Review Vikings S3E1

Review: Vikings - Mercenary (S3E1)

By: Jenny Robinson

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead unless you have watched Season 3, Episode 1 of Vikings or you’re totally OK with knowing what happened.

There is a good reason this show ended up on my top 3 best shows of 2014. The characters are amazing! I was so excited for Season 3 to start after the triumphant ending leading to King Ragnar. I am always shocked to hear someone is not watching Vikings. It is so close to being perfect and not one to miss. 

With the start of this season, my first question is “Who is my favorite person on the show”? That is a tough question. Every character has their own “awesomeness” that is incomparable to each other. If you add in the mayhem and developments we have seen so far, making a choice can be next to impossible.

Ragnar is now king (yay!). With that, there was a noticeable tone in the first episode of S3. Ragnar seems to understand the weight of the power he now holds. There is a great interaction on the mountain between Ragnar and his son Bjorn where Ragnar explains “Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best. I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up."

It will be interesting to see how far he will lower himself in his new position this season. Travis Fimmel does an amazing job with facial expressions as Ragnar. The portrayal of his character has an understanding towards people which helps forecasts his next move: who to trust, and who to watch for betrayal. Yet, when meeting with the English or watching relationships develop, he is like a child engrossed in the engagement. All this spans without words, but with uncomplicated facial expressions. This comprehension is the ground work for the battles to come.

Luckily we have his children to give us an idea of how much time passes between seasons and episodes. How old are they now? It appears that Ivan "the Boneless" has aged a few months since the S2 finale. His children are a big part of the story development, whether it be to have more sons or the fighters his sons will become. Family is key. Ragnar is simply a force to be reckoned with, just ask the Mercians on the river bank that the Vikings outsmarted and took down for the English Princess Kwenthrith. 

Personally, the only Ragnar complaint I have is "Who in their right mind would choose Aslaug over Lagertha?!?”

Lagertha may be the baddest of the bad when it comes to female heroines! Played by Kathryn Winnick, this character is one of the strongest women on television. 

The start of this episode with her interaction with the Seer can be taken in multiple directions. It has some great foreshadowing that may or may not end up as expected. She looks natural by Ragnar’s side as the Vikings hit the shores of England once again. Ragnar on his ship, she on her own. Now that she is Earl (after sticking a knife into the eye of her last brutal husband), she now has her own legion of Vikings. Lagertha may not be able to predict outcomes as well as Ragnar but in the heat of the moment, her choices have always landed with success. She remains with King Ecbert to survey new farm lands for the Vikings to settle as Ragnar takes the crew (Rollo, Bjorn, Floki, etc) to fight the river battle. It will be fascinating to see the development between her and King Ecbert while in Wessex.

The most iconic freeze frame of the episode goes to my pal Floki. The most loyal of the group but he is crazy. Seriously…CRA-RAY-ZEE, but in his defense, he is also Ragnar’s closest friend. Gustaf Skarsgard delivers a perfect portrayal of madness, yet a very likable madness.

My favorite scene was from last season after Horik accuses him of betraying the gods, he simply replies with a slight tilt of the head  “No King Horik, I only betrayed you. I was always true to the Gods…and Ragnar.” I laughed out loud this episode when he tells Helga (his new wife and mother of his child) “I feel trapped in all this happiness!” He storms off and is later seen excited and gleeful to get board the boat and head out to Wessex. You know…so he can not be happy. Just the expression on his face in this episode’s River Battle, when he picks up the bloody crown, shows more story in his body articulation than spoken words. 

We start to see hints of turmoil with Queen Aslaug (played by Alyssa Sutherland), the wife most fans of the show hold in distaste. There is a great scene where she asks Ragnar of his love for their deformed child. He replies that he loves his child. She then asks if he too loves her, only to be met with silence. Since her introduction, most viewer may agree that she has her own alternative motives for power. Where will her ambition lead, or better yet with Lagertha fighting along side Ragnar will her jealously be restrained? 

Bjorn, son of Lagertha and Ragnar, is now a man. His lady Porunn (played by Gaia Weiss) seems to be with child and taking on similar characteristics as Lagertha. Sword and shield in hand, Porunn is ready and on the boats heading to battle. 

Athelstan continues to struggle between his devotion to Christ and his loyalty to the Norse Gods. He is currently Lagertha’s chaperone on the trip to the farm lands with Ecbert. His development has been one of my favorites. From being a slave captured by Ragnar, becoming Ragnar’s close alley and now working along side Ecbert, it will be interesting to see where he lands if things start to fall apart between Ecbert and Ragnar. 

This season has so many possibilities. 

Obviously it appears that Kalf is going to betray Lagertha while she is in Wessex. There is something off with Aslaug and it looks like Ragnar’s best interests are not top of her agenda. Princess Kwenthrith may be a bit out of her mind. And Atheistan has his eyes on the Princess and she on him. 

Can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Is it Thursday yet?