Vikings “Yol” Review (Season 4 Episode 4)

Vikings  Mercy

On this week’s Vikings, Ragnar is in the midst of a severe bout of melancholy and, unsurprisingly, he is turning to Yidu for solace. Ragnar finds that their positions of service make them kindred spirits of sorts. The only difference is he’s the one sitting in the bath and Yidu is the one struggling to pour the water. Aslaug is acting completely gross in spying on Ragnar and telling him that he can go sleep with Yidu. It’s clear they are both done with the marriage, so they’d be better off moving on. I’m not so keen on a Ragnar/Yidu hookup. It seems like he would be doing it because of his fetish for the exotic, and not because he actually cared about her.

Meanwhile, even though Floki has been freed, Helga continues to suffer. How much more can this woman stand? With all the holiday celebrations at hand, she sits on the outside in the cold. We have come to a turning point in the Floki story where it now looks like he may very well be a god. This seems to be what the Seer believes. Given that the show has stayed away from the supernatural, it would be incongruous for Floki to have been incognito as a crazy man, all the while he is a clever god.

The England stuff was kind of nominal this episode and probably could’ve been saved for next week. The other lords are upset by the idea that the spawn of Ragnar could ever rule Mercia. That’s about it.

In Kattegat, we start to see what could be future divisions in the Lothbrok household. Ivar is the product of his mother’s excessive attentions. She treats him like he’s a baby, which is going to make him indulged and whiny. The kid seems to eat it up when she says she loves him more than anyone else alive. Aslaug the makes the incredibly bad decision to undermine Ivar’s relationship with Ragnar by throwing into Floki’s crazy world.

In Paris, Rollo has miraculously learned the language of his hosts. I’m unclear about how long he has supposedly been in Paris now – but if it’s just a couple months, it seems a bit silly that he would suddenly be fluent. But his transformation is enough to charm Gisla into relinquishing her efforts to annul their marriage. When he gives her his Viking bracelet that seals the deal and gets her into bed. I’m curious to see how long the Rollo story can proceed in isolation. If he’s going to go off and have his own adventures in Europe, it might be time to say au revoir.

We learn the backstory for Yidu. She reveals that she was captured by pirates. I’m not sure why Ragnar had to get so rough in his questioning. Was it necessary to choke her to establish his dominance? What happened to Ragnar’s charm? He ends up taking her to his special barn – and here’s where things go south. He starts by releasing her. Then they indulge in a “Chinese herbal remedy” that gives them wild hallucinations. I think it’s obvious how much I love this show, but I found this scene incredibly ridiculous. Snake eating and fire dancing? It felt like this had morphed into some lame carnival.

Back in the woods, Bjorn prepares to return home. The only problem is there’s a Berserker waiting for him. But Bjorn just took down a bear. By comparison, killing the Beserker is easy. It’s a little too easy. He disembowels the guy in a brutal way that reminded me of the blood eagle scene with Ragnar. He arrives in Hedeby and says he wants to take Torvi back to Kattegat. It’s all kinds of messed up that Lagertha helps persuade Torvi to abandon her child and follow Bjorn. Lagertha would never have given up her own children.

Wait, I forgot. In addition to the snake charming scene, there was another ridiculous scene in this episode. While I can see Gisla being hot for Rollo, the idea that they would have sex loud enough that everyone eating dinner would hear seems rather contrary to the religious tone of the time.

I loved the scene at the end with the Viking holiday ceremony. As much fun as it was to see them storm Paris last season, the show is at its strongest when it is Viking-focused. And what’s more quintessential than Vikings fighting each other for power and territory? That’s where things are heading with the arrival of King Finehair. It also looks like treachery must be a strong Viking trait as Aslaug is clearly hatching a plan to overthrow Ragnar. She really is the worst.