The Vikings – Episode 4: Trial
Good morning my Norsemen! I welcome myself back into the fold after a few days of being in the strange and foreign land of New York City, just in time to give you guys your weekly dose of Sword and Shield. Coming off the conclusion of a rather emotional episode of Walking Dead, I was a bit drained to be honest. Not relenting in my pursuit of Sunday night viewing, I immediately flipped channels as soon as the Dead was over, and began my ritual of hammering my shield with my sword in anticipation of this week’s Vikings episode, and might I say, it has been my favorite of all the episodes so far. So strap on your fur boots, and flex your reading muscles because here we go!
Last week we were given seeds that held the potential for a showdown between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. The Earl is losing his favor with the people as Ragnar comes back successful from each raid he leads. At the end of the last episode, we see our Norsemen (and woman) reach the shores of a new isle in search of riches. Encountering some resistance on the beach, the Vikings made short work of them and made to follow the lone survivor back to where the rest of the people are, in order to take everything they have for themselves. It literally gave me goosebumps to see my fellow brethren (and sisteren?) give the Christians whatfor, until I saw this week’s episode. Ragnar is quickly letting his band know that he is the one to follow, and he is not just cunning and vicious, but very intelligent to boot. A recipe for disaster to anyone who gets in his way. Waiting until he hears the church bells, as he knows everyone will be inside worshiping, he makes his way in as soon as he knows everything is clear. Leading his mean into the village, they proceed to literally defile and steal everything that they can. The best part is that Ragnar is relatively respectful to most things, but he still shows this vicious side that is really endearing in terms of his character.
The episode given to us this week will most likely be remembered by having three very excellent and stand out scenes. The first, which I will have to give to Lagertha, who is literally one of the most badass characters on the show, mainly for her refusal to bow to any man (except Ragnar, and that is in a different fashion, mind you), and in a moment of sheer stupidity by good ol’ Knut (you dumb, slightly challenged bastard) who attempts to rape her after another raping is stopped by Lagertha, she proceeds to shatter his testicles with her knee, and then guts the ever loving fuck out of him. In a moment of sheer joy, she catapults her way into the hearts of all women and men for not letting herself fall victim to that. Second, credit really needs to be given to Gustaf Skarsgard for giving us the joy of being able to watch him on screen as Floki. Taking the character by the horns, he essentially disrespects and blasphemies in front of a whole congregation of church goers, by draining the communion cup and then spitting the blood of Christ on the floor. Reread that last sentence real quick…… Yes, you now are in love with Floki, just as I. Continuing his reign of terror, he drops all of the crucifixes into a big pile to be taken back home, and proceeds to slit the throat of the priest, ever so casually. I honestly cannot say enough good things about his performance. He is quickly becoming a stand out character in the series and if they give him a spin off, I would watch it religiously (see what I did there?).
The next scene that comes to mind for me, is literally one of the most amazing things I have seen in a long time. Returning back to their ship with the spoils of a good raid, our Vikings are met by a contingent of soldiers sent by the king, and see two of their fellows dead. Not taking this lightly, Ragnar leads his mean directly into battle. However, not all is at is seems as the Christians cannot meet the ferocity and battle tactics that the Vikings are employing. Never fearing death, never relenting, and singing a battle song that literally filled me with so much courage and strength, that I thought I was going to leap out of my chair and cleave the first thing I saw in two, the Vikings decimate them with no remorse, losing only 4 men to the Christian’s 30 plus. It was a scene that made my bones shake, and made my heart sing in tune with my Vikings. Gathering the living and burying the dead, they make their way back home, richer from the voyage. Upon coming back, the Earl is not so eagerly awaiting them, and immediately asks what happened to his brother Knut. A little bit of lying and stepping up on the part of Ragnar, the Earl has Ragnar arrested and put on trial. Lagertha obviously is upset and wants to challenge, but Ragnar keeps her silent. In the meantime, the Earl summons Rollo, and the brotherly quarrel seeds are put into place. The Earl wants Rollo on his side, and after a bit of coercion, Rollo agrees to testify at his brother’s case, and the Earl is happy to have a new man on his side.
The trial goes just as the Earl expects it to, with him making fun of Ragnar and after some scolding and begging Thor to crush the Earl, Lagertha makes a name for herself by not giving so much as a single fuck about the Earl. Rangar, rather upset at the turn of events, prepares to be hauled off because they cannot provide a proper witness, and the Earl has been playing to that very fact, making it seem like he has all the cards. He summons his trump card, Rollo, who has agreed to testify, and in a showing of just amazing family ties, Rollo tells the Earl to go fuck himself and sides with his brother Ragnar. I fucking love it. More than you guys can imagine. In a scene of sheer defiance and hubris, Ragnar raises his hands directly to the Earl to unbind him. I honestly could not conceal the amount of glee I had at this point. It is a wonder to see how well this show is being made, and makes me crave more episodes. Another thing of note is the development of Athelstan, the monk slave Ragnar brought back. After having a crisis of faith , he opens up to Ragnar’s children and treats them as if they are his own. Caring for them and helping with their caretaking. Ragnar acknowledges this as well and lets him know that he is thankful for him looking after his offspring. Could we see the budding of a new friendship?
The episode ends on a down note however, as my favorite character is killed, Erik. The Earl, not being a fair man, sends a crew of men to kill Ragnar and his men, but they are easily handled and dispatched. The loss of Erik weighs heavy on the Vikings, as they see this as the ultimate declaration of war by the Earl, who is quickly becoming more and more of a fucking prick with each episode. It really just makes me want to see him get what he has coming to him, and makes me really appreciate Gabriel Byrne as an actor. He doesn’t have too many scenes, but he kills the ones he is in. Even going so far as to send more men to attack Ragnar next week, and I can only cry tears of joy at the thought of Ragnar ripping him apart with his bare hands. I can’t fucking wait. In anticipation for next week’s episode, and the fact that it is a heart sharpening battle cry, I will leave you with this war cry, which rings out in my heart and mind as something I will sing on my death bed…along with Miasma by the Black Dahlia Murder.
Up Onto the overturned keel, Clamber, with a heart of steel
Cold is the ocean’s spray, and your death is on its way
With maidens you have had your way, Vikings!! Each must die some day!!
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