Season 2: Episode 5 “Answers In Blood”
Like most family reunions, Lagertha and Bjorn’s return to the fold was a little awkward and a heap sentimental.
The episode doesn’t take long to get into the full swing of things and soon Ragnar and a Bjorn (along with two sacrificial Vikings) set out to Kattegat to destroy the food supply, setting in motion a ploy to get Borg and his men to follow in pursuit of revenge only to find a dead guy stuck to a log, and a nest of revenge-seeking Vikings (led by Ragnar) in front of them.
It isn’t pretty for Borg and in a few short, bloody minutes after Bjorn’s survived a near-miss and Rollo’s mowed down half of the enemy with nothing but a shield and some fantastic jump sequences, the battle is done. Borg has retreated and Kattegat belongs to Ragnar once again.
The group triumphantly walks back into the village, greeted by grateful residents and Aslaug can’t help but notice how much more popular Lagertha is, like some medieval popularity contest Aslaug and Siggy will never win as long as the badass blonde bombshell is around.
Being the rowdy Vikings they are, they celebrate by letting Bjorn behead a prisoner and get all smear happy with the dead man’s blood.
The old drama returns for Ragnar as well as he struggles with feelings for both Lagertha and Aslaug. The princess can feel it, despite Ragnar’s half-hearted attempts to convince her otherwise. The creepy eyeless oracle is no help either and tries to give the jarl advice by way of a story about ancient feet. Even Ragnar was lost on that one and sits through the long-winded story looking fidgety and frustrated.
Lagertha makes the decision for Ragnar.
She leaves Bjorn—“all she has left”—in the hands of the good people of Kattegat and dutifully returns to her jerk of a husband. How many times in one season can this woman break my heart?
Poor Athelstan. He’s been delivered from the cross only to live a prisoner among Ecbert’s people. He’s made an especially nasty enemy out of Ecbert’s son who seems just as determined as Floki was to prove he’s not “one of them.” He’s also suffering from visions and the inability to receive holy communion without spitting it out. Bleeding crosses. Virgin Mary apparitions in the courtyard. Demons scuttling through his room and underfoot. It’s not looking good for Athelstan.
Next week’s preview hinted at the return of King Horik with news of Ecbert’s attack and Athelstan’s capture. It also teased a possible attempt to bring Borg (whose wife is pregnant) into the fold again. How many times can Borg and Ragnar stand across each other on a battlefield and without realize they weren’t meant to be besties?
In series news, History Channel has renewed Vikings for a third, ten-season episode. Filming begins this summer in Ireland and will air next year. Let the celebrating and shield-banging commence, friends. The show goes on!
Recap by Megan Applegate at Flickering Myth
DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS. Blame it for me missing last week’s recap and forcing us to play catch-up. Because of this, I regret we won’t have as much of a history lesson this week, although I will touch on why I think Athelstan is seeing things all the time and should probably be on a gluten-free diet. Don’t worry, though, it’s mostly because I’ve got some good stuff lined up for next week and rightfully so, as you learn later.
The past two weeks of History’s VIKINGS has been some of the best TV I’ve seen this year. The pacing of the series, which was my only complaint last season, has improved in its sophomore run with added tension and a clear vision of where we are headed. Betrayal and revenge are prominent themes now, providing a healthy insight to how historical Viking warlords battled each other constantly. Spoilers loom ahead, divulging cryptic secrets not meant for the weak at heart as we try to answer the question “What about Athelstan?”
Episode 5 ANSWERS IN BLOOD Synopsis:
I’ll keep this brief and touch on the major plot points so that episode 6 can be easier understood.
Jarl Borg’s time in Kattegat is about up. Ragnar and a select team of his most trusted men infiltrate the village and burn the winter stores. Jarl Borg and his men chase after Ragnar and company, only to find that they have been lead into a trap when Ragnar’s allies make their numbers known. A gore drenched battle ensues with Ragnar’s allies victorious and Jarl Borg riding off in disgrace.
Lagertha’s presence turns Aslaug into an uber-bitch, forcing Ragnar to visit the Seer for advice, as he loves both women. The Seer tells Ragnar it’s not his choice to make. As it turns out, Lagertha decides to return to her husband, but Bjorn stays with Ragnar with the grace of his mother’s blessing.
Over in England, Athelstan becomes a curiosity piece for King Eckbert. The King counsels him on how to pass judgment on the rape of a peasant woman by her husband, Athelstan’s advisement exonerates the girl and a fine is placed upon her husband for his trespass. Athelstan’s divine hallucinations are becoming more frequent each episode, and this is no different when a vision of the Virgin Mother becomes the peasant whom he had earlier saved from being shamed.
All is good with Ragnar. He’s returned to his hall in Kattegat, his son is with him, his family is safe. And then a messenger arrives from King Horik informing Ragnar that King Eckbert has attacked them and most of the contingent is dead of heading home with their tail between their legs. Buzz kill, hah? Ragnar could care less about Horik’s men, but he does ask “What about Athelstan?”
ANSWERS IN BLOOD was, without a doubt, another quality episode in the series, with plenty of medieval combat in yet another horrific battle scene (a trademark the show is starting to claim as its own.) and added treachery that is spiced up with some seriously smart and well portrayed characters. And that is what makes this show so good in the end, aside from the brutality of its violence. You believe in these people and can bond with them in the same manner as you can with any contemporary character. I give the second season’s fifth episode a B+ after teetering on an A- for a week. It’s only because of this week’s entry, UNFORGIVEN raising the bar, ex post facto.
Recap by This if Infamous
“If you are hundreds of years old, it will be a quick story.” – The Seer
This episode gives us good old fashioned father-son bonding moments – this being Vikings, that involves arson, a pitched battle, and a beheading!
The main story of this week’s episode has Ragnar going to war with Jarl Borg to take back Kattegat. The plan involves Ragnar, Bjorn and a couple of other men going back to the town, where they burn down the grain supply buildings, which they hope will draw Jarl Borg out into the open field. It all leads to an intense battle – one of the best to be depicted so far in this series – ending with the Jarl fleeing. Although Bjorn does kill several men, he is knocked over at one point, and his father later upbraids him for his failure.
Later on, after Kattegat is retaken, one of the enemy prisoners is set to be executed by Rollo (as a sacrifice to the gods) but Ragnar intervenes and has Bjorn perform the deed. One could look at it as a father trying to ‘toughen-up’ his son, perhaps because he has taken to heart what The Seer has told him about the young man having a glorious future.
Travis Fimmel does a good job in this episode – he gives off the sense of being a cool, cocky leader, especially when he is in his element (in battle). However, when it comes to women, he still seems flustered and his hopes of having both Aslaug and Lagertha in his bed soon unravel.
The second major story has Athelstan, still bearing some marks from his crucifixion, either being tormented by visions as part of his crisis of faith, or just going crazy. This second storyline was not as compelling or interesting as the main one, as Athelstan has little to do but go around seeing visions. Part of the problem is that he seems to be plagued by these visions in almost every scene – instead of him expressing his feelings and delivering what could be some good lines about his internal struggle of faith, he spends most of the time just looking bewildered or mad as he sees what he thinks is the Virgin Mary or a demon coming towards him.
That said, this episode largely delivered what we can expect from Vikings – a good battle scene followed by a little romance and intrigue.
Recap by Medievalists
Inside Look: Ep 205 Answers In Blood
Writer and executive producer Michael Hirst takes an in-depth look at Ragnar taking backing Kattegat and shares how Travis Fimmel suggested Bjorn’s involvement in the raid and sacrifice.