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Vikings Review: Taking Sides

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Let me start by saying that this week's installment is my favorite of Vikings Season 2. Of course, that could change next week, but I seriously doubt it.

Two standout moments for me tonight were:

  1. Ragnar and Athelstan's big reunion.
  2. Aslaug granting slave girl Porunn her freedom. Who says she doesn't have a heart?

There were many more fantastic moments in Vikings Season 2 Episode 9, of course, so let's jump right in...

We pick up with Athelstan reading Roman military techniques to King Ecbert. Since the Northmen attacked his envoy last week, the King is prepared to battle Ragnar and his allies. Athelstan tells the King he can't imagine Ragnar not wanting to negotiate. In reality, he only wants land to farm.

Athelstan wants to go speak to Ragnar but Ecbert claims he's too important to him. The attack will come once King Aelle returns with his troops.

In the Viking camp, Ragnar tells King Horik that his behavior has made it difficult to negotiate peace. Of course, we know that was never Horik's intention. He simply wants revenge and to kill King Ecbert. Remember, Horik lost a son in that first raid, so his thinking makes sense.

Ragnar wants to go speak with King Ecbert but Horik reminds him who's boss. Does anyone doubt the outcome of the Season Finale is Ragnar taking that crown for himself? He might not want it, but Horik has left him no choice with his poor tactical decisions.

The conversation that followed with a nervous Bjorn talking to his father about what it's like to die was important. Ragnar informs him the Seer prophesized that Bjorn would either marry a princess or sail along the sea with no tides. Since History tells us Bjorn Ironside sailed and raided along the Mediterranean, we know he's safe for now.

Still, a follow up conversation between King Horik and Floki was quite disturbing. While we know historically Bjorn doesn't die just yet, there's nothing that says Michael Hirst can't wound him terribly right? Either way, Horik's got his eye on Bjorn now and that can't be a good thing.

Is Floki so far gone that he'd allow Bjorn to be hurt? Why would he smile at the mention of killing Bjorn? I'm betting he won't go along with this plan in the end, but we'll have to wait a whole week to find out.

Ragnar leads his allies to an open field where a large force of King Ecbert's men await. Horik's impatience leads to a massive slaughter. This is the first battle - as far as I can remember - where the Northmen retreat, is that correct?

I've said this throughout the season, but again the battles are so much more intense this year, with what appears to be hundreds of extras. Unlike say, Game of Thrones, where CGI might be used to increase an army's numbers, in Vikings the extras are real human beings.

Once King Aelle and his troops enter the battle, the Northmen are definitely overwhelmed. Get out of there!

Interesting that the English Kings watch from afar right? With all his faults, it's nice to see King Horik getting down and dirty in the battle. He's just as valuable to his people as the English Kings, but the Vikings lead by example. Besides they're not afraid to die in battle, that's an honor.

Watching Rollo get trampled by that horse reminded me of Horik's plan to kill Bjorn. We also know Rollo goes on to become a famous Viking in his own right, but he can definitely be wounded in battle. Ouch!

Ragnar realizing they've lost this one, calls for their men to retreat. Bjorn fought well but they spot Rollo and have no time to reach him. Besides he appears to be dead.

Luckily Athelstan later spots Rollo's broken body, and King Aelle recognizes him as Ragnar's brother. King Ecbert understanding this is an important man to his rivals asks his people to try to save him. I didn't expect Rollo to be too happy to see Athelstan looking all Monk-ly again.

Good thing he was weak, otherwise he might have choked the life out of our tiny Viking. Man that Clive Standen is a big guy isn't he? Did you notice the size of his hand on Athelstan's throat?

Stubborn old King Horik tells Ragnar what happened was fated. Ragnar disagrees and as an audience we understand that under Ragnar's leadership things would have gone down very differently. Who's ready to see Raggy become King? I know I am.

Since no axe, spear or blade could touch my son today, he will now be known as Bjorn Ironside.

Ragnar

By the way, I loved Ragnar's mocking tone toward King Horik... "what are we fated to do King?" Nicely played by Travis Fimmel.

While the English celebrate their victory over the Northmen, I found the contrast between the celebration and the Viking funeral quite profound. Which side values life more do you think? Ragnar's upset at the wasteful loss of lives though, doubt he's going to be listening to Horik much longer.

