Vikings Season 2 Review “Unforgiven”

Vikings Season 2 Episode 6 Unforgiven (5)

This week’s Vikings was an emotional rollercoaster. It was a tough one for the ladies, in particular. Siggy and Lagertha endured brutal humiliations that were difficult to watch. Meanwhile, the Lothbrok men and Athelstan triumphed over their recent hardships.

We begin with Siggy going to the Seer. He repeatedly asks her why she has come, and she doesn’t seem to know what she’s really after. She confesses that she wants her old position back and is bitter by her current circumstances. She also does not feel gratitude for Ragnar sparing her life after killing her husband. She asks if the gods will favor her, and the Seer replies, “The gods will always smile on brave women….” Siggy has been stoic in the face of many hardships, so to see her starting to crumble is disconcerting.

Things don’t get better for Siggy with the return of King Horik. As Horik approaches Kattegat an eagle flies overhead symbolizing some kind of ominous connection perhaps with Jarl Borg. It’s interesting that Rollo and Siggy are out at the dock to greet them, instead of Ragnar and Aslaug. That night, there is a feast to welcome the men back. Almost immediately, Ragnar asks what happened to Athelstan. Horik responds that he doesn’t care what happed because Athelstan was worthless. Bjorn speaks up and says that he and his sister thought of Athelstan as family.

This statement by Bjorn is pretty incredible. Think back to the time when Ragnar and Lagertha wanted to leave Bjorn and Gyda behind with Athelstan in charge. Bjorn was indignant that a slave would be in control. To go from that angry Bjorn to this kinder, thoughtful Bjorn is fantastic. Ragnar’s smile at Bjorn’s statement is similarly touching because it’s him acknowledging that he feels the same way. Of course, it’s no surprise that Floki has to chime in with an anti-Athelstan comment.

Horik says that he wants revenge against King Ecbert. This sounds ridiculous, because he clearly has no idea what he’d be up against. Ragnar has seen Ecbert’s castle and knows that this is a more developed, organized society. He must also know that Ecbert would be a dangerous foe. Horik thinks that the best way to increase their man power is by bringing Jarl Borg back intot he fold. Ragnar looks less than thrilled at the idea, but doesn’t say much. If you are Ragnar’s enemy, this is the moment when you should worry. When Ragnar says nothing, it means that the wheels are turning.

After dinner, Horik takes his son to meet with Siggy. He asks her to explain why she sleeps with him. She explains that she does it to improve Rollo’s position. Is this true? I think Siggy might throw Rollo over if someone like Horik was interested in marrying her. Unfortunately, by putting herself in such a subservient position, she will never get that kind of commitment from Horik. She must realize this when he asks her to have sex with his son. The sad thing is that Siggy only hesitates for a moment before agreeing to do it. Lagertha and even Aslaug never would have done that. Besides the horribleness of being pimped out, how crazy and creepy was it that Horik watched? Siggy didn’t have to do this. She has Rollo. She has a place to live. She’s not struggling to survive. Her ambition has led to her humiliation.

Back in her home, Lagertha isn’t doing much better. Her husband ridicules her and rants about her not bringing Bjorn back. He exacts his revenge later that night by sending several men to beat her. Even though she gets in some good blows, they manage to overwhelm her. It is awful seeing Lagertha in such a weak position.

In Kattegat, Bjorn develops a crush on the family slave, Porunn. He tries to be polite, but she is wary. I liked it when he asks if she has a boyfriend and she says, “Of course.” She probably doesn’t realize it, but blowing him off is what is going to keep Bjorn’s interest. Ragnar watches his son with amusement and doesn’t seem too concerned that the girl is a slave.

Meanwhile, Rollo goes to Jarl Borg. Looking at Jarl Borg’s town in comparison to Kattegat, it’s a wonder he didn’t just raise Kattegat to the ground and go back to his fortress. His place makes Ragnar’s look like a dump. Jarl Borg confers with the skull of his dead with in order to decide to join the raiding party. It’s too bad his skull didn’t warn him what would happen.

Back in England, Ecbert continues his dialogue with Athelstan about the pagans. Ecbert seems genuinely interested in history and other cultures. It’s hard to remember that during this time period, pagan artifacts would be destroyed – not studied and appreciated like they are now. The two seem to be developing a friendship that exists apart from the Viking raiders. I initially thought he’d try to use Athelstan, but so far he’s more interested with talking to him.

Athelstan doesn’t have a bad deal. He will get to copy all of the parchments of the Caesars for Ecbert and be left alone. The only downside is that he is just that – alone. Ragnar and the others are his family. Athelstan’s hallucinations continue for some unknown reason. This time he sees the stigmata and bleeds from his head as if he is wearing the crown of thorns. I haven’t quite figured out what this is about.

When Jarl Borg arrives at Kattegat, the look on Ragnar’s face is perfect. He smiles and looks at Floki in a way that shows he hasn’t forgiven or forgotten. After an evening of feasting, the hammer drops. Rollo leads an attack on Jarl Borg’s men. The next target is Jarl Borg, who Ragnar personally goes after. Ragnar tells him that he’s going to give him a blood eagle.

First off, good on the commenters from last week who linked the eagle with the blood eagle. “Blood eagle” was a form of torture that involved breaking the ribs to resemble wings and pulling out the lungs. Jarl Borg begs Ragnar not to do it, but Ragnar’s face shows no signs of mercy. The takedown of Jarl Borg and his men is immensely satisfying.

Lagertha’s humiliation continues as she sits, beaten and bruised at her husband’s table. Rather than fear, you can see the anger rise and spread throughout her entire being. When he attempts to show her breasts to the room, the levy breaks and she attacks him. After stabbing him in the eye, it looks like this may be it for her. But, one of the men steps forward and beheads her husband. Allegiances have switched and it looks like we may end up with Earl Lagertha. It’s time that Lagertha isn’t the victim of any man – unfaithful or abusive.

The state of several of the relationships are up in the air at the end. Rollo seems to know that Siggy has betrayed him. He doesn’t say anything, but he recoils from her. Bjorn wants to do something nice for Porunn, but she can’t see past his role as the master. She must get over it eventually. Bjorn’s time with Lagertha has kept him from becoming an abusive brute. I was glad that Rollo didn’t kill Jarl Borg’s wife. For some reason, I have a feeling that she and Rollo may end up together.

Ragnar’s defiance of Horik is a big move. Not only did he ignore Horik’s wishes, he went behind his back to slaughter Jarl Borg’s men. There are going to be some serious consequences.

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