Vikings 1.06: Burial of the Dead

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Vikings airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on The History Channel

PREVIOUSLY, ON VIKINGS:

Ragnar’s village got murdered by Haraldson’s men as revenge for…what, we are still not certain. Ragnar sustained some serious injuries, so Lagertha moved the whole family in with Floki. Haraldson tortured Rollo for not giving up Ragnar’s location, which prompts Ragnar to send Floki to challenge Haraldson to one-on-one combat.

AND HE DOES. Haraldson’s guards drag a giggling Loki into the hall at Kattegatt to hash out the deets for some one-on-one combat. I think a better way to do it would have been to walk in and be like “Yo, Haraldson, Ragnar is requesting your presence…AT HIS EARLENING AND/OR YOUR FUNERAL.” and then kick a chair and throw the horns up.

Floki giggles some more as everyone laughs at Ragnar’s audacity. Haraldson’s annoying announcer dude declines the challenge on Haraldson’s behalf, but Haraldson remembers when he visited Grossface Viking Miss Cleo a few episodes ago and mysteriously accepts it instead. Floki is dragged back out.

At Floki’s hut, it is time for HOT SWEATY VIKING SEX IN FRONT OF THE FIRE. Actually it is time for Lagertha and Ragnar to argue about Ragnar’s chances against Haraldson (Haraldson’s old but Ragnar’s in like 11 different pieces). She wants them to leave, because Ragnar can’t fight, but Ragnar’s very fatalistic about it, assuming that the outcome is already decided. They continue banging/being super hot.

Back in Kattegatt, we actually get a little character development and insight into Haraldson. He discusses the impending fight with Siggy, and assures her that he does, in fact, respect Ragnar–Ragnar is what he used to be, and he always knew Ragnar was right about going into the West. He just didn’t want his supporters to desert him for Ragnar. DUDE IF YOU’RE A GOOD LEADER WHO RESPECTS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HIERARCHICALLY BENEATH YOU AND YOU ACCEPT THEIR INPUT YOU WILL HAVE MANY MORE SUPPORTERS OH MY GOD. Siggy makes Haraldson promise that he’ll kill Ragnar.

Euuuugh now it’s time for Thyrri’s gross husband to be gross :( He rolls off of her, telling her that this is their first kid, and tells her to go get him pickled herring. She, rightfully, tells him that shit is way nast, and he’s a smelly loser already. “Why can’t you just bathe like everyone else?” she snaps. He threatens to beat her if she doesn’t get the pickled herring, and she rolls her eyes and gets up. He asks about Ragnar, and she refuses to discuss him, since he’s her father’s enemy. ILU Thyrri.

The next morning:

Lagertha embroiders, stays strong for the kids, everyone smiles nervously at each other.

Haraldson prays, realizes it’s useless, and dumps his idol. Siggy gives him her lock of their sons’ hair.

They meet on the makeshift battlefield in town (Ragnar limping and stumbling around, gripping Athelstan’s shoulder and saying “Don’t look so worried”). Haraldson’s annoying dude announces the rules: only two shields, any weapon they want. Haraldson and Ragnar both trade out their first shields, and the fighting begins. It’s a great fight, like all of them on this show, and Haraldson pulls ahead at first, just by dint of not being in 11 separate pieces. Ragnar’s sword breaks, and he beats Haraldson’s shield with his until both shields bust apart. They both take up axes, which is when the fight gets super awesome. Haraldson slices Ragnar’s chest after taking a shot to the head, but pauses a second too long when he attacks again, and Ragnar gets him off-balance and turned around and nails him in the back.

Ragnar sees the raven, and kneels next to Haraldson. He tells him Odin is there to see who he’s going to take, and Haraldson knows it’s going to be himself. I am unexpectedly sad for Haraldson. Ragnar opens his wrist up with the axe, and Siggy runs forward and tries to hold it shut. Haraldson pushes her away. “Tonight, I shall be drinking with our boys.” he says, and dies quietly. omg :(

Annoying Announcer Dude orders someone to kill Ragnar, and Rollo (face just…ALL kinds of fucked up, but in a hot way?) grabs an axe and plants it in his chest, killing him also. THANK GOODNESS.

Siggy looks around. She then runs to Thyrri, takes the knife Thyrri had hidden, and fucking shanks Thyrri’s gross husband to death. HOLY SHIT I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. She then walks back into the circle and says “Hail, Earl Ragnar.” She repeats it in a yell when she gets no response, and kneels next to him, prompting the rest of the townspeople to do the same. Lagertha approaches him as he stands. Neither of them look very happy.

Everyone files into the town hall, and the townspeople start yelling for Ragnar to “take it” and sit down in the great big Earl chair.

Is it…earlgonomic, perhaps?!!?!?!?!

Ragnar and Lagertha FINALLY crack some fucking smiles when they get into their chairs, and Leif is the first man to come up, kneel in front of Ragnar, and offer his loyalty on his arm ring. Ragnar tells him it’s not necessary, because they’re friends, and the same goes for Thorston and another crewmember named Arne. An old man, Thorsteig, comes up, and Ragnar asks if he swears fealty for the rest of his days. Rollo snidely says “That won’t be so long, then” and everyone laughs. ROLLO STOP BEIN A DICK.

