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Vikings Review: Ragnar Wants To Farm

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It was another intense visit to the Dark Ages tonight, as Vikings Season 2 Episode 3 set in motion the events that will play out over the next several installments.

The King of Wessex made plans to defend his kingdom from the invaders and we learned that Ragnar’s true purpose is to move his people to England for a better life.

Athelstan once again held his own in battle and, most importantly, Lagertha’s back!

This week’s episode kicked off with our Viking marauders approaching a large Christian church in Wessex. Athelstan explains that if it’s Winchester, there will be a lot of treasure there. Floki gets very excited by this news, his giggles crack me up.

King Ecbert knew it was just a matter of time before the Northmen arrived in Wessex. Since he had some experience with these invaders, he quickly put a plan in motion, tasking his son with raising an army. Knowing the Vikings never venture far from their ships, he also sends riders to watch them and report back.

This strategy is very different from King Aella of Northumbria, who lazily waited for the Vikings to come to him. We all know how that situation turned out last season.

Ecbert is a true strategist and it’s clear right away he is going to be a serious threat. Now we understand Athelstan’s remark that the King is like Ragnar much better.

I mentioned in my review of Vikings Season 2 Episode 2 how much I missed Lagertha. It was wonderful to catch up with our favorite shieldmaiden and a grown up Bjorn. Not so great, was the fact that her new husband, the wealthy but abusive Earl Sigvard is introduced hitting her. I was terribly bothered that Lagertha left Ragnar, who clearly loved her, for this guy. Sure, she's not going to put up with it for long, but physical abuse over polygamy… really?

Apparently, the Earl of Scandinavia is as resentful of Bjorn as Ragnar’s son is of him. When Lagertha tells Sigvard he doesn’t love her son, or anyone for that matter, she’s rewarded with a slap across the face.

Sigvard apologizes, but the damage is done. We instantly hate the guy, and hope that either Lagertha or Bjorn dispatch him in a violent manner.

I want to mention that I love the way Bjorn looks out for his mother. It’s like he took Ragnar’s last words to him, four years ago, literally to heart. Also, though I’ll miss young Nathan O'Toole as Bjorn, I think Alexander Ludwig fits in rather well right? He’s a strong presence in this episode, and he’s got the accent down.

Meanwhile, back in Wessex, the Vikings enter the small town with the large church. A young monk rings the bell, townfolk retreat to their homes and English soldiers face off against Ragnar and company.

Again, this scene played out quite differently from that first raid in Northumbria. Athelstan holds his own in battle, and it’s great to see many more shieldmaiden’s fighting this year. Still, the English soldiers are simply no match for the Northmen and are quickly defeated.

After proving himself time and again, Floki continues to doubt Athelstan. He's constantly calling him priest, knowing full well he’s left that life behind and asks Ragnar why he listens so much to Athelstan. Floki’s instincts have served him well in the past. I wonder if his behavior toward Athelstan will ultimately prove that once a Christian, always a Christian.

King Horik complains that there’s no treasure but Athelstan points them to the alter. He explains to Ragnar that Christians bury the bones of the revered dead beneath the alter. While Athelstan educates Ragnar on saints, martyrdom and miracles, Floki looks on jealously.

Can it really be jealousy that fuels his distrust of Athelstan? I mean, last season Floki was clearly the person Ragnar trusted and confided in most right? Not so much anymore, so it’s entirely possible.

As Athelstan enters the monastery I had a sense of déjà vu, which I’m sure was writer Michael Hirst’s intent. He looks over the monk’s writings adoringly and seems to feel at home there. Yet, with his long hair and Viking wardrobe he doesn’t quite fit in anymore, does he?

Killing that young monk came as quite a surprise, I wasn’t expecting that. After all, Ragnar had shown him mercy and spared his life all those years ago. When faced with a similar situation, Athelstan reacts savagely and instinctively. Was it simply his training taking over and Ragnar's words telling him never to hesitate? All I know is that one act will weigh heavily on the former monk as the season continues.

George Blagden played this scene beautifully, and along with Travis Fimmel is without a doubt, one of the strongest actors on the show. It's a pleasure to watch them do their thing, honestly.

Athelstan is discovered by the town’s main priest and though he warns him to hide, it’s a bit late for that no? The priest realizes Athelstan is one of them, and tells him one day he will be caught and crucified. Enter Floki, who takes the priest to King Horik.

