If you haven’t seen this weeks episode of Vikings, just stop reading now, go watch and then come back. So much happened, ranging from moments where you went… Awwwww to holy crap!
Seriously, this was an amazing episode that will forever change the scope of the series. Anushika has done a brilliant job recapping this weeks episode. Spoilers ahead!
Vikings: S3E6 “Born Again”
The episode opens with Athelstan explaining Ragnar about Paris. Both of them are pretty much creating a battle plan to find a way to penetrate the high-walled fortress. Athelstan claims that, “The city is impregnable”. However, Ragnar sees it as a new challenge rather than an obstacle.
Meanwhile, we greet a new arrival to the Lothbrok family. Porunn gives birth to a baby girl. During her labor she confesses her true feeling about not wanting the child; “It’ll be weak and deformed”. In reality she is just transferring all her insecurities on to the child as if the baby is tainted by what happened to her. You have to admire Aslaug, the strong presence in the room that guides Porum through her misdirected emotions. She encourages Porunn and claims she will love this child no matter the consequences. The moment all of us really fell in love with Aslaug. Bjorn whole heartedly steps up to his plate and assumes his position. As if this moment wasn’t already churning ovaries, Bjorn names his daughter Siggy!!! “Siggy who saved the sons of Ragnar”. Ovary explosion!
Ragnar is startled by Floki’s sudden visit, drops his sleeping son on the floor. Don’t worry these kids are Viking tough. Folki walks in with one of the surviving farmers from the Wessex massacre. Ragnar knew it was coming, but not this soon. He genuinely cares about his people. However, he currently doesn’t want this grave news to distract his people from the bigger challenge that lies I front of them, Paris. Floki blames Athelstan, but Ragnar is too quick to blame himself. It’s safe to assume that Floki realized his defeat right at that point. Ragnar “fixes” the problem to make sure word doesn’t get out.
Aslaug is haunted by the guilt of Siggy’s death. Siggy’s death burdens her and unfortunately the battle is hers and hers alone. Ragnar shows her no sympathy. He says, “Sleep well my darling” in an attempt to mock her pain and guilt.
In a hut not too far away, Athelstan is dealing with his own visions. A beam of sunlight wakes him up. It catches his attention unlike any other. He trails the beam to its source and ends up getting a shock that blasts him unconscious.
Across the pond, Judith gives birth to a baby boy. Say hello to Athelstan Jr. immediately after giving birth, she is dragged outside to be tied to a stake to face her charges. Knowing the truth, King Ecbert allows this charade to go on while Judith cries out for mercy. The torture continued until she revealed the father’s identity in public. Let’s just say that she did not walk away in one piece. All comes to a halt as soon as she muttered Athelstan’s name. King Ecbert fools his son into believing this incident to be a blessing; “I cannot blame my daughter in law for being attracted to such a man of God”. He goes as far as to compare Judith to the “Blessed Virgin”. Applause to the master of deception.
Meanwhile, Athelstan regains his consciousness. He realizes that he finally received the sign he so desperately awaited for all these years; “You’ve answered my prayers”. He feels like he was resurrected from a Pagan nightmare by getting the gift of sight that shattered all his doubts. Athelstan claims, “I’m reborn”. No longer spiritually conflicted, Athelstan knows exactly where he stands. As further proof, he tosses the sacred arm-ring given to him by Ragnar. None other than Floki himself witnesses this as it unraveled right in front of him.
