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David T. Cole

S02.E09: The Choice

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My 99% spoiler free synopsis of The Choice: Fighting! Scheming! Axes! Swords! Dirty Skin! And

the return of Ecbert's Hot Tub Planning Machine!!!

Seriously though, I enjoyed this episode a lot.

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Princess Kwenyrith bugs me on so many levels.

 

Yay, Athelstan is back with the vikings! I was disappointed that there wasn't more warmth between him and Lagertha though. I thought there'd be at least a subtle little sign that she was happy to see him again or something. Even a small smile would've been nice.

 

Bjorn's chick reminds me of someone. I just can't place who. I feel like it's some 90s actress, but it's just not coming to me.

 

Can Floki and Horik just die already?

 

I feel like the show is trying to manipulate me into liking Aslaug. I don't like it when shows do that to me. It just makes me go in the opposite direction.

Edited by Gumdrops
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I swear, when Ragnar gave Athelstan his bracelet back, they looked like they were getting engaged.  And Ragnar using his body to shield Athelstan from the archer--how sweet.  I kept thinking about that old Supremes song "I've got him back in my arms again, right by my side.  Got him back  in my arms again.  So satisfied."

 

I wish Athelstan would kick Floki's ass, once and for all.  Actually, considering what he's been through, I think he could take Floki now.

 

Horny princess is getting on my nerves now.  I saw the horndog look she gave Ragnar and I was so glad to see her face fall when he didn't show up at Ecbert's.

 

I laughed at the look on Ecbert's face when Aella and his fat ass waded into the bath.  I shudder to think how much peeing goes on in there.

 

I feel like the show is trying to manipulate me into liking Aslaug. I don't like it when shows do that to me. It just makes me go in the opposite direction.

 

I know.  And I am annoyed by that.  She was just too nice and it was just too much.

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I saw the horndog look she gave Ragnar and I was so glad to see her face fall when he didn't show up at Ecbert's.

 

I loved that too, as well as King Ecbert's face as she examined the Norse mercenaries.  He's a lot funnier than I expected him to be.

 

I laughed at the look on Ecbert's face when Aella and his fat ass waded into the bath.  I shudder to think how much peeing goes on in there.

 

Heh.  I think poor King Ecbert often feels surrounded by philistines.  Poor guy, no more Athelstan, which also means no more Caesar etc...  I actually do feel bad for him, I appreciate his interest in Roman antiquities, even if much of his interest is motivated by ambition.

 

Bjorn and Rollo are freaking huge, as is Thorstein.  When they're amongst each other it's not as noticeable, but when they are around normal sized people, it's comical.  Poor Thorstein.  I think he's in every episode, and he was key to getting Ragnar on that horse during the battle, but he so often gets no lines.  I see you though Thorstein!  I know you are there, Viking-ing it up!  You are appreciated.  The show has a lot of characters already, I know, but sometimes I miss hearing more from Ragnar's crew, like in Season One.  In particular I miss huge, blond Eric.  He had the best blond Viking flow of them all.  Was that his widow on the dock in Kattegat crying over Rollo, or someone else?

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There was so much going on during this episode.

Horik is an ass & an idiot. He can die at any point now as long as it is sooner rather than later.

I'm still not understanding this 180 in Floki. Now he's suspicious & dislikes Bjorn. I understand King Hork's distrust/dislike of Ragnar & Bjorn but not Floki's.

I didn't realize how much I liked Rollo until I was screaming "They did not just kill Rollo". I was truly upset. He deserves so much better than Siggy.

Loved seeing Bjorn fight so hard to get to Ragnar at the end of the battle.

Ragnar & King Ecbert really wanted Athelstan by their sides. Both wanted to keep him safe. I was surprised he went back with Ragnar.

Only 1 episode left.

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Yay!! Athelstan is back with the Vikings! I still fear for his life though, with Floki & Horik hanging around. I don't understand what the flipping hell Floki's problem is with Ragnar. Is it jealousy over Athelstan? Or religious fanaticism that won't allow him to accept that Ragnar is not as devout as he? If he and Ragnar are not playing out some long-con to get rid of Horik once and for all, then Floki can die. And I really hope Horik dies in the season finale. He is a miserable leader.

