Aethelwulf attacks on Vikings

After last week’s Season 4 return catching viewers up with what was going on with the viking side of the story, Thursday’s instalment ventured into Wessex while following Floki’s misadventures and Bjorn’s icy journey of survival.

“Kill the Queen” covered a lot of ground, announcing Queen Kwenthrith had been overthrown after Merican nobles refused to pay homage to Ecbert and imprisoned she and her son in a tower. That meant Aethelwulf was put in charge of breaking her free as he coordinated an attack against the nobles. To this point, Ecbert’s son has been a bit of a joke, but what he proved to be an astute tactician in the field and saved Kwenthrith. (She did her part in deadly hand-to-hand combat in the tower when her female guards attempted to murder she and her son.) Aethelwulf is proving himself a man to his father, something Bjorn can certainly relate to.

As for King Ecbert, I’m not sure what his plan is regarding Judith. Last season it appeared he was trying to steal her from his son. Is offering her freedom to do anything—including learning to gild pages of the bible—part of that plot or does he have something else up his sleeve? As someone who is getting bored of Judith’s watery-eyed stares, I’m glad she’s finally got something to do story-wise other than simper around covering her ear hole.

Off in Paris, the power-hungry Rollo was only too happy to help Odo plan against any future viking attack by showing how to stop the longboats from advancing upriver. Little does Rollo know that machinations behind the scenes are working against Odo and towards Ragnar’s brother becoming the Emperor’s right-hand man.

Meanwhile, there’s poor Floki. He’s always been one of my favourite characters, especially in earlier seasons when he was very much the comic relief. His crisis of character and questionable moves against Ragnar have put him in an awful place. For awhile it looked like he might escape capture and head into the woods, but instead he’s been laid even lower: chained in a cave with water dripping on his head and only his thoughts to keep him company. Will he go completely insane upon learning of his daughter’s death or will he earn a place back in Ragnar’s heart? He seems too dangerous to for the latter, unless he’s willing to swallow his pride, and Floki doesn’t seem the type.

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