Warnings: Spoilers for “Blood Eagle”
Oh wow. So much happened in Vikings “Blood Eagle” including two weddings and a brutal execution. (New drinking game: take a swig every time I use the word “brutal” in my Vikings articles. But seriously? It’s the perfect word to describe so much of what goes on in this universe.)
I know Jarl Borg was Ragnar’s enemy but it was hard to see him die in such painful fashion. He was brave about it. He didn’t scream which means he’ll gain entry into Valhalla. But, man, oh man. I don’t know how he didn’t scream. I felt so bad for him. His blood poured on to his first wife’s skull. His current wife passed out while Ragnar killed him. And I don’t blame her. Here’s how Ragnar described the blood eagle to his son, Bjorn, earlier in the episode:
“The offender gets down on his knees…and 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 these huge bleeding wounds, and laid upon his shoulders so they look like the folded wings of a great eagle. And he must stay like that, suffering, until he dies.”
I didn’t think I was going to be able to handle the gore of the execution. But the director shot it in a way that didn’t show too much of it. And there seemed to be some sort of filter that softened the harshness of what was going on. Regardless, I could still imagine what Jarl Borg was going through. And it wasn’t pretty. But now one more enemy of Ragnar has been taken care of.
However, this was certainly not the end of Ragnar’s troubles. There were some major trust and jealousy issues being dealt with in “Blood Eagle.”
Bjorn. Ragnar’s son wanted to know why his father wasn’t trusting him. After all, he didn’t confide in him the details of the raid on Jarl Borg’s camp. Ragnar said he sent for him but they couldn’t find him. When Bjorn revealed he was with the slave girl, Porunn, Ragnar said something like, “You chose to be with her instead of me.” Is that what was really bothering Ragnar? Or was it the fact his son originally chose to go with his mother, Lagertha, over him? And that Bjorn continues to choose someone else over his own father. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this situation. It could just be a case of what Ragnar told Bjorn. He needs to start thinking with his head and not with his…other parts much lower.
Floki. Is Ragnar destined to have trouble with everybody he’s close to in his life? Lagertha is gone. Athelstan is still in England. He only recently made up with his brother but that relationship still seems tentative at best. But we could always count on Floki to back Ragnar, right? Well, not so much anymore. Floki finds out Helga’s pregnant with his baby. After a period of panic and not feeling worthy of being a father, he accepts that they’re going to be parents. And he wants to get married. But then something interesting happened. Helga mentioned wanting all of their friends like Ragnar around. But Floki quickly shot any thought of Ragnar down.
Floki: No, not Ragnar.
Helga: But…but heâ€¦
Floki: No. I said not Ragnar. Everything here is for Ragnar. I’ve known him a long time. I helped him rise. I built his ships. And now he is earl, Earl Ragnar. And our little world waits upon him and eats from his hand. But he cannot have everything. He cannot have you and me.
What is going on here? Why is Floki so angry with Ragnar? The previews for next week make it seem like there’s a difference of opinion when it comes to their belief in the gods. Is that it? Is it jealousy? There seems to be a bit of that. When someone gets all the glory, it’s natural to feel taken for granted. I don’t know. This conflict is all so new. I’m going to process it all and I’m going to wait until next week to make any sort of judgment call.
King Horik. Horik is absolutely, positively jealous of Ragnar. And is threatened by his very presence. Not enough to let Jarl Borg persuade him to set him free so he could help him kill Ragnar. But there’s no way he’s going to trust Ragnar not to turn on him at some point. And it’s funny that he does feel so threatened since he’s the one that is king. Ragnar’s just an earl. But there does seem to be this upwardly mobile vibe Ragnar exudes, so it’s probably a good move for King Horik to be on guard. Floki is someone he’s definitely going to want to make an ally out of, don’t you think? We can thank Siggy for alerting Horik to that little bit of Ragnar/Floki trouble.
Rollo. Rollo was on his brother to execute Jarl Borg. Everything seems to be all good for the moment. But I think it was very interesting that Rollo was on to Siggy and her affair with King Horik. He asked her why she was sleeping with the guy. She said it was for him. I wonder how Rollo’s going to deal with Siggy’s sneaky schemes for her rise to the top. Even Jarl Borg’s plan included getting rid of Ragnar and making Rollo earl. Hmm. Are we going to see Rollo the ruler anytime soon? There are only a few episodes left in the season. It could happen.
Two weddings: Floki and Helga married — without Ragnar there as was Floki’s decision. But I’m wondering why we didn’t see Ragnar get angry about that? He’s definitely a bit disconnected from everyone at this point. The other wedding was an arrangement that came courtesy of Kings Ecbert and Aelle. These two have become allies in order to, 1. Take over the land of their neighbors, Mercier, who are currently in a state of chaos. 2. Band together in order to defeat Ragnar when the next raid comes their way. So, Ecbert’s son married Aelle’s daughter. We’ll see if this tactic works.
Before I get to my favorite moment of the episode, I have to say my one complaint is too little Athelstan. We did see him sort of buying the kool-aid there chanting alongside the Wessex and Northumbria citizens. But I still feel like he’s struggling with his identity. I love that Ragnar remained worried about him and sought out the Seer for answers. Hopefully, we’ll get a Ragnar / Athelstan reunion in the next episode. And speaking of reunionsâ€¦
How great was it when Ragnar found out who Earl Ingstad really was? He was counting on this earl to give him another ally in his raid against Wessex. And it was all so mysterious. This earl wouldn’t meet him on his turf. Ragnar had to go out into the woods for the meeting. Lagertha came riding out on her horse with this awesomely smug look on her face. It made me laugh out loud, it was such a great moment. As Ragnar circled Lagertha while riding his horse, you could tell Travis Fimmel really had fun with this scene. So did Katheryn Winnick.
Ragnar: Earl Ingstad. You bear a strong resemblance to my ex-wife.
Lagertha: If I had given you my true name, you might have turned me away. How is Bjorn?
Ragnar: He is happy. He is looking forward to going to England.
Lagertha: As am I.
Ragnar: So you are truly an earl.
Lagertha: Yes, we are equal. I’m sure this is difficult for you.
Ragnar: It’s not difficult at all. How many ships?
Lagertha: Four ships. Over a hundred warriors. So will you accept me as an ally?
Ragnar: That depends.
Lagertha: On what?
Ragnar: I have been betrayed by earls before. So if you are really Earl Ingstad, then it’s a no. But if you are still the Lagertha I remember, then it is a yes.
I love the chemistry that exists between Fimmel and Winnick. Ragnar and Lagertha are an even bigger power couple than ever before. Now if they would just get back togetherâ€¦
Vikings airs Thursdays on HISTORY at 10/9c.
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