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S06.E10 The Best Laid Plans

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Airdate 2020.02.05

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Ivar and Igor may be plotting against Oleg, but they're still part of the force that departs Kiev to invade Scandinavia. King Harald and King Bjorn begin furious preparations for the invasion. 

We're airing at 10 p.m. EST again, folks.  Plan accordingly.

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You know... Kattegat isn't that great.  I'm not sure why they keep having these epic battles for it.

I'm so tired of Ivar.  I hope the second half of the season is just him getting stabbed over and over.

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That episode was confusing. Did Bjorn really get killed? It couldn’t have been Ivar who did it. Wasn’t he climbing up a mountain, yelling “Rock” for some reason. I wanted Gunnhild to kill Hvitserk. The scene with her burying her baby was heartbreaking.

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Whelp, that definitely was a Winter finale!

Definitely confused over how Ivar apparently was able to scale the wall and make his way to the battlefield in time to stab Bjorn.  Unless; as I've seen suggested somewhere else; that was another hallucination and Bjorn simply got stabbed by a random Rus solider and saw Ivar instead, since he knew Ivar was the one pulling the strings like he always does.  Either way, certainly doesn't look very good for Bjorn, but I'll wait see if he's officially dead when we come back from the break.

Harald is also looking like he's on his way out, but considering his last act before war was to rape Ingrid in order to spit Bjorn, it's hard to really feel sympathy for him.  Kind of sucks that they went back to making him an one-note villain at the end.

Sad that Gunnhild lost the baby, but happy she at least avoid getting killed by either Oleg or Ivar.

I wonder what is going on with Erik taking Harald's crown before he fled.  Is he going to make himself the new king?

Katya has to be playing Ivar, right?

Part of me hopes Ubbe and Torvi just stay in Iceland and have a nice happy life there.  Don't get into this shit, guys!

Sometimes I find the build-up the battles to be just as compelling as the actual battles.  Overall though, the production values and stunt work continue to be top notch!

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We can hope king Harald is a goner because if not, and if Bjorn is dead, then Harald said he'd take Ingrid as his wife. That would be misery for any lady. 

I took it as Bjorn was seeing what that battle meant and who was causing his death. Like in his mind's eye. While he was actually killed by some random Rus.  

What I don't get is why Ivar is doing this when he wants Oleg dead. Is he using Oleg to take over Kattegat and then plans to find a way to off him? 

Edited by Lamima
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Yeah, I have to imagine Bjorn was killed by some random guy because Ivar killing him like that is unbelievably stupid.  I can see Ivar slithering up to him on a battlefield when he's wounded but I'm hoping that was just dramatic license.

I'm surprised they would kill Bjorn and in such an unimpressive way this close to the finale.  I think his death would lead a void too many for the show, which has lost so many of their biggest and best characters. 

That being said, can we nominate Bjorn for Worst King on Television?  EVERY decision he made backfired spectacularly (EVERY SINGLE ONE!) and his personal life remains a shamble of his own making.  And yes, I still won't forget that he completely refuses to acknowledge even the existence of Little Siggy.

Hvitsvik killing Bjorn would have made more sense but that still wouldn't do anything to make his character not boring as sin.

The show always does great battle scenes although I think they look better on a smaller scale.

The Bjorn/Ivar "conversation" was very good though.

I'd greatly liked Harald the past few seasons after finding him boring the first few but this episode was a reminder of what he really is.  A vicious, pathetic, duplicitous rapist and murderer.

Not the best of the mid-season finales but the season has been strong.  If Bjorn is absent though, that's a character too many and Ivar isn't going to be the one to carry this show across the finish line.  They have finally run out of interesting new characters to introduce and develop.

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The only thing that made me smile in this episode was the look on Oleg's face when Gunnhild was able to swim away.

Count me in as disappointed that Harald ended up reverting to the same rapist rat bastard that he was when we first saw him.  

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Ubbe, Torvi, and Gunnhild are the only characters left that I care about. The previews made it look as if Ubbe and Torvi make it to North America.

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Ivar is my favorite and I hope he doesn’t regret saving Gunhilld from Oleg.  

