Viking (S04E16) “Crossings”

The King is dead. While Ragnar’s death is only confirmed to his sons at the end of the episode the news Ivar brought with him weighs heavily on everyone in Kattegat. The news as expected profoundly affects Lagertha. Ragnar was the man she loved, the father of her children and while he may have left her for Aslaug the love that these two once shared never really disappeared. In many ways I think Lagertha may perhaps regret not going with him and staying by his side. Katheryn Winnick is spectacular in this episode as she moves from being distraught over Ragnar’s death to addressing her people as the fierce queen. Lagertha refuses to face Ivar in single combat because she does not want to kill him. Ivar makes it known that while it won’t be today he will eventually kill Lagertha. It is clear that Lagertha plans to lead Kattegat to the best of her ability not only for herself but for Ragnar, shield maidens and her people. She has come so far and is not willing to simply surrender Kattegat to Ragnar’s sons. Lagertha will no doubt be a good leader; she’s a much better day to day administrator than Ragnar ever was.

One of the most tender moments in the episode is Astrid confessing to Lagertha that she will do everything in her power to protect Lagertha and she won’t let Ragnar’s sons get to her. Seeing Lagertha so tender and at ease with someone is very beautiful. Lagertha’s heavy presence in this episode was a reminder that Ragnar is truly gone now and Lagertha is more integral to the story than ever. Lagertha seeing Ragnar’s ghost was so moving. She asked him to never forget her, to haunt her and to never leave her. The love these two shared was undoubtedly a love story for the ages.

Ivar is mostly broody and angry at both his mother and father’s untimely demise. I’m still at odds with how I feel about Ivar. I don’t care for the character at all and this may solely be because I don’t really know the character. This episode was not Ivar’s moment to  shine but rather Bjorn. Bjorn has finally managed to do what no Viking, not even the great Ragnar Lothbrok, could do: he has made it to the Mediterranean. Before reaching the Mediterranean they stopped in a Spanish port town where they encountered a very diverse group of Muslim people and Floki is immediately enthralled by this new religion. He stumbles upon residents praying in the mosque and he is dumbfounded at how they are so passionately praying and yet he cannot see the gods they are praying too. Harald and Halfdan are still plotting to overthrow the Lothbroks so that they may finally rule all of Norway. Bjorn has the opportunity to prove that he is great; he no longer needs to live in the shadow of his father. Bjorn is presented with the opportunity to lead and no longer follow and be the second in command. An interesting question is what will happen when Bjorn returns to Kattegat. Lagertha has taken power but now that Ragnar is dead this makes Bjorn the heir to Kattegat. Is there an impending power struggle between mother and son in store for us?

Back in Wessex King Ecbert is still under the illusion that when Ragnar’s sons come to avenge his death they will only attack King Aelle and not him as well. He seemingly takes his son’s advice that the sons of Ragnar will come for him as well and then states his son is the best to take them on in battle when they arrive.

Lagertha goes to the Seer to ask the dreaded question. She wants to know if she will die at the hands of a son of Ragnar. The Seer confirms that this will happen and we see Ivar imagining her death. That being  said the show will not kill off Lagertha immediately because the show cannot exist without her now, not with Ragnar also gone. The episode ends with a one-eyed man bringing the news of Ragnar’s death to each of his sons. It appears as though Bjorn is the most affected by the news and this is completely understandable as he spent the most time with is father and he knew he not only as his father but also as the great Viking warrior. From here on out we will wait to see the rise of Ragnar’s sons and most importantly the revenge they will no doubt take for their father’s death.