Vikings 1.07: A King’s Ransom

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

PREVIOUSLY, ON VIKINGS: Ragnar killed Haraldson in the holmgang and became the new earl; Lagertha is pregnant; Rollo is schemey.

(This is going to be shorter than normal/more of a review because a bunch of junk came up at one time in real life.)

OMG WE’RE ALMOST AT THE END. THIS IS TROUBLING.

This episode was pretty jam-packed with a lot of stuff. The two main plots took place independently of each other:

MAIN PLOT 1: Ragnar & the Ragnarettes went back to Northumbria to fuck with King Aella some more–and who can blame them, that guy’s a tool–and in the process, fight a battle against the Northumbrians. Aella, being such a tool, sent his brother Wolfrlagahaghendhstein or something (I didn’t catch his name and TRUST ME IT DOESN’T MATTER. I think he was only there to put a point on what an incredible dick Aella is) to fight the battle for him. Predictably, Wolfrrhaghaglleangenstein loses. He spent literally the entire battle praying in his tent, and when he finally goes out to fight, Floki cuts his tent down on him and trapped him. Not quite a tiny net, but almost as pathetic.

In order to further peacekeeping negotiations, Ragnar takes a bunch of hostages, Wurlrhrarglglfenston included. (I don’t think there’s any real context for it but I THINK he also gently pushes his wiener on Wararghghrllrable’s head). Ragnar goes to Aella’s castle and gets himself invited to dinner with the king. There’s a slight pall over the proceedings, considering Aella’s brother is held hostage and Vikings who hate you are terrible houseguests (they will break your flatware, make fun of your entertainment, and scare your children for funsies). Ragnar also sees a bishop and is like IS THAT YOUR PRIEST I HAVE ONE TOO I STOLE HIM LOL DOES YOURS PUT OUT WHERE DID YOU GET HIM MINE’S CUTER.

When they get down to business, Ragnar demands 2,000 pounds of money for the safe return of Waralrlagghghufs. Not like 3,000 dollars, but literally two thousand pounds of metal. Aella is horrified, but eventually agrees–under the condition that Ragnar or someone else is baptized. Ragnar is dismissive, but Rollo volunteers sarcastically. This leads to the SINGLE GREATEST SCENE IN ALL OF CINEMATIC HISTORY, in gif format here. I’m still laughing up most of my internal organs. CLIVE STANDEN WHAT.

At the baptism, Ragnar is dismissive of the ritual but still willing to kneel when Aella does, because Ragnar is smart and canny and wily as fuck. I don’t even know anything about Harry Potter and I know he’s a Slytherin. When the vikings go back to their camp to wait for the gold, Floki starts shit with Rollo about his baptism and how it would have angered the gods (even though his renunciation of them wasn’t real), to the point where Rollo almost kills him. The Northumbrians arrive with the cart and interrupt the imminent murdering, but since the cart is empty and actually a distraction for the hundred Northumbrian soldiers who come riding up, we do actually get some murder. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Particularly because Ragnar expected this to happen, and had everyone building fortifications in the form of spiked gates to throw off the soldiers before the actual awesome battle begins. I counted at least two spotlighted shieldmaidens kicking extreme amounts of ass. The old man from the previous episode finally gets to Valhalla. The vikings kill the soldiers handily. Rollo spends like an hour after the battle is over going around and killing all of the semi-dead soldiers in the mud, like rolling around and shrieking and stabbing them a hundred times. It’s wonderful. He yells to Floki, asking them if the gods are angry with him now, and Floki’s just like “LOL I don’t know I’m history’s greatest troll?”

Ragnar tells Waluigi that his brother is the biggest dick ever, and Worldofwarcraft is like “Yeah, dude, I know. But let me talk to him, I’ll convince him to honor your thing or whatever.” Ragnar’s all “I have a better idea,” and sends his dead body back to Aella. Farewell, dude. I hope they don’t laugh at your getting-trapped-in-a-tent ass too much in Valhalla.

Aella, now in the mood to declare total war on Ragnar, sends the money so they don’t get attacked (now that like all of their soldiers are dead). Ragnar and crew go home again, pleased.

MAIN PLOT 2: While Ragnar is off putting his wiener on hostages, Lagertha is holding down the fort and doing a fucking amazing job of it. Her first order of business is a husband and wife with a baby, but the husband is angry and thinks the baby isn’t his, and actually was fathered by a young drifter named Rigg (I don’t know if that’s the name, but seriously, dudes named Rigg are always suspect. Basically anyone whose name is one syllable and ends in a G has at least one baby out of wedlock). The wife is upset and admits she genuinely doesn’t know who the father is, since they all stayed in the same bed and she was afraid to speak up. The dude is a FUCKING ASSHOLE about it, but Lagertha is having none of it whatsoever. She’s like, “Listen, punk, shut your mouth. You were visited by the gods that night, and you should be honored that he chose your rad wife to have his baby. If I hear you have hurt either of them in any way, I am going to feed you your own dick. UNDERSTOOD?” And the dude does not even argue. The woman thanks Lagertha, who smiles benevolently at her. I have an idea: Ragnar can go off and do whatever, spread mayhem and bloodshed and science, and Lagertha can be earl and/or king forever and help out women all the time and be awesome. She’s amazing at it.

Bonus: the whole time, Athelstan is sitting off to the side, kind of turned on and amused by the whole thing.

Later, Siggy comes to Lagertha (who greets her very warmly and sincerely). Bjorn is suspicious, but Lagertha is like “A. shut up and B. this could have been me. Lern 2 empathy.” And Bjorn learns, and asks Siggy to sit. Siggy, visibly upset, asks if she can be Lagertha’s servant. Lagertha is horrified, but Athelstan steps in and says it’s possible to be happy and fulfilled as a servant, because he became content as a servant of the Church/Father Cuthbert. Siggy’s like, WOW THIS BOY IS WHIPPED GOOD FOR YOU, and Lagertha eventually agrees. She specifically states that Siggy and Thyrri are now under her protection, but she will never treat Siggy like a servant. It’s lovely, which makes what happens after kind of difficult to deal with, if it’s going to play out the way I think it does.

Later (how much later, we don’t really know? This show’s pacing is sometimes difficult to follow), Siggy runs to Lagertha’s room, where she has miscarried horribly on the bed. She immediately wraps her arms around the crying Lagertha, and I love both of these characters so much that it didn’t even occur to me until after the episode was over that Siggy might have poisoned her. I don’t want it to be true, because I hate that trope so much, but I think that’s the implication here. :( And if Siggy did it, Rollo is probably also responsible, and that is some point of no return betrayal, Rollo, of both Lagertha and Ragnar. UGH. GET OUT OF HERE. Like I could almost understand why Siggy might do it out of revenge or fear or both, but Rollo’s reasons would be just evil.

This episode was so good (more enjoyable than last week’s), and next week’s looks like it’s going to be INSANE. And not just because of Athelstan’s new hair. WHAT IS THAT.