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Vikings Review (S3E3): 'Warrior's Fate'

Ragnar leads yet another charge, this time against Kwenthrith's brother, Burgred
As usual, a new season of Vikings begins slowly and just like that, the show makes a significant bounce and we're off and running. Episode three, 'Warrior's Fate,' the wanderer we met at the end of the last episode is a creepy fellow but more of a performance artist than a malevolent being.

In fact, this vagabond is a storyteller who "sings for his supper." Harbard (Kevin Durand) is grateful to Aslaug, Siggy and Helga for their hospitality and shares a tall tale to entertain them. 

Surprisingly, the wanderer is also a baby whisperer. He soothes a crying Ivar with some words and a touch. Aslaug is amazed. Does this make him just  a guy with way with babies or is there something more "magical" afoot? Two kids are found dead in a fisherman's net. Is it just a tragic accident or way too coincidental with Harbard's arrival in Kattegat?

Vikings has walked a fine line between reality and the supernatural. Sure, the Seer has visions and premonitions but they could be construed as calculated guesses. However, the shared dream of the wanderer's appearance that haunted Aslaug, Siggy and Helga seem to call on more mystic properties. The show has relied on being grounded while the themes of religion and spirituality have been used to contrast the Northmen and the English.

'Warrior's Fate,' delves heavily on the subject of faith with both the Christian Saxons and Norse Vikings bemoaning this collaboration as they question each other's gods. 
"The triumph of the Chirst God will mean the death and destruction of all of ours." - Floki
The noblemen that accompanied King Ecbert were the most vocal with their disgust with the association with these pagan savages. Those choruses of intolerance were only amplified at the sight of Lagertha being doused with cow's blood during a ceremony that blessed their crops for a good harvest. It just fed more into their desire to try and convert the Vikings. 

Ecbert is more concerned with helping Lagertha find enlightenment in other ways. He continues to woo her and what better way than a shiny new plow. Although, his come-ons need work.
"I like to experiment between our cultures plowing, fertilizing and sowing the seed are the very basis of life." - Ecbert
The good king is not subtle and Lagertha appears flattered and appreciative of the gifts. She even looks to be enjoying this courtship, but I don't think she's "fallen" for Ecbert. Even a tryst in his Roman bath with Athelstan and Judith looking on convinces me that she's in any way in love with the shifty royal. 

Just as the collaboration with the Northmen is a business decision for the King, so must be this relationship for Lagertha. She's no fool, her two-faced second-in-command Kalf back notwithstanding, so I expect her to be leery of his intentions. 

Meanwhile, Ragnar and company had a relatively easy time with Princes Kwenthrith's brother's troops. Probably the worst tactician in the history of combat. Yet, Ragnar spared his life when he surrendered. Sadly, this battle came at a cost. Thorstein valiantly volunteered to attack first despite the loss of one arm and being very weak. He chose to die on the battlefield instead of dying back at the camp. As noble as that may have been it didn't sit well with Floki afterwards. 
"This is your fault Ragnar. Torstein died fighting for a hill he did not want to own. Something which meant nothing to him. He has died a pointless death. How many more of us must die for your Christians? Or have you, in your heart, already renounced our gods and turned to the Christ god. Is that what your friend Athelstan has persuaded you to do? But look, here we are under a English sky burying our dead. Look at those we have sacrificed for Jesus Christ." - Floki
The spectre of faith and whose faith lingers in the air and makes for some uneasy alliances. Ragnar had a different set of issues with Bjorn. Porunn was badly beaten and slashed on her face leaving her fighting for her life. A distraught Bjorn is momentarily consoled by Ragnar. He reveals that she was with child making Ragnar livid.
“I can’t believe you are my son!” - Ragnar
Luckily, Uncle Rollo was there to comfort his nephew with some encouraging words. He told him to be strong for her as she wants to live but make it worth her while. 

Overall, this week Vikings set more subplots in motion with better execution and intrigue. Ecbert and Lagertha taking their relationship to another level, Northmen win over the Mercians and the creepy arrival of Harbard has us sucked in for next week. One of the best scenes was Siggy telling the Seer about Harbard for which he had no answer or vision of the wanderer. His response was basically this¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Check out scenes from next week's episode "Scarred"

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