‘Vikings’ Season 5 Episodes 3 & 4: It’s a Trap!

The latest episodes of “Vikings” saw the battle for York between the Saxons and the Vikings continue, the women of the show weighing their options and deciding which way to act accordingly, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) making a new potential ally with the potential of making more, and some brother against brother intrigue for good measure.

As I suspected, the discovery of some weak spots that could be taken advantage of by the Saxons in York were total set-ups that they fell for, hook, line and sinker. Sure enough, upon their sneaky arrival, it seemed as if they had the advantage, only to find out they’d fallen right into a trap that put the Saxons right where the Vikings wanted them.

In no time the battles began, as Saxon after Saxon fell into spiked pits down blind alleyways, had oil poured upon them and were set aflame, and were assaulted at all sides- including from above- by arrows and battle-axes and the like, pummeled into submission by the Vikings one by one. When Aethelwulf’s son Aethelred (Darren Cahill) is wounded, the Saxons are forced to retreat, though they were clearly already losing by then anyway, having been caught completely off-guard.

Naturally, all of this was part of the plan by the dastardly Ivar (Alex Høgh), who should really havve been killed twenty times over at this point. At one key part of the battle, the Saxons come upon him screaming like a maniac as per usual and I think one of them fires an arrow and misses him, but then they just stand there staring at this lunatic and do nothing for a long stretch of time, allowing for the others Vikings to arrive and battling to commence anew. Why didn’t anyone attack him? Who knows?

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t necessarily WANT Ivar to die- he’s an effectively crazy and wily villain and the show needs that. But how someone who can barely walk and mostly just dragged themselves around by their hands and arms up until recently when they weren’t in a chariot or on a horse or what have you has stayed alive this long is beyond me. They should call him Ivar the Teflon Terror instead.

After this victory, brothers Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) want to broker peace with the Saxons, and King Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) seems to hear them out, but the minute his back is turned, Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) pummels Ubbe and humiliates Hvitserk, making it clear that peace is not an option. This does not go over well with the King, who later reprimands him in front of everyone to remind him who is boss.

Ivar, naturally knew better than to try such a thing, which is why he advised against it, but he uses the brothers’ failure to his advantage by usurping control and getting everyone in his corner at the true leader, despite being younger than Ubbe. Ubbe in turn opts to leave, still convinced that Ivar will only get them all killed, with Hvitserk at first deciding to leave with him. In the end, though, he remains behind, siding with Ivar.

Ivar continues to make all the right moves, so one can hardly blame him. Next, the Saxons, going off of a dream/vision that Heahmund had, take a new tack by blocking off the rivers leading into York, and intercepting all of the hunters and taking their food, hoping to starve and weaken the Vikings in the process, making them easy to attack.

This also backfires, as Ivar sees right through the plot and puts into motion yet another plan, though he refuses to fill in Hvitserk on it, perhaps as payback for initially turning his back on him. Ivar has his men burn stuff to make the Saxons think that the Vikings are dying off and are burning their dead. To his credit, Heahmund isn’t fooled and wants to wait a while longer but the King insists on moving forward with their plan, even more so when reports have the Vikings abandoning the area.

Sure enough, when the Saxons arrive, nobody’s home, but Heahmund isn’t so easily convinced, noting there are animals are still alive and well and the presence of rats above ground. This is where we leave all concerned, so we’ll just have to wait and see if this is yet another trap laid to give the Saxons a false sense of security before the Vikings pounce on them yet again, but I’d say you can count on it being the case, given Ivar’s actions to date.

Meanwhile, Bjorn, on the advice of Sinric (Frankie McCafferty), agrees to sail into Sicily with only a few ships, leaving the rest behind for now, posing as traders, so as to not spook the Italians. This somewhat backfires, as the commander Euphemius (Albano Jerónimo) attacks them, forcing them to defend themselves- or start to.

Turns out, he was just messing with them to see if they were really traders, but once he finds out they aren’t, he is happy to welcome them to be his bodyguards, which the Vikings accept. However, Sinric also discovers that Euphemius isn’t the real leader- it’s actually the Arab ruler Ziyadat Allah, who resides in Cairo. Bjorn wants to pay him a visit and go where the real power is, but at first Euphemius refuses, until captured singing nun- not a joke- Kassia (Karima McAdams) insists upon it, at which point they all set sail for Cairo.

Back in Norway, another captured maiden, Astrid (Josefin Asplund) continues to spurn King Harald (Peter Franzén), rejecting him sexually, until, finally seeing the advantages of making the best of her position, she agrees to marry him. So much for her loyalty to Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). She’s not the only one, either, as Margrethe (Ida Nielsen), emboldened by the return of her husband Ubbe, also plots against her, trying to recruit both her husband and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) in her plans.

However, Torvi remains true to Lagertha, and Lagertha herself catches Margrethe in the act of trying to betray her and admonishes her for it. Lagertha also forms a somewhat uneasy alliance with Ubbe against Ivar, who he mistrusts and wants to get rid of; and Harald, who Lagertha is still dubious of- this, in spite of Ubbe still holding a grudge against his mother’s killer, Lagertha. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that. As such, Margrethe may not have to try that hard to convince Ubbe to turn on Lagertha when the time is right.

That was about it, aside from the Seer (John Kavanagh) promising Lagertha she would soon be reunited with her son, and a near-death Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) being healed from his injuries by the “Gods” and asking permission from the Allfather to brings others to wherever he is- still think it’s Iceland. Of course, he all but stumbled on the place, so who’s to say he can find his back later on? Or find his way home from there, for that matter? We shall see.

These were both fairly engaging episodes- the first, “Homeland,” more so than the second, “The Plan,” thanks to that battle sequence. “The Plan,” as per the title, was more about planning for the future than action, so, as such, it was more of a contemplative episode than “Homeland.” Nothing wrong with that, certainly, but let’s face it, “Vikings” excels at the battling more than it does at the plotting. Still, “The Plan” promises for plenty more action soon enough, so it gets a pass.

As for the new characters, Heahmund continues to intrigue, with his side-plots and subterfuge, and Euphemius and especially Kassia could be interesting, but it’s really too soon to say just yet. Halfdan (Jasper Pääkkönen) in particular seems to be quite taken with Kassia, which could lead to trouble- for him, but also for whoever challenges him for her. In the meantime, jury’s out on how effective these two brand new characters may be.

Join me in a few weeks for one last look at the show before the new year after Christmas- barring some radical event on the next episode, in which case I might make an exception. Otherwise, join me then, and thanks for reading. Be sure and leave your thoughts in the comment section down below, and I’ll see you next time!