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S06.E03: Ghosts, Gods, and Running Dogs

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Airdate 2019.12.11

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Lagertha is visited by women from the nearby villages but the community is shattered by events that force her to take action. In Kiev, Ivar is aware of the threat Oleg poses, not only to himself but to the vulnerable young heir to the throne. Bjorn comes to the aid of an old enemy, but all is not as it seems.

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29 minutes ago, wlk68 said:

A 10pm start time for this episode? What the heck, History Channel? 

I know.  This sucks.

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That sequence with the riders coming out of the trees to ambush Dir was stunningly beautiful (though I question how Dir didn't hear it until the horses were, like, right behind him).

Hardly worth it for Lagertha to bury her sword just to dig it up again a week later.  Here's hoping she takes the opportunity to form those women into Scandinavian Amazon tribe.

Bjorn... sigh. Try thinking with the other head once in a while.  Anyone else get a honeypot vibe off Ingrid?  She seems to be up to more than just schtupping the king.

Edited by Steph J
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4 hours ago, Ohwell said:
5 hours ago, wlk68 said:

A 10pm start time for this episode? What the heck, History Channel? 

I know.  This sucks.

Agreed.  Apparently Forged in Fire is now given a higher priority.  I used to like in previous years where they'd show the previous Vikings and then show the new episode twice.

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Ivar has realized that he has hitched his star to an MF even crazier than he is.

I thought those women told Lagertha that their men were dead, but after those men Bjorn stupidly “exiled” attacked, they said their men were killed. 
The priestess was cool, but I couldn’t stand seeing that poor goat about to be sacrificed.

Hvitserk needs rehab STAT!

King Olaf is bat shit crazy too.
 

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I just now realized they have a King Olaf and a Prince Oleg in the same season.  No wonder I'm having trouble keeping names straight, even if they're two entirely different brands of crazy and Oleg is managing an incredibly tense kind of repellent charisma while Olaf apparently heard they have an opening for a new Seer and keeps staging impromptu auditions for it.

You know it's bad when Ivar is realizing he may have bitten off more than he can chew in the batshittery sweepstakes.

The show managed three horribly gorgeous visuals this outing, with the priestess, the horses coming out of the snow-covered trees, and the flaming cove at the end.  Look at that.  A big sprawling epic with otherworldly elements that doesn't forget what made the show so compelling to watch in the first place as it heads toward its final dismount.

Not even just this once, huh Bjorn?  Not even gonna try to keep it in your pants? 

Alfred and Rollo both get name checked as potential trading partners.  Maybe it doesn't mean anything as far as seeing them again soon, but it feels like the show's way of reminding us that they're still around and don't be surprised if we eventually wander back in either of those directions for one last go round.

It took me a minute to recognize Harald with his hair down.

I realize this culture values things differently,  but it felt like there was a subtext going unsaid in the scenes with all the widows and Lagertha.  Yeah, all our men are dead because of years and years of Lothbroks and Lothbrok adjacents infighting over the stupid Kattegat throne and warring against each other.  That seemingly inexhaustible supply of warriors you guys throw at each other has to come from somewhere and this is the end result.

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Lots going on here. I was REALLY hoping that Bjorn would be able to keep it in his pants at least once but alas, it is not to be. This chick reminded me of Ivar's wife, with all her promises of good fortune, etc. Didn't work out so well for her. Let's see how it plays our for this one. 

I'm getting heavy foreshadowing that something is going to happen to Lagertha's grandkids. I hope not. 

Despite the fact that Ubbe has repeatedly said he doesn't want to be king, he's doing a good job as substitute ruler so far.

Hvitserk has never been one of my favorite characters but it's sad to see how far he's fallen. Flora's death broke something inside him.       

I could have done without King Olaf's scenery chewing during this episode. Both during the dinner with Harald and during the attack/ambush at the end. It was a bit much. 

Wow, Oleg is ... I have no words for how awful he is. And if the little giggle and bark when he saw what had happened to his other uncle is any indication, it looks like the young princeling is going to follow in Oleg's footseps.

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Agreed.  Apparently Forged in Fire is now given a higher priority.  I used to like in previous years where they'd show the previous Vikings and then show the new episode twice.  

I tweeted my intense dissatisfaction to both Vikings and the History Channel. If enough of us bitch, maybe they'll move it back. As it is, I'm going to have to start watching the new episodes on the following day because it's really difficult for me to stay up until 10pm. My job requires that I get up ridiculously early and I was already struggling with the 9pm start time.   