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Holy shit, what the hell did I just watch? This episode was all over the place. A hot mess.

Harald has reverted to being a jealous spiteful rapey douchebag so good riddance. 

There's no way that Ivar could be in two places at once so some nameless soldier killed Bjorn or the whole thing was a hallucination on Bjorn's part.   

Still not sure that Hvitserk won't ultimately betray Ivar. This episode reminded me that Ivar killed Hvitserk's girlfriend by burning her and her family alive. Yet another reason that Hvitserk getting cozy with Ivar absolutely baffles me. 

My heart broke for Gunnhild when she buried the baby. An amazing scene by the actress.

Really bummed that Ubbe and Torvi weren't there but if they were, they would probably have ended up dead so prolly for the best. They're my favorites along with Gunnhild at this point. 

Trying to figure out where the show will go for the second half of this final season and how they'll manage to wrap everything up neatly. 

Edited by wlk68
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I feel like a fool for ever liking Harald in the middle section of his arc.  I should have stuck with my original opinion of him. He told me who he was in his first big scene way back when. And it galls because at the risk of sounding daft,  I am not at all sure that Harald is dead. He wasn't when we last saw him. 

Bjorn sure looked dead, didn't he?  But I can't be totally sure about that either.  The way the episode was filmed puts a lot of doubt into my mind considering what was real and what was a hallucination.

Gunnhild breaks my heart.  When she buried her little tiny son I started to cry..

Ingrid, omg.  I did not like the character before this but I felt so bad for her  here.  I thought it was a beautiful moment within that horrific rape scene when Ingrid went away inside herself and imagined herself serene at the beach.

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Gotta be honest...HATE Gunhild.  She may be a kick ass martial  arts but, honestly is English her second language? She. en. nun. ciates.every damm syllable and is, to me, an inadequate actress who bores the piss outta me.

Please, don't make the final season an Ivar redemption.

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1 hour ago, One Tough Cookie said:

Gotta be honest...HATE Gunhild.  She may be a kick ass martial  arts but, honestly is English her second language? She. en. nun. ciates.every damm syllable and is, to me, an inadequate actress who bores the piss outta me.

Please, don't make the final season an Ivar redemption.

I mean... technically English is the secondary language of all the characters.

Ragga Ragnars is Icelandic.  I don't think her accent is significantly different from the faux Scandinavian accent that the various British/Canadian/Australian members of the cast have typically used.

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1 hour ago, One Tough Cookie said:

honestly is English her second language?

So what if English is her second language?  This has always been an international production with talent in front and behind the camera from all over the world.

Why would it be wrong to cast an actor from Iceland as a Viking?

I think she is perfectly cast in the role and her accent blends in perfectly.

Now if they cast somebody who has an overtly regional American accent like Boston or New York, or Southern - that would take me out of the story.

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Could this whole battle have been In Bjorn’s head/imagination as he’s sitting on the beach? He’s thinking about how Ivar will attack and playing through various scenarios while sitting there? That’s the only way I can think of any of this episode making sense.

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Regardless of whether Bjorn is actually dead, I teared up when it appeared he died. I don’t always like Bjorn (especially the shitty way he treats his wives), but he is the last original character left. That makes his potential passing sad.

6 hours ago, One Tough Cookie said:

Gotta be honest...HATE Gunhild.  She may be a kick ass martial  arts but, honestly is English her second language? She. en. nun. ciates.every damm syllable and is, to me, an inadequate actress who bores the piss outta me.

Please, don't make the final season an Ivar redemption.

I love Gunnhild. Yes, English is the actress’s language. As someone who teaches English to non-native speakers, I’m impressed by her command of English.

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Well, we won't have Bjorn's sneer to kick around anymore (Nixon allusion). He's dead, all right; those lifeless eyes and drawn-out final vision of only him and Ivar were not for a cheap resurrection next episode. 

I think Ingrid would rather kill herself as Bjorn's widow than become Harald's queen. 

Brutal invasions of shoreline communities: They're not just for Vikings anymore.

