“I win.” Ragnar Lothbrok certainly did. He pulled the wool over the eyes of the French Emperor, his own followers and I’m sure more than a few viewers when he faked his death in order to gain access to the heart of the city.
Sure, Ragnar used his love of Athelstan’s religion to his advantage, but that’s what you do in war, right? What I found interesting is that Ragnar was content with simply getting into Paris and having the Vikings do a little bit of looting before retreating rather than attempting to gain control of the city outright. He doesn’t really have the manpower to run Paris, but I was expecting a lot more violence than what happened during Thursday’s season finale.
By all accounts, it looked like “The Dead” was going to be all about the death of Ragnar. He’s been peeing and coughing up blood for the last several weeks, so I was expecting his death. And when Bjorn came forward with tears in his eyes, I fell for the act. Instead, Ragnar lay inside that beautifully carved ship-shaped coffin and listened to what his key followers said to him. There weren’t many surprises—my favourite quotes are at the bottom of this review—but it was still cool, in retrospect, to hear Floki admit he’d killed Athelstan. That closing scene where Ragnar revealed he knew Floki had done it was wonderfully dramatic and left me chortling with glee.
But despite all of that, I’m most excited to see what happens with Rollo. He chose to winter over outside Paris so that the Vikings have a presence there until spring when Ragnar plans to return. The Emperor smartly offered Rollo land, the title of Duke and Princess Gisla’s hand in marriage in exchange for Rollo agreeing to defend Paris against Ragnar. This is just the latest power play pushed in Rollo’s direction and it appears he’s on board. History documents Rollo really did marry a French princess as part of an agreement to stop attacking the capital, so I’m chuffed to see what Michael Hirst does with Rollo’s story.
Actor Travis Fimmel told me Vikings would go on without Ragnar and he was just a small piece of the story. And while that’s true, Fimmel’s shoes are tough to fill. Ragnar is compelling, funny, serious and easy to cheer for and it’s going to be tough for Clive Standen’s Rollo and Alexander Ludwig’s Bjorn to shoulder that load once Ragnar does make the journey to Valhalla.
Notes and quotes
- “I am dying. But at least I’ll see Athelstan again.” — Ragnar
- Floki has been on a fascinating journey this season. Far from the giddy genius, we saw his deep, dark side and commitment to the gods. He was willing to kill the man he looks up to, Ragnar, to appease the gods.
- “If you have gone to Heaven, then we will never meet again.” A killer line from Lagertha.
- “I’m sorry you’re dead, but it happens to all of us sooner or later.” Rollo’s matter-of-factness was snicker-worthy.
- “I hate you Ragnar Lothbrok. And I love you with all my heart.” — Floki
- Count Odo certainly has some odd tastes, doesn’t he? #whipsandchains
What did you think of this season of Vikings overall? What were some of your favourite moments? Let me know via the Comments below or @tv_eh.