vikings

Review: Harbard enters land of the Vikings

Kevin Durand was vague in his description of Harbard, one of the new characters featured in Season 3 of Vikings. And for good reason. Having someone who rivals The Seer in terms of mystery makes for a fun game for viewers. Is Harbard bad? Good? A walking Viking god? By the end of Thursday’s “The Wanderer,” viewers weren’t left with much information other than this seems to be the man Aslaug, Siggy and Helga have been dreaming about. Now he was in Kattegat—bleeding palm and all—and Helga was in awe.

Vikings has a ton of religious symbolism in it, and this episode was no exception, showing Torstein bathing in the river to wash away the infection in his arm and laying both arms out straight as if he was on a cross as Floki prepped to lop his arm off, the labourer placing the icon in the barn during Athelstan’s prayer and the stigmata on Athelstan’s hands. It is possible to watch Vikings as a surface-level program about Ragnar Lothbrok and his exploits, but there’s plenty of depth for those seeking it. The fact there is a clash of religions between what the Vikings follow and what the Christians do holds constant fascination for me as a viewer, especially when you realize both aren’t that different from one another.

One storyline I’m not too keen on is the budding romance between Lagertha and King Ecbert. I trust that show creator Michael Hirst knows exactly what he’s doing, but I cringed every time Ecbert made goo-goo eyes at the blonde shield maiden and part of me hoped she’d crush his head in with the butt of her sword. Alas, it appears for the time being the romance will continue. I’m also a little sad that Lagertha, for the moment anyway, has gone the route of farmer. I much prefer seeing her in battle than battling weeds, but I’m sure she’ll get back to that sooner or later.

Speaking of budding romance, I was—like Athelstan—a little taken aback by Lady Judith’s forwardness with the former priest. His face may have been in shadow, but I’m pretty sure Athelstan was blushing like crazy when Judith confessed she’d dreamed of making love to him. The poor dude is already conflicted with his belief system and now he’s on the verge of laying down with another man’s wife. Not good.

Notes and quotes

  • That scene where Ragnar and his men pulled up to shore with heads hanging from poles mounted on his boats? Truly scary.
  • Porunn has quickly become the most kick-ass shield maiden since Lagertha.
  • If Ecbert and Lagertha become a couple, what do we call them? Eckbertha? Lagbert?
  • “I’ve always hated this arm.” I have no idea how Torstein came to love one arm more than the other. And maybe I don’t want to know.

Vikings airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
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One thought on “Review: Harbard enters land of the Vikings”

  1. I’m disappointed Lagertha remained behind too. I like seeing her and Ragnar in scenes together and we haven’t got very many for a long time. I also like seeing her fight rather than farm.

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