Bernard Walsh
December 08, 2016 at 03:07 AM EST


TV Show
Action Adventure
run date
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen
History Channel
Current Status
In Season

Ragnar’s story began with England, or a dream of England: That land across the water, a single ship carrying Ragnar and a group of young men to glory in the land of the Christ-God. Now, to England will Ragnar return. “I’m looking for brave warriors,” he announces in the town square. “Like you! Like you!” The response is muted. A man tells Ragnar his brother’s family went to England to found the Viking colony. “We never did find out what happened to them,” the man says. “But it seems you knew all along, and didn’t tell us.” He spits on King Ragnar the once-great, who once sailed with ships beyond number.

Now, Ragnar must beg his son Bjorn for ships. Bjorn will grant them — but he has his own plans. He will travel down the coast to Frankia, where it is said his Uncle Rollo has a new kingdom on the coast. Bjorn’s plan, bold and perhaps mad: He will send messengers to Rollo. Can family bonds, once broken, be fixed?

The sons of Ragnar are bonded yet with their mother. Aslaug wants them to settle down: “You should already be married,” she tells her three older sons. “You don’t have to love the woman,” she explains. “You need one to breed with.” Did Aslaug ever love Ragnar? Her sons have their own legends about their parents. One son says Aslaug bewitched their father; another recalls the wanderer Harbard, who Aslaug so loved, who so betrayed her trust. “She has always loved me,” says Ivar. Sigurd disagrees. “She feels pity for you,” he says. “We all feel pity for you. But sometimes, we wish that she’d left you to the wolves.” Ivar tries to attack him, slithering across the floor like a snake.

New arrivals in Kattegat bring good tidings, or the opposite. Lagertha arrives with her lover Astrid; she wants to watch her son Bjorn depart for his destiny. And King Harald is here, nearer to his ultimate ambition of becoming King of Norway. “How can I ever overthrow King Ragnar?” Harald muses, rhetorically or genuinely just curious.

Lagertha walks up to Aslaug, her husband’s second wife; another usurper, one of many in Lagertha’s life. “It seems that my son Bjorn and your son Hvitserk will go on this journey together,” she says. A sacrifice is suggested. “We can both officiate,” says Lagertha. “You forget, Lagertha,” Aslaug says, gently but firmly. “I am a queen.” Lagertha does not forget anything: Forever the shieldmaiden, forever the mother protecting her homestead from invaders.

NEXT: Gossip and sacrifice

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