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‘Vikings’: Episode “A New God” Recap

Photo by Jonathan Hession

In last week’s Vikings episode, Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) and Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) both made strategic moves to ensure their positions and prove their power. Let’s go through what happened on this week’s episode.

Kattegat

King Harald (Peter Franzén) is leaving for York and Ivar couldn’t be more relieved. He wants him as far away from Kattegat as possible. His relationship with Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) is just as strained. Hvitserk hates Ivar for Margrethe’s (Ida Nelson) death, and he accuses him of ordering the kill in front of the entire hall. Ivar denies it and to change the subject, Freydis (Alicia Agneson) announces her pregnancy. The tension between all three of these ‘allies’ is visible

Ivar suggests that if Hvitserk is so unhappy, why doesn’t he go with King Harald. In his drunken stupor, Hvitserk refuses.

“For good or ill, you’re stuck with me.”

While Ivar is busy trying to prove himself to be a strong force among his people, Freydis is becoming just as ruthless as her husband. To protect the secret of the father of her baby, she lures Ivar’s servant with whom she slept with and then promptly has him eliminated. Her secret is safe for now.

Ivar senses that he must talk to Hvitserk, and he gives him some news. He claims that the whole family is descended from the great Odin. He recalls how Hvitserk pitied him when they were younger because of his disability. Thanks to Freydis’s, he no longer feels ashamed and now understands that being deformed is not a curse, but a blessing. With this realization, Ivar comes to a grand conclusion.

“Ivar the Boneless is a God.”

This epiphany calls for a celebration in which he feels, he needs to have a special sacrifice of someone well-known.

Hvitserk cannot believe what he is hearing.

Regardless of what Hvistserk thinks, Ivar moves forward, and they prepare for the ceremony.  Ivar forces everyone in Kattegat to attend. He then orders for the sacrifice to be brought forward. It is apparent that he and Freydis are content in leading Kattegat through fear. As this occurs, The Seer awakens sensing the pivotal point of Ivar’s reign.

Wessex

Photo by Jonathan Hession

News of Lord Cuthred’s (Jonathan Delaney Tynan) death reaches King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) through his brother Aethelred (Darren Cahill) who is furious. When they find Bishop Heahmund, King Alfred chooses to speak to him alone.

Bishop Heahmund has anticipated that the King would be furious and is ready to confront him. He admits to killing him but then divulges his reason which is that they were planning to overthrow him. He had to do it to save the King’s crown and his life.

When King Alfred tells his mother Queen Judith (Jennie Jacques) and his brother Aethelred, she asks if he found out any more information. Aethelred is furious that his brother is even entertaining Bishop Heahmund’s claims.

Not sure what to do, the King puts Bishop Heahmund in prison. Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) goes to find out what happened, and he tells her that Lord Cuthred found out about them and threatened to tell the King. She still doesn’t understand why he would do this because the decision to save him all depends on King Alfred and they have no way of knowing which way he will go. Bishop Heahmund holds faith in him and states:

“I’m trying to do the right thing for us and for Wessex.”

King Alfred struggles with the decision of what to do with Bishop Heahmund. He prays to his grandfather for strength and guidance.

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Meanwhile, Lagertha informs Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) that King Alfred is in trouble and that there are factions who are against him because of his decisions. They are at a loss of what to do. Torvi even has a moment of regret for coming to Wessex, until Lagertha reminds them that if they had stayed in Norway, they would have surely died. Ubbe then tells them about King Alfred’s offer of being baptized to appease those who see them as pagan enemies. Bjorn doesn’t agree with his plan and is angry that Ubbe would even consider turning his back on their Gods and their father.

King Alfred meanwhile hasn’t spent much time with Princess Elsewith (Roisin Murphy). He apologizes and is blunt with what she would be getting herself into if she went through with the wedding. She surprises him by telling him she would stand by him and help him through whatever threats arise.

The King then addresses his court with his decision on Bishop Heahmund. His declaration to restore him as Bishop Heahmund of Sherborne does not sit well with the court as they shout in disagreement. He also announces his marriage to Princess Elsewith. Oh and he’s not finished. His final announcement is the fact that Ubbe and Torvi have agreed to be baptized. This last announcement enrages the group. King Alfred appeals to them.

“I ask all of you in Gods name to recognize and celebrate this conversion. It marks the beginning of something important. Without the help of these people, who were once our enemies, Wessex cannot and will not survive.”

Aethelred feels these decisions will be King Alfred’s downfall, while Queen Judith reminds him that they must support him because he is doing what is best for their people. She also is pleased that King Alfred’s wedding is set and tells Aethelred it’s his turn. However, it seems he does not need help as he has already found his bride in Lord Cuthred’s daughter.

Despite the opposition from the people, Ubbe and Torvi are baptized by Bishop Heahmund. Bjorn watches for a bit even though he still does not agree.

After the ceremony, Ubbe and Torvi sit and contemplate what they just did. Ubbe doesn’t know what to do with the cross necklace and the Viking bracelet. Should he wear both? He takes off the bracelet and sticks it in his boot.

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Bishop Heahmund also weds King Alfred and Princess Elsewith. Bjorn who is not happy about anything that is going on stares from afar. A young man is also watching intently, but he is not watching the wedding. Instead, he is focused on Bjorn. He approaches him later in the courtyard and introduces himself as Magnus (Dean Ridge), Ragnar’s son by Queen Kwenthrith. He tells him how he was cast out after Ragnar’s death. It is apparent that he holds some resentment for this. He has been waiting to be reunited with his brothers. Bjorn questions why Magnus doesn’t just come forward. Magnus thinks that if he did, they would kill him. He wonders why Bjorn is supporting King Alfred after everything they have done and especially for the death of “their father.”

Bishop Heahmund and Lagertha contemplate who might have taken over Lord Cuthred’s place as the leader of the group that is against the King. They also discuss who would take over King Alfred’s place if their plan to overthrow him is successful. Bishop Heahmund thinks it could be Aethelred, but he isn’t sure yet.

In the next scene, we see Aethelred sneak into a room of people.

Iceland 

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) has brought together the two feuding families of Eyvind (Kris Holden-Ried) and Kjetill Flatnose (Adam Copeland). He reiterates that he wants them to come to terms with the past and find peace in their losses and stop fighting. Eyvind’s son is after all married to Kjetill’s daughter, and they are expecting their first child. Kjetill and Eyvind agree.

Towards the end of the episode Helgi the Lean (Jack McEvoy) is unable to find his wife Thorunn (Mei Bignall). He fears the worst, and they set out in search of her.

York

King Harald arrives in York where the Vikings have taken over. He meets with Jarl Olavson (Tomi May) who Ivar left in charge. He tells Jarl that he is ready to attack Wessex and invites him to raid Wessex along with him. Then he tells him that he has other aspirations and ask if Jarl would join him in his mission to take on Kattegat. Jarl is hesitant, because who would dare go against Ragnar’s sons? However, he states that he will think about the proposal and in the end, he agrees to join King Harald. After all, he too has ambitions.

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Will Ivar let his hunger for power get the best of him? What is King Harald plan for Kattegat? Will Bishop Heahmund figure out who is behind the plot to overthrow King Alfred? Will Magnus reveal himself to the others and does Bjorn believe that he is Ragnar’s son?

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