Before diving into the premiere of Wednesday’s Vikings, check out our recap of the season finale of the first half of the season by clicking here. Brothers fought against brothers, loyalties were tested, and death was everywhere. Everything the Seer had foretold seemed to be coming to fruition.
As the second half of season 5 begins, we see that our characters on very different paths and struggling to survive and maintain their power.
Kattegat: King Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) and King Harald (Peter Franzén)
Ivar the Boneless and King Harald Finehair march into Kattegat and declare themselves the victors of the war. King Ivar announces his claim to the throne.
“All hail your new King!”
King Ivar is still dead set on killing Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). His obsession with revenge makes him seem almost deranged. While King Harald is mourning the death of Astrid (Josefin Asplund) and his unborn child, King Ivar tries to cheer him up by pointing out that there are so many choices now that they rule Kattegat. In the midst of the celebration, he takes notice of the young slave, Freydis (Alicia Agneson), that he had previously set free.
The next morning a blast from the past arrives at the shores of Kattegat. King Rollo (Clive Standen) and his men greet both Ivar and Harald as Kings. King Ivar thanks him for his support in their war and King Rollo diplomatically states that it was in his country’s best interest to assist since Kattegat is a critical trading station. When asked about why he has returned after all this time he states:
“Because I missed the old place.”
He also eases King Harald’s mind as he assures him that he does not wish to rule Kattegat. Instead, he is only looking to make a profitable trade agreement and a mutual alliance for support in future conflicts as payment.
In talking about the war, King Rollo laments about how he is no longer allowed to fight anymore cause he is, “far too important.” Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) tells him how Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) spared his life and King Harald admits that he killed his brother, Halfdan (JasperPääkkönen). King Rollo mentions that he too tried to kill his brother. There is a slight sense of shame in both Ivar and Harald’s faces. King Rollo inquires about Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Lagertha, and you can tell his question annoys King Ivar.
In the early hours of the morning, King Rollo and one of his men quietly head out on horseback to find Bjorn and Lagertha. When he returns, King Ivar is eager to know where they are, but before King Rollo gives him the information, he has specific demands. Only after they agree, does he give their location.
By the time King Ivar and his men reach their hideout, they are long gone. The only one left is Margrethe (Ida Nelson) much to King Ivar’s dismay. She was too much of a loose cannon and so Ubbe had decided not to take her along with them.
King Rollo’s stalling tactics gave Lagertha and Bjorn just enough time to head back to Kattegat and steal a boat so they could set sail for England.
Meanwhile, the Freydis approaches Ivar. He is smitten, and she seems calculating and purposeful in her choice of words. She makes her move, and Ivar falls right in.
Kattegat: Lagertha, Bjorn, Ubbe, Torvi (Georgia Hirst) and Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)
Lagertha who’s hair has turned instantly white is in hiding with Bjorn, Ubbe, Torvi and Bishop Heahmund. She refuses to accept defeat. As they bicker about what their next steps are, Bishop Heahmund suggests that they go to England.
Bjorn is not sure about this, but Bishop Heahmund assures him that he will do everything to protect them. That King Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) will most likely ask them to fight on his behalf in exchange for his protection. Even though none of them want to leave their homeland, they have no choice. She agrees to go to England.
Lagertha and Bishop Heahmund discuss their return to England and what it will mean for them and their relationship. Bishop Heahmund lets Lagertha know that due to his position and the church he will not be able to be with her. However, he also declares his love for her.
From a distance, King Rollo and his soldier arrive, much to the dismay of Bjorn. After all, their uncle did side with their enemy. Lagertha who is a tad bit more tolerant asks why he has come to them. King Rollo tells her that he wishes to save them by giving them safe passage back to France. Of course, this is confusing for Lagertha since he supported her enemies. King Rollo proclaims his love for her, and then he finally says what has long been alluded to in past seasons.
“Bjorn is my son.”
While he might have supported Ivar and Harald for political reasons, he is trying to save Lagertha and Bjorn for something much more personal.
With determination, Lagertha refutes his claim. But through her gritted teeth, it seems she cannot definitively deny his claims. Bjorn who has been watching from afar can’t take it anymore and approaches them. King Rollo tells him about his offer for safe passage, and when Bjorn asks why, King Rollo tells him it is because he is his son. Bjorn who’s mannerisms remind us so much of Ragnar, brushes this comment away. He’s heard the rumors but doesn’t believe it.
“You may be my father, but then again you may not. At the time of my conception, you may have been with my mother but then again so was Ragnar. So who do I look most like? Who do I resemble most? In spirit and principle. Ah, now that is most important and for that undoubtedly, Ragnar.”
As King Rollo pleads with him, Bjorn does not wish to dwell on this. The hurt in King Rollo’s eyes is visible.
As the group discusses King Rollo’s offer, Bjorn is too bitter about his actions since he had sided with Ivar and so he refuses to accept his help. He recounts all the times that Rollo has gone against them. It is clear that would rather kill him for his betrayal than go with him to France.
Meanwhile, there is a moment that King Rollo has with Bishop Heahmund where he asks for forgiveness of his sins. As Bjorn’s emotions hit a boiling point, he lunges for King Rollo with an ax while Lagertha and Ubbe attempt to stop him. Even though King Rollo tells him to go ahead and kill him, Bjorn stops short and declares, “You are not worth the time it takes to clean the blood off my ax.” The comment strikes King Rollo hard, and he apologizes. As he walks away filled with grief, he declares:
“We will never meet again.”
Iceland: Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) and the colony
The settlers of the new colony still hold grudges from the wrongs of the past season and with their temple now destroyed, Floki offers himself as a sacrifice to salvage what they have built. He puts the decision to a vote among the people.
Eyvind (Kris Holden-Ried) thinks they should sacrifice Floki because he feels that it has been a mistake for them to have come to the new lands. The other half of the colony still hold faith in Floki and the gods.
They all vote, and it ends in a tie with only one vote remaining. Eyvind’s son has yet to cast his vote, and even though Eyvind demands he side with his family, he rejects Floki’s offer of sacrifice.
Wessex: King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo)
King Alfred takes his place as England’s new King. The Northmen still plague their lands, and so he declares that there is much work to be done to protect themselves. The new king also announces that all the prayers and lessons will be taught in English. This particular decision does not sit well with his constituents who believe he has no place in making decisions on this matter and that it should be left to the church. However, King Alfred holds firm on this matter and believes that it is his responsibility to ensure that his people are equipped with knowledge and education.
“The gift of knowledge belongs to all men.”
He diverts the conversation back to the imminent dangers of the Viking army that are sailing up the river. He appoints his brother, Aethelred (Daren Cahill), to command the army against them.
Meanwhile, Queen Judith (Jennie Jacques) coaches her son on how to stake his claim and establish his reign. She will find him a wife so that he can produce an heir. Meanwhile, his brother and army fight against the Northmen.
By the end of the episode, Lagertha and the group finally arrive in Wessex, and she is still unsure of Bishop Heahmund’s intentions and whether this decision was a wise one. They come across Aethelred who informs them that King Aethelwulf is dead and Alfred is now the new king. Aethelred, Bishop Heahmund, and the army take them bound in chains.
What did you think of the premiere? Will King Ivar eventually get his hands on Lagertha? Will Floki finally bring the people of the colony together? Will Bishop Heahmund betray Lagertha? And is King Rollo really Bjorn’s father?
Vikings airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on History.