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Vikings Review: Valhalla Awaits

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After all the talk of the cruel "Blood Eagle" torture Jarl Borg was condemned to, I was glad to see Vikings Season 2 Episode 7 actually go there.

Listening to Ragnar describe what the punishment entailed was more than enough for me; I didn't need to see more than what we were shown.

Elsewhere, King Aelle and King Ecbert married off their children in order to unite Northumbria and Wessex against the Northmen. A second wedding took place in Kattegat as Floki and Helga tied the knot, but Ragnar was not invited to attend.

A new Earl comes forth pledging four ships and one hundred men to help Ragnar raid Wessex. Were you surprised to learn who this Earl was?

It was just a matter of time before King Aelle re-entered the story right? After all, history tells us that he's ultimately responsible for Ragnar's death. For right now though, uniting Northumbria and Wessex through marriage is a solid plan. Especially since we learned throughout the episode that our Viking warriors do intend to raid England again.

With only three episodes left, it looks like we are headed toward a serious finale battle.

King Ecbert I've traveled many miles to meet you. So that together you and I, Wessex and Northumbria, can save our country.

King Aelle

Was anyone else surprised that Athelstan joined in the "God save England" chant? The Seer does explain a little later on that Athelstan's spirit is tormented. He really doesn't seem to know which world he belongs in, but he will no doubt have to chose and soon.

Floki's reaction to the news that Helga was pregnant was the one most mothers-to-be dread deep inside. He started crying on top of everything. It's a good thing Helga understands that Floki is "complicated." In fact, he's so damn complicated that he invites King Horik to his wedding but tells Helga that Ragnar can not attend. Floki the priest is gone, why the jealously? I understand Floki was invaluable to the success of those first raids of England. However, I'm not sure where this resentment comes from. Ragnar has never mistreated Floki or turned his back on him. 

Aslaug showed a more vulnerable side tonight. Confiding in Siggy that she's afraid of this pregnancy only strengthens my belief (and many of our readers) that Aslaug dies in childbirth. The only famous son not mentioned so far is Ivar the Boneless. I imagine her next baby will be born fragile and weak as part of her prophecy. Will this baby indeed be Ivar? Does Aslaug die giving birth to him?

Bjorn continues to chase after slave girl Poruun and tonight Ragnar told his son to think with the proper head not the little one. Does any teenager ever listen to that advice? Chances are when these lovebirds hook up, neither Ragnar nor Lagertha will be too pleased.

King Horik visits an imprisoned Jarl Borg, who tells him Ragnar's ultimate goal is to be King. I honestly thought Horik would step in and help Borg but by allowing things to run their course, he's killing two birds with one stone. Borg was always a problem for him. Anyone else wonder how Horik got his hands on Borg's creepy skull?

The scene with Ragnar watching everyone closely from the shadows was brilliantly shot, wasn't it? Bjorn and Poruun flirt, Aslaug talks to Helga about a very withdrawn Floki and Siggy chats up King Horik. Ragnar is not only a curious man, but an observant one as well. He's smart.

Back in England, Aethelwulf of Wessex marries Judith of Northumbria uniting and strengthening both kingdoms against the coming invasion. I wondered to myself why King Aelle took the princess along on his journey to Wessex. Well now we know right? It served to speed up the story telling which gave us not one... but two weddings.

Floki and Helga's Pagan wedding served as a nice contrast to the traditional Catholic wedding taking place in Wessex. Many similarities right? The rings, the exchange of vows, and Helga wearing white. Loved the music in this scene. I was disappointed that Horik was in attendance and Ragnar had been left out. Was that why Raggy was getting drunk and acting like a fool when the mysterious rider arrived?

Ragnar heads out to meet this Earl with enough men and ships to make the upcoming raid a great success. Yes the Earl in question turns out to be none other than Lagertha. He doesn't seemed surprised but she reminds him that they are equal now. Earl Lagertha pledges four ship and over one hundred warriors to the cause. Ragnar teases her a bit but ultimately agrees. Obviously, we know Lagertha killed her husband but how exactly did she become Earl? I hope we get a bit more information on this.