7 hours ago, StrictTime said:

Could this whole battle have been In Bjorn’s head/imagination as he’s sitting on the beach? He’s thinking about how Ivar will attack and playing through various scenarios while sitting there? That’s the only way I can think of any of this episode making sense 

I hope not. Any variation of "And then I woke up" would be ridiculed mercilessly.

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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11 hours ago, One Tough Cookie said:

Gotta be honest...HATE Gunhild.  She may be a kick ass martial  arts but, honestly is English her second language? She. en. nun. ciates.every damm syllable and is, to me, an inadequate actress who bores the piss outta me.

Please, don't make the final season an Ivar redemption.

Not Ivar or Hvitserk, not Oleg or Harald, can be redeemed, even if shown as historical survivors (I don't know; just sayin').

Oh, I suppose if one has an epiphany, expresses contrition, and enters a monastery, but short of that? No. They must meet their characters' logical fates and we as viewers must have catharsis, or what's it all been for?

I also would not be surprised---shocked by its depiction, perhaps---were Bad Seed Igor to suffer an untimely demise. 

 

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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Well, now, that was trippy.  I don't dislike it the way most seem to.  In fact, although it was a depressing outcome, I liked it.  I thought the title "Best Laid Plans" came to fruition through the chronological "plan" by the writers to unfold the final battle.  Without seeing Ivar explain it movement by movement to the Rus in the cabinet meeting, I'm not sure I would have understood it as it played out.  

The smile of eureka on Ivar's face when the princeling made a suggestion that gave him an idea (coming up the river) was fabulous.

(Scaling the mountain reminded me of the scaling of the French fortresses in some previous season.  Remember when Ragnar fell and broke his back?)

What was really trippy were the out of body experiences -- with Bjorn and Ivar on the beach, with Ivar and Katrina (?) in that fairy-wings love scene (ugh*), and one or two others I can't remember right now.

What I believe was very real?  The end of Bjorn and the end of Harald (history and wiki tell us that Harald I actually died of old age).  The brutal rape.  Gunnhild's amazing mourning scene over the baby and her escape from Oleg's battle.  (What I love about Gunnhild is her totally self-aware honesty and the convincing way the actress portrays it).

 

*However, I freely admit that Ivar looked amazingly sexy for the first time in this entire series in that love scene.  Both Ivar and the actor are growing into their skin and it's delightful to see.

**Speaking of French fortresses -- where is Rollo when we need him to come and save the day?

***Ivar's best moment?  The Oscar winning performance?  For me, it was in his conversation with Bjorn on the beach.  It was understated but so, so important.  We finally have a sort of Floki and Athelstan moment in that Bjorn (like Floki before him) represents the Old Gods (Norway) and Ivar is telling him that he can't win (the new God is coming -- Christianity -- in the form of a superior Army of Rus.)  With the benefit of time, Ivar and the Rus bring the same threat Athelstan presented to Floki who also fought back and lost; Ragnar finally converted and Floki ran away to another land entirely.

****It's ironic that I feel Ivar took the award for this half season.  I've never liked Ivar and found him to be one-note while the actor is really outstanding.  For a while, he was up there on my "lazy writing" scale with Floki.  Not now.  He's quite amazing and I'm pleased he stayed with the series.

 

*****I found it fascinating that I could hear pre-English words and syllables in Gunhild's Old Norse language as she mourned.  That's a really cool touch.

 

 

   

Edited by Captanne
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12 hours ago, StrictTime said:

Could this whole battle have been In Bjorn’s head/imagination as he’s sitting on the beach? He’s thinking about how Ivar will attack and playing through various scenarios while sitting there? That’s the only way I can think of any of this episode making sense.

I was wondering the same thing but I'm kind of hoping that is not the case. It's a little too "Bobby Ewing shower scene" for my tastes. 

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14 hours ago, magdalene said:

Now if they cast somebody who has an overtly regional American accent like Boston or New York, or Southern - that would take me out of the story.

*from Boston

Now, that would be either horrifying or terribly amusing, "Ragnah!!!  Use the smaht pahk"

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22 minutes ago, Lady Iris said:

*from Boston

Now, that would be either horrifying or terribly amusing, "Ragnah!!!  Use the smaht pahk"

Ragnar:  (over an ale in Valhalla)  "Get a load of my boy, Ivah - he's wicked smaht!"