ETA: I agree that the horses attacking through the snowy woods was visually stunning. And that Priestess who performed the house blessing was also starkly beautiful in her own arresting way.  

Edited by wlk68
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Just realized who the little Prince O reminded me of, the young Robin Arryn of the Vale from GoT.

I swear nothing better happen to Lagertha or her grandbabies but since this show never lets us have anything nice those kids are probably toast.

Poor Vitserk. I liked him, he's such a mess now, he'd never survive the necessary detox.

That scene with the horses coming through the forest and snow was visually arresting. Good job Vikings!

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2 hours ago, wlk68 said:

Lots going on here. I was REALLY hoping that Bjorn would be able to keep it in his pants at least once but alas, it is not to be. This chick reminded me of Ivar's wife, with all her promises of good fortune, etc. Didn't work out so well for her. Let's see how it plays our for this one. 

Yes, I immediately thought of Ivar's (now dead) wife when that chick was talking about good fortune and crap.  I hope Bjorn's wife takes care of her.

I fear for Lagertha and the kids, and something happens to them.  Even worse would be the guilt that Ubbe and Torvi would feel for leaving the kids with Lagertha, since Bjorn put the kids in their care. 

I'm actually getting a kick out of Ivar being creeped out by Oleg.  Unfortunately, it looks like that kid will follow in his uncle's batshit crazy footsteps.  I must say, though, that the Rus Viking story is quite interesting.

I wish I cared more about Hvitserk's decline, but I don't.

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7 hours ago, Ohwell said:
10 hours ago, wlk68 said:

Lots going on here. I was REALLY hoping that Bjorn would be able to keep it in his pants at least once but alas, it is not to be. This chick reminded me of Ivar's wife, with all her promises of good fortune, etc. Didn't work out so well for her. Let's see how it plays our for this one. 

Yes, I immediately thought of Ivar's (now dead) wife when that chick was talking about good fortune and crap.  I hope Bjorn's wife takes care of her.

I'm thinking I'd like to see Gunnhild take care of Bjorn as well.  I'm a bit weary of the manipulative woman story;  we also had crazy Margarethe.

Edited by sagittarius sue · Reason: grammar
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For a show that tends to cut away from a lot of the more gruesome violence (because, basic cable), I was mortified to see what Oleg did to his brother's face. It's like they allow just one or two really horrific things to be shown per season. (Still haven't gotten over the blood eagle thing.) 

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I thought those women told Lagertha that their men were dead, but after those men Bjorn stupidly “exiled” attacked, they said their men were killed. 

I heard her say her son was killed, I didn't hear anything about "their men." It was a baby, and it wouldn't stop crying, so the raider bashed its brains out (her words).

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Hvitserk has never been one of my favorite characters but it's sad to see how far he's fallen. Flora's death broke something inside him.     

He knew her for a red hot minute so I'm not sure I'm buying this. Although everyone predicted what would happen when he left her behind with Ivar. Also, why are his eyes so red? It looks like they're bleeding. Is that what happens when you get that drunk? Ick.

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Just realized who the little Prince O reminded me of, the young Robin Arryn of the Vale from GoT.

Yes! I knew he looked like someone.

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Yeah, I'm usually good with separating characters out, but having both Olaf and Oleg as main adversaries this season is going to get confusing to keep track of, I suspect.  Maybe I should just refer to Oleg as The Prophet for now!

Speaking of Oleg, he really is looking for any excuse not to give out presents to his family this holiday season, huh?  Kills one brother and then basically cages and turns his other one into an animal.  Poor guy.  Even Ivar was all "Dude, I at least kill my enemies!  Admittedly in brutal fashion, but still!  This is messed up!" about it.  And the kid seems on track to being just as psychotic as old Uncle Oleg!

Dammit, Bjorn!  Of course, you couldn't last a week before hopping into the sack with this Ingrid character.  Maybe Gunnhild should have taken up with Harald after all.  Speaking of which, glad to see Harald again and making the most of his admittedly bad situation.  It will take a lot to take his humor and wise-ass remarks out of him!

No surprise, Lagertha already has to bust out the sword again, since those outcasts are clearly out for her and her new friends.  Have a bad feeling something is going to happen to one of the grandkids, since they already established that killing children doesn't faze these bastards.