Athelstan visits Ragnar to share the “Good” news. As he explains his new revelation with his God, Ragnar tries to be happy for him, but gets riddled with questions. Ragnar takes Athelstan’s words literally, “What do you mean born again? Like a baby?”. Oh Ragnar! Even though Athelstan realizes that he no longer has a place in Kattegat, Ragnar refuses to let him go. Ragnar snaps, “You cannot leave me. I love you” OMG! The three little words we’ve all been waiting for all these seasons. I don’t believe Ragnar was this broken and persuasive when Lagertha was leaving him. He accepts Athelstan entirely, body and soul. Ragnar assures that no one will harm him and that he will protect him. I must say, true love in its finest and purest. Athelstan adds to the fire when he said, “It does not matter where I go. What matters is where you are going”. Wow! Romeo and Juliet, Viking edition. Ragnar lets out a slight whimper as he hugs Athelstan. I don’t know whether to cry or laugh. Aren’t they just absolutely precious? Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
On a darker now, Floki broods under a tent out in the rain. He shares his new found facts with Bjorn and urges him to spread it among his brothers. Will he take matters into his own hands? I guess we will find out much sooner than expected.
Kalf sails to Kattegat in hopes of joining Ragnar’s raid in Paris. Lagertha is still quite bitter about being robbed off of her lands. Wait until she finds out about Wessex. Oh dear! Lagertha tells Bjorn, “Those were my ships once. Now they bring Kalf to Kattegat”. Outch! Ragnar’s allies come ashore and Kalf brings along a few unexpected surprises with him. King Horik’s son and Widower of Jarl Borg present themselves in front of Ragnar. Totally caught off guard, Ragnar welcomes them with a plastic smile. During the feast, a sexually deprived Bjorn approaches his new baby momma, Porunn. It takes a surprising turn when she gives him a “Hall Pass” to hook up with Torvi, Jarl Borg’s widowed wife.
The feast freezes in its tracks as soon as Athelstan enters the great hall. He looked like a middle schooler in the middle of a school yard surrounded by a mess of giant bullies. Rollo draws the attention to his missing arm ring and questions his loyalty, but it doesn’t take too long before Ragnar swoops in and whistles Athelstan away to safety.
Inside Ragnar’s “VIP Lounge”, we finally get to meet his wonderer who guided him to England. Now he is aiding them further towards Paris with secrets of the “Mouth of the Beast” to achieve “Entrance to paradise”. Is it just me, or does the wanderer looks like the spawn of Billy Idol and Keith Richards?
Surrounded by all his masterpieces, I think it’s safe to say that Floki is in his “Happy Place”. The agent of chaos gets his calling while carving one of his pieces. I guess we could say that just like Athelstan, Floki finally got his sign from the Gods. He warns Helga, “Now my purpose is clear”. He disappear in to the woods as he claims, “I only lust to please the Gods”. His passion and faith in the Gods runs deeper than anything imaginable.
Back in Kattegat, we see Athelstan getting ready. Not quite sure for what, but it looks rather ceremonious. Purification ceremony? Looks oddly familiar. Floki arrives back in Kattegat unseen among the crowd. What happens next leaves me absolutely speechless. Athelstan acknowledges Floki as he says, “Lord receive my soul”. Both carried out their duties. It wasn’t hate, but sincere faith in their Gods which led them both to this point in time. What failed to happen in Upsala years back finally carried out. A sacrifice was made.
Ragnar carries Athelstan’s body up a mountain all by himself; “The things I do for you”. Masking his true pain with humor, he struggles up the hill to the very place they both prayed last season. It was a moment when they were truly on the same wave length. Ragnar respects him and his faith so much so that he brings him closer to his God as he possibly can and marks his grave with a hand-made cross. His monologue is truly heartfelt and touching. I’ll be lying if I didn’t say it comes very close to his words to Gyda. Ragnar’s pain and frustration is transparent; “I hate you for leaving me”. He always dreaded this day; “There’s nothing that could console me now”. He lost the one and only companion who truly saw him for whom he is and saw what was beyond. The episode concludes with Ragnar shaving his head. This totally took me back to the moment when Athelstan attempted to shave his head to maintain and keep intact with his faith. Blood running down his face, Ragnar wears Athelstan’s cross around his neck as a gesture of respect and in means of always keeping him close to his heart.
WOW! I don’t even know where to begin. Micheal Hirst is simply BRILLIANT! I expect nothing less than pure insanity next week. Hold on to your Shield Wall! Until next week, Happy Raiding!