Once again, King Ecbert makes the wiser choice and decides they need to talk to the Northmen. He did promise Princess Cwenthryth some Northmen mercenaries to help her win the crown right? There's also no doubt now he plans to take over Mercia, that's his endgame. Anyone else slightly grossed out to see Ecbert playing with the bathwater? Taking it in his mouth and spitting it out was so wrong. Maybe it's just me.

Aethelwulf recommends sending Athelstan to talk to the Northmen. Though King Ecbert isn't thrilled with the idea, I think he understood that might be a good option.

Off Athelstan goes but the reunion we've been waiting for all season is slightly delayed, as Ragnar hangs back while Athelstan talks. Bjorn's welcome was a pleasant one, he's awesome isn't he?

Athelstan announces that Rollo is alive and while many are excited by this news, Floki is certainly not. Floki mocking Athelstan's clothes and hair was amusing, but it occurred to me how little I like Floki now. Which is surprising, because he was definitely one of my favorite characters going into this season. I'm not sure if he can be redeemed at this point. What do you think?

Lagertha asks if King Ecbert is prepared to exchange hostages. Were you as surprised as I was that King Ecbert decided on King Aelle as their hostage? Even more surprising was the fact the Aelle actually went along with it. There's tension there for sure, bit of a pissing contest I'd say.

This time it's Lagertha that steps up and agrees to meet the English King. Naturally, Horik protests seeing as he is King and all but Lagertha tells him he doesn't need to go. It's moments like these when it's clear why fans love Lagertha. The woman is such a badass!

Ragnar finally steps forward and accompanies Athelstan away from the camp. Isn't is crazy that a hidden archer was targeting Athelstan? What's Horik thinking?

The reunion was powerful, there's so much love there between Ragnar and Athelstan. What a journey these two characters have been on together. And what extraordinary performances by Travis Fimmel and George Blagden, they really sell that relationship don't they?

Ragnar: So have you returned to your faith, renounced ours?
Athelstan: I wish it was so simple. In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor. That is my agony.
Ragnar: I hope that some day our Gods can become friends.

The hostage exchange takes place and we finally hear Floki express his anger toward Ragnar. I had a feeling his resentment had been building up since Vikings Season 2 Episode 1 when Rollo tried to kill him. It's jealousy plain and simple. Ragnar will always choose Rollo and Athelstan over Floki, and he knows this. Loved the exchange of looks when trust is mentioned. Ragnar's aware of Floki and Horik's new friendship and he doesn't like it.

It was amusing listening to King Ecbert attempt to speak Old Norse. It's all Greek to me, but I understood Athelstan teaching him a few words was a sign of respect toward the Northmen. Their meeting is a friendly and important one. Did anyone catch Princess Cwenthryth lick her lips? She's something else that one.

Athelstan details all the terms of a peace treaty, including not only treasures but land for farming. I think Ragnar was sold at the word farming and accepts the offer, as does Lagertha. King Horik, however, remains silent. He's still out for blood and I think that will lead to his demise in the finale.

A very banged up Rollo, along with the promised treasure arrives at the Viking camp and King Aelle is released. Athelstan asks for mercenaries and several Northmen step forward.

Ragnar telling Athelstan he is heading home with Rollo and wants him to come back as well was touching. I wondered throughout the season where Athelstan would end up but after tonight's episode, "The Choice" was clear. King Ecbert seemed rather disappointed didn't he? I imagine he thought he and Athelstan had formed a bond. Will he attempt to hurt Athelstan in the future?

It didn't surprise me that Porunn was training to be a shieldmaiden, Lagertha being her idol and all. What did surprise me was the conversation with Aslaug leading to her being released from servitude. Many fans have said again and again that Aslaug is selfish and doesn't have a kind bone in her body. How do you guys feel about her now? With Porunn a free woman, will she and Bjorn marry? Since she's a fictional character, it could go either way I guess.

King Ecbert introduces Princess Cwenthryth to her new mercenaries. She just could not help but cop a feel, could she? "I should like to breed with them" she says. Is this the start of the Vikings being assimilated into the English culture?

I was glad to see Athelstan finally back home in Kattegat. So much has happened in just nine episodes right? Aslaug welcomes Lagertha and asks her to please stay then informs Bjorn that she's made Porunn a free woman. I can't wait to see where the young lovers storyline goes from here.