 

Spoilers are hard to come by for this show, so I was actually worried that Rollo was killed in battle. It looked like he was also trampled by a horse. Ouch. I could have gone without seeing the doctor set his broken leg. Ack!

 

I guess Bjorn can now marry his ex-slave girlfriend? I wonder if she will be accepted by the townsfolk or will they still see her as a slave? Kind of like how Athelstan is still sneeringly referred to as "priest".  I will give Aslaug credit for doing something unselfish for once. She's still no Lagertha.

 

The Vikings who stayed behind to fight for the horny Princess must have nerves of steel. How could they trust they wouldn't be slaughtered as soon as they walked into courtyard? I sure wouldn't take any of those strangers at their word. And now the Princess wants to "breed" with them? That woman has a one-track mind.

 

I swear the "triangle" of Ragnar/Athelstan/Ecbert is hilarious. If the show doesn't want viewers to get the wrong idea then they shouldn't have Ragnar grab Athelstan's thigh as he implores him to come back with him. And they shouldn't have Ecbert forlornly look around Athelstan's room - touching his things - as he realizes he's not coming back. Everyone wants a piece of the priest. I don't blame them. Just please don't kill him, writers.

Edited by bunnyblue
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Bjorn's chick reminds me of someone. I just can't place who. I feel like it's some 90s actress, but it's just not coming to me.

 

.

She reminds me a bit of a Princess Bride era Robin Wright, though her face is a bit more angular.

Definitely ready for Floki & Horik to die. Horik is not a good king, plus he's a major douche tool. Floki is just on my nerves.

Poor Rollo. When they put the thing in his mouth after cauterizing his wound, I was like....shit they are getting ready to do something worse than that? I think he actually got trampled by two horses.

Though I'm happy to see Athlestan back with the Vikings, I did feel kind of bad for Ecbert and also apprehensive that Ecbert might reneg on the deal he made with Ragnar. He's probably too smart to make moves purely based on spite, but he sure didn't look happy.

Growing tired of the nympho princess.

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Yay!! Athelstan is back with the Vikings! I still fear for his life though, with Floki & Horik hanging around. I don't understand what the flipping hell Floki's problem is with Ragnar. Is it jealousy over Athelstan? Or religious fanaticism that won't allow him to accept that Ragnar is not as devout as he? If he and Ragnar are not playing out some long-con to get rid of Horik once and for all, then Floki can die. And I really hope Horik dies in the season finale. He is a miserable leader.

 

Well I guess you need "bad guys" or you don't have a show.  They already got rid of Jarl Borg so without Horik and Aelle and now Floki and Siggy you don't have any tale to tell.  I assume they are going to end this on a cliff hanger (don't know, just speculating) which will drive me crazy.

 

And I never believed Floki and Ragnar had some con going.  Floki's devout feelings to the Norse gods and his outright hatred of Athelstan are not playing acting on his part.  And the look that Ragnar gave him when they were riding in to the conference discussing "trust" said it all.  Floki's voice almost rose an octave as he protested he was a trustworthy man.  And after glancing quickly back to Horik then back to Floki, Ragnar just gave him the eye at  full Ragnar intensity level a zillion.

 

I believe that Floki is deeply jealous at a subconscious level of Athelstan's friendship with Ragnar though at a conscious level he would not believe he was.  And outwardly Floki obviously views Ragnar as a heretic to the Norse gods at this point.  He sees Ragnar as an agent that will change the old ways forever and that is where he centers himself.  In that traditional viewpoint of the world where he has his ground of being.  And enter Horik who knows how to milk all this big time while flattering Floki at the same time.  At this point had  Floki overheard Ragnar's line to Athelstan about hoping his God and Athelstan's God would become friends some day, Floki would have gone bats**t crazy on the spot.  Oh wait, he already is.

 

It looks like next episode both Floki and Siggy have to decide at last where their true loyalties lie.  I wouldn't write either off until they make what for them will be their final choice regards Ragnar.  But right now it doesn't look too good for Floki.  Even if he doesn't go through with a final betrayal his days around Ragnar seem numbered.  He can't abide the change that has come into his old school Norse world.  A change Ragnar brought about. 

 

OTOH Siggy seems to like Ragnar's children a lot and even helped midwife some.  She will have had to turned completely to the dark side to be willing to kill the children like Horik wants.  The weird thing about the Siggy storyline is that the writers have never dealt with the fact that Rollo would NOT be pleased with what she is doing seemingly to push him into Ragnar's place.  Of course it is all about her but she must know that Rollo would go ballistic if he found out just how much she would do to get rid of his brother.