I enjoyed the scene with Ragnar and Aslaug watching Lagertha train. He thinks the Gods are playing a joke on him but Aslaug says she likes her. Will the two women actually become friends? Now that would be interesting don't you think?

"Blood Eagle" finishes up with Jarl Borg enduring this inhuman torture. As I mentioned at the top, hearing Ragnar explain what it is was enough for me.

The offendant gets down on his knees. Then his back is opened with knives and then with axes his ribs are chopped away from his spine. And then his lungs are pulled out of this huge bleeding wound and laid upon his shoulders so they look like the folded wings of a great eagle.

Ragnar

When the door to Jarl Borg's cell opened and we could not see who approached him, I knew Horik had betrayed him. That guy is a snake and we now know that Ragnar can not trust him. Borg accepts his punishment as everyone looks on and the first cut is made. Blood spills everywhere. Next comes the axe but Borg remains quiet and strong. Aslaug, Siggy and Helga are forced to look away but Lagertha does not. Is it any wonder this formidable warrior is now an Earl? The Seer's prophecy unfolds as an eagle appears before Borg, and he is also the eagle. Powerful stuff.

There's only three episodes left, if you've missed one or just want to catch tonight's again watch Vikings online right here at TV Fanatic.

Do you think King Horik will keep his promise to Jarl Borg and attempt to kill Ragnar?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (24 Votes)

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

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I wonder if you guys really watched the finale scene...Jarl Borg screams briefly when he pulls out his lungs, around 42.10 (and then stops when blood starts spitting blood). Maybe the music is too loud? But this is obvious if you watch again

Hanko9
@ Caro

In an interview series creator/showrunner Michael Hirst confirmed the Eagle that appears signifies Jarl Borg's acceptance into Valhalla. Therefore, though it might appear he screams, he actually endured the Blood Eagle in silence.

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@ Henry A. Otero

Ok thanks for the precision...Was not so clear by just looking, since he seems to be crying towards the end (but the music gets louder and after watching over and over this moment around 42.10, I still had that impression...)

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I think it is unfair to say exactly what Athelstan believes in at his point, based on what we have been shown. I am uncertain which side he would choose, if given free will. He represents us, as viewers, and has seen both good and evil equally from both sides. Ragnar, on the other hand, sees and knows all. He is a character not held down by mortal restraints. As some have pointed out, Rollo eventually conquers Normandy. Ragnar's sons destroy England. Floki will settle Iceland. But in written history, Ragnar is more fable than man, more deity than human. His legend is so great that it is possible he is a combination of other great men, or one of the gods. We have seen many times that he is aware of every conversation going on in a room. He enjoys almost in a child-like way watching earthly activity, and can soar away and view the world from an eagle's eye. If we start to think that he is making irrational decisions, it is only because we do not know what he knows. As Athelstan shows us how we might act if thrown into the Viking culture, and the rest of the characters and story represent historical facts, Ragnar personifies the mythical aspect of this point in time.

Hanko9
@ part time Viking

Athelstan is a fascinating character and he has not made a choice at this time but he will, that's all I'm saying. When the Raven comes to him, it's almost as if returning is his destiny. Just three episodes before we find out, it's going to be intense!

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No, the priest guy knows which world he's living in. He's trying to conform. You are wrong. You notice he is looking around frantically when they all start chanting. It was shocking to him. I think he has begun to love the freedom to explore the deeper secrets of their religions. He and the king know there a deeper roots. And after living with vikings his mind has opened up. He certainly does not want to die. But he is too weak to be bothered with constantly. He wants to keep a neutral reputation as well. The man feels alone but I don't think he's an idiot.

