Welcome back for episode two of Vikings season four! Once again please note this recap contains heavy spoilers! We’ve been officially warned. Go ahead and catch up but don’t take too long, or Princess Gisla might try to stab you!
So, I bet I know what you’re all thinking heading into that episode: WHICH QUEEN WOULD DIE?! The eligible queens of Vikings were Aslaug, Kwenthrith—who’s technically still referred to as Princess until her claim to Mercia is cemented—and we can go ahead and consider Gisla a queen-in-training since there’s no female claim to her father’s French crown besides herself. And I know Lagertha has never been queen, but based on the Seer’s pro-queen prophecy in episode one, I have a sneaking suspicion that her time in Hedeby with Kalf might provide her with some kind of queenly rewards in the future.
Alas none of these formidable queens actually die in this episode. Instead, we got a lot of angry shouting at the end about killing Kwenthrith and her half-Nordic son Magnus. But the build-up to that actual moment is really good, though. In Kattegat, the cruel but inevitable punishment of Floki was about to take place—until he fled for his life, leaving his small family behind. That short moment when Ragnar gave food to starving Helga and Angrboða was surprisingly touching, and forced us to keep in mind that Floki really does only love himself. The hunt for him took place with clever young Ubbe taking charge and returning him to King Ragnar. Then it was to the caves for Floki—isolated suspension in a dark cave (minus the dripping poison, though, because killing off Floki would be a travesty, and also he’s not Norse God Loki, similarity of punishment aside)! To make matters worse, at the end of the episode a devastating loss occurred: little Angrboða, their only child, died.
Fed up with his friend’s disloyalty, Ragnar took his feelings out on Aslaug (which: someone’s getting the Harbard treatment, eh?). After two brutal slaps from him, Aslaug quickly realized that their marriage has gone from on-the-rocks to flung-off-a-cliff. Her time as Ragnar’s beloved queen has been killed; their personal battle just begun.
Speaking of personal battles, Bjorn has set himself up for the most epic of personal battles in the winter wilderness, huh? He’s trapping, hunting, foraging—everything a young Viking lad is trained to do while traveling through heavy blanks of snow and ice alone. The little cabin he set up seemed nice enough, at least.
Remember how Ragnar warned Bjorn about leaving Rollo in the French court? As it turned out he was right. The recent treason of ambushing his own people in cold-blood (and teaching Count Odo how to destroy Viking ships) has proven his loyalty to the Franks: if anything it proved to them that he would rather use headstrong brute force than tactful political skills. But he still has a long way to go if he wants to keep Paris from his brother. Like, I don’t know, maybe learning French? Getting a hair cut and new wardrobe? Project “Civilize Duke Rollo” has begun [insert Tim Gunn saying “Make it work!” here.] Also, keep your eye on Therese, Count Odo’s mistress. She has a certain capacity for punishment which is slowly swaying Odo. And who’s swaying Therese? Ah, mon dieu! More French intrigue!
And then there’s Mercia. King Ecbert has been devious in his political scheming—much like Ragnar—but so has his son, Aethelwulf. Using force to overcome Mercia wasn’t exactly the best option, and not all of the high lords rose to the occasion of lending out men and arms, but it became the only option for Wessex’s future good. They had to get their hands on Magnus because, as Ecbert reiterates, “Whatever else, save the son.” But with Aethelwulf sent away to retrieve them from their little tower in Mercia, one-eared Judith was left behind with her prowling father-in-law once again. (Their creepy game of cat-and-mouse continues!) But their complicated love of Athelstan still clearly haunts them. All the while, Kwenthrith fought tooth and nail to save herself and her son. She’s got that Eva Green crazy-eye rage going on, but nothing beats Lagertha’s badass kill from the last episode.
How did you like episode two? Are you disappointed that no queens were actually killed? Sidenote, congrats to L’oreal Paris model and Viking traitor, Rollo (Clive Standen), for being chosen to star in NBC’s upcoming series, Taken.
Let us know your prophecies in the comments below and come back for the recap to episode three, “Mercy,” next Thursday!