IGN – That. Hair. A lot happened in “Kill the Queen,” but the scene-stealing moment was the debut of Clive Standen’s new Rollo hair cut — or just how many of his long locks he’d lost. Add on to that the action-packed rescue sequence at the end with Queen Kwenthrith, and there was plenty to talk about from this week’s Vikings.
To break down the episode, showrunner Michael Hirst got on the phone to discuss Rollo’s new look, the upcoming payoff for the contentious relationship between him and his wife and the joys of writing for Kwenthrith.
IGN: In this episode, Rollo loses his long hair, and we see that new wig and new look. It’s such a funny scene. How did you find that specific look for Clive, and how did he respond to it?
Hirst: I did always think [about] the possibility of how comedic an aspect of a culture clash between Franks and Vikings [could be] in the marriage. It’s not a deliberate “We can lighten the mood here,” but misunderstandings are always comedic, and they don’t speak the same language. So the Vikings are almost animals, so I was going to write that in to have a comedic aspect.
But still, there’s a sort of logic to it, which is not just about history. So she hates him. She thinks he’s an animal. They go to bed on their wedding night, and there’s this misunderstanding, because they don’t understand each other, and she hates him. But then when he goes to sleep, she hates him even more. Actually, that’s the funny thing, that you’d have thought she’d want him to go to sleep or go away, but actually when he goes to sleep and he ignores her, that’s the moment that she goes most cross. So there’s a kind of human moment there which is not historical but is just about how people behave towards each other. And then of course their relationship will develop from a very low point.
IGN: There’s a payoff in a couple episodes that’s so good.
Hirst: Yeah, yeah! I think so. It’s an unexpected payoff, ultimately, and it gets better actually. But everyone likes a bit of comedic lightness. It’s not like you don’t want to give them that, but you can’t cynically do something, but it did seem like an opportunity to have some fun at the expense of people who aren’t understanding each other and who are from different cultures and all that. It also reminds the audience, I think, that, you know, we’re talking old Norse and old Frankish — these are dead languages — but these are languages that people actually spoke. For me, it makes them more human. They stop being just historical characters. It’s just a man and a woman in bed who aren’t understanding each other.