Holy Odin! This week’s Vikings recap of episode “Death and The Serpent” has so many intense moments that it warrants an actual warning before we proceed.
Now let’s get right into it!
King Olaf’s Kingdom
Last week, elections had just begun with King Olaf (Steven Berkoff) and King Harald (Peter Franzén) placing their votes for King Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig). As the Kings and Earls cast their choices, not only is King Bjorn among the candidates, but so is King Harald.
King Olaf is not too pleased. As each vote is cast, it seems King Harald is catching up with King Bjorn. The leaders’ selection surprises King Bjorn. Perhaps King Harald is not truly on his side as he so had claimed?
Kjetill (Adam Copeland) watches intently along with the rest of the people. Even those who claimed loyalty start betraying King Bjorn. The final vote places King Harald in the lead. It seems becoming King of all of Norway may not be in the cards for King Bjorn.
King Olaf has no choice and addresses the crowds. He anoints King Harald as the first King of all of Norway, while Bjorn fumes over the results and King Harald’s betrayal.
While the crowd celebrates, King Bjorn begins to walk away, as King Harald shouts after him.
“Bjorn! No hard feelings! It was a fair fight! Unbelievably all of us settled our differences peacefully. Who would have thought that could happen.”
He tells King Bjorn that he will need him by his side in the months and years to come. King Bjorn offers his services and then walks away.
King Harald celebrates with everyone. He had no intention of letting the son of Ragnar being King. Meanwhile, King Olaf sits alone as his plan has severely backfired. He knows that King Harald was up to something and made promises to everyone to gain their support.
Later, King Harald and Kjetill talk in the corner. It is apparent that Kjetill had ulterior motives and advised King Harald. In return, he wants King Harald to make him King of Iceland. During their conversation, King Harald notices that King Bjorn is not present. When Kjetill also sees this, he runs to King Bjorn and warns him to leave quickly because King Harald has sent men to kill him. Before King Bjorn can figure out what Kjetill is yelling about, men charge into the room, and King Bjorn has to fight his way out. Kjetill is struck and falls to the ground. Consequently, men surround King Bjorn, but right then, another man rushes to his defense and tells him that he has a boat. King Bjorn grabs Kjetill, and they make a run for it.
King Bjorn tends to Kjetill’s wounds on the boat. He thanks Erik (Eric Johnson) for saving him. Erik reveals that he did it for King Bjorn. Whether that is the truth or not, we shall see.
The inevitable has come with the sounds of the horn warning the villagers of danger. The villagers all rush to their designated stations to prepare for the attack. This time Queen Gunnhild’s (Ragga Ragnars) shield-maidens are ready with them.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) takes a moment to tell Queen Gunnhild that she approves of her for King Bjorn. Is she worried that this will end badly?
One lone villager walks to the gates and antagonizes the raiders. The raiders shoot multiple arrows into him, and he goes down. The village archers on the hill are attacked from behind before they can even let loose their arrows.
The raiders then enter a maze that the villagers had built. One by one, as they go through, the villagers attack and kill them. Some of the men are lit on fire while swords and combat kill the others inside the labyrinth.
Queen Gunnhild comes face-to-face with their leader, White Hair (Kieran O’Reilly). He injures her and runs with Lagertha in pursuit. The time has come for them to battle. The death of Hali (Ryan Henson) is undoubtedly on her mind.
White Hair screams that this is revenge for what he lost when King Bjorn banished him. Lagertha fires back.
“If I have to die for what Ragnar and I believed in, it is worth it.”
White Hair then lunges for Lagertha, and they begin fighting.
Lagertha gets a couple of good swings in, as does White Hair. She then taunts him. As the people approach to help her, Lagertha instructs them to stay back. This fight is hers to finish, and she wants to end it on her terms. However, White Hair comes at her hard, and she loses her sword. She fearlessly dares him to strike, and just as he does, she swiftly grabs his sword and kills him. Like a true legend, she brings him down. The rest of the village watched in awe, and Queen Gunnhild declares the significance of what they all witnessed.
“I’m shield-maiden. I know how to fight. I have fought for my life many times, but I have never seen anything like what you just did. If I didn’t worship you before, Lagertha, I worship you now. May the gods in all their wisdom keep you alive for all of our sakes.”
As Lagertha undresses by herself, she sees that her wound from her fight with White Hair is deep. She later tells Queen Gunnhild that she must go back to Kattegat, so they know what has happened. Lagertha doesn’t want Queen Gunnhild to go with her because she also is wounded and pregnant. Instead, Lagertha asks that she look after Asa.
While King Bjorn and Lagertha fight for their lives, Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky) and Princess Katya (Alicia Agneson) are married. Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) is in attendance as the likeness of the bride to Freydis still strikes him. Despite how things ended, there is a part of him that loved her more than anything he ever knew.
It seems that Katya divulged to Prince Oleg what Ivar had told her about the resemblance to his wife. She then asks to take her dress off and requests Ivar’s help. Prince Oleg abruptly takes her right in front of Ivar. He makes Ivar watch, knowing that it is probably killing him to see them together. This act of pure dominance will most likely not sit well with Ivar.
Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) are having dinner in the Great Hall as they listen to a performer sing. The song appears to be about Lagertha. At the same time, Lagertha arrives in Kattegat on a horse, barely alive.
She falls from her horse and struggles to get to the Great Hall. In the pouring rain, The Seer comes to her. This vision is ominous considering The Seer has been dead himself and only seems to appear in critical times throughout our characters’ journies.
Meanwhile, Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) sits in his home engulfed with paranoia. He fears that Ivar is coming for him. As Amma (Kristy Dawn Dinsmore) tries to reason with him, he strikes her and rushes out into the rain. As he wanders the city, he spots the tail of a serpent slithering away and follows.
When he reaches the creature, he begins stabbing it with such anger. When he finally stops, he sees that it is not the evil snake that he has killed, but Lagertha herself. She falls to the ground and reaches for Hvitserk.
“It is what The Seer foretold. That one day I would be killed by the son of Ragnar. I could not escape it, nor could you. Weep not, poor Hvitserk.”
She forgives him as she has lived a full life and knows that she will reunite with Ragnar in the halls of the Gods. Lagertha then dies in Hvitserk’s arms. He lays her on the ground and fearfully runs.
While we take a minute to collect ourselves from this episode, can we please have a moment of silence for Lagertha, the most famous of all Shield-maidens!
She leaves the world fighting until her last breath and protecting those she loved. There couldn’t be a better way for a warrior to die. The song that plays in the background as The Seer’s fortune becomes a reality is haunting. This loss is going to be difficult for everyone as Lagertha was not only a mother to King Bjorn, but in her way, she also took on the role of a mother for Ubbe and Hvitserk. She was also a mentor to Torvi, Gunnhild, and a formidable opponent to Ivar. Her death is a loss that we knew would come, but honestly, we were not prepared to handle it.
All Hail Lagertha!! The greatest Shield-maiden that ever lived!
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on History.
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