Blood Eagle is the seventh episode of the second season of Vikings. This episode focuses on the demise of Jarl Borg, some quarrels between King Horik and Ragnar and also the return of Lagertha to Kattegat. The episode also has King Ecbert and King Aelle meet each other to discuss the future of their Kingdoms.
Warning Spoilers in the episode discussion ahead
This episode will likely be one of the most memorable ones of the season as it marks the end of the Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr) plot line and also starts on a new plot line with a rivalry developing between King Horik (Donal Logue) and Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as well as a new alliance between King Ecbert ( Linus Roache) and King Aelle (Ivan Kaye).
I’ll first off start talking about King Horik (Donal Logue). it was mentioned a while ago that King Horik is playing a game as he calls it (see the Unforgiven review) and appears to be trying to manipulate those around him to some type of advantage. Horik seems to be doing this I think because he wants to remain King and he is likely seeing Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as a threat but can’t do anything about it just yet. I believe now that he was playing Ragnar and Jarl Borg against each other so one of them can be wiped out, but now is quite likely threatened by Ragnar much more than anything Jarl Borg could’ve done. There are two interesting moments for Horik in this episode and the first is when Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) goes over to him to let him know that Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) is angry with Ragnar and the second is the scene when he goes over to Floki and even attends his wedding. More interesting though is that Horik’s motivations are made known when he visits Jarl Borg and promises to set him free with the intention of killing Ragnar down the line. But, Horik doesn’t wield enough power in Kattegat to do so and can’t do anything for Jarl Borg…. I guess Horik will need to work on a new plan….
What’s interesting in this episode is also the development of Floki’s character. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) is given the news from Helga (Maude Hirst) that she is carrying his child. At first Floki doesn’t know what to do and this is frightening to Helga but then he proposes they get married in the name of the Gods. Floki also does not wish to invite Ragnar to this gathering and this line of gossip translates into Floki being angry with Ragnar. But why would Floki be angry with Ragnar? Floki says that it’s because everything is for Ragnar, he helped Ragnar rise. But I haven’t seen Ragnar really do anything towards Floki, maybe Floki is overworked building all those boats? Either way it is an interesting development which at this time I’m not sure exactly what is the motivation for this anger, yet I’m intrigued to find out why. Floki has been loyal to Ragnar ever since season 1. But I guess if Rollo (Clive Standen) can betray Ragnar in Brother’s War then maybe Floki can as well.
In talking about Floki it’s very interesting to watch the wedding between Helga and Floki in this episode as it is contrasted against a Christian marriage. The difference that is shown that is that the Norse marriage is out of love while the Christian one is made because of political alliance. It was a very well constructed scene of the show and I really liked the music that was played during Floki’s wedding. It was all great! Actually the music throughout this episode was particularly well done.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) makes a return in this episode and is now surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly an Earl. Lagertha takes the name Earl Ing Stad and surprises Ragnar by meeting him in the forest and revealing herself as the Earl. Ragnar thinks it must be the Gods playing a joke on him, but they are not, Lagertha is an Earl now. I for one like this, as Lagertha is one of my favourite characters in the show and seeing her have to suffer under Earl Sigvard (Morten Suurballe) and then finally killing him in the last episode was great. It’s good to see a character rise after going through some hardships and Lagertha deserves her place. I do wonder if Ragnar will ever hear about what happened to her while with Sigvard and I’m interested to know how things are going now that she is Earl. Are her people just going to respect her all of sudden?
One small thing that happened in this episode but will likely have consequences once Ragnar and everyone travel to England for their raid, is that King Ecbert and King Aelle are now in an alliance with one another. Interestingly King Ecbert revealed that his intends to take the Kingdom of Mercia which is in turmoil at the moment. The alliance is sealed with a marriage between King Ecbert’s son and King Aelle’s daughter. We then get to see some of this political marriage contrasted against Floki’s. King Ecbert has been looking to expand for some time, in fact ever since we were introduced to his character back in Treachery we knew he had grand ambitions. It seems that these ambitions are now coming into play and we are starting to see them unfold.
Even with all the events of this episode, the most central thing that happened is the Blood Eagle, the whole episode is named after this event. In the last episode Unforgiven we saw Ragnar finally capture Jarl Borg with the intention of seeking revenge through which he described as a Blood Eagle. But the episode ended and now we actually get to see this type of execution. It’s a quite gruesome ordeal in which Jarl Borg is executed and for the most part it is shown in the episode. I won’t put any images here of it though for those who might be too sensitive for those types of things and could stumble upon this review without knowing. For some reason I enjoyed watching the Blood Eagle and I also liked watching the character reactions, it’s interesting to see those who remained strong and did not look away at all and those who looked away. It was quite a horrible way to die for Jarl Borg and I actually don’t hate Jarl Borg as a character and felt sorry for him and his fate in this episode, it is a cruel world in which we live. My only issue with the scene is possibly I would have liked for the scene not to be so blurry, I couldn’t really see much. But I did like the music and the effects in the Blood Eagle scene.
Overall this episode was very good. It’s a very memorable episode considering the violence of what happens during a Blood Eagle. It is also an interesting episode because of the change in the relationship between Ragnar and Floki and also Ragnar and Horik. Horik is definitely an enemy to watch out for and Ragnar may not know about it and Floki may prove disloyal now that he doesn’t seem satisfied. It will be interesting to see how these characters develop in the lead up the the finale in a few episodes time.