 

I really hate that the season ends next week.

Edited by green
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When Rollo went down, I just kept thinking, "He can't be dead - he has to go on to found the Norman dynasty!"

 

Ragnar and Ecbert are a lot alike. They're both wily visionaries ahead of their time, and they both have a sly sense of humor. I kind of want to see them in some kind of 8th century buddy cop romp.

 

Auslaug knows that she'll never be the badass warrior queen that Lagertha is, and she's fine with that. She's figured out that her best role is to be Lady Beneficent.

 

Floki's genuinely shocked outrage at being accused of being untrustworthy was hilarious. I don't know how many times I found myself saying, "Shut up, Floki."

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Princess Kwenyrith bugs me on so many levels.

 

Yay, Athelstan is back with the vikings! I was disappointed that there wasn't more warmth between him and Lagertha though. I thought there'd be at least a subtle little sign that she was happy to see him again or something. Even a small smile would've been nice.

 

Bjorn's chick reminds me of someone. I just can't place who. I feel like it's some 90s actress, but it's just not coming to me.

 

Can Floki and Horik just die already?

 

I feel like the show is trying to manipulate me into liking Aslaug. I don't like it when shows do that to me. It just makes me go in the opposite direction.

She reminded me of Robin Wright in The Princess Bride.

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I can't remember the last time I was as satisfied with an hour of television as I was last night.

 

Though that feeling will probably come crashing down around me after next week's season finale.

Edited by duckyone
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I have to give Siggy a break...she's a survivor, she's not a shield maiden or Princess and she can't produce sons.  Her survival is dependent on other people and while Rolo is a yummy Viking warrior he hasn't put a ring on it and she knows every time he goes out raiding he may not come back.  Her interactions with Horik are icky.  But the girl has to hedge her bets.

 

Horik knows he's over and he's just grasping out power.  He may have once been a great leader but he's now more concerned with holding on then leading anyone. 

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Bjorn's chick reminds me of someone. I just can't place who. I feel like it's some 90s actress, but it's just not coming to me.

 

She reminds me of a blonde Hillary Swank.

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"Bjorn's chick reminds me of someone. I just can't place who. I feel like it's some 90s actress, but it's just not coming to me."

 

Lori Singer! From the movie/TV show FAME and the movie Footloose! That's who she reminds me of! But I don't think Lori Singer or Bjorn's chick are pretty at all.

 

ETA: The rest of my thoughts on this episode: I am thrilled that Athelstan is back with the Vikings! He was valued by Ecbert for what he knew and what he could do for him only - but he was a hostage of sorts and he can't forget that the people crucified him for doubting his faith. Ragnar is truly a friend. He trusted him with his children, he was concerned with his well-being, he lets him explore his faith more openly, and he shares his curiosity about the world. 

 

Loved this episode! I wish the season was longer. 

Edited by PityFree
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I detail about this episode that I found delightful was that Athelstan rode to the Viking camp in a mule.  It’s almost a trope unto itself that in movies and TV shows almost always, everyone who isn’t walking is riding a horse, even when a mule would be a more appropriate option.

 

Horses were damn expensive back then!

Edited by AzureOwl
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In regards to Bjorn's girlfriend:

 

She reminded me of Robin Wright in The Princess Bride.

 

Lori Singer! From the movie/TV show FAME and the movie Footloose!

Yes! To both of these. I'm surprised someone thought of Lori Singer, too. I even see a little bit of Daryl Hannah in her features. She really is a bunch of 1980's actresses rolled into one.

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So glad Rollo is alive and that Athelstan is back with the Vikings...although I'll miss his time with Ecbert.  I swear when Ecbert found the cross and books and realized Athelstan had left I thought he was going to have a bit of a fit.  All I could think was Athelstan has some way about him, he got both Ecbert and Ragnar to be his BFF.

I'm so not digging Horik and Floki they both need to die...can't stand them.  I'm worried about Siggy, I really like her and I don't want her to betray Rollo/Ragnar, girl needs to stay on the right side of this fight.

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The only word I can really get to fit the Ragnar/Athelstan scene is romantic.  I loved every moment of it but it was an very interesting scene.

