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Vikings Review: Divinity and Brutality

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When Jarl Borg invaded Kattegat, I found his actions cowardly because Ragnar and his best warriors were away raiding. Where was the challenge in that?

Tonight, on Vikings Season 2 Episode 6, Ragnar proved himself no better by luring Jarl Borg back under false pretenses to exact his revenge.

I guess all's fair in love and war, even for Ragnar, who - according to Siggy - is different and unpredictable. Not so much Raggy and honestly, I'm a bit disappointed in you tonight.

Sure, I understand the decision, but the sneaky execution of the plan and the way things went down was not very honorable. He played dirty for the first time.

Things kicked off with Siggy visiting the Seer. She is officially playing "the game" now and craves her old position. You know, the wealth and being wife of the Earl (or King perhaps?). In the meantime, she will have to settle for bedding Horik and his teenage son whenever the mood hits. FYI Siggy, saying you're not a whore and proving it are two completely different things. 

King Horik tells Ragnar that his talk with Ecbert was completely in vain. The King of Wessex seized the first available opportunity to ambush them. I loved that Ragnar immediately asked about Athelstan. Horik's answer surprised me, especially when he called the former monk a worthless individual.

After Athelstan stayed behind to translate and help the Viking cause, that's how Horik regards him? Those comments made me dislike the guy.

Bottom line, Horik and Ragnar have lost too many men and ships. Jarl Borg has men and ships, therefore Horik wants to reconcile with Borg. He nominates Rollo as their ambassador. It was great to see Rollo step up and take on this challenge without debate.

Slave girl Porunn spills a little water on Bjorn and it appeared the dude was instantly smitten. Can you blame him? He later flirts with the pretty young thing and asks if she has a boyfriend. Porunn tells him she does have a boyfriend but was this true or was it just to get him off her back?

Back in Scandinavia, Lagertha has returned to her husband. Earl Sigvard gives her a hard time about leaving and seems especially unpleased that Bjorn stayed behind. Jealous that Lagertha is still in love with Ragnar, her husband has her beaten by his soldiers in her room.

In Götland Rollo tells Borg that Ragnar would like to rebuild their original alliance. Borg reluctantly agrees after seeking counsel from his first wife's creepy skull. Kissing the skull is right up there with licking the Seer's palm. That reminds me, it was Siggy's turn to lick the palm tonight... gross!

King Ecbert, meanwhile, has struck up an interesting relationship with Athelstan. The King watches him paint and calls it divine. Athelstan talks of the similarities between the Pagan gods and their Christian god. Ecbert confesses he feels the two of them are kindred spirits.

Ecbert and Athelstan bond more intensely over their appreciation of the Roman paintings before them. The Romans were Pagan and their gods allowed them to rule the world, Ecbert explains. What lesson can they learn from the Romans he wonders.

The King sharing his room of Roman artifacts and parchments was an important step in their relationship.

I've chosen you to be the guardian of these books and their secrets. I want you to copy them.

King Ecbert

Is King Ecbert only strategizing here or does his interest in Pagans and their gods run deeper? I am finding the Athelstan/Ecbert relationship fascinating and wonder if Athelstan's role in the bigger picture is to document the events of the time.

Jarl Borg and Rollo return to Kattegat. Soon Borg finds himself face to face with Earl Ragnar Lothbrok. The fact that Borg admitted that Ragnar is a greater man than he for putting the invasion behind them, made the eventual outcome more disappointing. He was making peace, a new start.

The turn of events with Lagertha was a long time coming. A mistreated and bruised Lagertha turns on her husband when he exposes her breasts to everyone gathered in the great hall. She reacts instinctively and stabs Sigvard in the eye. While his death was inevitable, wouldn't Bjorn or even Lagertha ending him have been most satisfying? Who was that random dude? What happens next, does she take over as Earl or head back home?

I will have to go back and listen to the Norse fairytale Aslaug tells her boys, but it seemed to go hand in hand with Borg being captured and beaten.

While Borg's men burn in the barn, Bjorn brings Porunn to his room and offers her his bed. Very smooth young Bjorn, but she doesn't quite trust you yet.

Bjorn: What if I ordered you to stay here?
Porunn: Then I would have to heed your command.
Bjorn: I don't want to order you. I want you to choose to stay here.

After chatting with actress Gaia Weiss who plays Porunn, I was really looking forward to the Bjorn/Porunn scenes and they stood out for me.