Rollo is patched up and his leg is snapped back into place. He'll be raiding again in no time, though probably not in next week's episode.

So what did you guys think of "The Choice?" Did Athelstan's choice to leave England surprise you? What about Aslaug's choice to free slave girl Porunn? Floki has a difficult choice to make as well, will he help King Horik kill Ragnar? Take this week's poll below.

There's just one episode left, are you ready for the finale? In the meantime, why not go back and catch all of Season 2 again? Remember you can watch Vikings online right here at TV Fanatic!

Will Floki attempt to kill Ragnar next week?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

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

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Somebody know where is the exactly location of the Standing Stones that Floki is examining previous to the battle?

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I showed my mom scenes of Lagertha throughout the whole series. I asked if she was surprised that Lagertha might be the most popular character. She answered she isn't because the series is centered on Lagertha. She was so confused when I told her it wasn't. Lol. I totally love the way my mom thinks because Lagertha is so badass!

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Floki examining the standing stones interested me. First of all it indicates that his problem with Ragnar is religious.
And secondly maybe it can change Floki's contempt for the "christians" and make him more interested in settling on new land in Wessex. King Horik is obviously playing on Floki's religious strings with all his talk about Odin's favorite son, Balder. By the way: Balder is by some seen as a viking version of Christ. Balder dies, but is supposed to forgive his killer and be reborn after Ragnarrok.

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I too always thought Aslaug looked to Vogue, happy to hear someone else voice that thought.
This is a smart princess, she knows what happens when when you stop producing sons for Ragnar.
I think the timing of her change of heart and manners clues us in. She knows she needs to change her ways and in such a nice way who won't be pleased.
She has found her niche, she will be the sweet, compassionate princess and that will leave Lagertha to be the strong, wise Earl. I don't think it's all contrived, and even if it is, who can blame her. I bet she doesn't feel real confident in Ragnar's feelings for her (or should she) she doesn't want to raise all those sons alone.
What we the TV viewer know, is that Ragnar loves his sons more than any woman...no? Great series! Big crush on Michael Hirst! Sigh!
Loved him since the Tudor's "which I just watched on DVD-again!"
Good site, I shall return....

Missionaryridge

Hi, just discovered your site, really impressed. Is Floki a "double agent?" Can't tell, seems unlikely, I mean how well trained would 8th century Vikings be in that sort of thing? (Well, maybe…) In the first season, Rollo was "turned" by envy and jealousy by Jarl Borg. In this season, perhaps Floki is being "turned" by envy and jealousy by King Horik…no?
On Aslaug…at first I could not take her seriously as both actress and character…looked too much as if she had just hopped off a runway, too much the model…I know we can't ask even a good series like Vikings to actually show the bad teeth, hair, scars etc of life in those days, but still, as originally written it LOOKED like a spoiled 21st century European model somehow appeared in the world of 8th century Vikings…and, at first, the character seemed to act a bit like that too... Still, she's grown on me… To summarize..oh well, I love this series and will not for now take more of your time…but this site is great, and clearly well managed and well kept..all the best, Michael

Hanko9
@ MissionaryRidge

Hi there, I'm so glad you like the site! Feel free to check out other show reviews as well. As reviewers there's nothing more important than other fans commenting and sharing their thoughts with us. You're absolutely right about the parallels between Rollo/Jarl Borg last season and Floki/Horik this year. I hadn't thought of it to be honest, excellent observation. If Rollo managed to come back from his betrayal perhaps there's hope for Floki. I hope so, I miss last year's Floki. The funny thing about Alyssa Sutherland who plays Aslaug is she's nothing like the character in real life. I had a chance to participate in a series of conference calls before Season 2 started and she's actually quite funny, geeky and pleasant. She was very protective of her character, but of course she had more info about Aslaug's story arc than we did at that point. I didn't like Aslaug last season either but she definitely grew on me this year. Thanks so much for your feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed TV Fanatic. See ya back here next week for the finale Michael!

