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‘Vikings’: Episode “The Buddha” Recap

Photo by Jonathan Hession

The battle between King Harald (Peter Franzén) and King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) brought about a significant death, a disappearance, and a revelation of betrayal. Let’s dive into this week’s Vikings!

Wessex

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) is still unable to locate his mother, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) who has vanished after the battle. It is still uncertain whether this disappearance is of her own choice or perhaps she was taken? Bjorn is confident that she is still alive.

At the end of last week, King Alfred also found out about his brother, Aethelred’s (Darren Cahill) deceit. After returning from battle, he fulfills his promise to Bjorn, Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Torvi (Georgia Hirst). King Alfred signs over the land that his grandfather promised them. Afterward, he orders his men to arrest all the traitors that his mother, Queen Judith (Jennie Jacques) uncovered. All but one, Aethelred (Darren Cahill) looks on in disbelief and fear.

King Alfred has already decided that he will forgive his brother for leading the conspiracy against him because he saved him while they were in battle and that he is his brother. However, Queen Judith urges that he talk to Aethelred before arbitrarily forgiving him. Since King Alfred refuses to do so, she asks that he give her permission to speak with her son so she can understand why he did it.

Queen Judith confronts Aethelred and tells him that she knows he is part of the conspiracy. While he admits that the traitors approached him, Aethelred vehemently explains that he refused to give the signal to initiate the plan they concocted.

“I will never ever betray him again.”

At the end of the battle, Bjorn had captured Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars). It was her sword that killed Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who was already wounded by arrows. He wants to know if she saw anything after killing Bishop Heahmund as it pertains to Lagertha. Unfortunately, she didn’t see much. Either way, Bjorn releases her because he sees her as an equal. She then slaps him hard in the face which catches Bjorn by surprise, and when he asks what that was for, she states:

“I was just exercising my freedom.”

Bjorn confers with Ubbe and Torvi and displays his frustration of Lagertha’s disappearance. Torvi, who has been a loyal confidant of Lagertha’s, doesn’t think she would leave without a good reason. Could the death of her lover, Bishop Heahmund put her over the edge?

Later in the episode, King Alfred takes Bjorn, Ubbe, and Torvi to their lands. It still has some people living on it, so he asks that they treat them well. While Ubbe is thrilled at this win, Bjorn isn’t as pleased. He later divulges to Gunnhild that he wishes to go back to Kattegat. Bjorn knows that deep down he doesn’t belong in England. He thinks he can persuade King Harald to go back to Kattegat and take it from King Ivar.

Bjorn tells Ubbe he wishes to leave. They share a moment of mutual respect and understanding where they each acknowledge what the other must do. Bjorn also takes a moment to thank Torvi and verbalize his appreciation for everything she has done for him, their children, and his mother. This exchange between her and Bjorn is a rare moment that has been long overdue for Torvi!

Towards the end of the episode, soldiers rush home King Alfred who has become ill. While they watch over him, Queen Elsewith (Roisin Murphy) divulges to Queen Judith that she is pregnant. Producing an heir is a critical and Queen Judith tells her daughter-in-law how crucial it is that she has this baby. It is news that they must carefully guard, especially when there are so many threats against them.

The news of King Alfred’s collapse sends concern throughout his court. Therefore, Queen Judith addresses the court and reassures them that King Alfred will recover. Aethelred backs up his mother and reiterates that King Alfred will regain his health soon. His ease with the people worries Queen Judith. When she questions him, he quickly turns cold and lets her know that he does not appreciate his mother’s interference.

His behavior convinces Queen Judith that she must do something. In the next scene, she heads into the woods in search of mushrooms which she then mixes. While they wait for King Alfred to recover, she has dinner with Aethelred. As they discuss the nobles and their tendency to conspire against the king, Aethelred doubles over at the table. It turns out that the concoction she has made was a poison. He suffers terrible pains as he realizes what she has done.

“What kind of mother are you?”

When it is over, and Aethelred has taken his last breath, Queen Judith sobs as she holds her dead son in her arms.

Kattegat

Photo by Jonathan Hession

Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) comes across a man and asks him about a Buddha statue. He is mesmerized by it and the story that the man told him about it.

Meanwhile, King Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) gets word of the battle in England and that King Harald has retreated to York. With this news, he thinks that it is now time that they go back to England.

“When our father took me to England and was imprisoned by King Ecbert, I played chess with Prince Alfred. And now I would like to play chess with him again. Only this time, on the battlefield.”

King Ivar decides that they will head to York after the birth of his baby. He and Hvitserk continue to talk through their strained relationship. As Hvitserk begins to speak some nonsense, King Ivar jokes that maybe he is losing it like his old girlfriend, Margrethe (Ida Nielsen).

York

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King Harald and his army return to York without Jarl Olavson (Tomi May) who had died in the fight. He is greeted by men who were loyal to Jarl and are untrusting of King Harald. He stands up to them, and in true Viking fashion, King Harald proves he is not a person who you mess with it.

“You live and you learn.”

He and his men quickly bring down those opposed to him. He then introduces Magnus (Dean Ridge), who he believes is one of Ragnar’s sons. He boldly claims that they will achieve many great things and make York the center of an empire.

Once Bjorn realizes that he has another path, he and Gunnhild head for York. When they arrive, Magnus greets him with excitement. King Harald is a little more guarded. He sees an opportunity but does not fully trust Bjorn.

Iceland

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Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Kjetill’s (Adam Copeland) family are having dinner when Helgi the Lean (Jack McEvoy) arrives in grave condition. He tells them that his father, Eyvind’s (Kris Holden-Ried) has fallen ill and is possibly dying. He pleads with them to save his family. Even through Floki struggles with going to help Helgi’s family, Helgi tells him that his father is regretful for everything that happened and that the settlement was supposed to strive to be better.

Floki talks it over with Kjetill and leaves the decision of what to do to him. He tells Floki that they should try and save them.

“You know me, Floki. You know I cannot live without hope. I must have hope for the future of my family.”

They decide to make the trek in terrible weather to find Eyvind and his family, along with Helgi who is struggling with the journey. The rain beats down on them as they walk through the treacherous landscape.

Will King Harald and Bjorn be able to work together and fight against King Ivar? Will Hvitserk continue to stand by King Ivar? Will King Alfred survive his illness and what will he do if he finds out what his mother, Queen Judith did to Aethelred?

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