Vikings – Review of Episode 9: All Change



 
 “What is it you want Rollo, what is it you really want?…Will you fight along side me? Together you and I will fight to carve out a new kingdom – isn’t that what you really want? the death of your brother…?”~ Earl Borg

“I say yes…I will fight with you against my brother” ~ Rollo

Sadly, we’ve come to that moment – the end of a great season. Although we didn’t have a crazy battle or bloodshed, there were many exciting new developments and twists in this final episode. Happily, there will be a season two – replete with ten action packed, sexy, medieval episodes!

So how does it all end?…

Vikings review All Change

Ragnar goes to broker peace between King Horik and Earl Borg. Earl Borg is not happy with Horik’s demands and asks Ragnar to go back and renegotiate. He also asks for a “hostage” to stay behind as a gesture of good faith. Ragnar decides to leave Rollo behind as assurance. Big mistake It’s here the plot thickens…Borg hones in on Rollo’s discontent and has a confidential talk with him about Ragnar. He sees in Ragnar what he saw in his brother. Borg’s brother poisoned his wife and his kinsmen in a bid to eradicate him. Borg sees that he can plant the seeds of doubt in Rollo’s mind about his relationship to Ragnar and feed off his growing ambition. He warns Rollo about the perils of “brotherly love” but Rollo doesn’t take the bait. Later, when Ragnar and Floki return with news that Horik will not negotiate, Earl Borg declares war against him. Ragnar will not switch his allegiance from Horik so they decide to amicably part ways in the morning. It’s here where Borg tries one last time to get Rollo to abandon Ragnar…and he’s successful! Rollo has finally decided to act on what’s been playing on his mind all season: the betrayal of Ragnar. He wants the power, the women and the prestige – he’s tired of living in his brother’s shadow. Now, he’s been given the opportunity to act and season two is gearing up for some serious excitment as the brothers will go head to head.

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For Ragnar, his life gets turned upside down when his men encounter a beautiful woman, Auslag, bathing in the woods. Auslag, played by Alyssa Sutherland (The Devil Wears Prada, Arbitrage) is a princess. Ragnar can’t hide his attraction to Auslag and they make love. Bjorn is visibly upset by this betrayal of Lagertha and asks Ragnar not to do it again. When Auslag reveals she is pregnant with Ragnar’s child, he is stunned and can’t keep away from her, thus breaking his promise to Bjorn.

Meanshile, things are looking rather grim for Lagertha. She goes to see the Seer about her dark dreams hoping he can bring her relief but she finds none. She finds out Ragnar is in danger magically but not physically and the Seer refuses to reveal more. Suddenly, a plague strikes the village and Siggy, Athelstan, Thyri and Gyda all fall ill. Sadly, Siggy loses Thyri and Lagertha loses Gyda. Is this some devine retribution against Ragnar? There are many ways to look at it…it could be sheer bad luck or the Gods abandoning our leather clad hero.

It sets up a potentially tense and thrilling opener for season two. What will he be returning to? An angry wife, a decimated village, a pregnant lover and treacherous brother. I can’t wait!

Tune in with us next season for more exciting episode of Vikings! ~ Sandra




Peter’s Take: It was a very surprising episode for me and not what I thought the season finale would be like. I was expecting to see a large battle and lots of blood; instead we saw a plague and lots of character growth. That said, I quite liked how the season ended, which lays out some strong plot lines.

The show introduces two new characters, both of whom will probably play key roles in future episodes. Rangar and his men begin the episode by journeying to Sweden to meet with Jarl/Earl Borg in order to deal with a land dispute between him and King Horik. Borg comes across as a fairly shrewd and balanced leader – he was willing to compromise with Horik, but the Danish king proved too stubborn. Everyone now knows this will lead to war, and Borg is showing that he has plans for that too. He was able to convince Rollo to turn against his brother – something that Earl Haraldsson tried and failed to do before. So far, Jarl Borg is proving to be a strong antagonist who wont be a one-dimensional villain.

The other new main character is Aslaug, who gets introduced by way of bathing in a waterfall. Her look and character almosts suggests a kind of supernatural or mystic quality to her, and she then adds that she is the daughter of Brunhild, a figure of Norse mythology. Her wit and charm soon prove too much for Ragnar – he soon is making love to her, as he says, “because I have no choice.”

Soon enough, she is pregnant, which I found confusing – how did she know so quickly and how did she know that the seer predicted Ragnar would have more sons? These events were happening in just a few days time, so it stretches credibility. Or is she some kind of supernatural figure? A lot of questions, and it should be fun to see how the Aslaug storyline plays out next season.

Vikings season finale

The other story of the plague that hits Ragnar’s home village felt too rushed. One moment Siggy is talking about how her relative died unexpectedly, the next half the people are lying in the great hall. I think the show wanted to give us a strong shock with the deaths of Thyri and Gyda, but their characters did so little in the first eight episodes of the series that I wasn’t particularly saddened by this loss.

Taking a look at the season as a whole, I can see why Vikings has garnered such a large audience – the show presents a good mix of Norse civilization, strong characters and scenes of battle and blood. Ragnar and the other Norse people are not overly complicated and the storylines are fairly easy to follow. While it may stretch historical accuracy (and common sense) on occasion, it does leave the viewer thinking that this could be a good picture of how the Vikings lived and fought. Ill be looking forward to the next season ~ Peter