Vikings airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on The History Channel
PREVIOUSLY, ON VIKINGS: DANGER! INTRIGUE! BOATS! KIDNAPPING!
Also, Adorable George Blagden adorably liveblogged this episode on io9, if you’re into that kind of thing!
I genuinely would like to take these credits and make them my wife.
Monks shiver sadly on Ragnar’s sweet boat while all their expensive shit is pawed at and their SUPER HANDSOME CAPTOR SITS LIKE THIS
Like they haven’t been through enough emotional turmoil, Ragnar.
Back at the homestead, Bjorn cuts up some eels. Haraldson’s terrible consigliere, Baldur Beardisson, appears and scoots up to him like HOLA WHERE’S UR DAD. Actually he says “I remember you from the Thing,” and that is never going to stop being hilarious to me, even after I was set straight by commenter Kirsten and recapper/fiend Liz.
Bjorn makes the face we’re all making:
Lagertha’s Weird Bald Man With Beard Talking To My Son senses start tingling and she comes out of the house. Baldy asks where Ragnar is, and Lagertha says he’s gone fishing. Baldy doesn’t believe her, and says he has to take someone back to the Earl as collateral. He wants to take Bjorn, but one look from Lagertha shuts that down, and he ends up taking some other, less important kid. Lagertha looks concerned.
On the boat, Ragnar introduces himself to Athelstan, and confirms that Lindisfarne was in England. Athelstan tells Ragnar that it was prophecied that God would punish man for all their grievous sins, and assumes that the vikings are carrying that out. Ragnar assures him that this is not the case, and that he spared Athelstan’s life. Athelstan, who smartly does not point out the lack of logic in “I destroyed everything you hold dear and kidnapped you but didn’t kill you so therefore this isn’t so bad!” asks why Ragnar spared him. Ragnar, glancing over at Rollo, says he doesn’t know. Don’t lie, cupcake, EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’RE CRUSHING MAD HARD.
The vikings arrive back at the village, where Erik is greeted lovingly by his wife. Erik’s like HONEY I BROUGHT DUDES AND TREASURE and his wife is like HOW DID YOUR HAIR STAY SO LUXURIOUS WHILE YOU WERE AT SEA and Erik’s like OH MY GOD COCONUT OIL IS A GODSEND.
Ragnar smiles fondly at how adorable they are. He’s approached by a guy with some interesting acting choices who leads the crowd in a round of applause and cheering for Ragnar’s accomplishments. Ragnar grabs Athelstan’s leash and leads him through the crowd, only to spot Knut and be like “You’re too late. You missed the boat.” Knut says he’s there to tell Ragnar to report to Haraldson. People rub on Athelstan’s bald spot as Ragnar drags him toward the town hall. Haha.
UGH GOD I HATE HARALDSON SO MUCH I just had to get that out. The town hall meeting goes as well as expected. Ragnar explains that it was easy to take the treasure, describing the monks as being “like babies,” and that he knows there are many other holy places that are ripe for pillaging. Haraldson’s like “OK cool all the treasure is mine lol bai.” Ragnar objects, pointing out that the boat was paid for by he and Floki and he’s got a whole crew that risked their lives on his plan, and also Haraldson did literally nothing. Haraldson decides to let the crew each take one thing from their haul, because they’ll at least “be richer than they were before.” Ragnar’s pissed, but he goes along with it, and chooses Athelstan after putting a bowl on his own head and dancing like the adorable motherfucker he is.
My cap is kind of dark and it’s more obvious in motion, but something keeps happening where Ragnar’s eyes go from their normal nice blue to a super bright purple/blue. It happened in the last episode when he was convincing people to go with him. It’s pretty rare but seems intentional, so I wonder if we’re going to find out that Ragnar actually is a demigod of some kind? Either that or somebody in post-production is WAY FUCKING HIGH AT ALL TIMES.
