[This is a review of Vikings season 2, episode 4. There will be SPOILERS]
There is no rest for the weary, as Vikings continues to surge towards its inevitable bloody conclusion. While there are moments of respite for our brave Scandinavian warriors, their unquenchable thirst for treasure keeps enemies forever at their backs.
Ragnar finds himself surrounded by conflict, not only in the land he is invading (Wessex), but also back home, which is now under the control of Jarl Borg. The blue-eyed viking is faced with his greatest dilemma; he can either embrace his destiny to explore unknown lands, or turn back and risk his life to save his family. What is a man of destiny and purpose to do?
Fortunately, Ragnar's love for his wife and children far outweigh his ambitions of finding a new home for his people in England. Princess Aslaug, Rollo, and Siggy are in desperate need of protection from Jarl Borg and his minions. Even with Aslaug's royal lineage, one would assume she would be more acclimated to living in harsh conditions, especially in Scandinavia. Her constant complaining throughout the episode branded her more spoiled child, than the wife and prophetess of an Earl. Surprisingly, Siggy (who is also more accustom to the finer things in life) appeared to be the stronger of the two women. Perhaps her plans to gain power within Ragnar's clan will come to fruition?
Rollo may be blind to Siggy's scheming, but it was a joy to see the troubled brother of Ragnar smile again. The man has found a purpose to live again, and with his brother at his side, no enemy will be too great for them to defeat. Even with the brothers reunited, there is still the matter of Borg's army to contend with. In one of the happier moments from this still early season, Lagertha and Bjorn return to Ragnar with a force large enough to take back their home.
After seeing Lagertha being beaten by her new husband in last week's episode, there was a certain satisfaction witnessing the lovely blonde shieldmaiden take back her honor by besting her abuser in combat. Katheryn Winnick proves once again why she is one of the fiercest actresses on television. Is Ranger fated to be with Aslaug until death, or does Lagertha have a chance to be reunited with her ex-husband?
Bjorn's meeting with his father was more pleasant than expected. There is no doubting his affections towards Ragnar, but does he still harbor any animosity? The blind oracle foretold that Bjorn would surpass his father is all things, but at what cost? Can the two titans stand together without one dooming the other to certain death? It appears that their fates are linked, but with so much prophecy and foreshadowing in Vikings, it's difficult to predict future events.
Sadly, this review ends on a sour note, as Athelstan's future looks bleak. The newly labeled apostate hanging from a cross was a gruesome site to behold, and if it weren't for the kindness (?) of Kings Ecbert, the former monk would have died in the same way his savior had centuries before. Of all the characters, Athelstan's path is the most unclear. How loyal is he to his newfound Scandinavian brothers? With blood spewing from the pages of the bible, his future seems dark, but as Ragnar tells Aslaug, not all prophesies are curses. Perhaps this is a blessing? Keep watching to find out.
Vikings continues with 'Answers in Blood' next Thursday @10pm on History.