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Finally caught up with this week's episode and just, wow. I can't believe we're almost through with season 2 already. I feel like I could go for another 10 more episodes. I thought your review summed up most of my thoughts perfectly. I commented on last week's review that Aslaug had to do much more to prove she was a good character and I was pleasantly surprised when she granted Porunn her freedom. I must say I found it kind of random at first because I haven't seen any prior interactions between the two, but it still was nice to watch- and i'm so excited for Bjorn ;) I haven't completely warmed up to Aslaug yet (lagertha is still the only female character with a place in my heart) but I'm glad that the writers are finally taking positive steps to show she's capable of extending kindness to people other than her sons. Hopefully, they'll continue to build on her character next season! On a side note: Glad Athelstan is back with the vikings. I found his time in Wessex a little dull at some points and I'm happy he's back with Ragnar and gang. I feel there's still so much for his character to learn and experience from the Northmen.

Hanko9
@ Chloe

Wasn't that awesome of Aslaug? Of course, I had an early preview of this week's episode so I had an unfair advantage. Glad you enjoyed the episode, it was one of the best hours of television this past week that's for sure. I agree, Athelstan is way more interesting as our tiny Viking! See ya back here for the big finale!!!

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Thank you for all the wonderful posts! What will we do until next year?! I would feel like I was in Valhalla to be an extra on this show!!! Floki has always been my third favorite character besides Lagertha and Athelstan, so I am hoping that he comes to his senses and realizes he is just being used by Horik. He is a Norse Pagan Fundamentalist, so his motives come from his extremist world view. I loved his weird hissing gesture toward King Aelle. Skargard's acting is always spot on!
Regarding the contrast between the two colliding cultures, I appreciate the way that the strengths, weaknesses, and flawed human nature of each side is exposed. We see the wealth, stability, advanced farming and education of the English. We also see the corruption and exploitation of the feudal system. We see how despite their "Christianity", many are still ruthless and are Christian in name only. Athelstan's point of view is our window as a modern audience to attempt an objective observation of this time in history. Every time I start to fall in love with the Viking culture, (Lagertha's badass empowerment, Floki's wedding), the writers shock me with their brutality - remember the Blood Eagle torture and human sacrifice?!! Lagertha was awesome, smart and strong in this episode. I said the exact same thing out loud that she did when she was the practical one after the battle and suggested that they needed to either get the hell out of there or prepare for another attack. I loved the fact that she was right there at the bargaining table. Thank you so much, producers and writers, for giving me the strong female hero that I have always wanted!!! Trinity from Matrix was cool and Kara Thrace was also awesome but a little psycho. Caprica 6 was great but traded her sexuality too much. Lagertha is my favorite unless someone can remind me of a better strong female character to emulate who is allowed to actually fight, lead, be sexual and yet not trade sex for power. (I am assuming the abuse of her dead husband was not something she expected - horrible things happen to real people.) Totally hilarious scene where King Aelle jumps into the bath like a blubbery whale and grabs King Ecbert with all his naked flesh. Not gay at all, right? But the literal lol scene was where nympho princess is shopping for her next boytoys like they're on the slave auction block or pieces of meat. The Viking hunk who had his crotch investigated didn't seem to mind being objectified. I just wish they didn't make her lick her lips in every scene. Give her another note to play, man! Best scene: Ragnar & Athelstan in the woods with the gorgeous filming of the sunlight through the tress symbolizing the future of peace between these cultures, and intellectual spiritual growth. The writing, filming, directing and acting was all beautiful and came together perfectly. I'll admit that I teared up. Can we just take a minute to applaud the production value of this whole series down to every minute detail? It reminds me of Lord of the Rings and Weta Workshop. The costumes, makeup, hair, special effects, stage combat, weapons, sets, props, set dressing, lighting, sound, historical accuracy, are immensely rich and provide so much reality that I can watch each episode multiple times just to pay attention to the production aspects after I watch for the acting and storyline! I am so grateful for intelligent entertainment in a sea of shallow fluff and low budget reality trash!

Hanko9
@ Mandy

Thank you Mandy for your absolutely brilliant comment! We must be kindred spirits or something because I agree with your point of view completely. Vikings is special to us as fans because every department involved gives their all to the production. Btw I plan to follow the Season 3 shoot closely and share updates at our Twitter (@VikingsTVF). Why anyone would pass up a show like this for so-called "reality tv" is beyond me. I just don't get the appeal of those shows. There have been so many wonderful commenters this season I'm considering a finale round table. Is that something that might interest you?

