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‘Vikings’: Season Premiere Recap “The Departed (Part 1 and 2)”

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Welcome back our fellow heathens! The wait has been long but so well worth it! When we last left season 4 the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) had avenged their father’s death with the attack on King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) and King Ecbert (Linus Roache). While they waged their war in the name of King Ragnar, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) was forced to hold her own and defend her city from a hostile take over to remain Queen of Kattegat.

There is much to cover in the new season’s 2-hour premiere, so we will attempt to summarize as best as we can.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Do not continue if you aren’t caught up.

Aftermath of Season 4 Finale

Photo by Jonathan Hession

The brothers feels the shock and loss of their brother Sigurd (David Lindström). Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) attempts to defend his actions and apologize for his loss of temper, but it doesn’t seem like his brothers are buying it. Trouble is brewing, and this is only the beginning.

Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) can see the storm coming and wants nothing to do with it. He has his sights on exploring the Mediterranean, which is something that he has wanted since season 4. He decides that it is time to pursue his dreams and so he and his men set sail to new lands leaving behind Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) to deal with Ivar.

The Boat Builder

Photo by Arnaldur Halldorsson

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) has become merely a shell of himself after losing Helga (Maude Hirst) and his daughter in season 4, along with his best friend. He has decided to go wherever the gods take him. It is clear that he has been beaten and has no fight left within him. Even as Ivar pleads with him to stay and help him, Floki’s mind is made up. As he says his goodbyes and sets sail, we are left wondering what will happen to Ragnar’s son without someone older and wiser to help guide them, which is the role that Floki had taken after their father’s death.

While out in the open waters, he discovers that Ivar had sneaked on board navigational tools so he wouldn’t get lost, but he throws it overboard. He is putting his fate in the hands of his gods, and nothing is going to sway him.

Perhaps the gods are watching over him since he survives the storm that sweeps his tiny boat onto the shores of a new land. He thanks the gods for this discovery and begins to explore his surroundings.

The Saxons

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) appeared at the very end of season 4. He arrives at the decimated grounds of King Ecberts’s kingdom and instructs his men to start rebuilding. They discover King Ecberts’s body and lay him to rest. To the survivors, he declares that they will defend their lands and fight against the heathens.

As they begin to restore the area, a man who was present when King Ecbert and Ragnar’s son signed their treaty, informs Bishop Heahmund that the lands that Ragnar’s sons thought were theirs, was in fact not. The agreement he made before his death was not binding since he had conveniently renounced his throne and handed it over to his son, Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) before they escaped. This news gives hope to Bishop Heahmund because he knows that Aethelwulf is still alive.

Meanwhile, Aethelwulf and Judith (Jennie Jacques) had fled into hiding along with their sons and some of their people. Judith’s son, Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), is the son of Athelstan (George Blagden), is ill. He experiences a vision in which he says his father appeared to him and told him they must go to York because their people need them. Being that Aethelwulf is deeply religious, he and the family head to York. They are stopped by Bishop Heahmund’s men and the two forces band together at the edge of York.

Attack on York

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Throughout the episode, it is clear that animosity between Ubbe and Ivar is growing. Their inability to see eye to eye is apparent as they disagree over what to do after defeating King Ecbert and King Aelle. Ivar wants to keep conquering lands and build a stronghold fortress in York, while Ubbe reminds him that their father didn’t want to be just raiders. They also don’t entirely agree on their tactics for the attack. Ivar is ready to go full steam ahead and not wait, and Ubbe again goes back to what Ragnar said when he told them that the best time to attack is when they are celebrating one of their saints.

They finally agree to find out when the people of York will be celebrating their next saint. Ivar reminds us of an evil snake as he crawls to towards the two young village boys who give up this critical information. In three days time, they will be celebrating Ascension Day. The brothers and their army prepare for the attack, and on the third day, they conquer York. Ivar is especially vicious in his methods as he pours gold into the priest’s mouth and laughs like a lunatic while his lifeless body is dragged out by his feet.

Ubbe seems to have an opposite reaction when he comes across a nun who has slit her wrist and dies in his arms. As he looks down at her, his eyes show that he may not possess the same bloodlust as Ivar.

Kattegat

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Back in their homeland, Kattegat, Queen Lagertha has been fighting a battle of her own to keep her throne. She has surrounded herself with strong women, Astrid (Josefin Asplund) and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) are among them. (Yes, we were relieved to see that Torvi survived the attack on Kattegat as well!)

Unbeknownst to Lagertha, King Harald Finehair (Peter Franzén) is on his way back to the town to bring back the news of the battle. We all know he is also returning to see if his plan succeeded! His brother, Halfdan the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen), decided he was looking for more adventure and sailed off with Bjorn.

The horns sound as King Harald’s ships arrive. He tells Lagertha about their win and the loss of Sigurd. Lagertha is rightfully untrusting of his motives as to why he has returned and not Bjorn. She then reveals that his attempt to overthrow her was unsuccessful. Even though he dares them to kill him, she chooses to imprison the King to the dismay of the other women. In his prison, he offers a truce and a proposal of marriage. For someone who has been burned one too many times by her lovers, Lagertha’s not so thrilled at his proposition and makes it known to him.

Not only is Lagertha dealing with an external threat, but she is also experiencing some discord within her core group. Astrid’s tryst with Bjorn isn’t sitting too well with Lagertha, and while she hasn’t come out and told Astrid that she knows about their affair, it is clear at the dining table that Astrid’s betrayal is affecting their relationship. We all know that Lagertha doesn’t forget.

Surprisingly, King Harald manages to escape, but before he goes, he kidnaps Astrid. Why? Well because he still needs a wife. Lagertha is keenly aware that he will return to fight for Kattegat and her throne, but she’s not sure as to what role Astrid will play in his plans.

The season premiere set up quite a few conflicts that we are sure to see play out in some crazy ways. Will Astrid betray Lagertha and side with King Harald? How will Ubbe handle Ivar’s ambitions? How will Bishop Heahmund affect Ivar’s grand plan to conquer more Saxon lands? What will Bjorn find in the Mediterranean? And, will Floki ever find his way back home?

What did you think of the season premiere?

Vikings airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on the History channel.

Related Articles:

‘Vikings’: The State of Our Characters As We Start Season 5

‘Vikings’: Jonathan Rhys Meyers As Bishop Heahmund

‘Vikings’: Check Out New Images of Floki in a New Land

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