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This week’s episode of Vikings finds the Norsemen holed up at York with the Saxons at the gate, King Harald looking for love in all the wrong places, and Floki galavanting around the magical land of “nobody knows where TF he is, including Floki.” All the chess pieces are in motion, setting the scene for an action-packed season 5 – battles are brewing, alliances are being formed and/or broken, and dormant body parts are apparently awakening.
Let’s see how this all plays out in this week’s top 5 Vikings moments!
It has been noted that Ivar and Bishop Heahmund are 2 sides of the same coin. Last week, Heahmund chose one of his lady parishoners to “take mass at his hands (in the sexy way)”, and not to be outdone this week, it’s Ivar’s turn to demand a “sacrifice” from a lucky lady subject. He calls a slave woman in, and, knowing Ivar, probably intends to actually sacrifice her in a very non-sexy way. But when the woman climbs into his lap, something “pops up” that makes Ivar make this face, then send the slave away with her freedom.
Wha-what is happening?!
It seems as if some sort of spiritual “growth” came at Ivar “hard,” and is causing him some to reevaluate his “manhood.” I guess when the slave woman foretold Ivar’s fortune that he is “destined for great things,” she should have added: “in bed”!
Aethelwulf and Heahmund know they need to regain the tactical advantage that is York, are are marshalling forces to attack Ivar and his Norse army. After getting spanked by Ivar’s brilliant tactical maneuvers last season, the military braintrust known as Heahmund and Aethelwolf have devised a revolutionary and devious counter-attack plan to reconquer York: Walk in the front door while everyone is sleeping, then kill everybody.
Turns out that this plan, which hinges on the farcical idea that Ivar somehow “forgot to secure the walls,” combined with the Norsemen’s supposed ignorance of a giant army camping right down the street, is actually less strategically savvy than Sir Belvedere’s “Trojan Rabbit” offense in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. Unfortunately for the Saxon’s, their strategy has exactly the same outcome
They do run away, but not before an epic battle between a very “Sith Lord” Ivar and the “righteous crusader” Heahmund. There is some top-notch Jedi shit going on with both of them here. Despite Heahmund’s exposure in battle, no arrows can find their mark. And Ivar seems to be able to mind control an entire army into total paralysis until his cavalry arrives. Looks like we have a good old-fashioned proxy war between God and the gods on our hands! What could go wrong?
After his humiliating defeat at the hands of Lagertha, and rejection by Astrid, Harald is back in his element, whipping his subjects into a conquering frenzy with his vision of making Vestfold the capital of Norway.* While Harald holds his audience with the skill of a telethon MC, he goes on to prove that he still has got no game with the ladies. He grossly misreads an initial win in the form of Astrid accepting his dress and joining him in the hall, as an invitation plant his flag in the kingdom of Astrid. He sucks down the alcoholic contents of his over-sized novelty mug, and shows up on her doorstep drunker than a lord expecting a happy ending. Unfortch for him she is a Valkyrie, and punches him in the face accordingly.
He shoots! He – oh . . . how embarrassing . . .
I find I’m liking this storyline a lot. Harald drunk is hilarious (moar!), and I Iove how dopey he is around Astrid. Tbh, I think Astrid has much better chemistry with Harald than with Lagertha, so I’m kind of hoping she decides to ally with him. But a word to the wise, Astrid honey: Be wary of how he taps his head and says his kingdom is “in here” – there may not be room for 2!
*Spoiler alert: Oslo is, in fact, the capital of Norway. Place your bets accordingly
Speaking of kingdoms “in here,” Floki continues to explore the wonders of a landscape rife with cross-promotional potential (is it Middle Earth? the Upside-down? Will there be hobbitses? Maybe demigorgons? IDK!). While many things about the land seem to be figments of his imagination, including a Helgi(?) made of bees(?), and a waterlogged, raven-infested(?) Malificent (?), the healing of his hand by spring water suggests that maybe(?) the gods(?) have delivered him to a magical land(?).
Floki believes he has, indeed, found Asgard, and is psyched to hang with the gods. That’s all well and good, but the real question is: if he’s truly in Asgard, will he be feasting with Ragnar in Valhalla? BECAUSE THAT IS THE THING THAT I WANT.
Ivar, bolstered by his second rout of the Saxons, plans a continent-wide tour of death and destruction that metal band “Slayer” could only dream of. But Ubbe isn’t having it. He wants to stop warring and retire to a life of gentleman farming and threesoming with his wife and bro. Ivar flatly rejects the notion, pointing out that there is no “Vikings” in the word “negotiate” (9th century is still workshopping this idiom). Ubbe sneaks off anyway to hammer out terms of deescalation with Aethelwolf behind Ivar’s back. Heahmund again proves himself Ivar’s soulmate by roundly bashing Ubbe’s peace plan. In the face. Repeatedly. With Ubbe’s own sword.
Ubbe returns to York chastened, but sick of his little brother’s imperious shit. He packs his Hvitserk up to set sail back to Kattegatt, and, as you can tell by Ivar’s face, HE AIN’T EVEN MAD.
(he is so totally mad)
But Ivar gets the last evil laugh when Hvitsy defects at the last minute, irrevocably altering the power dynamic among the bros, and (thankfully) putting the kibash on any future threesomes with Ubbe’s wife.
Judging from the season 5 trailers, this fraternal shake-up will fuel and host of strange bedfellows and mayhem. Will Lagertha ally with Ubbe against Ivar? Will Harald ally with Astrid against Lagertha? Will Hvitserk ally with Ivar against Ubbe? Will Rollo ally with “being on the show again” against “making me mourn his absence weekly”?
Tune in next week for answers! Until then,
All Vikings images courtesy of the History Channel
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