The demise of Ragnar at the hands of a King whom he thought very little of was wrought with emotion in what was a gut-wrenching farewell.
Ivar’s emotional goodbye where Ragnar tells him he is destined to be ruthless and avenge his death. Ecbert’s cowardly abdication of his role in Ragnar’s death, becoming an anonymous spectator.
Aelle’s fervent belief what he was doing was the work of God. And Ragnar’s refusal to give him any 11th-hour satisfaction that in the end, Aelle’s god had won.
Valhalla was Ragnar’s reward he laid claim to as the audience of his torturers and those invested in his death jeered him to the end.
King Aelle’s Christian trappings was as if he had his holy war realized, but there was no great moment for him to really savor. Aelle was a pawn of Ecbert. And despite everything, Ragnar did not fight and peacefully accepted his fate, dropped in that pit of snakes.
Ecbert will face the fire of Ivar first, as per his father’s wishes when they said their goodbyes. This is what is promised.
Ragnar, as played by Travis Fimmel, was a masterful role steeped in humor and cunning, philosophy and wonderment of a world bigger than his Kattegat, one that he wanted to see and explore but time ran out on him.
His open-minded intellect and lust for life made this character one we will sorely miss. The hounds of hell now are poised to be unleashed with his sons, but how that will play out remains to be seen.
All we know is losing Ragnar has left us hollow and we will greatly miss this incredible character brought to life by Travis Fimmel.
All His Angels is a turning point in showrunner Michael Hirst’s semi-historical Viking yarn. We are now facing the series minus the lead actor, Travis Fimmel.
“I welcome the Valkyries to summon me home.” King Ragnar to King Aelle.
Three exclusive clips show the pivotal moments from last night’s Vikings.
Ivar vows to avenge Ragnar’s murder, and learns his mother was a victim of Lagertha’s Kattegat coup.
Lagertha, Rollo and Floki bid Ragnar goodbye:
TV Critics Ernie Estrella and April Neale discuss the episode:
EE: Wow what a season it’s been for Travis Fimmel, this is a brutal season to watch but wow did he vault into another realm with this season from challenging his sons to caged up for days by Aethulwulf, to being tortured, mutilated and thrown into a snake pit.
I think my inner cheek is raw from biting and gnawing on it throughout the episode. How are you feeling after that finale?
AN: I’m emotionally drained from this slow descent into Ragnar’s final journey. I knew when he told Ivar he had no intentions of going home he was set in his final journey, and I knew he would never leave England alive.
Now, I will miss Fimmel’s incredible character he has created and the flashback prior to his death, the scenes from his life, was probably that hardest to watch for me. His regrets, his loves, his moments that defined who he was.
I want those who vote on awards to know they need to include Travis Fimmel as one of the best actors who inhabited a memorable role on the smallscreen. He was perfect as Ragnar. Just perfect.
EE: I agree, Fimmel does so much that’s beyond saying the dialogue. His performance is so physical, so honest to the character he and Michael Hirst created. He is criminally absent whenever it comes to awards season and that shouldn’t be the case at all. It’s when you see a performance like this go unnoticed is when you suspect that the voters don’t watch everything.
So when is a Mea Culpa not a Mea Culpa? Ragnar had no intentions of forgiving Elbert for killing that colony, did he?
AN: Ragnar laid it all out to Ivar, it was Ecbert who he wanted killed. Ecbert’s penance was suffering another loss of someone he loved and liked, respected and admired.
He could have made some sort of peace with Ragnar, then his own countrymen would have held that against him. Unwinnable. Ragnar going there was a form of suicide.
EE: The scene with Ragnar’s hallucination with the Seer says everything you need to know about this season for Ragnar. It had to be brave to not believe in any gods in that area.
AN: I think that intellectually he was at peace not believing, but he played the Viking Valhalla game right to the end, not giving Aelle any satisfaction for his “absolution” or any sort of Christian blubbering repentance, he played the great Ragnar all the way to the end.
The snake death looked more comforting than what they were putting him through prior to be honest.
EE: Yeah, people are cruel and Ragnar died in the nature so to speak. I think to be taken by the snakes was as fitting as it could have been since there was no one who could have been worthy enough to chop him down.