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Yeahhhh, lol, it'd leave quite a bit to be desired and I know I have a bit of a Boston accent. Not to mention its so hahd to get right.

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14 hours ago, StrictTime said:

Could this whole battle have been In Bjorn’s head/imagination as he’s sitting on the beach? He’s thinking about how Ivar will attack and playing through various scenarios while sitting there? That’s the only way I can think of any of this episode making sense.

I wish, but in the preview I thought I heard Gunhild (sp?) say Bjorn was dead.

I don't like Bjorn dying, but can appreciate that the show is willing to kill off major characters.  

But, I hate what they've done with Ivar and drug-addled brother (whose name I always forget).  Ivar was completely paralyzed, but now can he stand and move around on a sandy battlefield and is able to kill Bjorn?  Not buying it.  Nor do I buy that he was able to climb that mountain the way they showed.  Drug-addled brother, who was having nightmares about Ivar, is now completely clean and sober and friends with Ivar?  Also not buying it.

I've googled a bit about the Rus Vikings, but can't find whether the landing craft they used was realistic for the time and technology. 

Good riddance to King Harold.  Hope Eric survives.

 

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Even though I didn't like Bjorn the Horndog, I am sorry he's dead.  I did like the scene with him on the ground with his sword and joining his parents and children in Valhalla.  

I would love it if Gunnhild got mended and was the one to kill Oleg but I know that's not gonna happen.  

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On 2/6/2020 at 4:37 AM, Lamima said:

What I don't get is why Ivar is doing this when he wants Oleg dead. Is he using Oleg to take over Kattegat and then plans to find a way to off him? 

There was a moment during Ivar’s battle planning that I thought he was going to double-cross Oleg and get him to play right into Bjorn’s hands. I know he hates Bjorn, but at this point he hates Oleg just as much — especially since he wants Katia. But no, he didn’t betray Oleg (at least not yet).

Speaking of Katia, I had the feeling her little tryst with Ivar was a setup, either so Oleg could test his loyalty or so she could be Oleg’s spy and get Ivar to tell her anything he might be plotting.

REALLY hope Harald is dead and doesn’t make a miraculous recovery...

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51 minutes ago, CarpeFelis said:

Speaking of Katia, I had the feeling her little tryst with Ivar was a setup, either so Oleg could test his loyalty or so she could be Oleg’s spy and get Ivar to tell her anything he might be plotting.

That was my theory as well.

And from the shallow end of the pool I thought Ivar looked incredible with his hair down and loose in that seduction scene.

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17 hours ago, wlk68 said:

And from the shallow end of the pool I thought Ivar looked incredible with his hair down and loose in that seduction scene.

And he looked hot and sexy with his shirt off.  

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I just found this episode terribly confusing. Some of it I could appreciate, like the cuts between Ivar explaining the battle plan to the battle itself. But the weird cuts to people pondering on the beach were just odd. Did that entire conversation between Bjorn and Ivar take place in one of their heads? Which one? And that strange cut from Ingrid being raped to her standing on the beach. What's with the  beach in this episode. I don't like wondering what really happened and what was imagination or hallucination. Especially since we'll have to wait a whole year to find out.

It also amuses me, if that's the word, that the network feels compelled to throw up a warning before the episode that it contains graphic sexual material. No warning about the dead and dismembered bodies lying around though. They're fine. 

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Well that certainly was...confusing. So Bjorn was killed by some random Rus guy, but it was Ivar on a grander level (pulling the strings as always) who really killed him or something? Is that really the end of Bjorn? That seems pretty anticlimactic for the last of the original characters left in the entire show. I dont always like Bjorn (mostly because of his inability to keep his dick in his pants) but I feel like he deserves something more epic than that. 

The hallucination between Bjorn and Ivar was probably some of Bjorns best stuff of the season though, it was very metaphorical and fascinating,  based around their own history, their families legacy, and the more metaphorical tale of Christianity eventually overtaking the pagan beliefs that mean so much to the Vikings and their world view. Its why I always found Flokis hatred of Christianity and his warnings that the Christ God will overtake their Gods and lead to their deaths to be really fascinating, because...he wasnt wrong about is was going to happen. Eventually Christianity really will replace the Norse pantheon as the dominant religion in Scandinavia, and after something of a transitional period, their counties will more or less join the rest of Europe as Christian nations, and the old gods will never see that kind of worship again. 