Mandy-mathieu
@ Henry A. Otero

I would love to do that. Sign me up! I had to take a hiatus from my online day after the show reviews because I had shows of my own to direct, but one of my favorite things to do is watch or read or listen to reviews on youtube or podcasts or this website about whatever shows I am watching. Not everyone understands this. It's a habit that I can't give up! Besides, I annoy almost everyone who watches shows with me because of my constant commentary. I might as well channel that obstreperous behavior into something constructive, right?

Miss-aj

Great review. I really enjoy visiting TV Fanatic after each "Vikings" episode and reading this review series, as well as the Comments field. My humble thoughts (I'm obsessed with this show!): FLOKI AS A DOUBLE AGENT: That had not occurred to me until reading through these Comments -- it's certainly plausible and could be a terrific/surprising spin. But, as Mr. Otero points out, there is the fact that Floki expressed the same sentiments in PRIVATE with his girlfriend. So... hmmm.... unless, of course, he wanted to keep her blissfully ignorant/innocent of his plans/role. I would really prefer that's the case (that it turns out he's just part of some big ploy to trick Horik) because otherwise it's just shoddy writing, as there was no build-up or reason for Floki to turn on Ragnar, much less do so in such an angry and abrupt way. I watch "Vampire Diaries", too, and one of my gripes with that show is the ridiculous plot-turns that come out of nowhere and have no development or basis -- I hope "Vikings" doesn't do the same. ASLAUG: I know a lot of women don't like her character because she's, in layman's terms, a "homewrecker who steals hubbies!" but... I'm a woman and i like her! I believe it's an unfortunate and overly simplistic way of looking at things if one dismisses or dislikes Aslaug simply because she was with Ragnar while he was married. It happens -- let's be adults as viewers! :) LAGERTHA: I love her but I imagine Viking shield-maidens were rather large, Amazonian-type women (they had to be). Lagertha is petite and far too pretty (no fighting scars, for instance!) to be believable in battle scenes so, while I know that's part of the story/legends, I would avoid putting her directly in battle scenes -- it just doesn't look real. At all. BJORN AND HIS GIRLFRIEND: Sweet story but let's not get too sidetracked with a romance sub-plot. This is a show that mostly appeals to history and legend lovers -- we're not looking for a love story. So sure, throw it in, but don't spend too much time on it. It's not necessary. Look at "Supernatural" -- one of my fave shows and not a romance plot for miles... :) ROLLO: Could I love his character any more? More screentime for the amazing Clive Standen, please! He rocks every scene. Someone pointed out here, I believe, that it was not believable that Rollo could have waited until arriving back home to have his leg set. Completely agree. Infection would've set in by the time they reached home, for instance. Am surprised that the writers wrote it that way.... ???? Weird. As for this episode in particular, the whole "Vikings are superior to the Anglo-Saxons" angle is getting tiresome. The juxtaposition (the AG's partying after battle while the Vikings dutifully mourn their dead! / the AG's leaders don't fight on the front lines but the Vikings' leaders do!) is a bit heavy-handed and it's taking huge liberties with history. Do we know for certain Viking leaders fought alongside their men, shoulder-to-shoulder? That would be quite foolhardy, if so, as it would mean easily losing your most prized man (yes, dying in battle would be an honor BUT that doesn't mean you'd be OK having your chief strategist and tribal leader be the first guy to charge). Overall, I'm just incredibly bummed we only have one episode left this season! AAAAGHHH!