 

Lot's of people on here have talked about the historical counterparts of Ragnar and Rollo and Bjorn...does anyone know if Horik was a real guy?  What happened to him.  I know the show isn't following what really happened but like a lot of the other people I can't wait til his gone.

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There is an historic King Horik (though his reign was a couple decades after where we are in Vikings) but 

I think it is not going to be history that may remove him form the picture but rather Donald Logue's commitment to the new show Gotham.

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I still don't trust or like Aslaug and I think she's trying some reverse psychology by acting so nice.   I think she hopes to supplant Lagertha in the hearts and minds of the village, and even when it comes to Bjorn.  She freed the slave girl to get Bjorn to like her and be indebted to her.  Lagertha's not stupid, and I think she's hanging back and giving Aslaug the side eye.

 

I'm glad that Rollo is still alive, and I loved the look of glee on Ragnar's face when he got the news.  However, sometimes when I look at Rollo, I can't get the image out of my mind of him impaling that poor guy on the spear.  It's one thing to kill someone in battle, but that was over the top and unnecessary.  He's still fine though.  Busted up, but fine.

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Anyone else wonder where Quality Control was during the Hot Tub Planning scene? I was skeered that we were going to see Aelle starkers. Yikes! the look on Aelle's face was priceless when Ecbert told him that he should off himself as the hostage. 

 

I have no idea how Rollo survived but I'm glad he did. Bjorn is becoming quite the fierce warrior himself. 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to see Athelstan return with the Vikings. He had better watch his back though. Horik is plotting against Ragnar and using Floki as his tool. When he told him in the preview to "kill someone who matters", it gave me the shivers wondering who it will be. Athelstan? One of Ragnar's sons? Rollo? Floki has a grudge it seems against every single one of them for reasons only he knows.  I think mostly, he is afraid of the changes that will be brought about with contact with Christian England. Floki is very much about the Gods and Norse traditions. They stabilize his life and direct the order of it.

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This show is fantastic. No dialogue is needed, the filming and the actors convey things perfectly. How many scenes have there been when nothing is said but you know exactly what is being thought. Credits to the cinematography folks and actors.

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Ragnar holding Athelstan's hand while giving him back his golden torc bracelet was immensely satisfying :) As was the thigh-fondling. Got to give Travis Fimmel props; the man is very happy to get handsy with George. Athelstan must be such a relief to Ragnar, literally the one relationship where he doesn't have to maintain a rigidly prescribed role or put on a front. He can just be himself, no pressure, no expectation, except that he be honest and intelligent and questioning. Athelstan is that sweet shady grove in an otherwise bleak, hard landscape. 

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I really like your expression heyerchick....sweet shady grove. It made me strangely verklempt.  I can't imagine living such a harsh life in such a rugged environment without such a place. 

Edited by PatsyandEddie
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You guys had some good ideas on actresses Porunn resembles. I'm gonna go ahead and say she's a cross between Robin Wright and Hilary Swank.

 

One thing I forgot to mention is that the scene with Bjorn and Athelstan felt a little backwards to me. Instead of Athelstan asking Bjorn if he recognized him, Bjorn should've been the one asking that question. He's the one who grew up and changed in his looks.

 

I hope Siggy doesn't disappoint me next week. As she lost her two boys to murder, I hope she won't even consider doing what Horik is asking of her.

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Thanks, King Horik. Now if there is ever a situation in my life that is a complete epic fail due to my decision-making, I'm going to pull a Horik and disavow responsibility by saying, "What happened today was fated. It had nothing to do with you or I."*

 

*said in a Viking accent

Edited by corgi shieldmaiden
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Ragnar & King Ecbert really wanted Athelstan by their sides. Both wanted to keep him safe. I was surprised he went back with Ragnar.

I swear the "triangle" of Ragnar/Athelstan/Ecbert is hilarious. If the show doesn't want viewers to get the wrong idea then they shouldn't have Ragnar grab Athelstan's thigh as he implores him to come back with him. And they shouldn't have Ecbert forlornly look around Athelstan's room - touching his things - as he realizes he's not coming back. Everyone wants a piece of the priest. I don't blame them. Just please don't kill him, writers.

