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VIKINGS 4 Recap, Episode 11: THE OUTSIDER

 

Vikings4mThe second half of VIKINGS Season 4 begins right where we left off last spring, with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) returning to Kattegat after an 8-year absence, and challenging each of his sons:

“Who wants to be king?”

As it turns out, nobody does. Well, maybe Ivar. But none of them really wants to challenge Ragnar. Ubbe steps forward, sword in hand, but he’s all but dragging it on the ground, and even when Ragnar cuffs him (twice!) he just stares at his father – and staring eyeball to eyeball at Ragnar would be terrifying – until dad grabs him and hugs him.

Later in this episode Bjorn, will ask Ragnar, “Why did you come back?”
And Lagertha, will ask, “Why did you leave?”
Nobody poses the questions I’m asking, “Where the heck have you been and what have you been doing to yourself?” Because Ragnar looks terrible: old, sick, maybe a little mad (okay, he’s always been a little mad). And as the Outsider of the title of this episode, he is uncomfortable among his family – and we are uncomfortable with him.

randuSo, about that family, the sons of Ragnar and Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland).  If anyone is having trouble putting names to the faces of this Viking quartet, here is a family photo taken with dad and half-brother, Bjorn.

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Left to Right: Hvitserk, Bjorn, Ivar, Ragnar, Ubbe, Sigurd. Got that?

This episode allows us to become familiar with the younger Lothbrok boys and to see their relationships with each other. They are all capable fighters, they are all ambitious, and apparently they all like to sleep with the same blonde servant girl. But there are differences.

HVITSERK (Marco Ilsø) is fired up by Bjorn’s ambition to find Rome and plans to tag along…..IVAR THE BONELESS (Alex Høgh Andersen) is your worst viking nightmare. Writer Michael Hirst describes him as pathologically cruel, and he should know because he wrote him that way. Ivar was born deformed, and although Ragnar intended the infant to die of exposure, Aslaug saved him. (If Ivar knows about this, Ragnar had better watch his back.) Ivar’s bond with his mum has always been creepy and she’s never disciplined him. Because of his deformity he is driven to prove he’s as good as or better than his brothers at everything. Hirst seems excited by Ivar, but I’m not sure how much of him I can stomach….. UBBE (Jordan Patrick Smith) is the eldest and has, in Ragnar’s absence, assumed a protective, father-figure role. He even arranges an assignation for girl-shy Ivar with that blonde servant girl…..SIGURD SNAKE IN THE EYE (David Lindström), the youngest, looks to big brother Ubbe as a father-figure – not surprising, as he never really knew Ragnar, and the half-mad, bedraggled man who returns from exile doesn’t measure up to the myth.

There. Enough with the sons. Back to Ragnar, who wants to go to Britain and wreak vengeance on King Ecbert for wiping out the Norse settlers eight years before. He asks each of his sons except Ivar to join him, and they each refuse because they have other plans.

His next step is to approach Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), but Floki has given his oath to Bjorn. There is an intriguing exchange, though, between Ragnar and Floki. “If you don’t come with me I’ll never see you again,” Ragnar says. When Floki insists they will meet in Valhalla, Ragnar replies that he doesn’t know if he will go to Valhalla. We’re reminded of the very first scene of this season, when Ragnar dreamed of Valhalla and of the golden door that shut him out. Ragnar is clearly coming to terms with his own mortality and beliefs, and in this scene he seems to be bidding Floki what he believes is a final farewell – the final chapter of a turbulent friendship.

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Next stop, Hedeby, where Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is living the good life with her girlfriend Astrid (Josefin Asplund). Lagertha, badly wounded 8 years before, has survived beautifully. She looks about 20 years younger than Ragnar. Maybe it’s the food. I’ll have what she’s having!

lagertha
Lagertha is so done with men now. They have beaten her and betrayed her, and there is no way she’s joining Ragnar for a cruise to Wessex. We don’t even see any men in her lovely hall with its delicately carved accents. Maybe she picked up some decorating tips while she was in Frankia.

lagerthas-hall
Later we find her sitting on a bed with Astrid and the two of them are gazing at their lovely reflections in – is that a mirror image? WAIT! STOP!

lagerthaastrid
Sorry guys. They didn’t have mirrors like this in the 10th century, and although I might let you get away with Lagertha’s charming hall, the set designer got a little carried away with the bed chamber. Just sayin’. (The owl’s a nice touch, though.)

lagerthaschamber1

Ragnar bids farewell to Lagertha – a bittersweet moment that leaves him mildly shattered. He attempts to hurry his own death, but Odin’s raven intervenes. Sorry Ragnar, you’re not done yet. He makes his way back to Kattegat – and to Ivar. At episode’s end we still don’t know anything about what’s been going on in Wessex (Alfred the Great!!!) or Frankia (Rollo!!!), and we don’t know what Ragnar was doing for those 8 missing years. But we know he’s headed for Wessex, and we know that Ivar is going with him, and I’m thinking that Ecbert the Awesome had better watch out.