I loved the journey of Ragnar to be driven by the fate of the gods when we first met him but through his experiences, becoming more worldly with the knowledge of Athelstan, and even Yidu, realizing that he must make the most of his days on the Earth, because that’s what he knows is guaranteed.
Going back to his conversation with Ecbert in 414, if there were no gods then perhaps that gives meaning to everything. I found his telestrating his final minutes to Ecbert and that he must put up a charade of believing in his gods to the end, even if he didn’t believe in it, because, “Faith is as important to my people as it is to you.”
AN: That’s humanity, there has to be more than just what’s here..it’s a universal wish. Ragnar knew that his reasoning with Ecbert, with Aelle, would be that cold water in their face that would humanize him and make their actions stand out, as more barbaric and less “the work of God,” whatever that is. He was the better man all the way to his torture and death.
EE: It was incredibly hard to watch our boy, Ragnar get treated like this. But you have to wonder about Ragnar’s feelings about Aelle, that he can at least honor a man who would go great lengths to kill a man responsible for killing his people.
Also, let’s not forget how many times Ecbert screwed Aelle over, taking his land, his people, and even his daughter.
AN: Aelle wasn’t worthy of Ragnar’s company, and Ecbert’s pilgrimage to witness Ragnar’s death was an interesting event.
I think at the end of it, Ecbert knew he had to give Aelle that red meat and feather in his cap of being the one who killed the great Ragnar, as a controlling mechanism to keep him and Mercia in line and part of a unified England.
EE: How did you read Elbert making the walk to Mercia on barefoot? Obviously he wanted to suffer for what Ragnar was being put through. Ragnar knows what’s coming to Ecbert but I don’t imagine Aelle is getting off as Ragnar requested.
AN: Ecbert is seemingly obsessed with the story of Jesus, Pontius Pilate and wanted to bear witness to his actions, trying to understand and accept why he had to do what he did, and justify it in his mind.
But he – like what Ragnar knows about Ivar – has no idea what he has unleashed by handing Ragnar over this way. Then he might have been honoring what Athelstan would have done in Ragnar’s final hour.
Ecbert is an intellect who had to reconcile the loss of both of his friends as he holds on to his power role in a fractious amalgam of English townships. He could not afford to look soft on Ragnar. But he sure hated having to hand him over that way.
EE: Yes, digging out Athelstan’s old robes and laying them on the podium supports that connection. The two heart-felt moments in the episode involved Alfred playing chess with Ivar and receiving Athelstan’s cross.
It was the only time I smiled, but the symbolism and poetic reasons to have Ivar and Alfred battling each other on the chess board was wonderful.
AN: The mixed emotions of Ragnar’s final journey, Ivar was pitied, to the English king and his people’s detriment.
Unfortunately for Alfred, Ivar possesses no mercy and will do exactly what his father asked him to do. There is no Athelstan in Ivar. The scene where Ragnar gives Alfred his father’s cross was a tear choked one for me. Just such a sad episode all the way around.
EE: We finally come to Ivar reaching Kattegat and finding out that Aslaug is dead and that Lagertha is responsible. We can’t possibly lose both Ragnar AND Lagertha, we just can’t. Can we?
AN: Don’t forget what Ragnar said, “they will all underestimate you,” perhaps Lagertha will too, answering your question. I fear Lagertha will be Ivar’s first attempt at establishing a reputation as the ruthless leader he was.
Ivar loved both of his parents, and not really much else, perhaps Ubbe who he interestingly asked (Sigurd wanted to give the news but Ivar wanted it from Ubbe).
I think Sigurd’s days are numbered unless he heels under Ivar’s command. But yes, this story is getting super interesting, post Ragnar, and add to this the wildcards of Bjorn, Rollo and Floki, too.
Will Hirst create a super army of all these parts post Ragnar? He has the creative license to do a lot with the characters left.
EE: Lastly, who in Valhalla do you think the guy with the one eye is? Talk about your creepy teasers.
AN: That one is killing me! I have no idea, but that creeped me out for sure. I am most anticipatory of Ivar’s reactions in the subsequent episodes. And of Lagertha’s fate. And the Seer! That dude never dies! John Kavanagh gets an A for being a “creepy” character I adore.More: History Channel, Vikings