After the season premiere, our fearless warriors have all splintered off onto various paths. Each choice they make is bound to have significant repercussions throughout the season. Let’s dig in!
Ivar the Boneless
There is a moment at the beginning of this episode when we see Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) with a young woman. She catches him slightly off guard as she is not scared of him. In fact, she seems to admire him which surprises him, and in return he frees her. While this encounter would seem slightly insignificant, it shows how lonely it has been for him. He is able to find reassurance and closeness in a complete stranger rather than his brothers.
In last week’s episode, the Saxons started looking for a weak spot where the Vikings had captured York. This week, their scouts come back with good news. The Northmen have left part of the town vulnerable and unprotected. They decide that this is the perfect location where they can gain access and take back their city.
They pray for their victory right before battle and Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), along with Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) and his two sons head off to attack the Northmen.
Saxon and Viking Battle at York
The day of the attack is eerily quiet and foggy. As Bishop Heahmund and Aethelwulf break through the walls of the York, they split up, and each takes their men on opposite sides and plan to meet at the cathedral.
As Aethelwulf and his men crept through the town, they are met with arrows. They are corralled and trapped on various sides. To break through, they are forced to walk on their fallen men.
Meanwhile, Bishop Heahmund’s group is also attacked by arrows, and as they try to fight through their trap, they are lit up with fire.
It is evident that the Saxons have underestimated the Northmen. Ivar has proven his shrewdness in anticipating their moves and set a nasty trap. There is no way Ivar will stay away from the fight. He joins them on the grounds and charges into the chaos.
Unfortunately for him, he gets knocked off his chariot and hits the ground. A man runs to attack him while he is down. However, he misjudges Ivar’s abilities. Like an animal, Ivar shows no mercy as he kills him. He props himself up against his chariot and challenges the Saxons as they stare down at him, he begins screaming,
“Don’t you know who I am? You can’t kill me! Don’t you know who I am? I am Ivar the Boneless. I am Ivar the Boneless. You can’t kill me! I am Ivar the Boneless.”
Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) arrives at the side of his brother, Ivar, along with his men and both groups go in for the kill. In the midst of the fighting Aethelwulf spends most of his time coming to the rescue of his two boys.
As both sides collide, Bishop Heahmund makes his way through, killing dozens of men in his path. As he sets his eyes on Ivar, the two warriors are finally face-to-face. However, as the warriors from both sides collide in between them, they are unable to get at each other.
Bishop begins to walk away and exclaims, “Fight for your King! Fight for your God!” The Saxons retreat, but not before he declares,
“God reignth over the heathen!”
Aftermath of the Saxon Attack on York
The Vikings celebration over their victory is short-lived. The tension between Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Ivar is rising. Ubbe states that he saved Ivar’s life, while Ivar boasts that it was all his strategy that let them win. Ubbe also believes it is time to negotiate and claim the lands that were given to them by King Ecbert. Ivar has no intentions of settling and warns Ubbe that it is not a good idea.
In the middle of the night, Ubbe takes matters into his own hands. He grabs Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) and a few men and heads to the Saxon camp. Despite Ivar’s wishes, he is going to attempt to negotiate with them.
They arrive and announce that they wish to make peace and take the lands that they believe they are entitled to have. Ubbe thinks he is doing the right thing for his people and that the Saxons will be reasonable. Unfortunately for him, Bishop Heahmund is just as strong-willed as Ivar and does not intend to give in. Despite Alfred urging them to consider their offer, he sneaks into their camp and beats Ubbe. He lets only Ubbe and Hvitserk leave bruised and humiliated.
When they are back in their camp, Ivar says, “I told you so” and sneers at their ‘stupidity.’ He announces to everyone that they were weak for trying to talk to them and then demands that they must recognize him as the rightful leader of the Great Army.
Since Ubbe is the older brother and believes he is the better leader, he proclaims that he will never accept Ivar’s claim. He decides that he and Hvitserk will return to Kattegat, along with their men. Walking away, he tells Ivar that their father would have hated him for forcing the family to split up. In some ways, we think that is true. However, as you all recall, in the end, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and Rollo (Clive Standen) also found themselves on opposite sides.
The next morning, Ubbe and Hvitserk prepare their boats to leave. Ivar taunts his brothers with such venomous words. It seems to affect Hvisterk, and at the last minute, before the boat sails from the dock, he gets off and joins Ivar. The hurt and shock on Ubbe’s face remind us of the look that Ragnar gave Rollo when he too had betrayed him.
King Harald and Astrid
Meanwhile, across the way, King Harald (Peter Franzén) and Astrid (Josefin Asplund) have arrived at King Harald’s kingdom. He greets his people and celebrates their success against the Saxons. The King announces his dream of making his town the capital of Norway. He then introduces Astrid as another one of his goals, and she reluctantly joins him on the throne.
Astrid doesn’t seem to be giving into him. However, she dons her ‘royal’ attire and joins him in the hall for the celebration in the evening. Later he attempts to make a move by kissing her, and even though she lets him kiss her, she clocks him right on the nose and walks away.
When we left our boat builder, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) had begun to explore the area where his boat crashed. He’s still unsure as to why the gods brought him there. He experiences a vision, and as he falls backward onto the ground, he believes that the whole reason that he was sent there was to die. When he is finally able to get up off the ground, he discovers that the wound on his hand from the boat wreck seemed to have disappeared and he thanks the gods. He appears to have been reborn in this instance, and so he sees his survival as a sign and a gift from the gods.
Somewhere in the Gulf of Cadiz waters, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Halfdan the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen) talk into the night. Bjorn questions why Halfdan decided to go with him instead of staying with his brother. Halfdan explains that he wishes to live and feel every moment. They are interrupted by one of their men who suggests that they disguise themselves as traders instead of raiders. He recommends that Bjorn send most of their fleet back and only keep about three boats.
This episode did not disappoint as we witnessed Bishop Heahmund and Ivar both flex their muscles. Both men got a glimpse of what the other was capable of, and we know there is sure to be some more intense battles between them. As for the other characters, will Bjorn send back most of his army? How will Astrid keep King Harald at bay? Will Floki meet any natives in his new land? Is there any humanity in Ivar?
Vikings airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on the History channel.