Vikings Ep. 14
In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning
First off we have to get to the exchange of leadership that was about to happen! We left off with Queen Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) coming out to lay down her sword and officially surrender after she was defeated swiftly by Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). Aslaug renounces her crown but makes sure to remind Lagertha that the Gods fortold of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) having many sons and she provided those for him so she will have her place in history. She only asks for safe passage so she can leave and that way her sons will not seek revenge on Lagertha. As she walks away with her nose properly high in the air, she doesn’t get far before an arrow is shot into her back by Lagertha. Told you lady! You should not have messed with her. I wonder if she REALLY thought she was going to just sail away from all this. While I never necessarily liked Aslaug it seems to me that there really wasn’t much else to do for her and the character ran its course.
Later on when Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Sigurd (David Lindstrom) find out what happened they rush to the throne room where Lagertha is to ask about their mother. When Lagertha tells them Ubbe tries to push ahead and enact revenge but he is brought down by her men and they are both sent away. Afterwards while Ubbe plots to take revenge for their mother’s death he asks Sigurd for his help but he’s not interested. When asked why Sigurd explains that lately he did not feel close to their mother and felt the only one she had love for was Ivar (Alex Hogh). Who by the way if you think about it going to be all sorts of pissed off when he gets back!
Meanwhile on the other side of the ocean Ragnar Lothbrok finally gets to be face to face with King Ecbert (Linus Roache) the man that he has traveled across the ocean to see who had all his innocent people killed in England. But if you were expecting a big knock down brawl you were sadly disappointed. Instead it was a meeting of two kings who are surprisingly more friends than adversaries. After Ecbert reassures Ragnar that his son Ivar is okay he is alright for a sit down meal with him. Ecbert initially offers up his apologies for killing his people citing “it wasn’t the right time.” Thanks? I think. Once they get that out of the way Ecbert plays with Ragnar about giving him the key to let him out of his cage. Bad idea or good idea? I think he’s playing with fire but he IS an arrogant one. At one point Ecbert brings out a boy named Magnus (Cameron Hogan) who is the son Ragnar had with Queen Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey).
When he comes out all wide eyed and excited to meet his father Ragnar tells him “your birth was a miracle, I never had sex with your mother. All she did was piss on me.” Father of the Year right there! When you see the look on Magnus’ face his entire world breaks as his heart splits in two. Finding your dad is a conqueror is tough. After a lonnnggg day of drinking and eating he finally gives in and lets Raganar out. He slowly comes out putting one foot in front of the other and…collapses on the floor! Not what I was expecting. He tells Ecbert that he needs to kill him. Ecbert tells him how Vikings are too focused on death and don’t think about how to just live their lives. Very good point actually. Well done King. After they get in a drunken discussion about their Gods and “Who’s religion is better?’ their talk shifts to what happened to Athelstan (George Blagden). Raganar tells Ecbert how Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) killed him out of jealousy and Ecbert confesses he was jealous when Athelstan left with Ragnar.
I love that they had this somber post death conversation about our favorite priest. He was such a great character and I really don’t know if the show has ever been the same without him. Continuing on Ecbert decides to hail Judith (Jennie Jacques) and have her bring out a dark haired boy named Alfred (Isaac O’ Sullivan) who Ragnar figures out immediately is Athelstan’s son. It’s like Oprah was somehow behind this episode. “You get a Son! You get a Son!” Kids popping up all over. Finally the time has come for King Ecbert to make a decision on Ragnar’s fate. When Ragnar sees that Ecbert is struggling too much with the decision he offers to have himself sent to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye). His plan is to go over there and after being put to death my Aelle his sons will come over and avenge his death. Therefore leaving Ecbert safe and in the clear. Such a strange relationship these two have had. It’s like they’re so the same that they are drawn to be friends because they relate so closely to each other. Ecbert especially doesn’t seem to have a confidant so finding one in a stranger with a like position in life like Ragnar makes sense. Maybe if they weren’t such power hungry individuals things would’ve ended differently. The way that this show is so obviously telegraphing Ragnar’s eventual demise is so well thought out that it doesn’t take away from the ongoing overall story. Creator Michael Hirst is carefully covering all the bases of Ragnar’s life to not only show the reasons why he wants to die but to take the character out of a TV show with a proper send off.