 The slash was strong in this ep.  I can't help but think it's intentional to show appreciation for the fans who enjoy the eye-fuckfest; there is just so much longing in all their interactions.  King Ecbert's "I can't lose you, Athelstan" speech started it all, and Ragnar's thigh-grab-and-cling bookended it.  Both he and Ragnar had this hunger/desperation... for what, it's not clear.  I also suspect that Ragnar would have been a lot less nice if Athelstan had shown signs of being mistreated.

I loved that too, as well as King Ecbert's face as she examined the Norse mercenaries. He's a lot funnier than I expected him to be.

Heh. I think poor King Ecbert often feels surrounded by philistines. Poor guy, no more Athelstan, which also means no more Caesar etc... I actually do feel bad for him, I appreciate his interest in Roman antiquities, even if much of his interest is motivated by ambition.

I cracked up at Princess Bangers&Mash; she did exactly what someone predicted last week in "evaluating" the Viking lineup.  Couldn't tell if the Viking dudes were intrigued or disturbed; kudos to the actors for keeping straight faces, or in Ecbert's case, his "dawning horror/amusement" face.

When Rollo went down, I just kept thinking, "He can't be dead - he has to go on to found the Norman dynasty!"

Ragnar and Ecbert are a lot alike. They're both wily visionaries ahead of their time, and they both have a sly sense of humor. I kind of want to see them in some kind of 8th century buddy cop romp.

Same here on Rollo - I had just read up about him last week and was all, "Noooo!  Rollooooo!"  It's tough - Ragnar's clearly the hero, but Rollo is a good guy (mmm caramel center) trying to do the right thing.  I thought during the episode that he might have stayed with the English and started a story from there, but apparently not.  He gets to be ghastly white and sick until his leg heals.  Just can't get a break...

 

I still don't trust or like Aslaug and I think she's trying some reverse psychology by acting so nice.   I think she hopes to supplant Lagertha in the hearts and minds of the village, and even when it comes to Bjorn.  She freed the slave girl to get Bjorn to like her and be indebted to her.  Lagertha's not stupid, and I think she's hanging back and giving Aslaug the side eye.

I felt similarly suspicious.  I admit to a bias against her, but she just oozed "crafty wimmez politics" when she freed Porunn so suddenly after commenting on Lagertha.  Not only does that help get Bjorn to hate her a little less (just a little), but it may in the future affect where Porunn puts her loyalties.  She's plotting...

Overall, great episode.  Lots of great character interactions, plot moved along, and Ecbert's Hot Tub Planning Machine!

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Best line of the show:

Aslaug: Why do you want to be like Lagertha?

I mean, really? She needs to ask? Don't we all want to be Lagertha awesome?

I was really surprised Athelstan returned to Ragnar. Poor brokenhearted Ecbert. Ragnar's blue eyes > books.

She reminds me a bit of a Princess Bride era Robin Wright,

Yes! That's it!
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Best line of the show:

Aslaug: Why do you want to be like Lagertha?

I mean, really? She needs to ask? Don't we all want to be Lagertha awesome?

I was really surprised Athelstan returned to Ragnar. Poor brokenhearted Ecbert. Ragnar's blue eyes > books.

Yes! That's it!

"Be awesome.  Be Lagertha Awesome."

In rewatching the battle scene, I keep wanting to read Ecbert as watching the battlefield to figure out if Ragnar is the idiot who rushed ahead and got trapped, or the smart one who hung back because he sensed it was a trap. 

Also, I really liked Porunn's "freewoman baptism" scene; like many such scenes, it's very simple in presentation yet carries a weight of meaning.  I hope we get to see more of her as a character (and not just as scenery).

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I have difficulty seeing Rollo's caramel centre, to be honest. I do try really hard to see these characters as products of their time, culture and religion, but his casual rape of that slave girl so early in the series sticks in me craw, and I never, ever forget it. I don't dislike him, and there are many aspects of his character that are good, I just can't ever quite set that particular act aside.

 

I give Vikings credit for being the one show not to queerbait. Ragnar was totally upfront in his desire to have sex with Athelstan (along with his wife), Athelstan was tempted and conflicted, but his spirituality made him refuse. Ragnar has respected that. I think he'd still happily hop into bed with Athelstan were he to express willingness, but it's true to Athelstan's ongoing struggles to maintain his sense of self and to reconcile all these new experiences and learning, that he still holds that part of himself in check. The eye fucking is strong with these two, but if it were right for the characters, the show would cheerfully go there. They ran right over the 'no homo!!!' schtick of other showrunners the first night Athelstan was in Ragnar's home.

