Eye for an eye is the fourth episode of the second season of Vikings. It’s an episode that sees Ragnar and Ecbert finally meet each other. But it’s also an episode of hardships for Ragnar’s family who were sent from their homes in Kattegat while Jarl Borg continues to rule in Ragnar’s place.
Caution Spoilers below: Recommend watching the episode before reading this discussion
This episode is actually a very interesting one and starts off by focusing on Rollo (Clive Standen), Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and the rest of the family from Kattegat who now dwell in an abandoned home that Rollo found for the winter. Princess Aslaug isn’t happy with the new living arrangements and does nothing but complain about how dirty everything is there, she pretty much is acting like a spoilt princess the whole episode. Rollo and Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) seem to have their relationship back on track as Rollo impresses her with his resourcefulness, leading to them getting back together. These characters spend all the episode waiting for Ragnar to get back.
We then get to see what Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) is up to and in this episode he has a crucial meeting with King Ecbert (Linus Roache). They have a discussion in King Ecbert’s bath which looks to be a remnant of the old Roman Empire type of bath houses. I did really enjoy the scene of Ragnar and Ecbert meeting in this way and talking on equal terms about matters concerning their war. Ragnar wants land and it seems Ecbert is willing to give him it, well as long as Ragnar does something for him. I do wonder what that could be, perhaps an invasion of one of Ecbert’s enemies?
All the discussion however is cut short though because one of King Horik’s messengers arrives at the Viking camp by boat to tell Ragnar that his family is in danger and Jarl Borg has taken his lands. I did like the idea of Thovard (Richard Ashton) arriving, but I have no idea how he navigated there. I had the impression that Ragnar was the only one that knew the way to England and how to navigate, but then there is this Thovard who seems to just travel back and forth. What? How in the world did he learn so quickly? It doesn’t really matter because I guess the writers just need Ragnar to travel back home, but still, I don’t know how Thorvard just figured out the seas after one raid with King Horik which isn’t even finished yet. Consider also that navigating isn’t perfect, it wasn’t intended for Ragnar and everyone to land in King Ecbert’s land, remember they wanted to go to king Aelle’s land in the invasion episode but sailed off course.
Nevertheless Ragnar and the rest of his friends hear the news and quickly leave for Kattegat to rescue Ragnar’s family and everyone else. They leave King Horik (Donal Logue) behind who thinks he can get a deal with Ecbert without Ragnar’s help. What’s interesting though is that Athelstan (George Blagden) stays behind with King Horik. Ragnar is surprised by this and shocked, as I was as well. Ragnar says to him “I’m surprised to hear you say that, for you know my family better than anyone” and then Athelstan doesn’t even comment about it, he just says his reason is because it’s for the good of the realm. Maybe Athelstan is going to take the first chance he has and try and escape? Even so I am surprised by his character here, he just doesn’t care at all about the people he stays with. Maybe it’s because of what he saw happen to the priests during the raid in Treachery But either way, Ragnar considered Athelstan a friend and I don’t think Athelstan thinks the same, he should have went with him back to Kattegat.
In the episode there are also some interesting scenes concerning Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig). It seems Lagertha’s new man Earl Sigvard (Morten Suurballe) is a bit of an abusive husband and doesn’t treat Lagertha well at all. Bjorn is quite near ready to kill the man and the tensions are very high in the household. Earl Sigvard is further angered when Lagertha asks him to send aid to Ragnar to help him get back his lands. I don’t think this Earl Sigvard is going to live very long, I don’t think he could win a fight against Lagertha or even Bjorn so I expect he’ll be gone soon.
Towards the end of the episode Athelstan’s life takes a turn for the worse as he’s captured and crucified by the Christians. I don’t know how most people felt about that, Athelstan just can’t really get a win really. But he should have went back with Ragnar. Eventually he gets lucky and is saved by King Ecbert who like Ragnar must see some value in Athelstan. So I guess the Athelstan character will continue on, although I don’t know why but maybe it would have been better to end him there, would have been a more powerful episode I think.
Ragnar eventually returns to Kattegat but nothing much really happens other than catching up with his family and Rollo talking to him about the current situation and what he’s done so far. The most significant thing is that he is reunited at the end of the episode with Bjorn and Lagertha which is good and Lagertha brought with her a small force of men so it seems in the next episode Ragnar should have enough to take down Jarl Borg.
Overall this episode of Vikings was a good, there was a lot of drama between the characters and a lot of hard decisions were made. I also would like to mention that the music in this episode was great and really added a lot to some of the scenes. I’m looking forward to the next episode to see what happens to Jarl Borg.