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Vikings Review (S3E4): 'Scarred'

(SPOILERS) 'Scarred,' represents the scarring of all kinds to the characters of Vikings. Porunn is the most obvious as she still recovers from her horrific wounds to her face. However, scars run deep from the emotional ones that drive Princess Kwenthrith to overthrow her uncle to the scars of loss in Siggy's past that fuels her survival to stay close to the throne. 

Siggy has been one the most resilient characters on the show whose ambitions have often put her in precarious positions. First, as Earl Haraldson’s wife then using Rollo to betray his brother, then working with King Horik to return to royal status. None of those plans worked out yet here she is a valued member of Aslaug’s inner circle caring for her children. It’s an unlikely tale of redemption or perhaps more of a trial of humility, but Siggy has persevered. She was the first to distrust the Wanderer. The shared vision of the three – Helga and Aslaug – made her leery of the smooth talking baby whisperer. However, her suspicions only grew stronger as his absorption of Baby Ivar’s pain coincided with the sudden deaths of children in Kattegat. She’s been an opportunist and manipulator, but she’d finally achieved respectability and likeability which made her death all the more shocking. 

She has some serious misgivings about the Wanderer Harbard that not even the Seer could see what happened next. Her gut feeling about the Aslaug’s boys whereabouts I think were born from genuine fear and love. Yes, her Queen had instructed her to care for them while she spent some sexy time with the mysterious Harbard and she knows if she wants to be remain close enough to sniff the throne she has to comply. But I believed she was truly concerned for the boys. So much so that the sequence of her following them onto the iced-over lake was filled with dread and anxiety because I bought into her concern for the boys. She was heroic going after them when they fell through the ice.  Saving one at first and seeing her long departed daughter as she emerged was a bitter sweet illusion, caressing her face. Then returning with the other boy only to see Harbard at the surface instead and her fate was sealed as she slowly descended back into the icy water, succumbing to her death. A beautifully captured scene that was simply heartbreaking. Her life redeemed sacrificing herself to help the kids while the harbinger of death looked on. So what Harbard death itself or Odin as some have wondered? We may never know. 

He vanished into smoke at the end after telling Helga Siggy had joined her family in Valhalla. A cold-blooded admission told matter-of-factly.

Meanwhile, back in Wessex, Floki is still pretty determined to rail against Ragnar with anyone who’ll listen. He hates this alliance with the Christian Saxons but the newly Zen Rollo is way more pragmatic about the whole ordeal. A far cry from his time as a usurper to his brother’s throne. Floki does put a bug in Bjorn’s ear though. A more receptive listener considering his dad’s plans have in part resulted in Porunn’s injuries that have scarred half of her face. The bed-ridden fiancé wonders if Bjorn will still marry her in her condition.

King Ecbert and Lagertha continue their fling but as expected she sees him for who he is when she tells him she's returning to her Earl duties back home. 
 I have enjoyed your company and the sex...Even so, although you have made me happy and fulfilled, I have come to understand that the only person you truly care for us yourself.
 Ragnar is well of aware of the King's ambitions and his disingenuous congeniality because it's a means to an end. It's mutually beneficial for them to work together and Ragnar knows this. In this episode, we get to see more of Ragnar being ever vigilant and commenting. At one point, noticing Athelstan's attraction to Judith. He tells him he's free to choose. Now that Athelstan and Judith have consummated their relationship things get a little sticky with her husband back in town. But one of the best scenes in 'Scarred' is the back and forth interaction between drunken "equals."
Ebert: You and I, we understand each other. That is why we are allies, and will remain so.
Ragnar: Do you think you're a good man?
Ebert: Yes, I think so. Are you a good man?
Ragnar: Yes, I think so. Are you corrupt?
Ebert: Oh yes. Are you? 
Ragnar: Um hmm.
With Lagertha returning home, she'll be  greeted to a treasonous Kalf and disgruntled enemies of the past. One of the least interesting and undercooked subplots has been the lightweight second-in-command wannabe Kalf rallying support to overthrow Lagertha's reign. He calls in King Horik's son, Erlendur, and Jarl Borg's wife to join the rebellion. This new move will propel this story to the front going forward but does anyone think really think this coup will succeed against the baddest shield maiden in all the land? Don't bet on it.  

Overall, 'Scarred' was the best episode of the season as it tied up some story arcs while setting the groundwork for the rest of the season. There was more mystical shenanigans with Harbard and plenty of sex but the capper was Princess K's deliciously plotted poisoning of her brother during the celebration as she proposed a toast while forgiving her brother. He arose choking and coughing until falling on his face. The reaction from everyone was highly entertaining. Ragnar and Ecbert had a look of surprise with an approving nod. They seemed awfully impressed with the crazy Princess of Mercia. She calmly pronounced herself Queen. Everyone seemed to approve as they poured out their drinks and dropped their glasses. A seminal scene that shocked and amused. 


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