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All photos © The History Channel

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11 Responses to VIKINGS 4 Recap, Episode 11: THE OUTSIDER

  1. Susan Johnson says:

    Your reviews are always so good. I never would have known about the mirror without your article. Thanks.

    • Patricia says:

      Hi Susan. So glad you’re enjoying the show and the reviews. This episode struck me as set-up for much of what’s to come. Ivar really makes me nervous.

      • Kirsten says:

        Ivar worries me as well. He is so frightening, surprising for someone with his disability, I was very concerned for the slave girl they have all been sharing. I still can’t understand the epithet ‘the Boneless’. I have read many theories and Michael Hirts’s interpretation is the one I like the least. We haven’t seen him with his mother in this series yet. That really is an odd relationship, to say the least.

        • Patricia says:

          I’m with you, Kirsten. I thought that slave girl was a goner. But I think that Hirst wants us to have some sympathy for Ivar, and if he’d killed her that would have been a dead end. The Boneless. You’re right, there are many explanations. In saga about Ragnar’s Sons Ivar is described as the leader of his brothers because he is clever, and there is this: “I’m borne before my fighters forward though I’m boneless, I have hands for vengeance, though hardly strength in either.” I think these lines give Hirst his interpretation of Ivar.

      • Patricia Mayhew says:

        I am creeped out by psychotic Ivar! All I can see is him killing that neighbor child with the axe and getting away with murder! He is pure evil incarnate! I can’t stand him!
        I am disappointed in Bjorn’s lack of love and care for his daughter little Siggy. I think maybe Ivar killed her and Sigurd disposed of the body!
        I like Ubbe the best at this point in time as far as the sons go.
        I still love Ragnar and always will, because of how wonderful Travis Fimmel is in that role. He took a hazy Dark Age legend and made him real to us! Travis should have won several awards including at least one Emmy for his acting the part of Ragnar! Somewhere I can hear the real Ragnar laughing, because after 1000 years Travis Fimmel has made the name of Ragnar Lothbrok a famous household name! He got the worldwide fame he always desired!
        Love your reviews! Keep them coming! Thank you!

  2. Virginia says:

    Love your review! But the ragnar -Floki scenes made me a bit ill. Floki has never showed an once of remorse for killing athelstan, just bloating and Pride. In the end, no one care he killed Athelstan. A man who fought and lived with them for yrs….poor Athelstan.

    As far as wessesx, Ragnar himself will not have enough man power to do anything to wessex ot Ecbert lol

    • Patricia says:

      Hi Virginia. Thank you for your comment. I can understand your dislike of Floki. Lots of people would agree with you, I think. My own thoughts are mixed. I like the character because he is such a wild card – we never know what he will do next. But the way the series has played out, he has been utterly faithful to Ragnar. Even the murder of Athelstan (which certainly had elements of jealousy I admit) was done for Ragnar’s sake. To save him from the wrath of the gods. And eventually, Floki was punished. As for Athelstan’s death, my suspicious mind wonders what came first – the script that killed off Athelstan, or actor George Blagden’s contract to star in Versailles so that he had to be written out of the show? As for Wessex, I don’t think it’s Ragnar who will be the bane of Ecbert’s sons and grandsons. It will be Ivar.

    • Patricia Mayhew says:

      I agree 100 percent with you. Floki makes me sick to my stomach and although I forgive him for the sake of Athelstan who begged for Mercy on him. Floki has always been jealous and a crazy fundamentalist Pagan, whose pride will forever be his downfall. Athelstan is my favorite character in the show with Ragnar second.
      Ragnar has never been the same since the murder of Athelstan. This entire season 4 has been agony for Ragnar and me. Ragnar was so much happier when Athelstan was in the boat with him instead Of Yidu and the drugs, and so was I!

      I think George was fired first and it was a real schock to him. He was very fortunate to get the role on Versailles right away. Michael Hirst said in an interview that Athelstan was a plot device to introduce modern English speaking people to the Vikings from the viewpoint of a English speaking Christian and his usefulness as the introductory character had run its full course. I disagree very much! The show is lacking since that great friendship between Athelstan and Ragnar isn’t there. The spark has gone out, in my opinion.

  3. Kirsten says:

    I saw Gustaf Skarsgard interviewed and he said he loved playing Floki as he’s absolutely nuts! When I look at Ubbe I can’t help but think about the older Ubbe as portrayed in the Last Kingdom. I also like the fact that they have Danes and Swedes playing some of Ragnar’s sons. Real Vikings!!

    • Patricia says:

      I like that, too. I think Ubbe is going to be my favorite Lothbrok lad. He reminds me of my character of Athelstan in my novels. Ha! Nothing like the Ubba of THE LAST KINGDOM who is, like Floki, absolutely nuts. I’m going to miss that guy. He was a hoot. Actor Rune Temte did a fantastic job. Meanwhile, people are wondering what role Jonathan Rhys Meyers is going to play in VIKINGS next season. A grown-up Alfred has been suggested, and it’s possible, although he strikes me as a bit old. On the other hand, Hirst has messed with the historical timeline so much, who knows?

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