Vikings “The Profit and the Loss” Review (Season 4 Episode 7)

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First off, my apologies for the tardiness of my Vikings review this week. I am traveling abroad so the next couple reviews will follow a few days after each episode. But vacation definitely isn’t going to stop me from keeping up with the Lothbrok family drama.

What a disaster. The Vikings are back in Francia and things don’t go well. Ragnar comes up with a plan to send the boats down the river, while also sending a group to attack by land. Ragnar’s new frenemies insist upon going into the river first, which could have been a good thing since we know that Rollo advised the Franks to put the chains in the water. It would be a tidy way for Ragnar to be rid of this bunch of troublemakers. No such luck, unfortunately.

It is disappointing that Ragnar doesn’t do a better job anticipating that Rollo will have something in store for them. Underestimating his brother was a serious mistake. Things just go from bad to worse. The side approach of the towers isn’t exactly stealthy. With the lack of cover, the Vikings are completely exposed. Plus, for some unknown reason, when the arrows start to rain down on them, they don’t bother to lift their shields until a good third of the force is felled.

It’s particularly disturbing to see Rollo standing on top of the tower waiting for the Vikings to approach. He has no remorse, no tinge of guilt for the significance of his betrayal. What I really want is to see Lagertha wipe the smug look off Gisla’s face. It’s already obnoxious that the princess and Rollo have matching haircuts, but to see her gloating is intolerable. When Rollo notices Lagertha leading the charge against the tower, I still held a small crumb of hope that he would change his mind. Instead, he flanks the Vikings on both sides.

This entire scene of the boats on the river and the fighting on the land is epic. Vikings did an incredible job bringing this to life – especially when the boats are set on fire and begin to over turn. In addition to the effects, the scene is powerful for what it signifies – the bitter end of brotherhood. It’s a sad moment when Ragnar looks up at his Rollo, completely crushed by the magnitude of the betrayal.

During the battle, Floki is thrown into the water and lets himself sink down beneath the surface. Even though Floki is horrible, I’m glad Ragnar didn’t let him die. It shows that there is still something in him that remembers who he was before becoming King. It is also probably a good thing to secure Floki’s loyalty.

When the routed Vikings return to the camp, they discover that Rollo’s troops have slaughtered many of its inhabitants. Helga is gravely wounded, which Floki doesn’t take well. I like Helga a lot and don’t want her to die. But as far as she and Floki are concerned, his grief looks a lot like selfishness. Who would take care of him if Helga’s gone? Before we get to the uncomfortable Floki/Aslaug interlude, let’s jump back to Kattegat.

Aslaug continues to complain about Ragnar and the fact that he took their boys to Paris. It doesn’t take her long to hook back up with Harbard, and she’s not exactly discrete about the relationship. But why should she be? None of the other women in Kattegat are. Harbard is like some bad cult leader who wants to personally impregnate his flock. He goes around kissing all the women and visiting their huts.

Things get weird when Floki is sulking by the river and has a vision of Aslaug. She starts to kiss him and then they have sex. But while they’re in flagrante delicto, Floki and Harbard become interchangeable. My takeaway from this is that Aslaug was with Harbard, but that Floki and Harbard are supernatural figures and have some kind of connection. I’m not sure how I feel about Floki going in this direction. We have gotten hints before that maybe he is supernatural, but he seems too pathetically human for that to work for me.

I’m thinking things aren’t going to go better for the Vikings unless Rangar turns things around. He has become a morose, pathetic, drug addict. If Bjorn has any brains, he’ll arrange for Yidu to get left behind in Francia. I don’t think Lagertha is going to save Ragnar. She seems way too angry still for that. So Bjorn may need to be the one who does it.

In England, King Ecbert continues with his plan to invade Mercia. I loved the scene when he meets with the opposing forces. The look on Ecbert’s face when he takes the ancestral crown of Mercia was fantastic. I appreciate that we’re still keeping up with events in England, but it’s not dominating the story.

I hate the idea that Rollo and Gisla have experienced a final triumph over the Vikings. Hopefully, Ragnar toughens up and exacts some revenge.