Vikings “The Usurper” Review (Season 3 Episode 5)

Vikings The Usurper Season 3 Episode 5 01

In this week’s Vikings, the main group returned from their trip to England and their transition back into Kattegat society was rocky. It appears as though several of the relationships that have defined the show are starting to crumble, and there are some character shifts that are unsettling. It’s easiest to break this down by character.

Lagertha
Lagertha learns that Kalf has usurped her earldom and does not take it well. She wants her land and title back. I don’t have a problem with Lagertha’s ambition. She’s smart, she’s strong, and she shouldn’t be judged for demonstrating a quality that is admired in a man. Her anger with Kalf is a natural side effect of betrayal. It’s not just that she’s lost her throne, so to speak. She’s lost her home and her place. Now where is she supposed to go? Lagertha goes to her king, who is also the man she used to love more than anything, and asks for help. Granted, she could have asked a little nicer. But Ragnar is very dismissive. He’s been successful in his career largely by happenstance. He never set out to become an earl or king. So he doesn’t understand Lagertha’s ambition. That’s all well and good that success has come easily to him, but does that mean Lagertha isn’t entitled to want success for herself? It feels like there’s no love left in their relationship, which is sad. Lagertha can’t have more children, lost her home when Aslaug moved in, and lost her husband. She is utterly alone and that makes me sympathetic to her cause.

Floki
Floki is driving me nuts. He is obsessed with the Christian god versus the Viking gods. Get over it already. Athelstan has been amongst them for a decade at this point. Floki’s becoming a one-dimensional character that is not very interesting. He’s like an irritating bird chirping in the background, “The gods are never mistaken.” Floki is crazy if he thought Ragnar would be happy with Aslaug having the child of a god. Something’s got to change with him, because I’m starting to want him to take a trip to Valhalla.

Porunn
She’s feeling sorry for herself, which is understandable considering her wounds. But she shouldn’t keep pushing Bjorn away. He hasn’t given her any reason to doubt his loyalty. If she keeps pushing, he will leave her for someone else. I actually don’t think her face isn’t that bad. She’ll have some significant scars, but at least half of her face is untouched. That’s better than people whose faces were ravaged by small pox. I think Bjorn will meet someone else on the Paris trip and leave Porunn.

Ragnar
It’s a big admission from Ragnar that he’s only returning home because of his kids – not because of Aslaug. It’s evident that he’s done with that relationship. It’s kind of harsh when he sees Aslaug and the first thing he says is, “Where are my sons?” It is a bit weird the way Ragnar kept pressing her on why Siggy was watching the children. Women watching each other’s children can’t be that unusual. Ragnar’s dismissiveness of Lagertha was disappointing. If it had been a man asking for help, Ragnar would not have treated him as harshly. It was condescending the way he left Lagertha with Kalf. At this point, Lagertha must feel like Ragnar never loved her. If he did, how could he consistently treat her so poorly?

Rollo
There is nothing more heartbreaking than Rollo learning of Siggy’s death. I always had hopes for them as a couple. Wasn’t there a nicer way for Aslaug to break the news to Rollo? The fight between Bjorn and Rollo was incredibly sad. At a certain point, Bjorn wasn’t trying to protect Rollo any longer. He was angry and wanted to kill his uncle. He beat him over and over even when he was down. Considering how close Rollo and Bjorn typically are, this was hard to watch. Plus, it’s not like they were fighting as equals. Rollo was drunk. Usually I like Bjorn, but in this moment I didn’t. He was the angry kid from the first season again. I am tired of seeing Rollo broken. I don’t think Rollo is the bear referred to in the Seer’s prophecy, but at least it sounds like something good may happen for him.

Aslaug
She doesn’t do a very good job of hiding the fact that something is wrong. After Ragnar rebuffs her sexual advances, it seems like she is done with him, too. It’s interesting the way she approaches sex as something that Ragnar wants/needs. Clearly, most of her anger stems from her desire to feel wanted. I don’t see things going well for her.

As for the other storylines, I wasn’t surprised that King Ecbert had the Viking villagers murdered. Of course, he wasn’t going to let them live there. I also wasn’t surprised that Judith is carrying Athelstan’s child. There’s no way her husband is ever going to forgive her or accept the child. The question then is whether he’s going to commit infanticide.

The Seer’s prophesy to Ragnar is puzzling: “Not the living, but the dead will conquer Paris” and “the Bear will be crowned by a princess.” Even more puzzling is why Ragnar keeps lurking behind things. I think something significant is going to happen with Bjorn. Maybe if Bjorn took over, Ragnar could retire somewhere.