I thought the chemistry between Alexander Ludwig and Gaia Weiss was fantastic. Now I understand why she was cast opposite him. I'm hoping things work out for these two love birds, because Bjorn needs to interact with someone outside the family. This will be great for both characters.

It should come as no surprise that next week's episode is titled "Blood Eagle," as Ragnar condemned Borg to this Viking torture in the final scene. Quick historical note, this will not be the last time we see this type of execution on the show, as a very important historical character meets the same end. I won't spoil it for you guys, but curious fans can look up blood eagle on wikipedia for more details.

Major props to those of you that put two and two together and knew the Seer was talking about the blood eagle. Yep Jarl Borg himself is the eagle.

What did you think of the episode? Need to check it out again? Remember you can watch Vikings online right here at TV Fanatic.

Do you think King Horik will save Jarl Borg from his fate?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

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

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You're disappointed that Ragnar did exactly the right, intelligent thing to a man who had taken advantage of his absence to conquer Ragnar's home, slaughtering women, old men, and children in the process? Did you miss the episode where Jarl Borg knowingly attacked a warrior-less village BECAUSE it was warrior-less and because he hated Ragnar? Did you miss the episode where he forbade the speaking of Ragnar's name and tried to hunt down Ragnar's wife and children? Please spare me the "I thought Ragnar was better than double-crossing Jarl Borg." Anyone who DIDN'T do what he did is an idiot not fit for leadership. These are Vikings, not kids playing Candyland.

Mrs-cleaver

I gotta say I was TOTALLY surprised when Rag's double crossed Borg.
Princess BabyMama continues to be annoying, but I think she is written that way. Clearly Rag's likes her, every time he looks at her she gets pregnant. And she's given him a good start on his many sons.
As for Lagertha's husband, I agree with Henry,it should have been Lag's who killed him. But I also think that the show wanted to emphasize that the "people" didn't like her husband any more than she did. She thought the sword guy was gonna kill her, which was pretty suspenseful, till he showed her his loyalty by killing her abusive husband.
As for "I'm not a Whore" Siggy, what other way does she have to regain any power but to use her body to get a powerful guy. She's not a shield maiden like Lags is.
I too wish Athelstan would come back to Ragnar's camp. Course he's safer in England cause (my favorite character) Floki is pretty jealous of his friendship with Ragnar. And Floki can be pretty brutal, that whole "being a Viking" thing...
Bjorn's got a girlfriend, be interesting to see how his relationship with a slave girl goes.

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I loved Ragnar's plan to capture Borg. It was definitely sneaky and underhanded, but he is playing the Jarl's own game. I think Borg would try to destroy Ragnar and his family as soon as it was beneficial again. It is also important to show that while Ragnar is our protagonist, he is still a ruthless Viking leader. This show does a good job of reminding us just who we are pulling for, much like Tony Soprano or Walter White. It makes us question exactly what is right and wrong. I am confused about what Siggy is up to. I understand she is trying to play all sides, hoping to be in favor with whoever comes out on top. What is she doing for King Horik? She said she had knowledge of Ragnar's weaknesses, but all we have seen her give Horik is her body. Athelstan/Ecbert was the best part of this awesome episode. I think when Ecbert warned Athelstan about another crucifixion, he was also afraid of the same fate if his pagan interests were known. I think the "random dude" killed Lagertha's husband to show that all of the people in that hall have love and respect for Lagertha. She is now their leader. In history she disappears after leaving Ragnar, but it appears History and Vikings have more plans for her. Blood Eagle will be an awesome episode, but I am also very intrigued by Boneless in two weeks. While reading up on the history of the Ragnar tales during the first season, this was one of the most interesting and disputed characters of them all. Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye was born with a snake shape in his eye. Will Boneless have a disability? Or maybe it is just another snake reference. I am interested to see how Vikings approaches this subject, and hope the show lasts long enough to play to the bloody, vengeful end.

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I think Floki is wary of Athelstan's friendship with Ragnar. Floki has been with Ragnar from the very beginning. It was the two of them that spent the money and took the risks to built the first boat for the original dream - to go West. And, I think Floki sees Athelstan as dangerous. Even though Athelstan might never intentionally betray Ragnar, he serves as a lure, almost a trap, for Ragnar to be too loyal and try to rescue his friend or think about the English ways too deeply.