Ubbe might only be a temporary king, but she knows how to handle the role.  And Ubbe/Torvi continue to be the best.

Hvitserk needs help, y'all!

Shoutouts to both Alfred and Rollo!  Maybe we'll see both of them again!

As with most battles on Vikings, the first one doesn't go very well for the protagonists.  Let see's how they fare in round two!

Some great looking shots in this one, but in general, the production values and scenery are always top notch on this show.

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18 minutes ago, thuganomics85 said:

Dammit, Bjorn!  Of course, you couldn't last a week before hopping into the sack with this Ingrid character.  Maybe Gunnhild should have taken up with Harald after all.  Speaking of which, glad to see Harald again and making the most of his admittedly bad situation.  It will take a lot to take his humor and wise-ass remarks out of him!

I agree.  Bjorn certainly doesn't deserve her and poor Harald can't seem to catch a break when it comes to women. 

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18 hours ago, Steph J said:

That sequence with the riders coming out of the trees to ambush Dir was stunningly beautiful (though I question how Dir didn't hear it until the horses were, like, right behind him).

Hardly worth it for Lagertha to bury her sword just to dig it up again a week later.  Here's hoping she takes the opportunity to form those women into Scandinavian Amazon tribe.

Bjorn... sigh. Try thinking with the other head once in a while.  Anyone else get a honeypot vibe off Ingrid?  She seems to be up to more than just schtupping the king.

Agreed 100% about the horse sequence. Beautiful.  I was wondering how he didn't hear the thundering of their hooves in the snow as they rode up.

I was disappointed with his decision to sleep w/ her - following in his father's footsteps. You would think he would remember what that did to his own mother and the family unit...

16 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

Ivar has realized that he has hitched his star to an MF even crazier than he is.

I thought those women told Lagertha that their men were dead, but after those men Bjorn stupidly “exiled” attacked, they said their men were killed. 
The priestess was cool, but I couldn’t stand seeing that poor goat about to be sacrificed.

Hvitserk needs rehab STAT!

King Olaf is bat shit crazy too.
 

I thought they said their sons and a baby were killed? And weren't there only three guys exiled? Where did they get the horses?

Poor Hvitserk!

Ivar being nice to the kid is a bit strange to me, and the kid mocking Oleg's brother as Reek was a bit disturbing...

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10 hours ago, wlk68 said:

ETA: I agree that the horses attacking through the snowy woods was visually stunning. And that Priestess who performed the house blessing was also starkly beautiful in her own arresting way.  

I believe that was Torvi.

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33 minutes ago, materialgirl101 said:

Ivar being nice to the kid is a bit strange to me, and the kid mocking Oleg's brother as Reek was a bit disturbing...

I didn't quite understand that scene because I actually thought the kid was mocking Ivar the way he was swinging his legs on the floor.    

Edited by Ohwell
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2 minutes ago, Ohwell said:

I didn't quite understand that scene because I actually thought the kid was mocking Ivar the way he was swinging his legs on the floor.

That's what I thought too.  I was surprised that Ivar wasn't upset by it.

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Interesting that it's all snowy and wintery in Kiev (where Oleg and Ivar are), and somehow in Kattagat (presumably somewhere in Norway), which is something like 1500 km to the north, it's much more pleasant, and even appears to be summer, at least by Scandinavian standards (not cold, no snow, etc.).  I wonder if we are supposed to think it's different timelines, or if it was merely an oversight

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1 hour ago, Ohwell said:

I didn't quite understand that scene because I actually thought the kid was mocking Ivar the way he was swinging his legs on the floor.    

Ivar looked amused *I think that is what I would call his facial expression*. Maybe because he was so good at it?

I didn't really get that either.

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19 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I couldn't figure out if it was Torvi or not underneath all that make-up.

I don't think it was. The voice wasn't quite right and I have vague recollections of seeing her standing next to Ubbe during the ceremony. I'd have to rewatch to be certain, tho. 

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What can you say about Oleg...when you shock Ivar and make him look reasonable by comparison....

That was a dumb ass strategic move by Bjorn and his womanizing is so unattractive.

Ubbe makes a very good temporary king, maybe he should be king period.

