Vikings Season 2 Review “Boneless”

Vikings Season 2 Episode 8 Boneless (4)

Events moved forward quickly on this week’s Vikings. Ragnar, Horik and Lagertha gathered their forces to go raid in Englad. Aslaug gave birth to a son with a severe leg deformity. Porunn and Bjorn confessed their love for one another. Ragnar learned that Athelstan is with King Ecbert. While each character faced his own conflict, such as Ragnar struggling with whether or not to kill his child, none had more of an evolution than Lagertha.

In this episode, we see how far Lagertha has evolved in her role as Earl. From the beginning, Lagertha has always shown a desire to be treated as an equal to men. When Ragnar first went raiding, Lagertha was livid that he was leaving her behind. As Athelstan noted when Ragnar offered to take him raiding this season, he did not want to be left behind with the old people, women and children. Neither did Lagertha. When Ragnar became Earl and went off with King Horik, Lagertha was left in charge at Kattegat. She had to moderate disputes and look after the people. She even had to manage a deadly epidemic that took the life of her child. The people liked and respected her.

When Ragnar returned, she had to move back over to the passenger seat while he took charge. Lagertha could have coped with that, but then Aslaug arrived. Lagertha already carried a great sense of shame and guilt that she could not bear Ragnar another son; a situation that Ragnar was hardly sympathetic of. With her “womanly role” diminished, Lagertha had found her sense of identity and purpose elsewhere. Aslaug’s arrival, and large pregnant stomach, highlighted Lagertha’s shortcoming as a wife and mother. By not being held above Aslaug, Lagertha lost the things that had come to define her – beloved woman, mother to Ragnar’s son, and Earl’s wife.

When Lagertha left Ragnar, she didn’t just lose her husband, she lost her home. She was forced to make a new home with a despicable man, because she needed resources to raise Bjorn. At the hands of her new husband, she suffers countless indignities that seek to convince her that she is helpless. This week, we learn that she is, in fact, not helpless, and conspired to kill her husband.

By taking the Earlship, joining forces with Horik and Ragnar, and leading her own army of men on a raid, Lagertha has finally achieved a freedom that she’s long craved. But, she still wants to be treated like an equal by Horik and Ragnar. She doesn’t realize that Ragnar doesn’t treat anyone else as an equal. Though, if there was anyone who he could treat that way, it should be her. When Ragnar hatches his secret plan in Wessex, Lagertha and Horik are both angry. Horik doesn’t like that Ragnar has done something without getting his approval, while Lagertha seems more hurt that he kept it a secret from her.

The softer side of Lagertha is still there. She has an incredibly pained look on her face when the birth of Ragnar’s new son is announced. She also is happy when Bjorn tells her that he is in love with Porunn. She doesn’t care that the girl is a slave; in fact, she seems to like that. There is, though, a hardness that has also developed. When she emerges from the bathtub in front of her co-conspirator and then accuses him of being a coward, this is an incredibly ballsy thing for her to do.

While I want to see Lagertha reunite with Ragnar at some point, I don’t see how she can do it as long as Ragnar has Aslaug around. Hopefully, they will eventually reconcile. Until then, I hope that Lagertha continues to secure her place in the Viking echelon of power.

As we’ve come to expect from Vikings, this episode had some absolutely gorgeous scenes. The shot of the boats leaving and the women perched on the hill was stunning. The only thing that did not work for me this week is the conflict between Ragnar and Floki. I feel like this hasn’t been explained and it’s incongruous that Floki went from treating Ragnar like a brother to practically hating him.

Follow me on Twitter @LaVaudreuil