Vikings “Portage” Review (Season 4 Episode 8)

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In the aftermath of their stunning defeat, the Vikings fall back to lick their wounds. Ragnar can’t catch a break. His allies doubt him. His son accuses him of being weak. Even Lagertha worries about his future, though she stands behind him nevertheless. They should know by now not to count Ragnar out. He comes up with an ingenious plan to take the boats up the cliff. It seems crazy, but maybe crazy enough to work. I really want to see Ragnar triumph over Rollo one more time, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

As we saw in Wessex last week, King Ecbert is enjoying a great deal of success with very little effort. He has taken control of Mercia, but that doesn’t mean he has any intention of handing the kingdom over to Queen Kwenthrith. To be honest, Kwenthrith is naïve almost to the point of stupidity. Did she really think King Ecbert was going to go to all that trouble and just hand her a kingdom she couldn’t hold onto in the first place? She truly is not the brightest bulb. I love the look on Ecbert’s face when he finally reveals the state of things to her. I also love that Judith plays the “Christian forgiveness” card when Kwenthrith comes to her whining about it. I’ve never cared for Kwenthrith, so I’m more than happy to see her go down.

In Kattegat, Aslaug’s son is not exactly thrilled that Harbard is playing house with his mother. Cult leader Harbard continues his free-loving ways, which Aslaug is quickly not ok with. Boo hoo. So sad for her. I love that it’s her own kid that outs Harbard as a whorebag. All that being said, I did feel a bit sorry for her when she had her meltdown. She lives a sad, loveless life. If she hadn’t contributed to the demise of Ragnar/Lagertha, I’d have more sympathy for her. It looks like Harbard is on his way out. The scene when he leaves Aslaug was hilarious. I imagined him throwing on a leather jacket, jumping on a Harley and calling over his shoulder, “I’m a rolling stone, baby.”

In England, I really am enjoying the relationship between Judith and King Ecbert. I was surprised by his confession of love. Even she looked like it came out of nowhere. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Aethelwulf had an accident and Judith and Ecbert raised the future king? It will be interesting to see how their relationship changes in light of the final scene of the episode.

The first body to drop is Count Odo. This wasn’t a huge surprise and isn’t a loss. His character had run its course. Once he is gone, Rollo becomes the new protector of the realm. He believes there is still a Viking threat, and we know he’s not wrong there. Gisla is also pregnant.

The second body is Yidu. She made a serious mistake threatening Ragnar. Of course, he is not going to let her put his kingdom at risk. But it’s pathetic that after drowning her, Ragnar takes the medicine bag off her body…and his kids see him do it. It’s impossible to imagine that he ever would’ve done something like that in front of young Bjorn when he was still with Lagertha. This is how far – or how low – Ragnar has come. So long Yidu. It was an interesting, if short, ride.

The third body is also not a shock – Kwenthrith is done. Can we all agree the fact that Kwenthrith dies at Judith’s hand is completely awesome? I feel bad for her because she takes it so hard, but at the same time, it’s the final step in her becoming truly equal to the men around her.

I am very happy that Helga is not dead. After last week, it was a bit dicey. Even though Maude Hirst is Michael Hirst’s daughter, I have no doubt he’d sacrifice her character if it were best for the story. She’s had such a great story arc this season, though, and I still want to see where it goes.