Ragnar shuts them up by raising his hand. Thorsteig swears, and asks if Ragnar will do him a favor: take him along on the next raids. Ragnar sits forward and begins, gently, “I do not wish to insult you–”

Thorsteig is like “IS IT BECAUSE I’M OLD? LISTEN, WHIPPERSNAPPER, I WAS STANDING IN SHIELD WALLS WITH MY BROS WHEN YOU WERE STILL ON YOUR MAMA’S TITTY, AND I NEVER GOT STABBED ONCE. ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEAD. I’M PROBABLY YOUR REAL DAD. LET ME GO WITH YOU, PUNKASS, BEFORE I DIE A SMALL AND SILENT DEATH AND AM DISAVOWED BY THE GODS.”

Ragnar, sort of in love, stands up and crowdsources an opinion on whether Thorsteig should join the summer raids. Everyone ayes it. Yay! I hope you die in battle, Thorsteig! <33333 Rollo comes up to Ragnar, who touches his ruined (hotly?!?) face and tells him he doesn't have to swear, since he's already sacrificed so much out of loyalty to Ragnar. Rollo insists, and they hug. "How will we be equal now?" Rollo asks quietly. Ragnar, rightfully, looks concerned. You just can't go like two minutes without fucking up, can you, Rollo? [SOME INDETERMINATE AMOUNT OF TIME LATER] Haraldson's funeral pyre is being prepared as the village bustles with activity. Athelstan asks why Ragnar granted a lavish funeral for Haraldson, since they were enemies. Ragnar's like "He was a great man," and I'm like GUYS WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST GET SOME MEAD AND FUCKIN TALK IT OVER LIKE ADULTS UGH. IMAGINE WHAT YOU COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. Ragnar takes Athelstan to a tent where a girl is drinking and singing. She is a slave, and she is the only one of Haraldson's female slaves who agreed to die with him to accompany him to the afterlife. Athelstan is mildly horrified. Give it a minute, sweetie. Bjorn finds Athelstan later and tells him he needs a drink. They drink out of horns. Athelstan catches sight of the girl being led (drunkenly) into a hut, and asks Bjorn WTF. Bjorn explains that dudes are going to have sex with her, and she will pass along the message "We did this out of love for you" to Haraldson when she meets him in the afterlife. That is the most homosexual thing I ever heard, and three episodes ago one dude asked another dude into bed. Athelstan is even more horrified. MORRIFIED. Still later, the slave girl is led through the crowd to a giant lady in a helmet--we learn from Bjorn that she's called the Angel of Death, and she looks like it. The girl somberly hands over her cuffs and necklace, and drinks some ale. She looks out over the water and, excitedly, says that she can see Haraldson in Valhalla, and she is ready to die. Athelstan tries to leave, but Bjorn suddenly turns into a giant wad and angrily says that if Athelstan leaves, Ragnar will hear about it. Athelstan crosses himself, and the Angel of Death slits the girl's throat. She is carried onto the boat while everyone cheers--except Athelstan, who barfily runs away. Ragnar, Lagertha, and the kids come out to even more cheers. Athelstan is totally drunk at this point, and the whole family looks so uncomfortable. Holy crap you guys, calm the fuck down. Siggy hears the commotion and goes to Ragnar, politely asking that she be allowed to light her husband's pyre. Ragnar doesn't say anything, but gives the torch to a random dude. Wow, dick fucking move, Ragnar. You've been hanging around Rollo too much. This episode was great because all of the episodes are great, but there were a lot of parts I didn't really understand that kept me from enjoying it completely. This was the main one. Why did he not let her light the pyre? He had nothing to prove, to Siggy or anyone there. As the longship floats away burnily, Lagertha quietly tells Ragnar that she's pregnant again. FINALLY, SOME HAPPY FACES. He kneels down and talks to her belly, crying and telling it how happy he is. Siggy and Thyrri try to pack up gold and jewelry when they are startled by Rollo. He assures them he hasn't come to kill them, then super creepily says they won't even be shunned if Siggy will marry him, BECAUSE HE IS PLANNING TO MURDER RAGNAR AND BECOME THE EARL. Rollo…ugh. UGH. I’M SO MAD. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.

[another indeterminate amount of time later] Ragnar walks into the hall. Bjorn observes that the pigs are fattening up nicely. Ragnar’s like “So’s your mother.” and I am shocked–SHOCKED–that Lagertha doesn’t fling an axe at his face. Bjorn excitedly tells Ragnar he wants to go to England in the summer, but Ragnar shuts that down, telling him not to be so eager.

Athelstan (wearing viking duds now!) asks Ragnar to tell him about Ragnarok. Everyone goes hilariously silent. Athelstan continues, saying he’s heard of it many times but nobody has actually explained it. Ragnar, smirking, says “Let’s show this ignorant Christian what Ragnarok is.”

If my name was Ragnar I would call my penis Ragnarok, just saying. Missed opportunity.

