Vikings “The Dead” Season 3 Finale Review

Vikings

Last night’s finale of Vikings raised a lot of questions the answers to which will be a long time coming. At the end, we don’t know if (or for how long) Ragnar will survive, whether there is still hope for Ragnar and Lagertha, and whether Rollo is going to once again betray his brother.

Things are bleak for Ragnar. He looks extremely ill and everyone is worried. The Franks want to know why the Vikings haven’t moved on, and Bjorn explains it is because of Ragnar’s illness. Ragnar asks that when he dies he be given a Christian burial. Throughout his suffering, Ragnar talks about wanting to be reunited with Athelstan. While I do not doubt their friendship, I am skeptical that Ragnar sincerely wants this. It seems more likely that his devotion to Athelstan is a cover to keep people from figuring out what he’s really up to.

His deception works perfectly. He pretends to be dead and has Bjorn seal him in a coffin to be taken into Paris. It’s sad when Lagertha goes to visit his coffin. It’s apparent how much she still loves him and is hoping that one day, in Valhalla, they’ll be reunited. I’d been hoping that we’d have a scene with Lagertha visiting Ragnar in his sick bed and telling him she loved him, but no such luck. Floki also admits his love for his friend, but shows how much he hates him, too. I don’t know if the relationship between Floki and Ragnar will ever be repaired. At this point, it looks highly doubtful.

Ragnar’s plan is pretty audacious. At the moment they are saying mass, he leaps from the coffin. He kills the bishop and grabs the princess. For anyone who still thinks Ragnar is a Christian, this should be the big tip off that he’s about as Jesus loving as Rollo. His sudden religiosity was simply another one of his plots to take the city.

As for Rollo, after returning from England, he was so beaten down that he wanted to die. The Seer gave him hope that perhaps there was something good in his future. The prophecy finally becomes clear when he’s left behind to winter in France. The Emperor decides that the best way to beat another Viking invasion is to buy off the brother of the king. He offers Rollo land in the north of France and to marry him to Princess Gisla. There’s a catch, though. Rollo has to be willing to fight against Ragnar’s forces. After all that he’s been through with his brother, I find it really hard to believe that Rollo would go down the path of betrayal again. Not just that, he’d be betraying they other Vikings he just fought alongside and who have entrusted him.

As Ragnar sails away home, he looks back at Rollo. I thought this was a hopeful gesture, but you can never be too sure with Michael Hirst. Ragnar has never fully gotten over Rollo fighting against him, and after Rollo’s coffin-side confession, he has no doubt that Rollo is deeply jealous. I still don’t think, though, that Ragnar has fully given up on his brother. Though they have had many, many problems, they’ve still come back together. It will be extremely disappointing if Rollo accepts the Emperor’s offer. As we know from what happened to the Viking settlement in England, it’s unlikely the Emperor would just let Rollo live a peaceful life in the north. More importantly, would Rollo even want a life like that? He’s a conqueror, not a farmer like his brother.

This was another beautifully shot episode. Vikings does a wonderful job of recreating the feeling of the time period. I particularly enjoyed the way music played a role in the big scenes. I loved the contrast between the noisy Viking procession carrying Ragnar’s coffin, with the quiet that followed when the Christians shut the door and began their own services.

I anticipate that we will have another significant time jump next season—something that will allow Ragnar’s sons to be older and have a more important role. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of Ecbert and a grown-up Alfred. Hopefully, we’ll have an increased focus on the Vikings. I’d almost given up on Lagertha and Ragnar, but maybe there is still a chance….