Half way through season 3 and Michael Hirst presents us with an interesting character driven episode, that takes varying steps in each characters arc.
The biggest reveal would have been Ecbert’s not so sudden turn to the dark side, we find out that the whole time he was plotting to get rid of the northmen by letting them have land and leave small numbers behind, only to kill whoever they left behind. Athelwulf ends up doing the deed through his anger of finding out Athelstan has impregnated Judith. Which now makes me understand why Ecbert was promoting Judith and Athelstan’s affairs. I have enjoyed Ecbert as a character, but even i knew he could not be trusted…
Bjorn’s arc of him becoming a man is just as interesting to me, his fight with Rollo represents how he has physically matured. But even after this, every conversation he has with his mother shows how he is changing/or has changed. ‘She is a woman not a child.’ A line Bjorn tells his mother while his mother worries and pesters him, it perfectly reflects him being a fully grown man. Not a child. By now most of us know that in history Bjorn becomes king of Sweden, and goes onto to greater feats than his father Ragnar, so his ‘origin’ story if you like, I find very compelling.
Rollo and Bjorn fought each other for the same reason, they could not protect the women they loved. This aside we learn about Rollo’s future. ‘The bear will be crowned by a princess, and you will be present at the wedding.’ If you know the history you’ll begging Rollo to hang in there. We see Lagartha return to her land with Ragnar to confront ‘The Ursurper’ which is Earl Kalf. Not much happened here, the friends Kalf made did not make an appearance, have no idea what happened to that story line. But it does seem like Kalf is going to marry Lagartha. (By the way, massive time jump? I don’t get the time relativity in the show? notice how Kalf now has ridiculously long hair.)
Other character points include Floki struggling to get attention from Ragnar (who literally to backflips away from his bullshit) with Athelstan around. Despite this Floki has been on point with his warnings, Ebert is bad and The Gods aren’t happy (Odin coming to Kattegat). Harbard’s mysterious background is explained, he is really Odin.
The episode is mostly well written, each character is well realised and has great lines. However the Hedeby time jump is something that bothers me a little bit…though it is a minor gripe.
Words by Eddie Michael