Haraldson grants Ragnar’s request. Ragnar stomps off with Athelstan in (literal) tow, followed by Rollo, who bitches at him for giving up the treasure so easily. I mean, this is hard for me to admit, but I agree with Rollo. Not that Ragnar should have fought Haraldson, but maybe consider hiding at least the bulk of the treasure somewhere before you make port? Like pull a Titus Pullo and bury it? Give Haraldson enough to justify the trip and save the rest.
Rollo says “At least he didn’t get everything” and opens his manbag to show Ragnar a cross anda plate and a bunch of coins. Ragnar jacks him up against the wall and calls him an idiot, tells him to get drunk and go whoring so the earl finds out he stole from him.
Siggy admires the treasure, and tells Haraldson to never doubt his power. I’m so fascinated by this character! She pumps up his ego a bit more, then climbs into his lap, but…HARALDSON IS IMPOTENT (pass it along).
Ragnar heads home to his family. He ties Athelstan to a tree and greets Bjorn and Gyda, and kisses Lagertha hello. He explains the treasure situation and proudly introduces them to Athelstan, who doesn’t seem super perturbed, even when Bjorn is HILARIOUSLY DISGUSTED by his hair and Gyda asks him which god is his favorite. I mean, for an introducing-your-children-to-your-slave scene, this is pretty adorable. Ragnar hands the leash to Bjorn (“You can touch him!”) and goes off to have crazy animal sex with Lagertha, who tells him that she missed his smell and his body.
SEXINS. Athelstan prays in the corner while Ragnar and Lagertha go at it hard on the bed a few feet away. He stops praying and they stop banging for a second to come over and proposition him real hard. Haha, holy shit, this is the best thing that ever happened to me/Athelstan. Ragnar’s like “We want to ask you something!” and lets Lagertha take the lead. She says “Come and join us, priest,” and Ragnar whispers “Come on! Don’t you want to?” Haha I can’t stop laughing this is perfect. Everyone’s so good-looking and enthusiastic.
EXCEPT ATHELSTAN. He says “I’m a monk. I’ve taken vows of celibacy. I cannot touch a woman.” I ALSO CANNOT TOUCH A PENIS, NOT EVEN MY OWN is left unsaid but understood. He’s so disappointed! Ragnar jumps on his cot and is like “BUT LOOK AT HOW HOT LAGERTHA IS. DO YOU SEE HER.” And Lagertha’s all IKR.
Athelstan’s like YES I KNOW I AM BESET ON ALL SIDES BY HOT GOLDEN VIKING FLESH BUT SRSLY I HAVE SOME PRAYING TO DO. What he says is “It would be a sin. God would know.” And Ragnar tells him to go to sleep then, and he and Lagertha prance off like cute sex deer, leaving Athelstan with a furious case of self-imposed blue balls.
MISTAKES HAVE BEEN MADE.
The next morning, Athelstan washes his face in the water, and starts crying when he feels the hair growing in on his bald spot. See, this is what religion does to you. It makes your hair bad and makes you feel shitty for not keeping it bad.
He makes sure Ragnar is outside and goes to a bucket of water inside, grabs a knife, and starts trying to shave his hair down again. He starts bleeding pretty profusely, and hears the kids giggling at him. Lagertha tells them it’s time for breakfast and shoos them away.
Over in the village, Haraldson and his lackey have A) made the less-important kid from earlier take off his shirt and B) are also making him dig a hole. Now, I’m from the south, so this is the kind of peculiar behavior that can get a man kicked to death in the woods behind someone’s house. But I guess if you’re the Earl, you get all the shirtless young boy privileges you could ever want. Haraldson asks how old the boy is. He’s 13, which is how old Haraldson’s kids would be if they were still alive. Haraldson asks if he’s excited about the raids, and the kid says yes, because he’s already a good fighter. Haraldson says that’s why he chose him, because he’s “broad, and strong.” UM. DID STRANGER DANGER NOT EXIST IN VIKING TIMES OR WHAT.
