Vikings (S04E11)) “The Outsider”

Who wants to be king? Well apparently, no one. Vikings started off where it ended with Ragnar returning to Kattegat after more than a decade. His young sons are now all men and they are very displeased with their father. Bjorn more so than anyone else, which is to be expected as he is the eldest and went through so much at his father’s side. Ragnar dares his sons to kill him to take his throne and as expected none have the guts do it. This fall premiere introduces us to a Ragnar that is a shell of the man he once was. The great Viking leader who feared nothing is now seemingly older and far more thoughtful. The most poignant moments of the episodes are Ragnar visiting two of the people he loves most in this world, Floki and Lagertha. Ragnar is so open and honest with both that an ominous feeling sets in, as if Ragnar is preparing to die.

Lagertha, still ruling over Hedeby is the one person who hasn’t aged during the time jump, not that I’m complaining. Lagertha is first seen engaging in hand to hand combat training with her protégé, who is clearly more than just her protégé. The love between the two is immediately visible. Even Ragnar picks up on what’s happening between the two. Later when Astrid tells Lagertha that she loves her and that Ragnar may be Ragnar but she is Lagertha. This scene serves as a confirmation of just how important Lagertha is and that for the first time in a very long time Lagertha has someone who loves her and puts her first. Lagertha bidding farewell to Ragnar and stating that she’s never really sure about her feelings for him is heartbreaking but it was so unnecessary because it serves as a testament to their love.

Ragnar’s sons Ubbe, Hvitserk, Sigurd and Ivar the Boneless may seem to get along but there is animosity and a race of sorts to be the best. The focus is placed firmly on Ivar who is said to be one of the greatest Viking leaders in Norse history. Ivar is as cruel as he was as a child, and his mother Aslaug still condones his abhorrent behaviour. The scene where Ivar cries about his virility and disability should most likely make one pity him but he is such a cruel person that I cannot pity him. Because even though he is disabled, it does not give him the right to be a terrible person. He attempted to kill the servant girl because she now knew the truth about his virility. This scene ensures that we know that Ivar can snap at any moment and that he is deeply insecure about his disability. The fact that the episode ends with Ivar and Ragnar sitting on the thrones side by side could spell that he may be the son who defeats his father to take the crown.

Bjorn has firmly cemented himself as his own man and immediately rejects Ragnar’s offer to sail with him to England. Bjorn has his own plans, he wants to raid the Mediterranean and Floki is building the ships of his dreams. Bjorn is all grown up now, he does not seek to know his father like his half-brothers do nor does he seek his father’s approval. Bjorn knows exactly what kind of man his father is and he most definitely does not want to walk in Ragnar’s footsteps.

The episode is aptly titled “The Outsider”. Ragnar Lothbrok is a stranger in his home and he knows it from the moment he returns. On his way from Hedeby back to Kattegat he comes upon a majestic tree and tries to hang himself. I like to believe he did this to dare the Gods one more time. To test whether the Gods still wanted him around. And clearly the Gods think Ragnar’s work on earth is not yet done. Ragnar has at least one more raid left in him, and this time his taking his younger sons with him.

Stormy waters are clearly ahead for the all the Vikings.

P.S. Where is Rollo? Hopefully still living it up in Paris.