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Vikings: Valhalla recap: The English still haven’t worked out that violence begets violence with the Vikings

A Viking warrior attacks in Episode 4 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
A Viking warrior attacks in Episode 4 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Vikings: Valhalla is the new historical drama series developed by Netflix that continues on from the original series developed by the History Channel.

The new series is set some 100 years after the events that unfolded in Vikings and introduced a whole new array of characters and conflict.

Now that it has dropped let’s take a look at what went down in Season 1.

Episode 1: The Greenlanders

Season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla opens with the St. Brice’s Day Massacre, an event in history that saw King Aethelred II (portrayed by Bosco Hogan in the TV series) slaughter the Vikings in England.

As to be expected, the Vikings do not take this massacre lying down, and this is the catalyst for most of the conflict in Vikings: Valhalla.

It is also a great place to introduce some of the main characters. Alongside King Aethelred, Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter) get his debut but, luckily, avoids the slaughter because he leaves on a ship home as the bloodbath begins.

Wolfgang Cerny as Sten and Leo Suter as Harald Sigurdsson, as seen in Episode 1 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Wolfgang Cerny as Sten and Leo Suter as Harald Sigurdsson, as seen in Episode 1 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernad Walsh

Meanwhile, Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) is heading across the seas and lands in Kattegat just as things are coming to a head.

He and his sister, Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson), are there on a secret revenge mission. Freydis is determined to hunt down the man who raped her and marked her with a cross.

Unfortunately, they arrive right in the middle of a huge gathering of p****d off Vikings thanks to King Aethelred.

Freydis is moody and determined, a venerable Lagertha who follows the old ways. She also shacks up with Harald as soon as he lays eyes on her.

Her brother is quiet and broody. Both are determined to step out of the shadow of their famous – and violently Viking – father, Erik the Red (portrayed by Eric Johnson in Vikings).

Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter and Sam Corlett as Leif Eriksson, as seen in Episode 1 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter and Sam Corlett as Leif Eriksson, as seen in Episode 1 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Freydis soon discovers the man she wants to murder. Unfortunately, Gunnar is a member of Olaf Haraldsson’s (Johannes Haukur Johannesson) posse, and things get perilous once she kills him.

Episode 2: Viking

With Freydis taken into custody, the jarl of Kattekat, Estrid Haakon (Caroline Henderson), has to decide what to do. Needless to say, Olaf wants a blood revenge, but Harald comes up with an interesting suggestion: Leif can fill in Gunnar’s position on the trek to attack England in retaliation for the St. Brice’s Day Massacre. He says it’s because Leif is excellent at handling boats but, let’s face it, he also wants another piece of Freydis for himself.

Freydis has to stay behind in Kattegat because of what she did to Gunnar, but that doesn’t stop her from beginning a personal mission to find herself.

Longships leave Kattegat in Episode 2 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Longships leave Kattegat in Episode 2 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Meanwhile, Leif heads off to England, and there is plenty of time to explore just how much the Christians and pagans are not getting along on the sea voyage.

In England, Aethelred dies, and his son, Prince Edmund (Louis Davison), is now the king. All hail the stupid, naive king.

This episode of Vikings: Valhalla also introduces us to the epicness that is Emma of Normandy (Laura Berlin) along with her advisor, Godwin (David Oakes).

Laura Berlin stars as Emma Of Normandy in Episode 3 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Laura Berlin stars as Emma Of Normandy in Episode 3 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Episode 3: The Marches

The Vikings arrive at Kent, and a battle ensues. Afterward, they discover that King Aethelred is already dead.

Harald is p****d because King Canute (Bradley Freegard) promised him he could kill the king himself in retaliation for the death of his brother, Sten (Wolfgang Cerny), at the king’s hands.

Although, he does agree that Edmund will make a worthy substitute, and further plans that involve sneaking through the marshes are enacted. It is here that they discover the English are hunkering down in anticipation of a seize.

Thanks to Leif, it is decided to take down London Bridge.

Louis Davison stars as King Edmund in Episode 3 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Louis Davison stars as King Edmund in Episode 3 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Meanwhile, in Kattegat, Freydis is making a pilgrimage to Uppsala. Along the way, her group gets attacked, and several members die.

By the episode’s end, Freydis manages to kill the attackers, and her main antagonist by way of Jarl Kare (Asbjorn Krogh Nissen), is introduced.

And, let me say, he is annoyed AF that his group was slaughtered by mere pagans.

Bradley Freegard stars as King Canute in Episode 4 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Bradley Freegard stars as King Canute in Episode 4 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bradley Freegard

Episode 4: The Bridge

The attack on the bridge unfolds in this episode of Vikings: Valhalla. Along with planning to get all up in the underside of the bridge and bring it down using ropes and ships after weakening it, Leif also manages to spend some time inventing surfboards as a way to sneak in.

While all of this is going on, Edmund is having to deal with Eadric Streona (Gavin Drea), who is the head of Mercia now. Mercia wants their independence and sees the imminent Viking attack as a way to negotiate this wish.

King Canute is tasked with goading the young king, who has not yet learned the true art of war smack talk. It totally works, and this gives the Vikings under the bridge a chance to really do some damage.

A clash between the two sides ensues, and it is chaos on the bridge. Edmund, who wouldn’t be told by his stepmother Emma or Godwin, is in the fray as the bridge is pulled apart by Viking ships.

This is how the king gets captured.

Mercia sees all of this from a distance after finally agreeing to fight for England. But Streona abandons the fight and heads home without even getting his sword bloody.

Production still from Vikings Valhalla
Bradley Freegard as King Canute and Louis Davison as King Edmund, as seen in Episode 5 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Episode 5: Miracle

It is agreed that Canute will rule England alongside Edmund because even though the kid is clueless, he still knows that the people will look to him rather than a Viking.