I’ll admit, the use of the poor priest as target practice was extremely unsettling. Yet it’s important the series doesn’t shy away from the horrors the Vikings left in their wake. These guys are not the good guys, they just do what they need to in order to survive.

Ragnar spots a young boy hiding and covers him up. His reaction to Athelstan putting the priest out of his misery, also reminds us why he’s our hero. While he may be a flawed man who does terrible things, he’s not a monster, he does feel deeply.

The scene where Ragnar explains to King Horik that England’s land is rich, not just in treasure, but for farming is important. As a farmer he feels that by living in England they would eliminate hunger. This is his true motivation, a better life for his people not riches or fame.

Ragnar: This land is rich, but here is the real treasure.
King Horik: Earth?
Ragnar: Have you not seen? Everywhere we go there are crops. There is food growing. I am a farmer and the son of a farmer, and this is what I understand.

Back in Kattegat, Aslaug has given birth to Ragnar’s son, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye. The fact the baby has that mark in his eye, tells us Aslaug is indeed a seeress. I want to know more about her.

In Götland, Jarl Borg has remarried and decides it’s time to seek vengeance on Ragnar for going back on his word. I knew Borg wasn’t going to accept being left out of the raids lightly. He plans to seize Ragnar’s lands and kill Rollo, who rejected him last episode. In the end, I think Borg’s pride is going to be his downfall.

King Ecbert sends an envoy to strike a deal with the Northmen. Ragnar explains they want peace with the King, in the hopes he’ll offer them land to farm. Horik foolishly kills one of the emissaries, proving himself to be rash and hotheaded. Anyone else feel that Horik is only out for himself, and will eventually turn on Ragnar? I don’t trust the guy.

In the end, Jarl Borg invades Kattegat. Though Rollo attempts to defend their lands, they are overwhelmed since Ragnar took the best warriors with him. Rollo, Siggy and Aslaug flee into the mountains, as it is much more important to save Ragnar’s sons.

That does it for another excellent episode of Vikings. I will see you guys back here next week, when Ragnar returns home and Athelstan finds himself in a compromising position. Need to catch up or want to check out this episode again? Watch Vikings online right here at TV Fanatic!

When Ragnar learns of the invasion, he will head back home. Will Athelstan stay in Wessex to help King Horik or will he follow Ragnar?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Henry A. Otero is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Living in Scandinavia, it's quite hilarious to see how geographical places and names get thrown together like crazy. It's not important, ofcourse, but still weird to see and hear your birth places mentionend time after time, even if it doesn't make sense how they use them. Jutland is a big peninsula of Denmark, connected to Northern Germany.
Kategate is a sea between Denmark and Sweden. Season 2 is far better than season 1 imho - really good.

Paulette-andria-hamilton

TEAM ROLLO: bjorn will convince his mother to kill her husband or he will find a way to sneak away from mom. Ragnar will be coming home to find his children and 2nd wife. why doesn't princess Ausulg use her witch powers against Jan Borg.

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@ Paulette Andria Hamilton

Bjorns stepfather did not always beat her, he took her in, and raised Bjorn. It was not right, but it could be much worse, she could be eating form the gutter, or long dead. She also said, "he will never do that again", leading me to believe that it was the first time. She fought with Ragnar, literally, she can hold her own, and she is now engaged in game of strategy, not succumbing to a blind fury of self defense. She is strong, in all ways.She will not sneak. She is a leader in her own right. People, warriors, will willingly follow her. If she does not get back with Ragnar, a truce between kingdoms will unfold, and there will be land to spilt, from the defeated earl (that took Ragnars land), and the land of the King Horik, who will no doubt be killed in England, since Ragnar departed early, and the somewhat foolish King chose to stay. Their one hope? The boats are very near for a hasty withdraw, but I doubt it.

Hanko9
@ Paulette Andria Hamilton

I don't think Aslaug's powers work that way. It's more like she has visions of the future. You will see a bit more of that in tonight's episode. Rollo is coming around, he really steps up and I'm glad!

