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Review: A warrior’s fate met on Vikings

Maybe I should quit singing the praises of Vikings characters. It seems like every time I do something bad happens to them. Porunn, who I complimented as being one heck of a kick-ass shield maiden last week, had her head caved in by one of Burgred’s soldiers and is at the gates of Valhalla. And carrying Bjorn’s baby, no less. According to Ragnar, allowing her to fight while pregnant is a crime that no one can come back from.

Alas, “Warrior’s Fate” claimed the life of Torstein. Vikings is a violent show jammed with crunched skulls and lopped-off limbs, but Torstein’s death was awful to watch. Knowing he was a diminished member of the army, he sacrificed himself so that Ragnar would know the position of Burgred’s men. I hope he’s treated well in Valhalla.

When the episode wasn’t caught up in the heat of battle—Burgred’s army was defeated and the Prince saved from death by a plea from Kwenthrith—it was splitting time in Kattegat, the farming fields and Ecbert’s Roman bath. Harbard has made his presence known in a very short amount of time, first by winning over Helga with his tales of adventure and then by stopping Ivar’s crying with a gentle stroke of the infant’s head. Suffice it to say, those two girls are firmly under Harbard’s spell; the only one not convinced is Siggy, and that can be a dangerous spot to be in.

Meanwhile, the romance I’ve been dreading has finally come to full bloom. Ecbert and Lagertha—after making goo-goo eyes at one another—got full-on nekkid in the bath. Clearly Ecbert is thinking big picture—get Lagertha and Ragnar on side with sex and property—and they’ll be his scary little army of heathens to help him take over Mercia. He, of course, forgot one thing: these a violent folks with their own belief system. That was driven home when Ecbert and his nobles looked on in horror as Lagertha was doused in cow blood and then scattered it on their fields in a prayer to Frey for a bountiful harvest.

“I’d like to experiment between our cultures. Plowing, fertilizing and sowing seed are the very basis,” Ecbert said slyly at the beginning of the episode. But by the end of it his face seemed to reflect: “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

Notes and quotes

  • “Shut your face.” Line of the night from Ragnar to Floki.
  • “You have the strength of a man but the will of a little girl.” Second-best line of the night from Ragnar to Bjorn.
  • “I forgive you.” Ragnar after headbutting Burgred. The man was on fire!
  • Congratulations to Vikings for winning Best International TV Drama at the Canadian Screen Awards.
  • I’m amazed by the visual effects done on this show by Toronto-based Mr. X. I can never tell what’s real and what isn’t.
  • That scene between Bjorn and Rollo was touching as hell.

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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2 thoughts on “Review: A warrior’s fate met on Vikings”

  1. I figured that Porunn would bite the dust. I’m not liking the Lagertha scenes too much with Egbert. Yuck. I hate that she and Ragnar are being kept apart as I like seeing her fight alongside him.

    1. I agree. I have faith in Michael Hirst, but man it’s hard to watch Lagertha rolling around with Ecbert. Fingers crossed she’s playing him for her own advancement.

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