“When this is over there will be many stories to tell.”
This week’s episode of Vikings contains one of the most strange and disturbing scenes of the entire series – Athelstan, after being caught by Anglo-Saxon soldiers, gets crucified by the Bishop of Wessex. He even gets a crown of thorns put on his head and is about to have a soldier spear him in the side when King Ecbert arrives and orders him taken off the cross.
At first I thought that this scene must have been a dream sequence, but it turns out that show creator Michael Hirst explained last year in his historical research he came across the story of an Anglo-Saxon monk who was taken by the Vikings, became an apostate, and was crucified when he returned back to England and was captured by raiding party. I haven’t come across this account yet, but it seems dubious to me that Christians would ever use this kind of punishment against pagans or apostates – it comes across as almost a mocking of the crucifixion of Jesus.
The show continues with its super-fast pace: Ragnar meets with Ecbert, learns that Jarl Borg has captured his home, sails back to Scandinavia, finds Aslaug and his family, and at the end is reunited with Lagertha and Bjorn. Months of events are reduced to just an hour.
The scene where Lagertha and Bjorn come to assist him is quite good – Ragnar is extremely happy to see his son, showing all the emotions of a proud father as he learns that Bjorn has grown to be a strong warrior. Meanwhile Lagertha gets almost portrayed as a ‘third wheel’ here, ignored by the two men after a few minutes. It will be interesting to see how the family dynamics get shuffled around now that Ragnar has his wife, ex-wife and four children in his home.
Princess Aslaug’s character looks as if she will be getting a more negative portrayal – her role in this episode is spent mostly complaining about how dirty the place they are hiding out is. To have her come across as a spoiled, whiny princess seems to be an injustice to a character that was so intriguing when she was first introduced.
It is good to see that Rollo is emerging from his depressed and downward spiral and act like a warrior and leader – much to the pleasure of Siggy. Also, its nice to have a scene with the Seer, even though what he says probably doesn’t make too much sense. He just comes across as a cool character ;)