Mrs-cleaver
@ dcedar

Floki is SO jealous of Athelstan's friendship with his BFF Ragnar. In fact, in a few of the battle scenes I wondered if Athelstan were in danger if Floki would even interfear or just let Al get killed.
For all his faults Floki is still my favorite character. He's so fascinating, the way he moves, the way he talks. When he's in the scene, I can't watch anyone else. Daryl Dixon in eyeliner...that's who Floki is to me.

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We really enjoyed last nights #Vikings. One of the things that interested us the most was King Ecbert's possession of all those Roman scrolls and why he wants them translated. I think the King has some idea what may be in those scrolls -- possibly instructions of how the Roman's so successfully dominated and conquered the world. We believe King Ecbert intends to use the information in those documents to defeat Ragnar and his invading Viking warriors. The question is will Athelstan help the King or will his loyalty to Ragnar win out? Lagentha is and always be my hero! Of course she still loves Ragnar or she would not have gone to help him. For her husband to assume differently is ridiculous. He was her first love and the father of her children. Also for Lagentha's husband to be foolish enough to humiliate her by cowardly having his men beat her was stupid. He may have lived if he had had her killed. But to attempt to continue to humiliate her in front of all his people took things to far. I was surprised that she did not kill him herself. But to have one of his own men chop his head off was the ultimate humiliation. Lagentha is more of a warrior than her husband could ever have been and I think his men knew that as well. We love that Bjorn has chosen a woman who reminds him of his own Mother. Pornn has spriit I hope we get to see demonstrated on behalf of Bjorn as well as Lagentha. Siggy is big trouble for the entire group. She wants power any way she can get it and is willing to play the whore for whomever she believes might come into that power. I also believe that her hatred for Ragnar will eventually cause Rollo to have to kill her.
I also do not trust King Horik. I am not sue what he is up to, but I know he is up to no good.
I personally look forward to Borg's blood eagle torture. Special effects people will have a field day with that one. I personally believe that Borg got what he deserved. He was so sure that he would defeat Ragnar, steal his lands and ultimately kill Ragnar with his own hands...to bad he failed. He had no problem killing woman and children. Yes he is a coward. Ragnar had no choice but to defeat Borg and do to him what Borg planned for Ragnar. I am not a fan of Ragnar's current wife. To me, she is the total opposite of Lagentha. This one is munipulative, conniving and IMHO dangerous. She will ultimately be reesponsibe for the destruction of Ragnar with her petty needs. Remember she was complaining about how badly she suffered because of Borg's attack. She was the one that demanded revenge. I loved that Ragnar called her on it by reminding her that her Father was dead. Great Review Henry A. Otero. And again, I thank you for turning us on to this great saga!

Hanko9
@ Rocki

I turned you on to the show? Awesome! Glad you enjoy it as well as my review... what did you think of this week's Blood Eagle? Not sure if you commented at my latest review Rocki.

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I'm going to start with Siggy. Surprisingly, I've read a lot of comments from people that do not like Siggy and think she's untrustworthy. I don't understand where people got that. I'm glad her character was spared when her husband was killed and Lagertha befriended her. I don't know if I'm making something out of nothing; but I seem to notice Ragnar, despite sparing her life, does not take a liking to her and I see him dissing, snubbing or just giving her an unfriendly eye through a couple of episodes. Like I said, I'm not sure if that was intentional on the writers, maybe leading it up to something in a future episode or just my reading something in it. I would think Ragnar would be appreciative of Siggy taking care of his brother during is very low outlook on life especially when Ragnar spared Rollo's life by buying out the lawmaker's decision. Siggy's friendship with Aslaug seemed forced. So, I can sympathize with Siggy's frustration with losing everything and stuck in her current situation. I cannot imagine how Aslaug would fare if something happened to Ragnar and her life was spared. I hope for good things for Siggy. Now, I'm gonna jump to Athelstan. I'm not sure how old Athelstan's character is; but he's devoted many years to his Christianity. When he got captured by the Vikings, initially, survival tactics would make one do what ever is necessary to stay alive. But, with Athelstan, it was also an opportunity to learn more of a lifestyle that he may only have briefly seen or read about. So, between survival and thirst for knowledge, his friendship with Ragnar evolved. Now, thrust back into Christianity again, all those memories are brought to the forefront again. Athelstan's eyes went wide with joy at the treasure that Ecbert layed before him giving Athelstan the opportunity to be caretaker and preserver of those treasures and an opportunity to learn more. Which leads me to Ecbert. Ragnar, "What do you know of this King Ecbert?". Athelstan, "That he's a lot like you." I didn't see this association in the first few episodes when we were introduced to Ecbert; but last night, I saw it. Just as Ragnar was intrigued at the Christian lifestyle he was seeing while in England, Ecbert spoke of his same curiosity of Paganism last night and his wanting to learn more about it. So, with Athelstan's rekindled desires of Christianity and Ecbert's desire to learn about Pagans, I see almost the exact type of relationship between Ecbert and Athelstan forming as Athelstan had with Ragnar. I'm really excited to see it build and then the confrontation when Ragnar sees Athelstan once again thinking he was most likely dead; but instead Ecbert's new confidant. Legend states Lagertha kills her husband and rules his throne without him. I enjoyed the way the writers played this out and am wondering if they will, indeed, make her the ruler of Hedeby so she can continue to bring warriors to help save Ragnar... almost making her his equal?