Hanko9
@ Miss AJ

Wow Miss AJ, thank you so much... I'm humbled and grateful. As you can probably tell, it takes me more than 10 minutes to write up these reviews. When fans like yourself, and so many other amazing Vikings fanatics not only take the time to comment but enjoy spending time discussing the show here... well I couldn't ask for more honestly. Makes it all worthwhile and makes me very happy. Amazing comment btw, let me reply by character as well! FLOKI: As I mentioned below and in a few other reviews, though it seems like Floki suddenly turned on Ragnar, he's had issues with "the priest" since day one. Also, there was Rollo being baptized last season by King Aelle, that's a huge no no to Floki, probably where some of that hatred began. In episode one of this season Rollo nearly killed Floki and Ragnar took his brother back, no problem. It's been building, I'm sure if we go back and watch both season's back to back Floki's actions would seemed justified. ASLAUG: Totally agree, betrayal's like these happen every day in our century... imagine the Dark Ages? I can't say I loved Aslaug at the start but she certainly was interesting. Her "visions" have been a cool supernatural angle for the show and I really warmed up to her this season. LAGERTHA: According to Wikipedia, she was quite feminine and known for entering battle with her hair loose over her shoulders. The men were in awe of her, which is why Ragnar courted and eventually married her. On a personal note, Katheryn Winnick began training in martial arts at age 7 and by 13 had her first black belt. By the time she turned 21, she had opened three martial arts schools. While yes, she's absolutely gorgeous, the fighting is real as there's no denying her background. She works for me! BJORN & PORUNN: I agree, hopefully Hirst keeps it light on the love story. However, as a teen, it's completely realistic that Bjorn's hormones kick in and he falls in love. Historically, Bjorn Ironside becomes a powerful and famous Viking in his own right. He goes on to sail (and raid) - as the seer prophesized - all along the sea with no tides (the Mediterranean). There's so much history to cover for Bjorn, this is probably the right time to show his softer side. ROLLO: I agree Clive Standen absolutely needs more screen time and he's going to get it. Rollo becomes the first Viking ruler and founder of what became known as Normandy. His descendants include Dukes and even Kings of England. Did you know that Rollo is the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror? (I love Wikipedia!) While it's true that it seems writer/showrunner Michael Hirst favors the Vikings (and Paganism), it's mostly because they're our heroes right? Though they raid and pillage, he's made us understand their way of life by contrasting it with the Saxons. It is definitely believed Viking Kings (like Ragnar) were motivated and fuelled by their religious beliefs. There was no better and more honorable death than to die in battle to enter Valhalla. This season flew by didn't it? The good news is the cast begins shooting Season 3 in a few weeks. I plan to post updates at our Twitter account throughout the shoot, so follow @VikingsTVF Thanks again for your amazing feedback and we'll chat again next week at my Season Finale review!

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I saw this episode differently, to me it was the episode of betrayal.
Horick betrayed his men by not negotiating, and leading them up a hill that was strategically a disaster.
Floki betrayed Ragnar and all the other viking men by following Horick.
Athelstan betrayed Ecbert, I know..but he did treat him decent. He stopped the cruicifixtion, gave him a job that was totally in his wheelhouse. I still think he might have been better served if he could have worked out a deal where he could go back and forth.
This wasn't a betrayal but a disappointment. When they were in battle and Lagertha went down, where was her son? Bjorn don't let me down!
Ragnar betrayed Horick, at least he didn't follow his King's command"good thing" still he didn't have his back.
Biggest Betrayal of all..the writer who wrote Lagertha's script the last part of this season. Ragnar pulls a huge betrayal on her at the end of last season and the result of that, oh just a wife, four sons, his brother is alive, Athlestan is back, Bjorn is back and a Kingdom is served up almost ready to play. Wow pays to be a betrayer, right! What did Lagertha get, and Earl position she went through hell to get, a peeping Tom and oh yes a cat. Sad. Where did our feisty, fun, family oriented, fighting shieldmaiden with a sex life and dagger in hand go? Cause we want her back ASAP!

Hanko9
@ DLC

That's definitely another way to look at it DLC. There's definitely plenty of betrayal to go around on this show... *cough cough Siggy* haha Ragnar did actually follow King Horik's orders, which even Rollo questioned remember? In fact, he followed him right into battle and fought until the Saxons overwhelmed them. I have to disagree about Lagertha though. Michael Hirst is the sole writer/showrunner on Vikings and I think he's done an amazing job with the female cast. In someone else's hands a show called "Vikings" might be all about the guys. Lagertha, Siggy, Aslaug, Porunn and now Cwenthryth are all fascinating characters in my opinion. Also, you have to keep in mind Hirst is fictionalizing history and has to follow a sort of guideline. In the stories, Ragnar left Lagertha (something about their difficult courtship and wanting to be his equal). On the show she leaves Raggy and goes on to remarry, then kill her husband and take over his lands. All of which happened to the real Lagertha. Her story has had its ups and downs but it has definitely been interesting. If Lagertha and Ragnar had stayed happily married, Hirst would be completely rewriting history. Besides, where's the drama when things work out and characters live happily ever after? I would have definitely liked to spend more time with Lagertha in Scandinavia, but the focus is Ragnar and his sons ultimately.