The kid asks why they’re burying the treasure, and Baldy explains that Thor has promised use of all the shit you hoard in real life after you get to Valhalla. Fuuuuck yes I’m so excited to bring all these feral cats with me! The kid sees nothing wrong with anything literally up until the point he is being strangled to death by Baldy. Farewell, less important kid. I hope when you get to Valhalla you’re like “Fuck this noise” and leave the treasure unprotected.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ragnar gives Athelstan more mead even though he’s already drunk and refusing. Ragnar’s just like “We don’t like anyone in our house to go hungry or thirsty” and Athelstan’s like OK MAYBE JUST ONE MORE BARREL. Athelstan, you are an alcoholic. Get help.
Ragnar’s sneaky plan is to extract more information about England from Athelstan, and it works like a charm. He learns geography and the language and customs, all of which Athelstan cheerfully gives him. DUDE. LEARN TO HOLD YOUR MEAD. Or ale. What is that? It looks like pee.
Ragnar takes Athelstan to the village the next day. Athelstan stops when he sees that the monks have been killed and strung up, and Ragnar looks almost sorry for a second before dragging him off to Haraldson’s. Way harsh, Tai. Ragnar shoves him down to his knees when they get to Haraldson’s place, which was unscripted and something Travis Fimmel just did, according to Adorable George Blagden. AUSTRALIANS.
Haraldson’s like “How’s your slave?” and Ragnar’s like “Awesome. He told me a bunch of rad stuff about how we can fuck over like EVERYONE in England.” Athelstan is horrified, and tries to say he was lying, but is ignored. Ragnar’s eyes do the thing again, and change from blue to purple to blue within the course of like, one sentence.
Literally he blinked and they changed. WHAT IS GOING ON.
Haraldson is convinced. He tells Ragnar that he could go himself, but Ragnar tells him it’s better for someone more “expendable” to go. Haraldson says Knut has to go along, and Ragnar agrees, telling Haraldson he won’t regret it.
On the way out of the village, Athelstan drops to his knees in front of the murdered monks. Ragnar cuts the leash off and takes one of the bedrolls, telling Athelstan to run away if he wants before walking off. Athelstan makes the wise decision to go after Ragnar, who smiles delightedly.
Ragnar tells Lagertha about Haraldson’s decision when he returns home, and Lagertha tells him, resigned, that they’ll sacrifice to Odin for him. He smiles and says “Are you not coming with me?” She’s super excited, but asks what’s going to happen with the farm/kids? Ragnar puts Athelstan in charge, which Bjorn doesn’t like, but Gyda settles it by saying she likes Athelstan and is okay with it. I love this family. (Athelstan asks Ragnar to reconsider killing more Northumbrians, but is ignored. MAYBE IF YOU WOULD PUT OUT HE WOULD HAVE A REASON TO STAY HOME.)
Ragnar goes off to, I don’t know, jump up and down and squeal with Floki. Lagertha tells Athelstan that if anything happens to the kids, she’ll tear his lungs out of his body. Which is fair.
On the boat the next day, Knut eyeballs Lagertha (who has a supercute pouf-and-braids combo), which ends with Rollo choking him out. Rollo slaps him back awake, and asks if Knut is really with them. Knut assures them he is, and Rollo’s like LOL JUST ASKING. Knut considers talking to his guidance counselor about all this bullying.
NORTHUMBRIA. The vikings disembark and are met by a small contingent of soldiers. Ragnar is the only one who speaks Saxon, so there is a lot of confusion on both sides, even as Ragnar assures the soldiers they only want to trade. I like that nobody is speaking English in this scene, even the vikings. The lead Northumbrian wants to bring the vikings to meet King Aella, but Rollo and Erik say it’s a trap. The Northumbrians are uneasy with how the Norsemen are arguing with each other. The lead soldier takes off his necklace and puts it around Rollo’s neck as a show of good faith, but Floki stomps forward and steals the cross off of another soldier, which means it’s time to kill each other obviously. Oneo f the soldiers escapes on horseback, but the rest are slaughtered so hard that the WHOLE OCEAN TURNS TO BLOOD.