Harold has gone so evil so fast, its giving me whiplash! Yeah he was a bad guy when we first met, but then he seemed to chill out and stop being quite as much of a prick, but now we has randomly become super evil again and has such a massive hate on for Bjorn that he not only tried to have him assassinated, but raped his wife, in a truly disturbing and horrible sequence. Not that I dont buy him going evil again, or that he was always that way and just got better at hiding it (including from the audience) but it just seemed to happen so abruptly. And now he is all kinds of dead and ironically had his crown taken off his head, so I guess it doesent matter much anymore. 

Poor Gunhild and her baby, that was so terribly sad. She has really emerged as a great character this season. 

Still not sure how I feel about the last sequence, but the song was very beautiful and haunting.

 

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1.  The entire Bjorn -Ivar conversation was in Bjorn's head.  Essentially his thought process vis a vis Ivar.

2. Ivar was nowhere near Bjorn in that entire battle.  Bjorn was on the beach the entire time .  Ivan went up river, up a mountain and then into the town. 

3 So no ,Ivar didnt kill Bjorn,  it was Bjorn's  internal thoughts bleeding over into reality. 

Edited by The Kings Foot

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Well, I share many of the thoughts posted here, good job everyone. And that article from Forbes (thanks for posting that) captures much of what I think as well.

It seems the entire episode is intended to cause as much confusion and doubt about what is real and what is not as possible. “Dallas” indeed.  I guess it’s the shows way of being artsy, and I usually like an artistic twist, but I found the finale annoying. I’ve liked this season much better than last, but I felt let down by the (mid season) finale, a dropped ball to me.

I won’t get into all the logical issues here and chalk them up to possible dreams until they clarify. Some of the things that bug me though:

-why would Hvitserk get within a million miles of the person that burned his wife alive, causing him to go inane and addicted to drugs?

-What is the deal with Tatya? Does she really look like Ivars Ex? How would Oleg know that? Why am I not caring?

-The legendary Bjorn isn’t very good at... anything. He sucks at these battles. And planning. And women. He is responsible for letting the person go who killed his mother and let Ivar get away only to return and attack him. He is the biggest letdown on the show.

-Heartbreaking scene with Gunnehild. From a character’s point of view, she didn’t seem to give the slightest thought to her baby’s welfare before that, so losing him wasn’t a real shocker. The actress, though, fine, fine work, a great scene. I don’t see her accent as different from most every other actor on this program. I just wish she was a little better looking for that part... the character could be larger than life.

-Forbes referred to the “unnecessary rape scene.” I think this sentiment is unnecessary pandering. The scene showed exactly who Harold was and exactly what he thought his chances were for survival. It was a rough moment, but belonged in the story.

-Speaking of Harold, I don’t like the character at all, but how is it this little guy cannot buy a girlfriend? I mean, he’s not troll-like looking, he’s a fine warrior, he was a king, and then King of all Norway.. and he spend the entire series brooding over the fact that he can’t find a chick to take to the dance. Seriously? It seems every plebe on the show finds a mate someplace. His idea of romance is kidnapping a homely lesbian, pining away for Bjorns shieldmaiden wife who happens to be 2 feet taller than him, and rapes Bjorns backup wife. I’m thinking this guy could easily find a female willing to ignore his warts and sit on the throne next to him without all the gymnastics.

Edited by SG11
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18 hours ago, SG11 said:

I’ve liked this season much better than last, but I felt let down by the finale, a dropped ball to me.

This was the mid season finale, there's more to come.  

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9 hours ago, Ohwell said:

This was the mid season finale, there's more to come.  

I know that. It still did not deliver.

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I've forgotten -- did the second wife survive?  Because rapes scenes (as horrific as they may be and as true to the times as they may be and as telling about the male character as they may be) can be utterly essential if the woman survives and is impregnated.  The mother and child will have a complicated future story line.

