Season 3: Episode 3 “Warrior’s Fate”
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…
Prince Burgred’s forces were finally crushed this week in “Warrior’s Fate,” as Ragnar led his horde to a somewhat pyrrhic victory over Mercian forces. It was a win that saw him take a nasty spear slice to the gut and saw Thorunn get horrifically bashed and slashed across the face.
Even though no main characters were lost in the assault – aside from Torstein, who I thought died last week but remained alive enough to die on the battlefield like any Viking would want – the aftermath seemed to splinter the group a bit. Ragnar got pissed enough to slap Bjorn in the face for “allowing” Thorunn to be in harm’s way in the first place and Floki was just down on the entire ordeal – wondering why any of them would be dying for the “Christ God.” Floki often has a dissenting opinion but this time it seemed like he was really, seriously torn between honoring his gods and the war they were waging for Ecbert.
Anyhow, it was all enough to make the usually cool and calm Ragnar to “forgive” the spared Burgred with a headbutt right to the eye.
The best part of the episode though was how everything started lining up with the Seer’s prophecy. The harvest celebrated in blood. The trickster. The city of marble (Paris was mentioned for the first time). And I love Kevin Durand (who I assume is the trickster) and the whole deal over in Kattegat. I never thought I’d be this intrigued over the goings-on between Auslaug and Siggy, but Durand’s Harbard is deviously dangerous. And I really enjoy not fully knowing what’s going on.
Harbard’s got stories involving gods (he told the “Thor drinks the ocean/wrestles old age” story) but he also has powers that seem to absorb pain and fear – with possible side effects being the taking of lives. When they discovered those drowned boys at the end it felt like there was some sort of awful give/take thing going with his magic. The guy also goes from town to town so it seems like he’s always after something. But what does he want from Kattegat? Or, more specifically, from Aslaug and the other two? And the bloody hand and the flaming snow? What does it all mean?
Perhaps the who are better versed in Norse mythology will know who, or what, this guy really is and what he’s after. All I can think off, just going off the term “trickster,” is Loki but I don’t know enough about his trials and tactics to confirm. Anyhow, if danger was going to once gain befall Ragnar’s family back home during a long Wessex quest, I’m glad it’s vastly different than before.
Speaking of Wessex, Lagertha and Ecbert’s relationship seems to have leaped to the next level. And despite Ecbert’s “bigger picture” scheming, I do buy that he’s totally into her. I don’t feel like either of them is being false in any way. His reaction to the big bloody “Sacrifice to Freya” at the end seemed like one of worry – but mostly because he realized that sort of shocking display probably wouldn’t play well with the Christian lords he’d brought with him to witness the event. So for the first time we saw twinge of doubt in Ecbert’s eyes over the whole arrangement.
The events in Kattegat involving Kevin Durand’s wandering storyteller rose to creepy, intriguing levels this week. To the point where even Siggy went to the Seer and he was like “Girl, you’re s*** out of luck.” The introduction of slight supernatural elements on this show has worked out surprisingly well given how everything we’ve seen so far more or less has been played straight and down the middle as far as Christianity and Norse religion are concerned.
- In this episode, Lagertha, having been taught Olde English/Saxon by Athelstan, is now able to converse with King Echbert without the need for translation.