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Welcome back to our review series on the History Channel show Vikings.
Sandi: Technical difficulties are so annoying! Glad you were able to be there anyway. It was a wild night!
Lissa: It was, indeed. The ups and downs, the "Will he or won't he?" tension, and fast pace made for an awesome finale episode.
From sikanapanele on Tumblr
Sandi: I thought this was a sure indicator of the plotting going down, to be honest. I figured that Floki wanted his wife and child out of the way of the coming evil. He lives in an isolated locale, and it seems that Helga gave birth away from her husband, so that made sense to me. Yes, Helga was hurt, but she loves her man anyway.
Lissa: Horik brings his own family to Kattegat, including his wife, a famous shieldmaiden. It was a cute scene with Lagertha fangirling for a moment over her. I didn't catch the shieldmaiden's name, unfortunately. I was surprised Horik brought his family to Kattegat. To me, it implied a lot of trust, that they would be safe in Ragnar's house. "Ask for bread and salt, Mrs. Shieldmaiden-Horik! ASK FOR BREAD AND SALT!"
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Sandi: I think Horik was a clear example of royal hubris, in this circumstance. He encourages the betrayal of others, over and over, yet expects to be exempt from any sort of betrayal himself. "I am the king, therefore I am inviolate" seems to be his motto. The hospitality rule does not apply in Kattegat, apparently, when Ragnar is taking revenge.
Lissa: I'm teasing, but my tender sensibilities are still offended by the last example of, "Oh, hey, come over for a visit. STAB!"I wouldn't have made much of a Viking, I'm afraid. I'd at least wait until they were in the driveway getting ready to go. :D
Sandi: Remember, revenge was considered important and helped in determining the worth of a man. And though Horik had not himself struck directly at Ragnar yet . . . he was planning it. And others knew this. One can assume, perhaps, that Ragnar has had a Behind the Scenes espionage thing happening for quite some time.
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Sandi: Brilliant writing. Brilliant set-up.
Lissa: Porunn has a conversation with Björn in which he's the typical insensitive teenage man. He doesn't really know how to talk to a woman he cares about, and this is very apparent. Porunn challenges him to fight her, her way of establishing she's someone to be respected and reckoned with, I think. She admires Lagertha and knows Ragnar respected her as an equal. She wants to establish that with Björn if there's any hope of a relationship between them. But as their fighting turns into passion, we see Floki lurking in the bushes. Is he there to harm Björn or to protect him?
|From princemaedhros on Tumblr|
Lissa: I thought she was one of Aslaug's maidens, but I'm not certain. Probably over the long wait for next season we can catch some old episodes and see if we spot her arriving with Aslaug and her baby bump, or serving at the feasts in the first episodes.
Sandi: I understand her fierce pride, but she will also need a place in her world and a home of her own. Just because the times were what they were.
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Sandi: And seeing Floki lurking while the young people were making love? I really had a sense that Floki was watching over Björn. He has always had the younger man's interests at heart.
|From sikanapanele on Tumblr|
I thought Rollo was a dead man. The whole Vikings fandom gave a collective gasp and shouted, "Floki, NO!" And lo, there was much raging and bemoaning on social media.
Sandi: It was incredible. I got such a kick out of how invested we all are in this. I, too, thought Rollo was a dead man. But, no, we discovered that Rollo was alive and he armed himself later to help defend his home. Rollo has his issues - who doesn't, in this show? - but he is loyal to his home and, in the end, to Ragnar.
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Sandi: Now, here? I took issue with how frightening Floki was. Bad enough he was encouraging a child to deliver fungus to Torstein, but to tell the lad such a hair-raising story and making threats if the secret were ever brought out? My Mama-heart was all, "No! No one should tell a child to keep a secret like this. No, no, no." I'm still thinking that was overdone on Floki's part. Especially because, for directing purposes and all that, the recipient of the fungus clearly acknowledges Floki down the table with a look and a slight salute with said fungus.
And later, when Torstein is shown to be dead (ha!), how must that child have felt? Scarred for life, that little guy.
|From sikanapanele on Tumblr|
Lissa: Until you pointed it out, I didn't realize the lack of dialogue. That's incredible!
Horik speaks to Siggy and tells her if she kills Ragnar's children, he will marry her and make her his queen. He will give her back the wealth and status she craves. He even gave her the gift of a beautiful knife to use on the children. He seemed to know exactly where Siggy's deepest desires lay. Would he follow through?
|From queensmilitant on Tumblr|
Sandi: This is HORIK. The man cannot be trusted. And it was a relief to know at the end that he hadn't been.
Lissa: Horik shows his son the sword of kings and tells him all of Ragnar's line must be eliminated. The boy reaches out to touch the sword, and Horik tells him one day it will be his. The son is at his side as they attack Kattegat, and for the first few minutes, it seems like it will be a success, and then they enter Ragnar's hall... To discover out it was all a ruse after all.
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Lissa: Floki grins, and I grinned too. He wasn't a traitor to Ragnar, despite the doubts and dissatisfactions he had voiced to Helga. Horik tells Floki that he betrayed the gods. Floki calmly replies that he didn't... he just betrayed Horik. Torstein is there, not dead after all. Siggy steps out and offers Ragnar the dagger with which she was supposed to kill Ragnar's children. Horik accepts his fate but begs Ragnar to spare his son. The princeling watches as Ragnar stabs his father and then savagely beats him to death. This scene was hard to watch, because it was so raw with sheer rage and bloodlust.
Sandi: The revelations here were not accompanied by anything but themselves, and I really appreciated that. Torstein shows up and that was enough. Everything else fell into place beautifully. Who is the sly one, now? Floki? Ragnar? Siggy? All of the above? The subsequent slaughter was hard to watch, but it had to be there.
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Lissa: There's an awesome battle of the shieldmaidens as Lagertha and Mrs. Horik meet in the hall. Lagertha emerges victor and walks over to the bedroom where Horik's daughters are cringing behind the furniture. Lagertha gazes at them for a moment, and I wonder if she was thinking of Gyda, who might - if circumstances were different - have found herself in a similar situation. Largertha is told that Ragnar has given orders, and so she turns away.
Sandi: Gyda... I still miss her.
Lissa: After the battle, Björn goes into the room where Horik's daughters were, and sees young bodies laying bloodied on the bed, and young women weeping around them. He tells the girls to leave. But I don't recall seeing the princeling meet his fate... Did Ragnar spare him after all? The episode ends with Ragnar sitting on the edge of a stone cliff, holding the king's sword.
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Sandi: A great bit of cinematography. And a silent declaration. Which History Channel made clear later.
Lissa: Someone on Tumblr pointed out that if Ragnar is king, Rollo can become earl, giving Siggy what she wants after all.
Sandi: Part of me is relieved, but part of me is thinking that Rollo and Siggy still have their own drama with which to contend. Will he marry her? Will she seek to have power like Lagertha's?
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Sandi: So. Was. I. All season. Thunderous applause to the writers. It all made sense in the finale and I am totally appreciative of their skills.
And of yours, Lissa. :) What WILL we do until 2015?