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2 hours ago, Seppuku said:

Interesting that it's all snowy and wintery in Kiev (where Oleg and Ivar are), and somehow in Kattagat (presumably somewhere in Norway), which is something like 1500 km to the north, it's much more pleasant, and even appears to be summer, at least by Scandinavian standards (not cold, no snow, etc.).  I wonder if we are supposed to think it's different timelines, or if it was merely an oversight

Not to mention everyone taking a swim.

There have been several references here to Game of Thrones and I was thinking the same thing. It’s not a good thing in my opinion that the writers have swerved so far from a more or less historical drama to something that is tiptoeing into the realm of fantasy. Oleg and Olaf are way over the top (as was Ivar last season).  When will the dragons show up?

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3 hours ago, wlk68 said:

I don't think it was. The voice wasn't quite right and I have vague recollections of seeing her standing next to Ubbe during the ceremony. I'd have to rewatch to be certain, tho. 

Ubbe was standing with the kids, but Torvi wasn't with them.

I think it's definitely Torvi:

Torvi.thumb.jpg.79d2c214326fa792f894a3b23ce78c9d.jpg

But maybe the voice was dubbed since she wasn't speaking in English?

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Definitely Torvi’s big wide-set eyes, and her distinct nose.  I recognized her right off the bat.

Edited by alvajon
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The timelines have always been a little screwy if you really think about it.  Two seasons ago, Bjorn and company were all the way down in the Mediterranean when Ragnar died.  They heard the Ragnar's final prophecy at the same time the brothers back home were getting the news and yet they managed to sail all the way back to Kattegat in plenty of time to get back into the action.  The Kiev stuff I can chalk up to the reality that some of this probably is slightly back in time as even teleporting TV armies will need time to haul from Ukraine to Norway.

11 hours ago, Haleth said:

There have been several references here to Game of Thrones and I was thinking the same thing. It’s not a good thing in my opinion that the writers have swerved so far from a more or less historical drama to something that is tiptoeing into the realm of fantasy. Oleg and Olaf are way over the top (as was Ivar last season).  When will the dragons show up?

The show has always dabbled in religious mysticism though, from what may or may not have been gods or religious visions showing up to characters like the Seer to events that various characters seemed to sincerely believe happened through religious intervention.  We got what we were supposed to see as a representation of Odin appearing to each of the sons to announce Ragnar's death.  One thing I liked about this episode was Ivar asking outright whether there was anything to Oleg's prophecy that something bad was about to happen to his brother or his rep as THE PROPHET and then realizing oh no, that was just about convenient intel and opportunity, like the poisoning story from the previous episode.  He didn't immediately discount the possibility that some extraordinary power might be at work but he was savvy enough to ask followup questions and not just accept it at face value either.

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Congrats Ivar, you found a guy even crazier than you are...maybe. Poor Dir, your just hanging out with rhythmic gymnastics, interpretive dancing, and some guys doing a Passion Play, and then your crazy brother and his lackeys show up to ruin everything. 

Ubbe and Torvi are still my favorites, especially with their kids and cool grandma Lagatha. "Hey babe, maybe you shouldn't do the thing?" "Sorry, what was that tone, exactly?!" "I didnt have a tone! I didnt mean anything!" "Yeah sure you didnt, honey. I believe you were saying how I should totally do the thing?" "...yes dear." Ubbe might not have any real desire to be a king, but he already seems to be doing a good job keeping at it while Bjorn is off doing other stuff and refusing to keep his dick in his pants, just like dad. 

Lots of really great cinematography and atmosphere, like the priestess doing the bless, the horsemen coming out of the woods, and Bjorns troops being surrounded by fire in the water while King Oleg just eats all of the scenery he can possibly find, lots of good stuff. 

Poor Hvitserk, he needs an intervention, STAT.

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Ubbe.

PS:  That's all.  That's all I want to say.  Because ... he is amazing.  (Love the creative dialogue interpretation of the picnic table conversation, tennisgurl!)

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What can you say about Oleg...when you shock Ivar and make him look reasonable by comparison....

Well that's the whole point isn't it? Clearly the show is trying for a redemption arc with Ivar and the only way to accomplish it is to pair him with someone far worse so he looks better in comparison. That, and to have him act all cute around a little kid. Warms the cockles of your heart, no? 

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 Bjorn is off doing other stuff and refusing to keep his dick in his pants, just like dad. 

This keeps coming up, but Ragnar wasn't that much of a man-whore. He slept with all of three women as far as I can recall. Bjorn has far surpassed that number by now.

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Ubbe.

