Vikings: Season 3 – Episodes 7+8
I have to be honest, you guys. Please don’t judge me for saying this too soon or for saying it at all, but Athelstan dying has been the best thing to happen to this show since his crucifixion last season. Trust me, I have valid reasoning behind this, which we will get to shortly. However, let’s start off with something a bit less morbid…..RAIDING!!
As I am sure you all know by now, considering the opening of this column and the fact that you are reading this at all, recently we had to say goodbye to one of the more important characters in Athelstan. It is a shame we had to, as he was actually one of the more compelling characters, but in all honesty, if I had to choose someone to go, it would have been him. No offense. We all know it was done at the hands of Floki, and unfortunately for him, this was a slightly bad move on his behalf. Although it is sad, it pushed Ragnar into making the decision to head to Paris in order to tear down its walls and pillage the fuck out of it, which is a plus for us. I have said many times before, but Vikings shines most bright when there are raids going on. I know I may seem like a sucker for violence, but trust me, this is where most of the character development happens.
It must seem rather odd for me to make such a bold statement, but when you think about it, I am absolutely right. In each raid we have seen our crew take part in, their emotional and mental growth goes into overdrive, making them able to solve personal issues and make decisions that they otherwise didn’t think they could make. I guess facing almost certain death can do that to a person. Every episode leading up to said raid relies heavily on everyone talking to each other and setting up plotlines, but none of them get resolved until sword meets sword in battle. It must be the adrenaline. They all seem to be capable of supernatural feats of personal problem solving, enough so that it makes me slightly jealous. Regardless, Paris is facing a threat that it has never seen before, and unfortunately for its so called impregnable walls, they are about to get fucked by the mighty dick of Odin.
But behold!! Such is not the case. Once our Vikings get to Paris, they are unfortunately beaten back, and brutally might I add. The Vikings make a great first impression, but after a while, the Parisians start employing some rather futuristic tactics. Not necessarily space age, but definitely ones our Vikings haven’t encountered before. Between boiling oil and mechanical javelin launchers, shit got really real, real quick for them. We almost lost Bjorn, and Rollo went berserker fucking rage and almost murdered an entire battalion on his own. Ragnar even went crazy for a minute before being tossed over a battlement. Thankfully, all of our favorites survived, and their lust for conquest and battle has not been quelled. But let us get to the real issue at hand.
Since Athelstan’s death, things have gone in exactly the direction I have wanted them to go. They have all stopped being whiny bitches, and Floki is back to being close to insane. Ragnar isn’t the type to be taken advantage of, and his punishment for Floki is very methodical and pretty brutal. Although I did think that Ragnar would at least beat Floki a bit, he went in a different direction. Under the guise of putting Floki in charge of the raid on Paris, Ragnar was able to mentally break Floki. To Floki’s credit though, he was capable of creating some pretty serious siege machines in order to get over the walls of Paris. It’s amazing how borderline insanity and pure genius can be so close to each other. Without those towers, Ragnar would never have been able to see the inside of Paris, and he would never have been able to keep his resolve from breaking.
The fact that Athelstan’s death has brought on a sort of change for the better is slightly disheartening though. I truly did like Athelstan, but his death has saved this show for me. I needed Ragnar to go back to being made of steel, and Floki needed to be crazy. I had to see that again before deciding on whether or not to continue watching. I know that may seem a bit harsh, but I have seen so many shows go downhill based solely on stagnation or going soft. It’s a shame, but it has definitely breathed life back into it for me.
With all of this raiding and violence going on with our Vikings, Wessex has been left to deal with its own issues, and believe me, they are quite a bit more fucked and less straight forward than the ones facing our Northmen. Ecbert has clearly gotten a lust for power that is soon to grow into something more sinister than originally intended, and the princess of Mercia has decided to tell everyone to go fuck themselves and rule on her own. That’s a ballsy move on her behalf, but you have to give it to her for being unafraid to stake her claim. I am not usually a fan of political intrigue, barring Thrones, but I have been steadily becoming more interested in the development of the situation in Wessex. Let’s hope it comes to a gory conclusion. Thinking back on this season, I think we are heading in that direction.
These last two episodes have rejuvenated my love of this show, and for the first time this season, I am actually anxious for the next one. Not that I haven’t liked the season, but it just feels like it should now. No long shots of babies crying, no crying or bitching, just raiding and fucking people over. That is what I want to see, and they have given me that. And yes I know there has been copious amounts of violence and conquest this season, but it hasn’t felt the same. Not ’til recently. What do you guys think? Leave a comment and let me know.
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