I can't help be more critical in Vikings season three when it should be hitting its stride and elevating the journey of the Norsemen. It hasn't been bad so far, but the slow start hasn't helped distinguishing itself. It doesn't help when the show's most dynamic character, Ragnar, is little more than an observer thus far. Still, there is an abundance of simmering subplots.
Battling Princess Kwenthrith's uncle and his men proved to be relatively easy. Except for poor Torstein whose battle wound required the removal of his arm which he wasn't too fond of anyway. He wanted Floki to cut it off to which Floki was like,"yeah, sure." His matter-of-fact response was classic Floki and much better than his rant against happiness in the last episode. The downtime after the battle allowed the Princess to savor the victory with a disturbing revelation.
Ragnar asked her why she hated her uncle so much. She explained that since a young age she endured sexual and mental abuse from her uncle, brother and other relatives. It was not surprising when she called for King Brithwulf's head, Floki obliged and brought it to her. She began to perforate it with a knife over and over again. Who could blame her?
Back in Kattegat, Aslaug, Siggy, and Helga began to have shared dreams. It began to open the door to more mystic shenanigans than we've seen before. Visions are one thing, as in the Seer, which were like fortune cookies to now the ladies in town experiencing the same dream is another thing altogether. They saw the same man, 'The Wanderer', with bloody hands and a snowball on fire. Enter actor Kevin Durand at the end asking for help with - you guessed it - bloody hands. This could be a significant develop. I'm hoping it is.
The courtship of Lagertha continues with King Ecbert providing plenty of creepy gazes and doing his best to flatter her. He has to use Athelston to translate his compliments to her as she shovels horse manure, but it's no less stalker-ish. Lagertha for her part seems genuinely moved by his kindness. Ecbert has always appeared as a calculating and shifty character and her demand to have him guarantee her safety as well as her people on the newly acquired farms is evidence of that. I don't know if she's really falling for the king, but I do believe she's not entirely buying his act.
A guy she did trust, Kalf, is rallying a revolution back at home who wants to become the Kardashian of the kingdom, craving fame at all costs. The townsfolk seem easily swayed and are ready to replace Lagertha while away. It's surprising that she'd be fooled by such a weasely little prick, but I bet it will not end well for him.
While Aethelwulf is capturing enemies and procuring information from them without killing them because "we are not all like the Northmen," his wife, Judith is getting close to Athelstan. She's got this odd attraction to him perhaps because he seems unattainable being an ex-monk and all. Will Athelstan give in to this temptation? After her confession to Athelstan about a sinful dream she had about him, she certainly looks like she's D.T.F. - deflower the father.
Overall, 'The Wanderer' was made up of some good moments and a lot of familiar ones. A lot of dream-related chatter from the ladies of Kattegat, Judith, Kalf and was Athelstan's stigmata scars really bleeding or were they a product of someone's dream.
The slowly emerging longboats from the fog must have seemed like a nightmare to the Princess' brother Burgred and his men as they scurried back into the forest. A sly smile from Ragnar cut through the fog along with many of the decapitated heads adorning the rigging. Hopefully, we'll see more Ragnar in subsequent episodes.