Vikings Season 1 Review “Dispossessed”

Ragnar should be returning triumphant after his successful pillage of the English monastery. On the boat ride home, he certainly looks self-satisfied. But, he must have anticipated that Earl Haraldson was going to be seriously displeased at being disobeyed. Ragnar may not have thought, though, that Haraldson would strip him and his crew of all their plunder.

Before Ragnar’s return, Haraldson knows that Ragnar has gone west. Haraldson sends a man to Ragnar’s house to investigate. That poor guy isn’t prepared to take on Lagertha. When he tells her that he’s going to take her son as collateral until Ragnar’s return, he has only to take one look at the ax in her hand to rethink that idea. He takes a neighbor boy instead. Lagertha sends out such a great vibe of, “Don’t even think about messing with me.” The man made a wise choice in not doing so, because she would have had no qualms putting the ax in his head.

Lagertha has gotten over her anger and welcomes Ragnar back with open arms. This reconciliation was good because it shows how much they do love each other and how much some of their conflict is driven by passion. Haraldson, of course, is not so welcoming. He seizes the plunder, but offers to let Ragnar take one thing from the room. I knew he had to choose the priest. The others may have laughed at Ragnar’s choice, but what Siggy and Haraldson don’t consider is that the priest is the one with knowledge of the other monasteries and riches in England. He is the map to their future fortunes.

I’ve expressed some hesitancy about the characters of Haraldson and Siggy, and they still are not my favorites. But, this week they were a little more interesting because we saw a more intimate interaction between the two. Siggy stokes the fire of discord by assuring Haraldson that he is all powerful. But, her pep talk isn’t enough to get Haraldson ready for action, so to speak. I think we need to know more about Siggy and what her deal is. She plays the role we’ve seen countless times in literature – she’s Haraldson’s Iago, puffing him up and making him paranoid about perceived threats to his authority. Does she do this because she loves being the wife of the most powerful man or is there something more to her? Towards the end of the episode, we learn that Haraldon had a son. Perhaps his death is responsible for the strained relationship between him and Siggy.

By far, the best moment of the episode is when Ragnar tells Lagertha that he wants her to come on the next trip to England. This makes sense now that they have the priest as their live-in babysitter. It was fantastic when she leaned into the priest and explained in no uncertain terms what would happen to him if any harm came to her children. The Vikings return to North Umbria and have their first battle with British forces. The image of the blood filling the water and washing down the sand was stunning, and reminded me of the scene in Elizabeth when the monk bashes in the assistant’s head with a rock.

Next week, we see that Rollo may take some underhanded action against Ragnar. It made me think back to the moment when they were on the ship returning from England. Ragnar seems to love his brother and be utterly clueless of his true nature. Or is he? When he’s talking with the monk and looks back at Rollo, Ragnar’s expression shows that he does not fully trust him.

I was so anxious to see this week’s Vikings that I went online to watch it early. Either it was operator error or as of yesterday, the third episode was no longer available, because I couldn’t find it. The upside was that if you are nerding out as much as I am over this show, there are some interesting videos up on History Channel’s Vikings page. I watched a bunch of the vignettes that talked about Viking life, shield maidens, and the mythology of the Viking gods. If you’re loving this show, you may want to check those out.

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