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VIKINGS Season Four Finale Recap: “The Reckoning”

VIKINGS Season Four Finale Recap: “The Reckoning”

ICYMI: This is the Vikings season four finale episode recap, and we’re not ready say goodbye to those who’ve fallen. Major spoilers below.

Let’s start off with a moment for the fallen warriors and holier-than-thou villains. We lost a lot of reoccurring characters on both sides, like Queen Aslaug, Earl Kalf, Yidu, Count Odo, Queen Kwenthrith, and recently King Aelle, King Ecbert, and dear Helga. Also, possibly Torvi from last episode… Some of these deaths were a bit random while others were more than justified–but that’s life, right? Despite all the death, though, the legit KOD looming over the series went to Ragnar Lothbrok: king, friend, husband, father, lover, foe, explorer, and Viking to the end.

Travis Fimmel played this complex character to perfection, adding nuance and charm to the part. Ragnar could have been written and portrayed as yet another lazy Viking caricature. Thankfully, Fimmel and Hirst presented a creative and somewhat authentic representation of this legend. On screen, Fimmel was like an onion, what with all those emotional layers! Though humbly so, he remained a strong leading performer throughout his time on the series. I think you all know where this is heading–Travis Fimmel deserves all the awards! Vikings has a massive following, and yet not a single major nomination has graced the insanely remarkable cast and crew. Yes, sometimes greatest goes unnoticed, but hear ye this–Travis Fimmel, we raise our carved horns in your honor and praise your dedication to this series! Skål!

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Charging forward–what a battle! It was equal parts muddy, bloody, and loud. Surrounded by the combined tactical forces and shield wall, Prince Aethelwulf and co. barely stood a chance. It was great to see the sons of Ragnar rage in full force, though the whole ordeal didn’t get enough screen time for my tastes. I’m guessing they’re refraining from showing off the true power of Ivar’s chariot until next season, which is understandable. Count us as hyped for more Ivar rage on the battlefield!

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Meanwhile, King Ecbert pulled a Ragnar, taking his death into his own hands like his fallen friend and foe. And look, Aethelwulf final gets his Burger King kids crown! Grandpa Ecbert said farewell to his family, sharing some sage advice with little Alfred and kissing “special” Magnus on the forehead. Those two are in for a world of inner conflict after all they’ve been through. And with Ecbert out of her way, whatever will Judith do for pleasure? All signs point to a newcomer priest…

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Unfortunately, some other characters weren’t handled with the best care in this season finale. Like Floki. After his beloved wife Helga was stabbed by her forcefully adopted daughter, she whispered to Floki in his arms, “This world is too small for you.” And I agree. In fact, from season three on, the series started to feel a bit too small for one of its most intriguing characters. I’m not a huge fan of spin-offs, but if ever there were need for one, it’s in giving this complex character his due. As such, I cast my vote for a Floki spin-off, in which he travels the world in search of himself and his Viking soul. But until we get confirmation that Gustaf Skarsgård is returning for season five, I’ve got one question: Who will give us all the sass in Floki’s absence? Oh yeah…

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Ivar sass is in a league of its own. He and his brothers have really held their people together from the moment Ragnar returned. Each brother is an individual facet in their society, presenting five different types of fun leaders. Björn made it clear that his destiny is in the Mediterranean as loud and proud explorer. Ubbe wants to farm and settle lands without the threat of war. Hvitserk could end up taking the back seat and enjoying a wonderful life with his brothers and their shared lovers.

And then there was Sigurd. As the thorn in Ivar’s side since birth–and vice versa–Sigurd was the younger brother who could have led an army after a few major coming-of-age quests into the wild on his own, a la Björn. But Ivar wasn’t going to take any more of his shade. Sigurd down! What we’re left with is an immediate “I regret that decision” face on Ivar. Could this mean the banishment of Ivar the Boneless? The breaking up of the brothers is definitely a part of their saga. But we’ll have to wait and see…

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Which leaves us with the major set-up for season five, a familiar face from Michael Hirst’s past–that’s right, I’m talking Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the former King Henry VIII from Showtime’s cult favorite The Tudors! If you never got a chance to immerse yourself in the glory of that sassy historical drama, go binge on Netflix right now or catch reruns on Ovation! (He and Natalie Dormer as Henry and Anne Boleyn was a gift to our generation.)

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All references aside, casting Meyers is a clever move for Hirst. The two worked together magnificently during The Tudors. Meyers is officially donning the clerical cloak for Vikings as Bishop Heahmund (not grown-up Alfred, like I previously dream-casted). Not much historical info on this guy, but all that creative freedom can be a good thing. He’ll most likely be filling the large Athelstan hole in our lives as a devout priest, fierce warrior, and conflicted lover. Oh yeah–I can totally see Judith and him in an union of the spiritual and physical sorts next season. Also, having him interaction with Rollo and possibly join forces with the French would be intriguing. Feast your eyes on the new English savior.

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Without any addition scenes from Kattegat, I want to say that looking back, I feel a bit underwhelmed by Lagertha’s arc this season. Don’t get me wrong–Katheryn Winnick did an exceptional job in various scenes and was dressed and styled in the best gowns and braids yet! But without Aslaug’s shade or Ragnar’s remorse to work through, Lagertha is going to have to maintain her Queen status and dodge Ivar’s death threats without becoming redundant. I have faith in Winnick’s performance abilities, which means Hirst better have a rousing plan for our leading shield maiden in season five.

All in all, season four has been a success. They killed off their main character in a blaze of glory and build up the next generation just enough to carry the seasons ahead. Vikings is a series about all the grey areas of legends and life–sometimes good guys do bad things, and sometimes people disappear too soon. (Forever RIP my main girl Yidu.) I’m glad we have this ongoing creative series alongside the heavy hitters on TV. And I look forward to the season ahead. So, what did you love about season four the most? Which moments did you hate? Let us know your predictions for the future of Vikings.

Images: The History Channel
GIF: VikingsHistory/Tumblr

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