Chris-larrondo

I really enjoyed this episode it has continue to remain on a high level much like season 1. I am wondering what happened to the additional Viking ships? Can we assume that they all perished? Another thing that I find curious as you mentioned polygamy. I just didn't envision a Viking leader asking his wives permission to take on a second wife. That instance seemed a little off to me but I assume that is to show us just how different Ragnor is. It seems the decision to leave Rollo behind paid huge dividends. If he didn't make this move his sons most certainly would have been slaughtered. Borg has become a character that is very easy to hate. Hate to see the younger incarnation of Bjorn go but his older version seems pretty damn spot on.I was very much shocked that Lagatha allowed the domestic abuse but I assume she feels it is a necessary evil for her to be able to raise her son right without crawling back to Ragnor. I must say this show is pretty damn great!

Hanko9
@ Chris Larrondo

So far every episode has raised the bar. Wait till you see tonight's episode... I just set up my review to post tonight after the show. This season is totally at another level, I'm lovin' it!

Chris-larrondo
@ Henry A. Otero

Cool looking forward to the review and of course the episode. May not get to it til Friday but I am excited none the less.

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The reason that Horik killed the Wessexer is that he correctly saw that the guy was gathering intelligence for the "enemy," and made sure he would not return with an army and use that information to battle the Northmen.

Chris-larrondo
@ Loki Lama

That is a very interesting point I honestly didn't see it that way more felt it was for hot headed reasoning. Still seemed a little rash by my estimates but Horvik has more of the savagery in him as we saw with the torture of the priest.

Hanko9
@ Loki Lama

True but after his talk with Ragnar and understanding that he wanted to strike a deal with the King for some land, it was a rash move. King Ecbert and Ragnar do talk next episode, it will be interesting to see if they strike a deal or not.

Mrs-cleaver

Agree, the new Bjorn is really good, you know sooner or later he's gonna dispatch his wicked stepdad. I thought it was a little girl Ragnar helped hide in the barrel, but regardless, it really does show his "human side". Even blood thirsty Vikings like kids & Ragnar while not always being the most caring husband, has always been very affectionate with his kids. I wondered if that girl reminded him of his own much loved daughter, who died end of Season 1.
Floki continues to be my favorite character, after every battle I look for him, looming over Ragnar's shoulder. He's fast becoming the "Daryl Dixon in Eyeliner" character to me. Beloved, trusted, somewhat-comic sidekick, they better not kill off. Even if he is pretty brutal sometime, I cut him slack, he was raised a Viking. And Rollo ran away...again.
Overall really good episode on a show that continues to grow on me.

Hanko9
@ Mrs. Cleaver

It's possible the child was a little girl. I guess I assumed since Ragnar has so many sons, he saw one of them in the boy. Either way, it definitely shows his human side. That's why we love him! Never thought of Floki as this show's Daryl Dixon, that's interesting. I think Floki is much more fun than Daryl but they are both the lead character's right hand man. So yeah, it works for me. I didn't feel Rollo ran away, he was fighting but understood they couldn't win and saving his nephews was more important. I think Rollo is going to surprise us this season. Historically Rollo went on to do great things ;)

Chris-larrondo
@ Henry A. Otero

I too thought that it was a little girl. On another note I feel that allowing little boys to live is never really a good idea. Not sure you want to spend your life looking over your shoulder. We have all seen the Godfather.

Hanko9
@ Chris Larrondo

Great point haha

Mrs-cleaver
@ Henry A. Otero

Good point, Rollo knew it was hopeless & you are right, the sons had to survive. I just wish he put up a little more of an argument. I hope he comes thru for you.
Floki is not anywhere near as hot as Daryl is though, just from my lady point of view ;o)

Heathr14

This episode was great! I think Ragnar's vision of settling in England and thinking of the future is what sets him apart from the other earls and kings. This show continues to exceed my expectations! Thanks for the review!

Hanko9
@ Heathr14

You're absolutely right... Ragnar is all about family and a better life. Raiding/Pillaging is just a means to that end. Glad you're lovin' the show and thanks for commenting ;)

Ilkvomit

Ragnar looked like a normal human today and not so much like a vampire.

Ilkvomit

Ragnar looked like a normal human today and not so much like a vampire.

Vikings Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

When I lived at the court of the Emperor Charlemagne, these Northmen had already emerged from their lairs to attack parts of his empire... And now it is our turn to deal with these ruffians, these pagans. But deal with them with shall and must.

King Ecbert

Ragnar: This land is rich, but here is the real treasure.
King Horik: Earth?
Ragnar: Have you not seen? Everywhere we go there are crops. There is food growing. I am a farmer and the son of a farmer, and this is what I understand.

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