WARNING: MAJOR VIKINGS SPOILERS
This week has been tough.
In real life, we lost some greats in the acting and music worlds: George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
I never met any of them, but their deaths still hit me hard.
And now in fictional life, the lead character of a show I love died. THE LEAD. And it was brutal. Don’t get me wrong. On HISTORY’s Vikings, the writing was on the wall for Ragnar’s passing. In fact, one of my early previews to the fourth season, I even asked:
The big question is: will the king make it through the fourth season alive?
So I knew this day would come. And of course it would come in 2016.
When Ragnar and Ivar journey to England, it’s pretty clear Papa Lothbrok is on his final tour. The man doesn’t want to inhabit the earth anymore. So he engineers his death. He turns himself into King Ecbert, who found himself liking and respecting Ragnar too much to be the one to end this warrior’s life (Or is it he is too much of a coward because he knows there will be consequences against whomever ends Ragnar’s life). Ragnar suggests he let King Aelle do it.
As we see, King Aelle isÂ super happy to be the one to do the honors. Some thoughts on what transpired:
-I am grateful this entire episode is about Ragnar’s death. The action doesn’t cut back to Kattegat until the end.
-Who knew I would end up enjoying the relationship between Ragnar and his son, Ivar, so much? Out of all his sons, I didn’t think Ragnar would champion Ivar the most. But he does. Some of what fatherÂ says to son during their final conversation:
People think that you are not a threat. But I know differently. Out of all of my sons, it was you I wanted to bring here, and it is you that I believe is the most important to the future of our people.
I promise you my son that one day the whole world will know and fear Ivar the Boneless.
Everyone will always underestimate you. You must make them pay for it.
Ivar’s the one that accompanies his dad on this final trip, which means Ivar’s the one to go back and tell his brothers of their father’s death. Ragnar has massive faith in his son and his destiny. He knows Ivar will do great things. “Be ruthless,” says Ragnar. I love their goodbye, forehead touch and all.
-Speaking of ruthless, Ecbert thinks Ragnar’s sons will take their revenge out on King Aelle. Oh no. Even though Ecbert and Ragnar share civil and friendly conversations (Ecbert even lets Ragnar out of his cage), Ragnar will never forget that on Ecbert’s watch, his people that stayed behind after the raid were wiped out of existence. So what does Ragnar do? He tells Ivar to let his brothers know to target Ecbert, not Aelle. So cold.
-Meanwhile, when Ragnar’s up in that cage, Ecbert can’t help but show up to see it for himself. He has a smile on his face at one point. I’m not sure what that smile means. More respect for Ragnar that he goes out on his terms? That Ragnar’s unable to be broken despite everything Aelle and his posse inflict on him? Every time they show Ecbert, I can’t help but think about what’s ahead for him. He thinks his conscience is clear. He thinks he averted terror for his land. We’ll see if Ivar listens to his dad and goes after Ecbert.
-Ragnar giving Athelstan’s son his father’s necklace made me a little bit emotional. In the end, I really do think that Ragnar and Athelstan’s friendship is what Ragnar cherished most other than his sons. As much as I’m happy that Ragnar and Lagertha got their goodbye in the 4B premiere (I may have cried in that scene, too), his story wasn’t about the women in his life. It was about Athelstan, Ivar, Rollo and Bjorn. In that order, maybe?
-The flashbacks were wonderful, a worthy exit demands them. However, I was stunned to see Ragnar’s transformation from the very first episode to now. I had to hit rewind because Ragnar/Travis Fimmel looked so clean and young and vibrant back then. He looked nothing like the weathered, beaten individual we saw at his death. Wow. That makes me appreciate the makeup team even more. Because we saw things slowly unfold, I never, ever noticed how much Ragnar changed over the years. Consider me impressed.
-Everything King Aelle has his soldiers do to Ragnar was difficult to watch. Burning his feet while he was trapped in the cage up above. Searing his body with a heated poker. Stabbing him.
But nothing beat getting dropped into a snake pit where we actually witness him being bitten over and over and over and over again. I admit to closing my eyes more than a couple times over the course of his torture. He took it like a beast, though.
-He remained Ragnar through and through. At one point in the episode, he tellsÂ Ecbert he will spew his gods talk and act like the Viking he is. And so he does.
However, Ragnar also admits to his “friend” Ecbert that he no longer believes in the gods.
I don’t. But my sons do. My people do. Faith is as important to them as it is to you, King Ecbert.
One of Ragnar’s strengths is his thirst to know what’s out there beyond where he lives. He doesn’t just want to conquer a land, he wants to bask in all the knowledge of whatever territory he brings to its knees.
And with Athelstan, Ragnar may have taken the monk away from everything he ever knew, but Ragnar’s the one that changed the most. His very core was changed. Athelstan was such a profound influence on Ragnar. That’s one of the things I will remember about him the most.
-On that same religious note, I love howÂ Ragnar has one more “session” with the Seer. It’s an interesting interaction where Ragnar once again talks about not believing in the gods. He believes in himself above all.
Ragnar: It will be at least another day before I am put to death. You and your gods are wrong. You see, I guided my fate. I fashioned the course of my life and my death. Me. Not you. Not the gods. Me. It was my idea to come here to die.
The Seer: You believe that, so it is true…to you.
Ragnar: I don’t believe in the gods’ existence. Man is the master of his own fate, not the gods. The gods are man’s creation to give answers that they are too afraid to giveÂ themselves.
The Seer: You may be right, Ragnar Lothbrok. I am only the Seer. I have walked among the lowest of the dead and I have groped for meaning and I may have been wrong.
-At the very end of the episode, we see Ivar back inÂ Kattegat where he informs his brothers of what’s what.
HeÂ alsoÂ finds out he’s now an orphan. His brothers didn’t do s–t about Lagertha killing their mother. So he has a couple things on his agenda. We see in the previews for the next new episode that he challenges his mother’s killer.
-It’s a testament to a show that this episode isn’t even the season finale. Vikings does things so differently from other shows, that’s what makes it so great and refreshing. We’re only halfway through the second half of a super-sized season four. There are five more episodes left and now we’re going to see the rise of Ragnar’s sons. Bjorn is currently taking on the Mediterranean. There’s also a return to England in the future. The show lost its leader but there’s so much more ground to cover.
I want to finally say how much I enjoyed Travis Fimmel‘s portrayal of Ragnar. Whether you loved the King of the Vikings or hated him (this show made me feel both emotions), it was clear Fimmel poured his heart into this role 100%. He made me care about Ragnar and he made me feel this warrior’s death. FimmelÂ will be missed. Ragnar will be missed. But he’ll never be forgotten.
And now we will have a Vikings without Ragnar and Athelstan.Â ?????
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on HISTORY.
HISTORY released this videoÂ retrospective:
Travis Fimmel as Ragnar locked up an award with his stunning acting, absolutely superb. The best show I’ve seen in years. The whole show should be in line for multiple awards. JohnnyG
what does Ragnar say to Aelle after he cuts him?
Ragnar whispers to the King, ” How the little piggies will grunt when they hear how the old boar suffered….” Giving King Aelle the insight that Ragnar has orchestrated his own death and that his sons will avenge him…..
Why did Ragnar lothbrok died?
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Thank Me Later: Will Trent
[Warning: spoilers ahead.] I’m on record as loving and losing shows over at ABC so I’m usually very reticent to pick something up on the network until it’s been renewed, and I seriously hope I’m not jinxing it, but I took a chance on the deeply odd and very sweet…
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…
Great show so far. Fimmel’s character will not soon be forgotten but his last words before he was stabbed were unclear.