Hanko9
@ no

I never said Athelstan was an idiot, simply that he's conflicted. We'll see where he ends up, my money's with Ragnar ;)

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Look what I just found out about King Horik!!!!!! http://www.redeyechicago.com/e... "Was King Horik just pretending to be helping Jarl Borg to escape?" "There's a missing scene which we shot in which Horik was asked why he didn't actually go through with the attempt to rescue Jarl Borg. And he said, "I had no intention ever of rescuing Jarl Borg. He betrayed me. I just wanted him to suffer. And the only way you can make people suffer is to make them feel hope. So I went to him to give him hope." ... That was actually quite a good scene, but people can think what they want about what Horik actually was up to. Horik never felt that he could team up with Jarl Borg and overthrow Ragnar because he's throwing in his lot with Ragnar."

Hanko9
@ Hrothgar Hausaklupfr

Very interesting stuff, thanks for sharing that Hrothgar.

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Remember back when Ragnar takes Bjorn to meet Floki? He tells the boy he's named 'like the god, Loki' or 'for the god, Loki'. (I've forgotten the exact words.) He's faithful to the old gods, and I think that's the basis of his quarrel with Ragnar. (Which is why it comes out at the wedding- he might have been okay with Ragnar as a guest, but when someone asks if he wants Ragnar's blessing or approval, he gets all mulish. He's getting married in the eyes of his gods, not some jumped-up farmer.) Ragnar is a little to chummy with Athelstan, and maybe a little too interested in those Christians.(Ragnar doesn't strike me as terribly religious, maybe like a modern person who goes to church at the holidays, or prays when he needs something.) For a man faithful to the old gods, that's just too much. Also, I think that there's a chance that Floki is an avatar of Loki. (Watch him move, sometimes he looks like something wearing a human-suit.) He lives far away from people, he amuses himself inventing new boats (and that's no fishing fleet he's building) but he doesn't hang around with people much - unless there's fighting and killing going on. (And he gets seriously hurt, but never killed) He likes the violence and strife, and troublemaking. I think he was enjoying the raiding in England, and got pissed off at Ragnar when Ragnar looked more interested in farmland than in raiding and looting.

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@ ehodel

I think Ragnar and Floki are plotting. Notice how Ragnar watched at the party as Helga tells Siggy and Siggy tells King Horik that Floki is angry with Ragnar. I think they are pretending to be on the outs...

Hanko9
@ Fan

That's an excellent theory... all to bring Horik down. Which we know is inevitable right?

Mrs-cleaver

I was surprised when the Earl was Lagertha. I loved how smug she looked though, since she is now Ragnar's equal in rank. She's a great character.
Athelstan's chanting did not surprise me. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, if he wants to stay alive in that world. So he "loves the one he's with" like the old song says.
The Floki/Ragnar feud bothers me. And why didn't Ragnar confront Floki, his lifelong pal, on WHY he wasn't invited to his wedding? Instead he stays home and gets drunk with his new pal Blondie-grr. I think Floki indicated to Helga that he was mad cause Ragnar was a bit "too big for his britches" now that he was an Earl. The boys need to talk.
Ragnar telling Bjorn to "think with his other head" was really hypocritcal, considering how Ragnar broke up his own marriage to Lagertha. I just wish Bjorn had called him on it.
Ragnar's not been very likeable lately.

Hanko9
@ Mrs. Cleaver

Ragnar definitely does not follow his own advice. I thought the same thing, what nerve to tell Bjorn that after what he pulled. I guess it's his job to guide his son not to make the same mistakes he has. I have a feelin' Floki will work things out with Ragnar, we'll see.

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@ Mrs. Cleaver

I think Ragnars' comment was a typical "do as I say not as I do" thing that all parents are guilty of with their children at times. Maybe deep down he regrets some of the decisions he has made and that's why he is telling his son this. He doesn't want him to have the regrets that he did.

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Notice that Ragnar has sought answers and contacted the Seer looking for Athelstan he's all worried, yet when Lagertha and a Bjorn left he didn't lift a finger to even check where they were. Week after week Lagertha has come to his rescue, this week when he needed an ally he told her he had been betrayed by Earls before... That's rich coming from him, who betrayed her royally. He doesn't appreciate a thing she's done for him,and as smart and strong and well -cool as she is,she doesn't get that. My hope is that she meets a powerful wealthy guy that falls hard for her and Ragnar gets a taste of his own medicine.
Floki thinks he's a joker, but he is wise.

