life. After petty arguments that have built up over the season, he finally pulled the axe on his brother Sigurd, lodging it in his chest shocking everyone. It isn’t until Sigurd hits the ground that it resonates with Ivar what he has done.
Even then, does Ivar really care? Or is this just the first step to the beginning of the end for the sons of Ragnar?
Episode Rating: 9/10
Season Rating: 7.5/10
Watch the preview for the upcoming season of Vikings on The History Channel