Skip to main content

Vikings Review (S3E6): 'Born Again'

(WARNING: SPOILERS)

If you're reading this you're probably aware there was a significant death on Vikings and it will change Ragnar and the direction of the going forward. In fact, our favorite group of Northmen will be gearing up to attack the mythical city of Paris. At least the way Athelstan's been describing it, it sure sounds like a magical place. But first, things get a little, okay a lot, messy in 'Born Again.'

The show jumps ahead a little in time as Porunn gives birth. Scarred but seemingly recovered from her battle injuries, Porunn seems in better spirits but a handsy Bjorn can't seem to give his post-partum wife a break. She suggests to give Torvi, Jarl Borg's widow and current wife of King Horik's son Erlendur, a whirl to calm his urges. He does and their tryst is as romantic and as awkward as you'd imagine. Thus far, the Bjorn storyline has been the least interesting as he continues to endure his growing pains in the shadow of his old man. 

In Wessex, we get to know what kind of evil men King Ecbert and his son Athelwulf really are. We've known Ecbert to be the shadiest of characters who is always thinking three moves ahead and whose intentions always seemed calculated with his own best interest at heart. 

When we last saw Judith she had confessed to Athelwulf that she was pregnant but wouldn't say who the father was. This set Athelwulf off into a jealous rage. A rage he would use to slaughter an entire village of Viking farmers. A mass murder Ecbert had planned all along. To punish and humiliate Judith for her adultery, Ecbert orders her to be publicly tied to a stake. They ask her who the father is repeatedly. I'm not sure why she wouldn't give up Athelstan's name yet she persists until finally they torture her. It's tough to watch such cruelty, but she ultimately relents and says his name. A terribly awful thing to happen considering Ecbert himself seemed to goad Judith to follow her desires for Athelstan. 

As for cruelty of another kind, a tired and distraught farmer comes to Ragnar with news of the massacre at the hands of Athelwulf. He lost his wife and child plus another on his way back to Kattegat. Floki could not say "I told you so" fast enough to Ragnar. Ecbert was not to be trusted. Ragnar promises his revenge. Floki blames Athelstan who vouched for the king and counseled Ragnar on working out this agreement in the first place. Ragnar steps up and takes the blame as it was his call to make. 

Floki, ever the hater of Athelstan and Christianity, is beside himself with anger and is ready to leave Kattegat for good. 

Ragnar asks the farmer if he's told anyone about this and he says no. At once consoling the exhausted farmer with an arm around his shoulder at the loss of his family, Ragnar just as quickly wraps his hands around his neck and chokes him to death. Now he can be with family in Valhalla. A surprisingly callous move on  Ragnar's part to kill this poor man to keep him quiet. Did he want to keep this quiet for now so he can attack Paris? Was he worried his followers would question his judgement as Lagertha's people did and dethrone him as well? The usurper, who by the way now has flowing locks and is ready to join Ragnar and attack Paris, Kalf is still a loose thread in the overall storyline and thorn in Lagertha's side. Still Ragnar, like Ecbert, is always looking ahead and setting things in place to fulfill his destiny. King Ecbert will get his when Ragnar decides it's time and not before. No farmer can derail his plans now. 

Meanwhile, Athelstan suddenly has a reawakening of his Christian faith. He affirms his devotion to God by re-baptizing himself in the harbor and throwing away his Ragnar friendship bracelet. Floki witnesses this and can't shut up about it. Nonetheless, Athelstan tells Ragnar he can't follow the Norse gods anymore and will be leaving. Ragnar insists he stays but as curious as ever he asks what was his God like. 

In a moment, this unlikeliest of bromances is explained. Since Athelstan, the former monk, was captured he and Ragnar have had this mutual fascination with one another and their religions. Ragnar always seeking his opinion and protecting him. Travis Fimmel and George Blagden demonstrated a special chemistry throughout the series. Fimmel's inquisitive portrayal of Ragnar and Blagden's understated observer and viewer surrogate. His character seeing the Northmen's ways the first time along with us at home. It was always interesting that Athelstan's advice carried so much weight with Ragnar. And his experience in Paris kept Ragnar engaged and enthralled with every word. It was much to the chagrin of others that this Christian had Ragnar's ear. No one hated it more than Floki. 

With the English settlement destroyed, Athelstan reaffirming his faith and the Northmen preparing to attack Paris Floki has had enough of his influence affecting the lives of so many. Religion has been a vital plotline in Vikings. The Vikings always seen as these savage pagans especially to the English. Yet they're as devout in their Norse gods as the English are to their Christian one. Which is all the more ironic considering the unholiest of actions by both sides full of betrayal, lies, and killings. Just in this episode alone. 

Floki sails back into Kattegat and stalks his way around the village like a deliberate dog heading home. In one scene, we're fooled to believe he indeed transformed into a dog to avoid detection by Rollo. It was a clever misdirect but a beautiful silent sequence with nary a word of dialogue. 

Floki finds Athelstan in his room naked and praising his Lord when the only words exchanged,"Floki," "Priest," it is a tense scene handled beautifully by both actors. Blagden smiling and welcoming his God again as Gustaf Skarsgard stands there scowling before attacking with a single blow. Athelstan laying there still and Floki smearing the monk's blood on his face, triumphant, appeasing his gods and removing the perceived threat to the Viking way.