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On 2/15/2020 at 4:42 PM, SG11 said:

-The legendary Bjorn isn’t very good at... anything. He sucks at these battles. And planning. And women. He is responsible for letting the person go who killed his mother and let Ivar get away only to return and attack him. He is the biggest letdown on the show.

The person who killed his mother AND his son.  Not that Bjorn ever seems particularly interested in his children or even remembers them.

He also let Hvitserk live and go to Ivar.

It's staggering just how much of a miserable failure this show made Bjorn as a king.  To the point you wonder how he ever became a legend to begin with.  The only thing he was this season is a legendary failure.

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I just binged watched these ten episodes over the weekend. Brief thoughts:

Mixed feelings about Lagertha's death. I feel that Hirst knew she had to go down fighting, but was also stymied by the established prophecy that she would die at the hands of one of Ragnar's sons. This was perhaps his compromise. In any case, I love that she got to fight alongside her shieldmaidens one last time. Aslaug's murder not withstanding (I was so disappointed in her for that) Lagertha has always been about protecting and supporting other women. I actually got a bit teary when she and the other shieldmaidens had a drink around the fire, and the submerged ride of the Valkyries was stunning. 

To echo other posts, Bjorn is terrible: a terrible king, terrible husband and terrible father. He didn't deserve Torvi, and he sure as hell doesn't deserve Gunnhild. As vile as Harald is, I agreed with his incredulity that Bjorn didn't appreciate her enough.

No one seems to have mentioned that after the rape, Ingrid had a scene with King Olaf in which he comforts her and calls her "my darling." So... they're father and daughter? That seemed to be the implication, and if that's true then it entirely changes Ingrid's involvement with Bjorn. Presumably her father sent her as a spy to his household, which is surely why she was always talking about why Bjorn is the rightful king: it's what her father has told her to say. 

Glad Ubbe and Torvi are well out of there. Ubbe is officially the noblest and most well-adjusted son of Ragnar, so hopefully he can stay that way. Hirst likes to assassinate characters before killing them though, so we'll see. And if anyone deserves lasting happiness it's poor Torvi. 

Hvitserk has spent half the season living in terror of Ivar, and now he's totally cool with him? Um, okay. Also, we didn't really get a reaction from Ivar concerning Lagertha's death. He's got to be pissed that Hvitserk got that "honour" instead of him, right?

No idea where they're going with this Freydis lookalike, though presumably it's all in Ivar's head considering Hvitserk didn't notice a resemblance. She's got some fantastic fur hats though.

The Christianization of Norway finally begins. That tension has always been part of the show, right from the rivalry between Floki and Athelstan, and now it's playing out on a grand scale. It's a good way to take out the show, though I'm curious as to how it's all going to play out...

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So is the season worth watching so far? Last season was so bad I'm hesitant.

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2020 at 10:02 PM, LittleIggy said:

Regardless of whether Bjorn is actually dead, I teared up when it appeared he died. I don’t always like Bjorn (especially the shitty way he treats his wives), but he is the last original character left. That makes his potential passing sad.

I agree100% and because he's the last original character left (besides Rollo) for that reason I don't want him dead.

Speaking of Rollo, I hope he brings his French army and kicks some Russ ass!

I'm so over Ivar and Hvitserk and like someone said what is Ivar's plan, how does he think he's going to take Norway back from Oleg if he controls it when he just helped Oleg kill most of the Vikings that could be his army.

This episode was confusing and I didn't like the editing at all. I'm not sure what's going on with Bjorn because we first see him on the beach surrounded by the dead army then he's on the beach alone talking with Ivar with no dead army and that's the beach we see him die on alone with no dead around. If he's not dead then I bet wife number 2 will be pregnant but it won't be his it will be Harald's but no way to prove it, that's just my soap opera way of thinking:-)

I knew Gunnhild was going to lose the baby and I thought now you can leave Bjorn but when she buried her son that scene was so sad and the actress killed it.

If Bjorn is dead I only have 3 people that I care to watch and that's Ubbe, Tovi and Gunnhild. And with all my complaining I'm going to really miss this show when it's gone:-(

 

 

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