Vikings Season 6 Episode 3: I’m delighted to say that Vikings Season 6 is, so far, far better than it has been in a long time.
Part of this is due to the fact that certain bishops are no longer wreaking havoc with useless dramatisation.
It’s partly owing to Ivar’s transformation into a more human, less villainous, and less all-powerful being. Even though the programme keeps some of its more obnoxious tendencies, it’s mostly just better writing.
Vikings Season 6 Episode 3 continues to lay the backdrop
Ghosts, Gods, and Running Dogs, tonight’s episode, continues to lay the backdrop for the larger confrontation. There’s less action and more build-up, with chess pieces strewn across the board, none of which are quite ready to fall.
It also reintroduces King Harald Finehair and King Olaf, his new captive. There are so many kings. Finehair has grown a great full beard and long (fine) hair, similar to Ivar in the previous episode.
Finehair | Vikings Season 6 Episode 3
To eat with his captive king, he is taken before him. They’re having one of those enigmatic discussions that Vikings are known for. Olaf assures him that one thing is certain: “the Christian God will destroy our gods,” but only after he has arrived safely in Valhalla.
He tells Harald he’s undecided about whether to kill or let him live, and he has him hauled back to his cell.
Finehair later tries to bribe his way out of Olaf’s captivity by offering his guard—a smaller person—what he really wants: to be king. His jailer, on the other hand, does not believe him. Bjorn Ironsides has arrived with a vast fleet, possibly to come and rescue him, according to the little man.
Bjorn is devoted to the men to whom he owes money, but not so much to the women to whom he makes promises.
Brothers | Vikings Season 6 Episode 3
In Kattegat, Bjorn meets up with Ingrid (Lucy Martin), who tells him straight out that she wants him and that she delivers good fortune to every guy she meets. At first, he is a sceptic. But only in a hazy sense, and not for long.
“Don’t defy the gods,” she says later, lying naked across the bed (before crawling under the blankets because this is TV), all while a sacrifice rite goes happening outside on the beach. Bjorn abandons his vows as a white-robed priestess and slashes the throat of a goat.
I believe it is safe to assume that Bjorn will never be faithful, and that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree—despite the fact that Ragnar only had two wives (at least in the programme) and was rarely presented as a philanderer in the same manner that Bjorn is.
Ubbe is a fantastic brother, and we could use a lot more of him. He resembles Ragnar the most, yet he’s less insane, selfish, and ambitious.
Hvitserk is the saddest of the brothers, and he’s in bad shape right now. He keeps seeing visions of Margrethe, his dead wife, whom Ivar murdered.
He drinks as if he’s about to run out of everything, as if the world is about to run out of everything. Hvitserk’s PTSD is real and troubling, but the manner he downs his drink is… a little maudlin, a little over-the-top.
He informs Gunnhild that he sees Ivar waiting for him everywhere. Ghosts. He’s haunted, pallid, and a wreck, and he either needs someone to hit him really hard or he needs counselling right now.
Ubbe and Torvi, meantime, leave their children with Lagertha so that they can rule Kattegat while Bjorn is away, and then travel to Iceland to find Floki.
Ubbe ascends to the throne as steward and quickly demonstrates that he would make an excellent king, far superior to Ragnar, Bjorn, or Ivar.
He plans to send Hvitserk on a Silk Road trading mission, possibly as far as China. He addresses the crowd, “Together, we will make Kattegat one of the best cities in the world.
” The speech will be delivered without Hvitserk. He’s in a psychotic coma and desperately needs assistance. He’s basically lost his mind at this point.
Live Your Life By The Sword
Meanwhile, Lagertha is caring for her grandkids on her farm.
She tells them a storey about the Norse god Heimdallr, and we notice assassins approaching her door as she speaks. We realise, however, that it isn’t her door.
It’s one of the women that came to see her earlier and asked for her assistance. The men we saw weren’t assassins seeking Lagertha; instead, they were raiders out to prey on the week by rapping, pillaging, and murdering them.
As a result, Lagertha immediately chooses to break her promise of peace. With ice in her eyes and steel in her words, the shield maiden reappears.
She takes out the sword she so gravely buried last week. Of course, more time has passed since the show aired, and she appears to have built a happy, calm life for herself in the meanwhile. But here we are again, with violence all around us. Unavoidable.
This is fine with me. Lagertha wasn’t meant to live in a world of peace and tranquilly. Hers is a bloody and ruthless existence.
Blackwater The Battle
Bjorn arrives to save Harald at night, swimming in with his warriors toward Olaf’s coast. They believe they are invisible, but Olaf—crazy but not stupid—has outwitted them.
As they approach, he pours oil on the water and lights it on fire. They try to flee, but the archers create a new flame barrier.
It’s a dramatic sight, though I’m curious as to how Olaf knew they were coming, how he knew they’d come at night, and how he managed to construct such precise fire lines on the ocean.
I suppose I should just let everything go and revel in the wonder of it all. However, without any explanation or intelligence, it is an improbable defence.
It reminds me of Tyrion’s defence of King’s Landing in Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Blackwater when Stannis Baratheon attacked. Tyrion, on the other hand, had anticipated Stannis’s invasion from the sea and had prepared appropriately. We weren’t privy to any of the tactics, so I’m guessing Olaf did as well.
Ivar, Oleg, and Igor Enter The Bar
The voyage of Ivar and Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky) continues. Oleg is seeking vengeance against his brother for crossing him, for daring to challenge and threaten him. They catch him off guard during a party, with riders appearing in slow motion to massacre the revellers.
His brother begs for his life, saying he promised their father that he would look after him. But Oleg is unconvinced. He takes him to a torture room. Oleg wants him to swear allegiance to Odin, but he refuses. The use of hot irons follows.
The blossoming bond between Ivar and Igor is rather endearing. Ivar teaches him how to communicate in his own tongue. Igor plays the part of a cripple. They go to investigate after hearing a dog barking incessantly.
They discover Igor’s uncle, who has been left in a cage with a chain through his cheek and lips, looking hideous and pitiful. Igor makes a snide remark about him. Ivar chuckles as well, but suddenly he seems… disturbed. Perhaps he’s in over his head. Perhaps he’s finally gazing in the mirror and doesn’t like what he sees.
Whatever it is, it appeals to me. For much too long, Ivar has been a one-note jerk. He’s been a serial killer since he was a child. Perhaps, at long last, he’s becoming a person, a figure with whom we can empathise. Maybe. I’m not certain.
Once again, I’m just relieved that this programme has returned to its former glory. It’s not at its best. It lacks a genuine focal point, possibly more than Ragnar himself.
Ragnar provided us with the lodestone, the focal point around which everything else revolved. He wasn’t a hero, but he was a compelling focal character who we could root for. Floki and Athelstan, as well as Rollo and Ecbert, circled Ragnar’s orbit.
Vikings currently have no orbits and far too many stars. It’s a lot better than it was last season and throughout much of the previous season, but it’s still unclear what we’re intended to do.
Ragnar rose to prominence as a navigator, instructing his people on how to sail in new directions and across vast oceans. We followed him to England and through all of his hardships and tribulations, battles, and blunders, just like they did.
Without that anchor, the Vikings have become feckless, and no matter how much they improve from last season, I’m not sure they’ll ever have the same focus, and so we drift.