Needless to say, Harald is not okay with the fact that Edmund is still breathing.

King Canute interrogates Edmund, calling him out on his prowess on some of the better strategies during the battle. JK, he knows that Emma is the ideas one behind it all.

However, Emma has not been seen by anyone yet, and Canute wants in on her because he’d be stupid not to have a firm grip on the one who seems to know decent warfare.

Olaf, on the other hand, knows exactly where Emma is and seems to be working independently from Canute, something Canute already seems to have a handle on as when he and Harald talk about Olaf, he points out that Harald has no idea that his brother has a son.

Previously, the agreement between the brothers had been that Harald would take over as the King of Norway after Olaf died. Now, with an heir, this doesn’t seem likely at all.

Canute holds a huge feast for everyone and invites Streona along as well. After all, he didn’t help the English so that makes him an ally of the Vikings, according to Canute.

Just kidding. Streona loses his head for being an oath breaker.

Emma has been located by this point but her children are still nowhere to be found. Some negotiations are had and the children are finally located and returned.

Canute is so getting lucky for this good deed.

Leif is also told that his sister’s debt has been paid in full and that she is free to leave Kattegat once they return.

Karen Connell as Busla and Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter, as seen in Episode 5 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Karen Connell as Busla and Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter, as seen in Episode 5 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Speaking of Kattegat, Freydis drops some Viking Age acid and brings on a religious awakening that involves the return of a familiar face, that of the Seer (John Kavanagh).

Meanwhile, at Uppsala, the healer who patched up the only other surviving member of her group, Yrsa (Alfrun Laufeyjardottir), is being visited by Jarl Kare, and he wants to know where Freydis is.

Freydis, only just manages to escape his clutches.

Still shot from Vikings Valhalla
Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter and Caroline Henderson as Jarl Haakon, as seen in Episode 6 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Episode 6: The Last Daughter of Uppsala

Freydis returns to Kattegat and warns Jarl Haakon of what happened at Uppsala. She then begins training as a shieldmaiden.

After speaking to Jarl Haakon about her vision, Estrid believes that Freydis is a part of her destiny and that of Kattegat’s.

Because of this, Freydis is staying in Kattegat for good and tells her brother this when he returns from England.

Also, she and Harald rekindle things even though he is a Christian.

In England, Canute tells Emma she can go home now, but she refuses, and the pair consummate their relationship.

While all of this is going on, Olaf pays a visit to Canute’s actual wife, Queen Aelfgifu, and lets her know what is going down and how she is now the Queen of England as well as Denmark.

As for Jarl Kare? He slaughters everyone at Uppsala.

Laura Berlin as Emma Of Normandy and Soren Pilmark as Sweyn Forkbeard, as seen in Episode 7 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Laura Berlin as Emma Of Normandy and Soren Pilmark as Sweyn Forkbeard, as seen in Episode 7 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Episode 7: Choices

In England, Canute quickly marries Emma before returning to a conflict in Denmark.

His father, Sweyn Forkbeard (Soren Pilmark), is tasked with looking after England while he is gone. Spoiler alert: He’s a douche.

He also can’t work out why Edmund was allowed to live after the Viking takeover.

Godwin, and others, are not at all impressed with Forkbeard and start plotting behind his back.

There is plenty of debate over taxes while Forkbeard is there and he uses this to his advantage to get Godwin to toe the line. When the Earl of Wessex kicks up a stink, Forkbeard has him killed and Godwin is now the Earl there.

This means that it is time to go for Edmund, and Godwin is the one who murders him, making King Canute the sole ruler of England now.

Emma, being the only canny one on English soil works out that Edmund was murdered. It doesn’t get her very far, though, because Forkbeard will have none of her c**p.

Aelfgifu also arrives in England and she and Emma engage in awkward conversation.

Kare sends a ship of dead bodies to Kattegat, so the game plan has been revealed, and it is obviously all on now as Jarl Haakon rallies everyone to fight for Kattegat if it comes to that.

A human sacrifice is also warranted.

Harald also defects to the side of his brother and meets secretly with him at the end of Episode 7 of Vikings: Valhalla.

Leo Suter stars as Harald Sigurdsson in Episode 3 of Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla Season 1
Leo Suter stars as Harald Sigurdsson in Episode 3 of Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Pic credit: Netflix/Bernard Walsh

Episode 8: The End of the Beginning

An attack on Kattegat is planned by Kare with the help of Olaf, who also wants to take over the strategic location and figures that Kare, who has proven to be mentally unstable, is the perfect scapegoat.

Harald also meets up with Jarl Kare and he reveals to Harald how much he hates Freydis.

Thanks to a rare wolf moon coming up, it will be easier to attack Kattegat, and the battle begins soon after. However, Harald, who is not Team Kare, gets word back to Leif about the planned attack.

Even with this knowledge, though, Kare and Olaf manage to get through Kattegat’s defenses, and victory is declared after a long battle in which Kare is killed by Freydis.

In England, Emma and Forkbeard plot but all of this isn’t discovered until the end of this episode of Vikings: Valhalla. Aelfgifu doesn’t know this either and gets caught up in it all.

Long story short, Forkbeard and Emma now have control of Aelfgifu’s fleet and head to Kattegat to attack, arriving just after Olaf claims victory.

Olaf may be victorious there, but everyone else on his side takes one look at Forkbeard’s fleet and s**t their pants and run. In the end, so does Olaf.

Season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla ends with Leif so enraged with an attack on a helpless woman and the fact that his main squeeze, Liv (Lujza Richter), was killed in the attack that he kills those attacking and gets covered in blood. Forkbeard’s grandson is the one to discover him this way.

Season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla is currently streaming on Netflix.

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