Death was knocking on the door of episode 514 of History’s Vikings, The Lost Moment, but the handful of victims whose fate was sealed left viewers shocked.
We were teased at a major sacrifice and thought for a week that Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) would do another one of his brothers in, Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) at his coronation ceremony, but when the hood came off it was a woman who Ivar hoped to pass as Lagertha.
The citizens of Kattegat knew immediately that this was an imposter and the poor woman was soon hung upside down, had her throat slit and then burned at the stake. To murder an innocent woman and blatantly lie to the people is not a way to strengthen loyalty to your people. But Ivar’s thirst for blood would not be quenched.
The other bookend death was an unthinkable murder, a true betrayal in the series as the Seer (John Kavanagh) was axed in the head as he shared with Ivar his visions of woe and how “We are all going into the dark.”
So why did he do it? Ivar is bent on buying into becoming a deity, thanks to his new bride Freydis’ (Alicia Agneson) manipulation. That the Seer wouldn’t recognize that was an incredible disregard for Ivar’s ascension and place at the throne.
But the Seer was still the purest follower of Paganism, something that up until this current half of Season 5 we thought Ivar heavily believed in as well. So to murder the Seer, without anyone left (maybe Hvitserk is next) to call Ivar out and hold him accountable, is another step towards a dictatorship and a lonelier place at the top.
But why would Michael Hirst take this direction? He told me nearly two years ago that Ivar and the Seer had a special relationship.
I think the reason is that the Seer dying means that this is the beginning of the death of Paganism. We’ve already seen Torvi (Georgia First) and Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) get baptized in episode 513, which is the beginning of the transition from Paganism to Christianity portrayed, a shift in the Viking culture.
This is a very big part of the Viking Age and it’s something that Hirst has hinted at, and he may be using Ivar as a deity as the thing to help shift the tides towards Christianity, which again did happen in history.
In the end, the black that the Seer was fearing was his own death, but on a larger scale a slippery slope if people start thinking that Ivar is a god, and that Ivar is trusting everything that Freydis is telling him. A final argument between the Seer and son of Ragnar will become one of the series’ biggest landmark moments.
Also of note was that the disappearance of Thorunn (Mei Bignall) ended in death as her brother-in-law Asbjorn (Elijah Rowen) murdered her. This death is significant because Floki made the decision to get rid of the bad seed.
He shared his discovery of virgin land, one that’s been blessed by the gods, despite its unforgiving terrain and climate, but Eyvind (Kris Holden-Ried) and his entire family, along with Helgi (Jack McEvoy) were sent away, never to return to the settlement.
This was a bold move. That was a large group of people who could help the settlement, that is if they still believed in Floki. Floki needed to do this, although the last thing you want is to create an environment where it’s “my way or the high way”.
However, his patience has worn thin and enough death is on Floki’s conscience and he’s made a commitment to Iceland even if that means he will be alone. He’s accepted what the gods have given him and he’s going to weed out those who look to drag him through the mud.
Some other major developments of note, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is still in love with Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) which makes me worry about their fate on the battlefield. Lovers dying on the bloody war path seems like a good place for both of these warriors. That just might be their fate.
That’s right, they’re going to battle to fight King Harald (Peter Franzen) who has brought a massive fleet with him to Wessex. He’s not sticking around to deal with Ivar who has gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Who can blame him? Plus, he’s got an axe to grind with Lagertha. Who doesn’t at this point, right?
But now Bjorn, Ubbe, Torvi and Lagertha have to make good on their promise to King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) to defend Wessex from the Northmen. What choice do they have?
And conveniently, the last time they saw Harald, he was trying to kill them, so motivation will not be in short supply. It could have all fallen apart too if Aethelred (Darren Cahill) could have slain his brother to take the crown away and appease the clergymen who supported him.
That’s good because it’s fun to see Alfred take fighting lessons from Ubbe, and we continue to see Alfred go from sickly boy to someone who will become Alfred the Great. The question is, did Aethelred hesitate because he loves Alfred, or did he realize that he couldn’t do nearly the job that his brother is attempting to do? Did he realize that he too has been manipulated?
This next battle is going to be very interesting to see how it plays out as Harald’s army is going to be difficult to defeat. While they don’t have Ivar as a war tactician, these are still good Vikings nonetheless and warriors that gave Lagertha and Bjorn’s army a difficult time. Lagertha’s not getting any younger and you can feel her impending death nearing.
It’s not just the gray hair either, she’s slowing down but she’s also running out of places to retreat to. The Lagertha we have come to love and adore will understand that she has to be who she is, a Viking, and one who is not afraid to die on the battlefield.
You just wonder if she’s actually going out on the battlefield or at the hands of Ivar. How committed is Heahmund to Lagertha? It appears that he is all in, and he has officially turned his back on God for her. That says a lot about her power, along with who will take her place in the show once she does meet her fate.
And what of Bjorn who has found Magnus (Dean Ridge) as his only ally in Wessex. He is the only one who believes Magnus is the long lost son of Ragnar Lothbrok, but how will it matter in this battle?
Who will he enact his rage for being abandoned by everyone? These types of characters always have a way of being a pain when they’re not heard, so I’d look over my shoulders if I were Ubbe or Lagertha.
We march towards another battle on Saxon land in the next episode, while the gods must deal with the unending chaos in Kattegat. Who else is ready for it?
Vikings is on the History Channel Wednesday 9/8c.