Skip to main content

Vikings Review (S3E5): 'The Usurper'


It's a bittersweet return home for Ragnar and company. Tired and battered the Vikings sail ashore to Kattegat. Athelstan entrances Ragnar with stories of his visit to Paris and the king hangs on every word. Floki from afar wonders what they could possibly be talking about. The one thing that is certain in 'The Usurper,' any and all secrets are revealed once they hit land. 


The writers of Vikings have set up this moment to expose the sins of everyone from Wessex to Kattegat. And it doesn't take long either from the time the weary warriors step off the boat. Sensing something was wrong Ragnar asks Aslaug where are the boys. Not even a 'hello' or 'I missed you.' Lagertha broke the news to both of Thorstein's baby mamas of his passing. The most heartbreaking was seeing Rollo call out to Siggy to which there was no reply, of course. Aslaug tells him she died while saving her boys on the frozen lake. 

Rollo is stunned and inconsolable. The revelation does bring some questions with it and most curious is Ragnar. He continues to ask why was Siggy watching his boys. The grief-stricken Rollo blames himself and drowns his sorrows in alcohol. Bjorn has to fight his uncle before someone else at the watering hole kills the belligerent drunk. They go toe-to-toe, but Bjorn is too strong and sober for the lumbering Rollo. If he felt guilty for Siggy's death then he earned the penance he was looking for with a bloody beating. 

Later, a particularly amusing scene between Aslaug and Ragnar considering he's asking about Harbard. Helga spilled the beans to Floki about the wanderer's stay in town right down to bedding Aslaug. An enthralled Floki seemed to enjoy the news and when he heard the name he said he must have been a god. Helga reminds him people died, but he explained that death gives way to life. 

Aslaug just told Ragnar about the healing touch Harbard had with Ivar making him jealous. Of course, he picks up Ivar only to wake him and set him crying. She left out the part where she sleeps with the wanderer.

Ragnar's obsession with Paris has him gung-ho to invade this magical place and makes its known to his people that's the goal. All thanks to Athelstan's influence which doesn't sit well with Floki.

A messenger sends Lagertha some bad news. Kalf has taken over her Earldom and her lands. Lagertha is incensed but getting very little help or interest from Ragnar. She reminds him that she had his back. Some of the best interactions on the show have been between Travis Fimmel and Katheryn Winnick. Their chemistry and playing off one another is entertainment unto itself. Ragnar goes with her to confront Kalf but he's more interested in talking him into joining him on raiding Paris. Ragnar can be impetuous so this move is more about himself than helping Lagertha. 

The truth-telling continues back in Wessex as Judith reveals she's pregnant and Aethelwulf is understandably enraged. So much so he pulls an Anakin Skywalker and massacres a Viking village. It's a shocking and terrible scene as kids are running for their lives and King Ecbert's promise to Lagertha that they'd have his protection is blown asunder.

Ecbert was appalled and outraged at the news of such slaughter. He pinned the blame on his noblemen for their treachery. The same guys who coincidently weren't too keen on the king's leadership. So the King got to show his people he's still very much in control of his kingdom. Behind the scenes Ecbert thanks his son for wiping out the Northmen. It turns out his rage wasn't just about his wife having someone else's baby but taking out his hate of the Northmen farmers. Ecbert had it all planned. 

So will the facade of placing the blame on his supposed treasonous men placate Ragnar and Lagertha when they find out? I would doubt it. No one fully trusted Ecbert. Everyone knew what he was capable of and it was a matter of when not if he would betray them. But will the Vikings deal with their fallen people first or will they go on to Paris? Will they see through Ecbert's excuses and take him on? 

After the season got off to a slow start, Vikings has really come full circle in the latest episode tying up plotlines and catapulting the drama to another level. It's easily the best episode thus far and only getting better. The mystical angle has subsided and good old-fashioned backstabbing and deception have taken front stage. The truth is out in the open for everyone to see and there will be hell to pay. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Redneck' #2 by Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren, and Dee Cunniffe

'Redneck' arrived a month ago redefining the vampire genre by not giving into convention or cliché. In fact, if you've read the first two issues, the vampire angle serves more as subtext than its selling point. It's the perfect approach to this character-driven southern fried drama that simmers with tension and intrigue.

REDNECK #2 STORY: DONNY CATES
ART/COVER: LISANDRO ESTHERREN & DEE CUNNIFFE LETTERER: JOE SABINO
RELEASE DATE: MAY 24
32 PAGES | Full Color | Mature | $3.99
★★★★☆ (4/5)
The Bowman's way of life just got upended and what was once a peaceful and secluded existence is on the verge of war. The vampires of Texas keep to themselves, raise their cattle, drink its blood and sell the meat through their BBQ joint. Seems like a brilliant front to keep them in the shadows while staking out a living. All that is threatened when one of their own is killed after a night on the town. This issues fills in the holes to what might have happened and what the hell is…

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Project Superpowers' #1 by Rob Williams and Sergio Davila

The Project Superpowers heroes came from the past, now they have to prove their relevance in the modern world. A 21st Century threat is coming for us all. What dread secrets does The Death Defying Devil hold? The Lighthouse will rise and the Spirit of The American Flag will take on a new host. But will it be enough? Can superheroes still save the day?


Project Superpowers #1
writer: Rob Williams artist: Sergio Davila covers: Francesco Mattina (A), Ed Benes (B), John Royle (C)               Philip Tan (D), JG Jones (E) Stephen Segovia (F)               Sergio Davila (G), Philip Tan (RI-B/W)               J.G. Jones (RI-Sepia), Ed Benes (RI-Virgin)               Francesco Mattina (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+  












PREVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' #3 by Kelly Thompson and Jenn St-Onge

No more secrets…a dead body’s discovered, and Nancy can’t keep the mystery from her friends any longer. Will telling the truth and getting her crime-solving crew involved help crack the Bayport case, before someone else winds up dead? The modern take on the classic mystery icon continues from KELLY THOMPSON (Hawkeye, Star Wars, Rogue & Gambit) and JENN ST-ONGE (Giant Days, The Misfits)!


Nancy Drew #3
writer: Kelly Thompson  |  artist: Jenn St-Onge covers: Tula Lotay (A), Paulina Ganucheau (B), Jenn St-Onge (C),               Tula Lotay (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+