Vikings

Review: King of the Vikings conquers Paris

“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.

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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3 thoughts on “Review: King of the Vikings conquers Paris”

  1. I was disappointed, but then the entire season was a disappointment. It felt like too many story lines were left dangling, unfinished, as if the show was sort of half-written. I’m excited about Rollo’s future – that’s the one bright spot. No longer a fan of the Flok-ster. I, like Ragnar and Ecbert, LOVED Athelstan. Really miss him as the bridge between the old gods and the new.
    So we’ll see. I always knew Ragnar would die, I’ll be surprised if Paris will spell his demise. What about the pit of vipers? Now, the question is can Bjorn walk in his father’s shoes? And will Lagertha step it up, as in, will the writers return her brain? She’s the best and I miss her intelligence.
    Oh, and what was the point of Aslaug’s affair with what’s-his-name? Seriously. I have to ask. I don’t see the point. She and Ragnar were already estranged. I guess the point was to kill off Siggy but everyone seemed to get over that pretty quick. Which made me sad because I loved Siggy too.
    Ah well.

  2. I have truly enjoyed this entire series — so much more intelligent storylines than all those horrible reality shows & so-called comedies. Apparently there really was a Ragnar Lothbrok and Michael Hirst has done a great deal of research to bring authenticity to this series.
    I’m impatient for next year now. If Ragnar lives, what will happen? Or if he does indeed die, who will take over — Bjorn, Rollo or maybe even Floki??

  3. I have been into the Viking sagas since I took a course called Icelandic Canadian Literature at U of Manitoba about 10 years ago. The prof I had, a writer from Iceland, was very passionate about the sagas and I learned a lot. After that I read all the historical fiction novels (mostly historical romance) on the Vikings I could find. I’ve really been enjoying this tv series and am glad it’s coming back next season.

    As soon as I saw that coffin closed with Ragnar presumably in it, I told my husband right away “He’s not dead. It’s a Trojan horse. He’s actually alive and I bet the coffin is full of swords and he’s gonna attack once the coffin is inside.” My husband kept telling me no, that Ragnar was dead, that the fact he had coughed up blood and peed blood pointed to death and there was no way he could survive. I was one gloating woman when I saw how everything played out. My big wish for next year is for Ragnar and Lagertha to get back together and for Aslaug to vamoose. Also, I am really excited to see how things turn out for Rollo in France. I’m not really interested in what happens in England though.

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