Edited by heyerchick
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I detail about this episode that I found delightful was that Athelstan rode to the Viking camp in a mule.  It’s almost a trope unto itself that in movies and TV shows almost always, everyone who isn’t walking is riding a horse, even when a mule would be a more appropriate option.

 

Horses were damn expensive back then!

Clerics traditionally rode mules instead of horses.

Definitely ready for Floki & Horik to die. Horik is not a good king, plus he's a major douche tool. Floki is just on my nerves.

Amen to that! BTW, what is Horik supposed to be king of? I keep thinking if he is a king, why isn't he somewhere ruling.

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Best line of the show:

Aslaug: Why do you want to be like Lagertha?

I mean, really? She needs to ask? Don't we all want to be Lagertha awesome?!

When Asslog asked that, I immediately blurted out, "Because she is AWESOME!" :-D

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Regarding Rollo and the creamy caramel center, this:

However, sometimes when I look at Rollo, I can't get the image out of my mind of him impaling that poor guy on the spear.  It's one thing to kill someone in battle, but that was over the top and unnecessary.

And this:

his casual rape of that slave girl so early in the series sticks in me craw

But this:

I do try really hard to see these characters as products of their time, culture and religion

And finally this:

He's still fine though.  Busted up, but fine.

I can't help it.  I'm not proud.

Edited by lawless
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He's still fine though

 

It is known.  (Oops, wrong show.)

 

I wonder if the writers will stray from the historical record at all.  I mean Horik seems hell bent on

hurting Ragnar by threatening his sons but we know they all live to raid and pillage as adults.

 Floki may be acting even weirder than usual but it would be so out of character for him to do anything to Bjorn.  Same for Siggy and the little boys.  There is a suggestion in the TWOP thread that maybe Ragnar and Floki are working together to overthrow Horik.  I don't know about that, but I hope Floki realizes that going after the kids is over the line, even for a Viking.

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I give Vikings credit for being the one show not to queerbait. Ragnar was totally upfront in his desire to have sex with Athelstan (along with his wife), Athelstan was tempted and conflicted, but his spirituality made him refuse. Ragnar has respected that. I think he'd still happily hop into bed with Athelstan were he to express willingness, but it's true to Athelstan's ongoing struggles to maintain his sense of self and to reconcile all these new experiences and learning, that he still holds that part of himself in check. The eye fucking is strong with these two, but if it were right for the characters, the show would cheerfully go there. They ran right over the 'no homo!!!' schtick of other showrunners the first night Athelstan was in Ragnar's home.

 

The arc of Ragnar and Athelstan has been interesting...given the violent battle scenes it's a little surprising that I am kinda rooting for Ragnar and Athelstan to hook up or live in some polyamourous compound with Lagertha and maybe Ecbert?

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"Be awesome.  Be Lagertha Awesome."

I want that on a T-shirt!!!!! 

 

I don't think that Aslung is plotting. (But I could be wrong.) I think she is used to being adored for her looks alone. It has just taken some time for her to realize why character and strength (demonstrated by Lagertha) are necessary, too. 

 

In addition to feeling more genuine affection from the family he has with the Vikings, Athelstan may be aware that he can act as an agent of peace more effectively from that side. 

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I don't think Aslaug is plotting anything (or as of yet) but I think her setting the slave girl free felt really awkward. You can see she is struggling to feel as loved and respected and be seen as part of Kattegat other than being Ragnar's wife, and so far they still look up to Lagertha, Porunn only confirmed it by wanting to be a strong woman, not just a fab trophy girlfriend. To me at the end of the episode when Aslaug told Björn she freed her, it felt more like she was trying to get the slave girl to be liked rather than out of a natural kindness regardless of her being Björn's love...

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I don't think Aslaug is plotting so much as trying to win hearts and minds, which is probably self preservation to some extent now that the much more popular Lagertha is on the scene.

Freeing Bjorn's girlfriend I think is clearly trying to win points from Ragnar's current favorite son, who's favor could not only influence Ragnar, but the people in general as Bjorn's esteem grows. She also sends the message to the girl that hey you admire Lagertha, but I'm the one who set you free.