Jump to Ragnar towing a body wrapped in cloth by horseback through the forest going higher and higher the hills by the shore. At first it seemed he as disposing of the farmer he killed but as he speaks to himself essentially we learn it is Athelstan's dead body. 
“You saw yourself as weak and conflicted, but to me you were fearless because you dared to question. Why did you have to die? We had so much more to talk about.”
It's a solemn scene. Just Ragnar and Athelstan on the highest spot in Kattegat. A grave ready but Ragnar eulogizes him declaring he never knew what a martyr was and still doesn't. He chose this place to get his friend as close to God as possible. He places Athelstan's crucifix around his neck and plants a simple cross to mark his grave on the ground. 
“There is nothing that can console me now. I am changed. So are you.” 
There is certainly change ahead. What will be Floki's consequences for killing Athelstan? Will the Northmen deal with Ecbert first or attack Paris? How long before Lagertha gets her revenge on Kalf? Will Ragnar and Aslaug's marriage finally collapse? 

Creator, producer and writer Michael Hirst has once again put together another compelling season that just keeps getting better. 

Check out scenes from the next episode entitled 'Paris.'


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All-New Mythological Thriller GOD COMPLEX Coming from Top Cow

Writers Paul Jenkins (Inhumans, Wolverine: Origin) and Bryan Lie team up with artist Hendry Prasetya (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) for an all-new mystery thriller in GOD COMPLEX, an ongoing series launching from Image/Top Cow this October.


GOD COMPLEX is set in the futuristic city of Delphi where a young digital-forensics investigator named Seneca finds himself embroiled in the bizarre murders of three church acolytes. Guided by his cryptic mentor, the Ruler named Hermes, Seneca uncovers a stunning conspiracy and a mystery that will turn his entire world upside down. 

Join the GOD COMPLEX team on a unique vision of a digital future powered by mythological gods. GOD COMPLEX is the first original toy line-up from Jakarta-based GLITCH. It features sci-fi and high-fashion reimaginings of mythological gods from various beliefs/regions like Greek, Egypt, China, and Japan. The toys first released in 2012 and are available for purchase at www.glitch-store.com. GOD COMPLEX is created by Brya…

REVIEW: 'Crosswind' #2 by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs

Chicago hitman Cason Bennett and mousy Seattle housewife Juniper Blue have inexplicably switched bodies and lives. A mysterious stranger has called them each to tell them they have to play the game. 'Crosswind' by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs is a juicy satisfying crime fantasy that sizzles with intrigue.


CROSSWIND #2 Story: Gail Simone Art / Cover / Variant Cover: Cat Staggs Published: July 26, 2017 Diamond ID: MAY170671 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
The mind-breaking crime fantasy continues! Slick Chicago hitman Cason Bennett and mousy Seattle housewife Juniper Blue have inexplicably switched bodies and lives, and a heartless, relentless killer seems intent on killing them both. Don't miss this edge-of-your-seat thriller by fan-favorites GAIL SIMONE and CAT STAGGS!
Cason and Juniper are forced to play their new roles in their new bodies. Juniper has to clean up a bloody crime scene from the end of the last issue and Cason has to make a killer dinner for Jun…

RAVEN YEAR 2 Begins: The Teenage Lesbian Pirate's Quest for Love and Vengeance

RAVEN is a pirate revenge adventure, a soap opera full of messy teenage love stories, and about a dozen coming of age stories set on the high seas. Think "Legend of Korra" at sea with an all female cast.


This series has one of the most diverse and exciting casts of any comic on the market. It's full of action, adventure, and revenge - but even more full of love stories and soap operas. RAVEN is one of the first YA comics with an openly gay leading lady. But on top of that, it has a cast of women who represent a wide spectrum of the LGBTQ community. It's equal parts soap opera and actual opera.
Writer Jeremy Whitley hopes readers experience "Joy, connection, and love" when reading this book. He goes on to say that "It's a book where different types of people are heroes than what we're used to, especially in YA fiction. I feel like everybody should be able to find at least one character they either relate to or fall in love with in the pages of t…

KICKSTARTER SPOTLIGHT: 'Death Metal Zombie Cop' Issue #1 by Felipe Smith

A Superstar LAPD Rookie (Marco Miranda) & his disillusioned Training Officer (Rhonda Riley) discover that a corruption-plagued Justice System and the tightening stranglehold of the Drug Cartel are just the tip of the iceberg when L.A.'s deadliest Urban Legend reveals itself to be very REAL.


The creator who brought Robbie Reyes, the All-New Ghost Rider, back to life for Marvel is back with another high-octane adventure with his Kickstarter passion project, Death Metal Zombie Cop. If the title alone doesn't grab you then check out the amazing art. 


DEATH METAL ZOMBIE COP is an Action/Horror comic originally conceived in Japan (shortly after ending serialization of PEEPO CHOO with Kodansha) & now made in Los Angeles. It's infused with Dark Humor, real LAPD situations, West Coast slice-of-life antics, and over 5 years worth of development and HEART! 

ABOUT THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
"All pledged funds will go towards DEATH METAL ZOMBIE COP #1 production costs and bac…

REVIEW: 'Postal' #21 by Bryan Hill, Isaac Goodhart, and K. Michael Russell

This wouldn't be 'Postal' without a major scheme in the works by someone in the criminal haven known as the town of Eden. The fact that it's coming from Mark and Maggie is the surprising part. Meanwhile, Laura has her hands full trying to maintain her grasp on the town. Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodheart bring another exciting chapter in this briskly paced issue.


POSTAL #21  Writer: Bryan Hill Artists: Isaac Goodhart, K. Michael Russell Letterer: Troy Peteri Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: July 26, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Watching Mark and Maggie coupled up is a little weird but feels right. After all the drama they've been through it would only seem just for them to finally come together. They've had a seemingly unbreakable bond amid a neo-Nazi attack, the murders of the psychopathic daughter of the FBI director, and a near rebellion against Mark as the interim mayor. With all that out of the way, Mark and Maggie can finally decompress. How…