There Are Some Spoilers In our Vikings: Homeland Review – Post Episode Discussion
It’s been a really long time since I’ve reviewed an episode of Vikings on the site and I’m not sure why really as it’s one of my favourite shows on television. I was a little too late to make it in time to review last week’s episodes, but I would say that I was very impressed with the season premiere.
In this episode we see some continuing tensions between the sons of Ragnar. Much of their story becomes increasingly tense during and after the siege of York by the Saxons. Ivar has been allowed to come up with the strategy for how the defence is to be mounted and does quite well.
The Saxons as we know, plan to attack where the wall is weak. We see Aethelwulf, his sons and also Bishop Heahmund’s forces enter the fortress, which looks at first easy to take. But in actuality, Ivar has been busy laying traps in many of the corridors and there are spikes on the floor, people throwing oil, people shooting arrows and also some burning happening. The Saxons look to be almost defeated, but surprisingly Ivar rides out into the middle of the battle.
Ivar has been becoming quite the scary individual of late and I believe he is starting to think he’s the most special of the bunch, with the greatest destiny. This is reinforced a little by the slave girl who visits and tells him so, which I think Ivar enjoyed hearing. Ivar falls in battle and ends up surrounded by Saxon forces and yells in his own language saying he can’t be killed and has blood all over his face. Everyone seems terrified of him and to be honest it was an excellent performance from Alex Høgh Andersen. Eventually his brothers turn up and save him and there’s a massive battle.
As battles go in the series, the siege of York was a decent one. There’s a fair amount blood spilt, people burnt and a few falling into the spikes Ivar left and whole bunch of other horrible medieval style deaths. It’s great entertainment for a Wednesday night!
After the siege, the Saxons back off and eventually retreat, having lost quite a few men. This is where the tensions between the brothers increase, with Ivar after the battle wanting to take credit for it all and the other brothers wanting it to be a team effort. Ivar also finds himself at odds with Hvitserk and Ubbe who want to get peace with the Saxons and claim their land, Ivar thinks this a terrible idea.
Secretly Hvitserk and Ubbe leave Ivar’s castle during the night and seek out Aethelwulf’s and Bishop Heahmund’s forces to try and get peace. Unfortunately though, this is an error in judgement and the two are beaten badly and sent back to Ivar, no peace given and no respect paid to the Sons of Ragnar. It’s an embarrassment for the two brothers and Ivar spends a good amount of time roasting them for it. From this point of the episode, Ivar solidifies himself as the leader of the great Viking army and Ubbe has lost the respect of the forces, eventually going home to Kattegatt at the end of the episode.
We all know that Ragnar did tell Ivar to be ruthless, but did he go too far here with his brothers? Is Ivar going to be unstoppable now or will Bishop Heahmund become trouble down the line? Heahmund seems to be a lot sharper than Aethelwulf. I’m very interested to see what’s to come from the Saxon side of things and what Ivar will do next.
In the lighter side of the episode, we see some scenes with King Harald who has gone back to Norway with Astrid. The King is still trying to win her over, but knows nothing about women. All he ends up getting in the end is a punch in the nose and it looked bad! It was a little funny and I am starting to enjoy King Harald quite a bit lately.
We also see Floki on his journey, he has discovered new land and is having some sort of spiritual reawakening. He is seeing the Gods all over the place and his body has become completely healed. I do wonder and I have a theory that he’s in Iceland, but I am not sure at the moment. I’m also curious to see where this storyline might go, maybe he’ll go back to Kattegat and bring some people to this place to settle and farm there. With Ubbe going back there, maybe there’s an opportunity for it.
Overall this was a great episode of the show, it had some great action scenes and did a lot to further the multiple character plot lines which will make up what is to be season 5. At the moment it looks like Ivar has the most going for him, but there’s some interesting things going on with Bishop Heahmund and Floki. I wonder what it is to come from those two.