Robb Ghag recaps the fourth episode of The History Channel drama Vikings….
In the fourth episode of the Canadian mini-series Vikings we enter the group of Vikings post bloodbath. The lone Englishman who escaped Ragnar and the Vikings wrath escapes on horseback straight to King Aelle.
The Vikings travel over the Northern English terrain, through the forest and come across a large town. Immediately Rollo tells Ragnar they should attack this large settlement now, with the advantage of surprise on their side. Ragnar foreshadows how cunning he truly is when he asks one of his cohorts what day it is. The reply is Saturday, which means Ragnar tells all to wait. It’s clear at this point that Rollo is furious and the relationship between Rollo and Ragnar are as complete opposites. Rollo the brainless brute who acts without thinking, and Ragnar – while a vicious Viking – is a dreamer, a thinker, a strategist who can wield a thought as well as he can wield an axe.
Back in the throne room of King Aelle, the lone survivor from the battle on the beach reveals all about the murderous Vikings, as well, Aelle’s advisors reveal their theory that these Pagans are the same monsters who sacked the Monastery at Lindasgarde. King Aelle is not pleased.
The next morning again the Viking war band gathers in the forest ready to sack the English town. Again we see Ragnar use his brain and all he has learnt from the Priest to attack the town. Once church bells are heard from the distance, the Vikings stroll into town. With no opposition, the group looks puzzled. Immediately recognizing the cross from the Monastery, the group witnesses something strange. All manner of weapons are laid outside of the Church steps, while Sunday mass is performed within.
Ragnar and the band enter the house of god to the fearful screams of the citizens within. Ragnar calms the Priest and tells him to advise the English, if they cooperate none shall be harmed. The Vikings scour the village looting and plundering. A quiet moment as Rollo comes across a sickly old man in his bed. Fearing the gigantic Viking, the old man begins to cower and fear. Rollo puts down his axe and pours him a glass of water. One of his more sympathetic acts since the show began.
In another home we see Knute ransack a home to find a mother protecting her child. In true Viking form Knute throws the women down and attempts to rape her. Lagertha enters trying to protect the woman and stabs Knute in the back. He has enough strength left in him to knock Lagertha down and then attempts to rape her. We see her ferociousness as she pulls a dagger from his belt and stabs him to death.
As the Vikings leave the English village Ragnar begins to ask where Knute is. Lagertha immediately admits to killing him. Back at the boat King Aelle’s army stands at the shoreline with two Vikings as prisoners. A force of about 40 armed knights awaits the Vikings and without hesitation the invaders gather on the beach and prepare for battle. The English army send archers to the forefront and unleash a hail of arrows. The Vikings are not unaccustomed to tactics and immediately put their shields together to form a shield wall. The English charge the Vikings attempting to push them back but the ferocity of the Vikings is too much even for this large force. The Vikings, with shields and axes, decimate the army and leave body after body in the sand. It’s an absolutely epic battle brilliantly filmed. The remaining English retreat in fear.
King Aelle is angered at his lieutenants as they come back and tells the tales of the Vikings godlessness and lack of fear. This of course means nothing to Aelle and you can see that he will be another force to be reckoned with.
The Vikings bury their dead comrades who have fallen in battle. Rollo says not to mourn these warriors as they are being taken to Valhalla where the honored dead go to drink with the gods. Athelstan remains back at the home of Ragnar looking over Gida and Bjorn. He has turmoil in his faith trying to understand God’s plan for him.
The Viking ship returns home again with plunder and riches from the voyage, but not as easily as the previous voyage. The Earl greets the conquering heroes and asks where Knute is. The Earl is angered when Ragnar claims he killed Knute while trying to protect his wife. He doesn’t believe Ragnar when he claims it was in his wife’s honor and for her protection he killed Knute. Ragnar is placed under arrest.
In the Earl’s chamber Rollo is summoned and invited to sit at the table. The shaman from episode one is seen in the corner, as the Earl begins to inquire about Rollo’s hopes and ambitions. The Earl is deviously trying to put a wedge between Ragnar and Rollo using Rollo’s ambition as the catalyst. Offering wealth, power and the promise of his daughter’s hand in marriage should Rollo betray Ragnar.
In the throne room of the Earl Ragnar is brought before all in chains. Bjorn and the rest of the family watch on. The Earl states Knute was his half-brother, and describes the scenario why Knute was on the raid in England. In his defense Ragnar admits to killing to Knute, but was in protecting his wife, and asks everyone what they would have done in his place? Lagertha confirms Ragnar’s story and tells the Earl all she says is true and that she is the one who killed Knute in self defense. Rollo steps forward as a witness to the murder, to the surprise of Ragnar and Lagertha. Rollo says Ragnar is the one who killed Knute and it was indeed for Knute attempting to rape Lagertha. Smiling Ragnar holds up his arms in chains and says “Now…who has a key?” It’s a small victory but Ragnar’s smirk speaks volumes and the look on the Earls face is priceless.
The war band are drinking and celebrating their victory and Ragnar’s acquittal when Lagertha goes to Rollo to thank him for his words which saved her husband’s life. Rollo confesses he did not do it for Ragnar but for his love for her. Outside the festivities Eric is attacked by a band of bandits who stab him repeatedly, the bandits enter and begin to kill the war band, which battle back, but are unable to save Eric.
Ragnar is back at his farm angered at all that has transpired and he takes off to the hillside.
Finally, in the shaman’s hut the Earl sits asking for signs from the Gods. The shaman reads the runes and the bones, telling the Earl of all the bloodshed that Ragnar is contemplating to bring to his doorstep. The Earl is troubled by the shaman’s words, and visions and questions “Do the gods truly exist?” The shaman lets loose a bloodcurdling laugh. Ragnar sits alone on the hillside, preparing himself for what must come next.
Robb Ghag works for an Arts & Entertainment Brokerage in Toronto Canada. An Animation and Film school graduate, he specializes in Risk Management of Animation and VFX studios throughout North America.