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@ Jeanne

I think that the issue people have with Siggy is that she is, indeed, playing a game and has said on numerous occasions that her goal is to be back where she was before when she was the wife of the earl. Additionally, she doesn't seem to mind filtering information about Ragnar to Horik while serving in Ragnar's house, nor sleeping with others while purporting to be with Rollo. I thought it was good that the seer reminded her that Ragnar could have had her killed with her husband and chose not to - gently reminding her to whom her loyalty should lie. I see her as almost kind of waiting to see which side wins and then aligning herself to that side (I don't see Horik on Ragnar's side - he has something up his sleeve).

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@ Kris+N.

Everything she does, she does for Rollo. Maybe she will learn useful information about Horik to bring to Rollo. Okay, maybe I'm fishing. I don't know why; but I like Siggy. She's been through a lot and she's just trying to survive. I agree about Horik having something up his sleeve and we'll probably see his true colors when they go back to raid England again.

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@ Kris+N.

I agree with your comments about Siggy and she is motivated by power, not by her love for Rollo. I also think that Rollo will eventually kill her. He is clearly intensely loyal to his brother now and any enemy of Ragnar's is an enemy of his, no exceptions. Also, did anyone else get the impression that Rollo knows now that Siggy has been serving as King Horik's personal whore whenever he is out of town When she saw that Flokie (my favorite character!) had apparently overheard her conversation with Horik, and then asked him if he could keep a secret to which he grinningly replied, "No.", I got the impression that she was in trouble. Then when she tried to be loving to Rollo before he left to take care of Borg and his men, he pulled away from her and gave her a "if looks could kill" type of stare. So Rollo may be kicking her butt to the curb (or worse) in next week's episode.

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@ Bill

Agree! He knows.....and, he has shown recently he is not afraid or restrained when it comes to protecting the interests of his family. One time when I actually liked Floki and his nuttiness (I just don't like his attitude toward Athelstan).

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Thought I had posted a comment before, but it seems lost! :( One of the biggest thoughts I had was that Rollo is really on the rise again. I think he found out about Siggy's traitorous activities from Floki - it will be interesting to see where that relationship goes. Loved his comment about saying that he wanted revenge. And - gross how Horik watched his lover sleep with his son. Blech. And, disliking Floki more and more - his cruel disdain of Athlestan bothers me, and Ragnar seems to not care for it either. I go back and forth about Aslaug. She is clearly a good mother and loves her sons, but I really dislike her comments to Ragnar all the time about what he is doing - "this is not how my father would have done it." Get off his back already - she's done this several times. I thought Aslaug's story showed Ragnar as Loki - the god who devours everything.

Chris-larrondo
@ Kris+N.

It seems that they have almost switch the roles of Rollo and Floki. I used to enjoy the shear craziness but now he just seems barbaric with no end. I guess his near death experience has somehow changed him. It appears that Rollo is now born and as he stated he is like a snake that has shed his skin.

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I agree that Jarl Borg had seen Ragnar was indeed different, more strategic and ambitious in his views of Going West. I was disappointed with Ragnar. Now, how will he Go West with few men and ships. Maybe Lagertha's new kingdom, but he doesn't know about that yet. King Horik is a snake. How did he come to power and stay there with such behavior in this do or die world? And, Siggy is going in a different direction than I thought she was. She seems not to have recognized that Rollo has truly changed and will not betray his brother again.

