“Today went badly.” — Bjorn
“Yes, it did.” — Ragnar
That pretty much summed up the sad result of “To the Gates!” Ragnar’s attempt to plunder Paris. I have to say, things started out so well that I honestly thought the Vikings were going to make mincemeat out of Count Odo and his soldiers. But, thanks to history, we know this actually never happened. The Vikings waged three major attacks on Paris in the past and none of them were successful. That isn’t to say show creator Michael Hirst will stick with what happened in history, but he’s been pretty accurate in his dramatic re-telling so far.
For those who are interested, historical documents actually place Rollo at the centre of one siege on Paris and find him marrying a French princess, something that certainly seemed to be in its initial stages when Rollo and Princess Gisla made goo-goo eyes at each other mid-mayhem. And what mayhem it was. I can’t imagine how long it took to choreograph, rehearse and film the multiple angles of the siege, from the waterline to atop the towers, from outside the bridge to the drawbridge leading into Paris. It was horribly magnificent to behold, that blood-soaked fight for control of the city.
I had assumed Ragnar was setting up Floki for failure, and that was confirmed during his very Shakespearean parley with Athelstan at the end of the episode. He gave Floki the responsibility, knowing the blame would fall on the mad genius when things went south. Ragnar may be a patient man, but his damaged kidneys and broken ribs could mean his survival past the end of this season may finally be in doubt. Speaking of survival, I did—for a moment—wonder if Bjorn had been killed. Thankfully it will take more than crossbow bolts to put Bjorn Ironside into the ground.
Vikings airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.