PS:  That's all.  That's all I want to say.  Because ... he is amazing.  

Ever since last season when all the Vikings were chanting "Ub-be! Ub-be! Ub-be! Ub-be! Ub-be!" whenever I see him now I start chanting that. Heh.

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2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

Well that's the whole point isn't it? Clearly the show is trying for a redemption arc with Ivar and the only way to accomplish it is to pair him with someone far worse so he looks better in comparison. That, and to have him act all cute around a little kid. Warms the cockles of your heart, no? 

No.  As far as I'm concerned, Ivar is still a batshit crazy evil bastard.  He's just met someone who one upped him.    

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Just who were the parents of the young prince and what exactly is his relationship to Oleg?

I could have sworn he said the boy was his nephew, but that would mean he had yet another brother. Which he probably killed, too.

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17 hours ago, alvajon said:

Definitely Torvi’s big wide-set eyes, and her distinct nose.  I recognized her right off the bat.

I stand corrected. 🙂 

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In introducing the boy, who he claims is his ward, Oleg said he's the son of his late brother-in-law, the king.  So the kid is his nephew, but we're given no specifics beyond that about how the brother-in-law died or what exactly the family relationship was.

I'm not hoping for a redemption arc for Ivar, which I'm not sure is even really possibly anyway, as much as I'm hoping for the return of some shading and nuance.  I don't need the characters I enjoy watching to be good people I want to hang out with, especially not on a show where pretty much everybody has straight up murdered someone or done something awful at some point.  I just want them to be well written and offer up something that makes them interesting to watch.  One-note villainy is rarely it.

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If I'm looking for nuance in a character, I think Harald would be a more likely choice than Ivar.  I think Ivar is too far gone.

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It seems the writers are making Ivar see himself for the first time by watching Oleg commit the same atrocities he himself did-- gleefully murdering and torturing everyone who gives him the side eye (including his wife)-- yet it's unlikely Ivar will change his ways and repent.  Instead he seems to be embracing the crazy even more than before.  Last week I enjoyed the Kiev storyline.  I think it could have been interesting for viewers to see how the Viking culture evolved when the raiders acquired great wealth and land, the political infighting, the clash of cultures coming from the east along the Silk Road, etc.  Instead we get Reek.  It's lazy and bothers me that the writers weren't content to just show Reek being killed in the (gorgeously filmed) battle.  No, they had to shock us (shock us, I say!) with something cruel and disgusting, just for the sake of being disgusting.

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On 12/12/2019 at 7:56 PM, wlk68 said:

I don't think it was. The voice wasn't quite right and I have vague recollections of seeing her standing next to Ubbe during the ceremony. I'd have to rewatch to be certain, tho. 

Here's a crappy screen shot - I think it looks like her....

Screen Shot 2019-12-14 at 11.03.48 AM.png

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On 12/13/2019 at 7:44 PM, Ohwell said:

If I'm looking for nuance in a character, I think Harald would be a more likely choice than Ivar.  I think Ivar is too far gone.

Considering that Harald was introduced as part of a pair of murdering rapist brothers who were clearly supposed to be the much more mullet-headed antithesis of Ragnar as the stereotypical rapist murdering Vikings, I'm always a little amazed how the show managed to turn him into a character we could see any nuance in or ever want to root for.  So anything's possible.  I mean, Bjorn's one big fault is his inability to be at all monogamous in a culture that seems to have a rather fluid interpretation of that and yet somehow the runty guy who went total murderous dudebro on one woman who didn't love him back to the point of gutting the husband she did choose and then kidnapped another woman he strongarmed into marrying him is somehow seen as the man Gunnhild preferably should have ended up with.  And I say that as someone who does get a kick out of Harald much of the time.

I don't think Ivar is in any danger of ever being a "hero" in this story, but he's an interesting character when the show remembers not to let him go full cartoon villain.

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Me when Bjorn hooked up with yet another woman. I'm also sensing she's up to something. She seems way too eager to get in his pants.

arrested development eye roll GIF

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When Gunnhild finds out I want her to slap Bjorn silly and then leave him for good.  She deserves better.  Hell, even Harald would be a better choice.

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The attack in the snow was an amazingly shot and beautiful season.

Getting tired of Hvitserk.

Man, Bjorn's water plan was TERRIBLE.  It seemed like an awful plan from the start.  Ragnar definitely wouldn't screwed up that badly.

Edited by benteen

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