The usual warning — This is not a review, just some random thoughts. But there are some spoilers.
A good deal of the focus was on Aethelwulf. That his father sees him as naive and simpleminded is evident when King Ecbert rebukes him for saying that King Aelle is Ecbert’s friend as well as ally (after Ecbert reveals his plan is to be King of all England), telling Aethelwulf that he has no friends and that that’s for the better.
When Aethelwulf lashes out at Judith, it’s really his anger and frustration at his father for reminding him of Athelstan.
Quick digress – Ecbert’s fixation on Athelstan becomes even more creepy this episode. In addition to wondering about Athelstan out loud in front of Aethelwulf and Judith, he later visits Judith for a joint-reminesce. You’ve got to wonder if he’s interested in hooking up with Judith because he sees it as a connection to Athelstan.
And telling Judith that he will protect her and baby Alfred. Wonder if that foreshadows something bad happening to Judith, given that Ragnar told Athelstan that he would protect him, and couldn’t? (We know that Alfred survives.)
Aethelwulf gets bitch-slapped by his father and then goes to church and whips himself. Punishing himself for the loss of control in front of his father, or for his cowardice in lashing out at Judith because he is afraid of his father? Queen Kwenthrith recognizes Aethelwulf’s issues with his father, and tries to drive a wedge between him and his father.
Not exactly clear why Kwenthrith switches from attempting to seduce/manipulate Aethelwulf to threatening him with Ragnar’s latest son (or alleged son). But it has the opposite effect. Aethelwulf’s indecision evaporates and he demands homage for Wessex from Mercia.
And just what was the point of the scene with Porunn and Aslaug?
When Floki responds to Ragnar’s summons, we find Ragnar playing with a mouse and snake. The mouse representing Floki and the snake representing Ragnar? Recall how patient Ragnar was in getting his revenge in Jarl Borg. Ragnar make no attempt to hide that he misses Athelstan, but then appears to accept Floki’s assurance that they can carry on without Athelstan. Luring the mouse, I mean the Floki, into a false sense of security?
Not quite sure why he puts Floki in charge of the raid. Is Ragnar doing a Don Vito – keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer? Or does he realize that taking Paris is really an engineering challenge, for which he needs Floki? I suppose the two are not mutually exclusive.
In any event, no sooner than Floki announces to the council-of-war that he’s in charge, Rollo announces the plan for the attack. Which I assume is Ragnar’s plan.
The look that Ragnar gives Floki when Floki left to build the siege-towers looked to me like “I can’t wait till I can kill you.”
And what’s with Ragnar’s appearance? Reminded me of Charlton Heston’s Moses after he climbs the mountain to see God. Ragnar wearing a robe and walking with a staff. Now hit the staff on the big rock near the Seine and part the water, Moses. Er, I mean Ragnar.
Floki is just completely unhinged. So unhinged, even Helga runs away,
But the scene at the end with Floki leading the Viking pep-rally was awesome. What time is it? Sword time!
So the King of France is a weakling and the kingdom is really run by his daughter, Gisla. Sounds like just the woman for Rollo. Oh Rollo, if you truly knew what the gods have in store for you …