Chris-larrondo
@ dcedar

I can say that there is disappointment in Siggy but as we know she is extremely desperate so she is doing whatever is needed to be done in her mind. I do however feel that she has something up her sleeve when it pertains to taking advantage of Horik.

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To disagree with the OP, I'm disappointed in Ragnar at all. Ragnar had treated Borg with respect and courtesy all along, especially after Borg's defeat in the first battle that lead to the alliance to raid. It was king Horik who was dishonorable then, preventing Borg from coming along but Borg blamed Ragnar instead. Then Borg decided to cross the line of honor and threaten Ragnar's wife and children. I'm sorry but Borg got exactly what was coming to him and Ragnar was in his rights to do so. No dishonor.

Chris-larrondo
@ Aaron

I agree with Aaron stating that Borg got what he deserved. But in a way I wish he met his demise on the battlefield instead of trickery under false pretenses. I think I may have missed something but was the intention to kill Borg from the start? It seemed to me that the decision wasn't made not from square one but after heavy deliberation. I could be wrong of course since this is on late and I was pretty damn tired.

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@ Aaron

I completely agree with this. Borg is bold and in your face. Horik is conniving.

Hanko9
@ Aaron

Hey Aaron, thanks so much for your feedback. I completely understand your point of view. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Borg doesn't deserve what's coming to him. I absolutely believe he deserves to be punished for invading Kattegat. Yes, King Horik is the snake going back and forth creating all these issues in the first place, he'll get his don't worry. My thinking is, Ragnar is the show's hero and when our protagonist behaves just as despicably as the Borg and Horik's of the show, the audience will stop sympathizing with him. He's already on many people's shit list for betraying Lagertha. Should Borg pay? Absolutely! ...but staging their own version of a Red Wedding ambush (minus the wedding), makes Ragnar out to be the Viking Walder Frey. Regardless of the betrayal, the situation should have gone down differently. Of course, that's just my opinion. Thanks again for the chance to clarify myself.

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@ Henry A. Otero

"My thinking is, Ragnar is the show's hero and when our protagonist behaves just as despicably as the Borg and Horik's of the show, the audience will stop sympathizing with him." Nope. I prefer my protagonists complex and nuanced, like actual people. If you want cardboard cutout heroes, there are plenty of other shows of lesser quality and depth you could be reviewing. Comparing what happened in this episode to the Red Wedding shows an appalling lack of understanding of either. Ragnar didn't betray Jarl Borg over a broken marriage vow, or to please higher nobility; he betrayed Jarl Borg because the man was a dangerous, unstable murderer who was a threat to the safety of Ragnar's family and his people. Ned Stark died of stupidity and a self-inflated sense of self and honor. It's nice to see Ragnar won't go the same route.

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@ Henry A. Otero

@Otero - All good points. Your point especially about Ragnar being the show's hero is not lost on me, keeping the audience sympathetic to the protagonist is important. Keep in mind though part of the uniqueness of this show is that he is a Viking "hero" who we all sympathized with all the while he was murdering innocent monks at the monastery Athelstan came from ;) The show's premise is that we, the audience are being drawn into rooting for someone who, at his core is quite complex. He's a loving family man and a wise leader. He's also a shameless pirate, thief and murderer. In that context I don't think Ragnar behaved "as despicably" as Borg. Why? Borg's anger and retribution was misplaced. Ragnar's wasn't. Ragnar was deceptive. Dispicable? Of course. "As dispicable" as Borg? No. The proof? Rollo prevented Borg's wife from being harmed. That was obviously at the orders of Ragnar. Even in deceptive retribution Ragnar was taking the higher ground - he destroyed Borg's soldiers and is about the destroy Borg, not Borg's family. Borg was ready to slaughter the house of Lothbrok wholesale.

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Athelstan as the chronologist of the story is a very nice guess, I hope the poor crazy driven monk don't get picked by more pagan gods as he has enough on his plate XD great review!

Hanko9
@ C.+Milano

Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the review. Athelstan definitely has a bigger purpose and chronologist is as important as it gets right? I do miss the Ragnar/Athelstan dynamic though.

Vikings Season 2 Episode 6 Quotes

I've chosen you to be the guardian of these books and their secrets. I want you to copy them.

King Ecbert

Bjorn: What if I ordered you to stay here?
Porunn: Then I would have to heed your command.
Bjorn: I don't want to order you. I want you to choose to stay here.

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