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@ DLC

I agree with you!! i dont like ragnar this season , lagertaha saves his ass two times now and i feel that he doesn't appreciate it.

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@ Domi

you're all looking at it through the eyes of judeo-christian, western values Ragnar is doing as a Norse Jarl would do - he's the head dude and cock-of-the-walk. His "stuff" don't stink, so to speak. Bjorn would never have had a problem with Ragnar sleeping with Aslaug back when he was a child because that's something men were expected to do. Laegertha would also have put up with it because that's what men were expected to do. But in order to create drama, the writers make it a big deal. Look back last season at Upsaala where Rollo was sleeping around. Siggy called him out on it because she was used to her privileged life, and Rollo was like "tough cookies babe, I does what I does". That's how men were back in Norse times according to the evidence of their culture.

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@ Hrothgar Hausaklupfr

I don't disagree with you. I didn't express myself well before. Certainly Lagertha doesn't need a guy to take care of her. She's a Shield Maiden Earl!!
I just wish for her to stop rescuing Ragnar long enough for her to start thinking .,What's he done for me lately, and would he do the same for me...

Hanko9
@ Hrothgar Hausaklupfr

I'm completely with you Hrothgar and Lagertha does just fine on her own. She's proven she doesn't need some rich dude... she IS the freakin' rich dude. We tend to forget these are Vikings and it was the Dark Ages. That said, we also need to be able to relate. I think Michael Hirst is doing a pretty decent job of creating a Viking show, while still making their lives relatable to modern audiences.

Chris-larrondo

We mustn't forget the Rollo Siggy interaction where he finally calls her on her infidelity. Wonder how much we can really trust her going forward?

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@ Chris Larrondo

We cannot trust Siggy. She will get a bloody end too. Historically, Rollo went on to be king of Normandy, like greatx3 grandfather of William the Conqueror. In the records he had 2 wives - Poppa, daughter of a french Duke and Gisela, daughter of King Charles III of France. I see her gladly going away.

Chris-larrondo

This episode was fantastic. I really thought someone would come to the aid of Borg but this was never realized. I thought if not Horvik it would be Bjorn who releases his shackles. I for sure did not think that the ritual would go through as planned. Kudos to the writers for staying on their path while still giving us a few red herrings. Very happy to see Lagertha coming back to the fold to have more of a focal involvement. Only 3 episodes left oh no, it has been a great ride so far. They have built on the success of season 1 and made it even better. Anyway I wonder if they will stick to the history books being that this is the history channel when it comes to our hero Ragnar?

Hanko9
@ Chris Larrondo

I also thought Borg would escape the Blood Eagle or the show would shy away from it... that's why I opened by saying I'm glad the producers went there! Completely agree, this season kills last year. I'm not sure Ragnar will meet his end just yet. His sons have to be a bit more grown up because their vengeance is a pretty big deal too. Unless there another time jump... hmmm that's possible.

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jarl borgs quietness was not a coincidence, food that bjorn gave him had sedatives, bjorn did it so that he would not scream and go to valhalla

Hanko9
@ zapatocni

I didn't catch that about sedatives either hmmm

Chris-larrondo
@ zapatocni

Really sedatives? Was wondering what their interaction meant, I thought he was considering releasing him. Sedatives would be an interesting turn of events.

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@ zapatocni

How do you know about the sedatives?

Vikings Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

King Ecbert I've traveled many miles to meet you. So that together you and I, Wessex and Northumbria, can save our country.

King Aelle

The offendant gets down on his knees. Then his back is opened with knives and then with axes his ribs are chopped away from his spine. And then his lungs are pulled out of this huge bleeding wound and laid upon his shoulders so they look like the folded wings of a great eagle.

Ragnar
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