“Get the leaves.” Ragnar says. Floki dumps a bunch of probably meth into the fire, and shit gets real smoky. Athelstan hallucinates a raven flying through, and the creepy seer says this:

The Twilight of the Gods will happen like this. There will be three years of terrible winters, and summers of black sunlight. People will lose all hope and surrender to greed, incest, and civil war. Midgardsormen, the world’s serpent, will come lunging from the ocean, dragging the tides in and flooding the world. The wolf, giant Fenrir, will break his invisible chains. The skies will open, and Surt, the fire giant, will come flaming across the bridge to destroy the gods. Odin will come riding out of the gates of Valhalla to do battle for the last time against the wolf. Thor will kill the serpent but die from its venom. Surt will spread fire across the earth. At last, Fenrir will swallow the sun.

During this whole thing, there is like stock footage of the ocean and a dude in a wolf pelt harassing the confused/high Athelstan and a dude screaming. It’s pretty wonderful.

The next scene is immediately tranquil water and grass and stuff, because it is summer and the Vikings are headed to Northumbria again. King Aella is being advised as to their return, and how they haven’t disembarked, just sailed up the River Tyne. He’s a total bitch about it, basically calling his adviser a pansy and making veiled threats on his life. He tells them that he’s got something new to show them, and takes them to a pit full of calm, adorable little ball pythons. Wait I mean “deadly vipers” or whatever. How many kinds of poisonous snakes are even in Northern England? Anyway, King Aella tosses his adviser into the pit because he is an asshole, and the adviser dies in there.

I wouldn’t be worried, except Ragnar Lothbrok died in a snake pit IRL.

Gulp.

Please like & share:
  • Meghan

    Great recap! The whole explanation of Ragnarok was kind of like an acid trip, but very entertaining. And I totally agree with you regarding Rollo, he’s still very hot! Kind of a dick, because he’s plotting a lot of evil things. But yeah, very hot!

    • Sam H.

      Thank you! It totally was, like they just get together to hotbox some norseweed and talk about the end of the world. VIKINGS: THEY’RE JUST LIKE US.

      Rollo’s massive hotness is the most frustrating thing in the world.

  • DeeDee

    Sorry to nitpick, I know Norse names etc. can be confusing, but Onai would actually be Arne and Midgard’s torment Midgardsormen (meaning Midgard’s snake). Just for future reference. :)

    Great recap, I always enjoy reading these.

    • Sam H.

      No, no, please nitpick away! I have no ear for Norse language AT ALL and have needed help on like, every recap. Thank you!

  • seacath

    Pickled Herring! Geedee pickled herring! As a half-“norse”, I crave that stuff all the time. I blame my genes. Why don’t people believe me when I tell them it’s da bomb?!?! OMG! Do you people not understand the total deliciousness you are depriving yourselves of?

    Awesome recap, as always. Thank you!!! …and yes, the men are hotter than they deserve to be. It’s a curse.

    • Sam H.

      UUUUGGGHHHH GET OUT OF HERE. THIS IS A PICKLED HERRING FREE ZONE. Although I have eaten and enjoyed brain stew so I probably don’t have any place to judge.

      Thanks so much! Hot men with terrible personalities are the worst, siiiigh.

  • Liz

    one-on-one combat

    IT’S CALLED A HOLMGANG

    WHY CAN’T THEY JUST CALL IT THE RIGHT THING

    I AM CONFUSE and pedantic admittedly

    • Sam H.

      Because they knew I would mishear it as like homekangaroo or something and were trying to spare me the embarrassment.

      at least u admit it

  • ducky

    I am clutching at straws here but Rollo didn’t outright say he would murder Ragnar to become Earl. He could theoretically go off to Normandy to become Duke of Normandy – which is even better than Earl – and father some children whose descendants become the kings of England. Like real history’s Rollo.

    Great recap as always. You are very funny.

    P.s.: I didn’t care for this episode. Ragnar was extra dickish I thought and I felt horrible about that poor girl they gang-banged and then sacrificed. Consent my ass…she was too drunk and too drugged to consent to anything.

    • Sam H.

      WE CAN ONLY HOPE.

      Thank you, and thank you for reading and commenting!

      And I agree. I mean, it was technically good, but a lot of it seemed off. Maybe because they were working under the assumption it would be a one-season miniseries and wanted to get as much drama and (I guess negative?) character development into the last few episodes as possible? I don’t know how tv works.

  • cowshark

    I actually looked up the snakes of England, and there’s only one species that has venom that can hurt people (note that I say hurt, not kil): http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_there_poisonous_snakes_in_England
    I guess if you have a huge ass pit of these dudes they might kill a person if they’re in there for a long time getting frequently bitten and not getting medical attention. I bet the advisor dude ended up having a heart attack from fear. So maybe that can be Ragnar’s out–he doesn’t freak out when the snakes bite him, so he’s cool.

    • Sam H.

      Thank you for the info! This just goes to show that if you’re calm under pressure and not afraid when snakes bite you, you are effectively immortal probably!

  • Marina H

    Thanks for your work. I love the show and appreciate your fun recaps.
    Reading about the real history helps understand, the Wikipedia article on Norse Funeral explains the show’s episode. Spooky and amazing…