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I loved this episode, and enjoyed the stellar review as usual. My one big complaint is how they broke the suspension of disbelief for me in retrieving Rollo and treating his wounds. That leg would have been set and that wound would have been scorched in England before they left, or Rollo would be dead, plain and simple. Waiting to sail all the way back to Norway to treat Rollo is unrealistic in extreme. Did they fly Norway Airlines to get him home? Now on to other things :) To your point Henry of "which side values life more do you think?" after the battle. I understand in context of the episode its an astute observation, but lest we forget Lindisfarne and that initial raid where Athelstan was captured, or the second raid when the priest was slain in the church. The Vikings may value the lives of their own kind more, but in that of others are no better than the Saxons (Ragnar being the obvious exception, as he spared that hiding child a few episodes back, and Athelstan of course). At this point I am even more eager for Floki to get his than King Horik! I expect Horik to be a jerk - Donal Logue has been an expert at playing character you would just love to smash in the face ever since his portrayal of agent Tom Colton in X-files season 1, episode 3! But I expect Horik to be a jerk. Floki needs to grow up. Floki may have reasons to be jealous, but his pettiness and small mindedness is appalling. Yes, Ragnar has taken much of the glory for things Floki helped him accomplish, but has Floki ever been treated poorly or not reaped a reward for his efforts? Floki is incapable of growing as a person, and thus his potential to continue to be a likable character is greatly diminished. Rollo, by contrast has grown up substantially and where once I loathed him I find his emerging maturity commendable. I would like to believe Ragnar will seize the crown from Horik in the finale but fear it all the more likely they will end it with a cliffhanger that keeps us guessing for another year! Oh the horror of another long wait for Vikings!

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@ Aaron

i believe Ragnar's group are from north eastern Denmark (nearest Sweden), so not too far to sail back over the North Sea. Rollo's wounds may have burst open during the sea journey and they were re-sealing them.

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@ Iain

Not according to the History channel's website, which puts Ragnar's home on the eastern shore of Norway, opposite the bay to Gotland (Sweden). Still a similar distance, however. I can buy the stomach wound bursting open during the voyage but the leg would still have been set before the voyage home I believe.

Hanko9
@ Aaron

Hey Aaron, thanks so much for your kind words! You're absolutely right, within the context of the episode at least, it felt like the Vikings mourned their dead while the Saxons partied. Obviously that's not always the case but it was an interesting contrast. I imagine it serves the purpose of humanizing the Northmen while subconsciously making the audience think of the Saxons more harshly. I found it interesting. As far as Floki, at this point I wouldn't miss him if he's not around for Season 3. While the idea he might have befriended Horik at Ragnar's request is a good theory, there's also the personal moments with Helga where he questions Ragnar. Sure, even he admits he's crazy but you can be nuts and still loyal. I seriously hope they don't leave us hanging for 9 months. Either way, last year we were given a nice sneak peek during comic-con. I'm sure there will be something from the Vikings team in July.

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@ Henry A. Otero

Despite Floki's apparent betrayal of Ragnar, I still like his flaky character in the show. His sarcasm lends a touch of humor ("Nice clothes, priest!). I don't think he will follow through with Horik's intention to kill Ragnar and/or Bjorn. He's a weird character - did you notice him examining the standing stones as the Vikings walked to battle? Or his weird gesture towards King Aelle as the latter rode away from his stint as hostage?

Mrs-cleaver
@ waddoguy

I agree, he's such an interesting character. The guy who plays him does an amazing job.
I'm sad that this season he's gone from being Ragnar's "Daryl Dixon in eyeliner" (loyal funny sidekick we all love & better not see killed) to being a whiny, jealous unique dude.
His gesture toward Aelle I caught & it made me laugh.

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@ waddoguy

Loyal off-balance Floki was tolerable (maybe even lovable) and added to the story. Disloyal Floki is scary and looks delusional and manic at times (someone below mentioned his strange touching of things). He still has some great lines, but his character has gone from quirky to insane (with jealousy, I suspect, from this comments at his wedding that "everything was for Ragnar").

Vikings Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

Since no axe, spear or blade could touch my son today, he will now be known as Bjorn Ironside.

Ragnar

Ragnar: So have you returned to your faith, renounced ours?
Athelstan: I wish it was so simple. In the gentle fall of rain from Heaven I hear my God. But in the thunder I still hear Thor. That is my agony.
Ragnar: I hope that some day our Gods can become friends.

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