Can't really blame her. She has some status in the world due to her family connections, but losing Ragnar would be a major setback for her, so anything that serves to tie him to her is a plus. Also, I'm sure there is some jealousy involved, but I think that's a secondary motivation.

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I had forgotten that in Season 1, Ragnar and Lagertha invited Athelstan to get jiggy with them.  I wonder if Athelstan still remembers that. 

I don't think Aslaug is plotting anything (or as of yet) but I think her setting the slave girl free felt really awkward. You can see she is struggling to feel as loved and respected and be seen as part of Kattegat other than being Ragnar's wife, and so far they still look up to Lagertha, Porunn only confirmed it by wanting to be a strong woman, not just a fab trophy girlfriend.

 

 

Whether she is plotting or not, I think what Aslaug needs to realize is that she will probably never overcome the way she showed up at Kattegat.  She basically showed up to destroy a family and to take her place in Ragnar's life.  True, she was expecting his child but she didn't need to make such a big production out of it like she did, riding in like the Queen of Sheba.  She had no respect for his family, and I doubt that the villagers--especially the women--will ever forget that.  I think that the best she can hope for is grudging respect, depending on her actions.

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I read Aslaug's actions in this episode, coming on the heels of her refusal to give up on her 'boneless' baby no matter what their society demanded of them, as a woman coming to terms with her place and role in that world, which is not a shield maiden like Lagertha or a political operator like Siggy, but simply a family woman. Her freeing of Porunn, even her welcoming of Athelstan back were all expressions of caring for her extended family, and I think honestly meant, if a little awkward. 

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I hated Aslaug when we first met her and when she swooped in to Kattegat intending to force Ragnar to take her as his wife.  I hated that she seemed spoiled and useless, and woefully less worthy than the awesome Lagertha.  I particularly hated what her presence meant for Lagertha -- who has managed to come out on top, but not without great loss and pain to get there.  However, Ragnar was the person in the relationship with Lagertha, not Aslaug, so I guess it doesn't make much sense to hold Aslaug in more derision for those things than Ragnar himself, and I guess I have mostly forgiven him.  Also, I agree with you -- she does seem to be coming to terms with her place in the world, and it's not easy for anyone, and especially a woman who isn't a natural shield maiden.  She has the prestige of her lineage, but that only goes so far, and though Ragnar cares for her and is committed to her as his wife and the mother of his children, he doesn't seem to love her as much as he did Lagertha or as much as Aslaug probably hoped to be loved.  She's produced two healthy sons for Ragnar, but now she's had two sons with strange birth defects in a row, Sigbert Snake in the Eye and now Ivar the Boneless.  Plus she's several years older and her body has endured four pregnancies.  Lagertha the Awesome is back in their lives and an Earl in her own right no less, and everyone loves her.  It does seem that Aslaug is aware of her place in their community, and has been humbled some.  She and Ragnar both noticed Bjorn's initial interest in Thorun, and Bjorn openly discusses their love.  Freeing Thorun was a huge gesture for Thorun and Bjorn, and one which probably doesn't affect Aslaug much anyway.  So she probably did it to be kind to them both, not unaware that this will better endear her to the Lothbrok clan.  Plus, with her youngest baby's problems, she may be both more sensitive toward others, and also aware that her youngest may need the loyalty of his big brother Bjorn, as well as that of the village, if he is to survive in their world.  Doing this for Thorun and Bjorn helps everyone.  They can always kidnap and enslave someone else. ;)

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I had forgotten that in Season 1, Ragnar and Lagertha invited Athelstan to get jiggy with them.  I wonder if Athelstan still remembers that. 

Whether she is plotting or not, I think what Aslaug needs to realize is that she will probably never overcome the way she showed up at Kattegat.  She basically showed up to destroy a family and to take her place in Ragnar's life.  True, she was expecting his child but she didn't need to make such a big production out of it like she did, riding in like the Queen of Sheba.  She had no respect for his family, and I doubt that the villagers--especially the women--will ever forget that.  I think that the best she can hope for is grudging respect, depending on her actions.

Haha I get that but imo it's Ragnar who ultimately destroyed his first family. Aslaug is able to give Ragnar children when Lagertha can't anymore, their trip to Upsalla enlightened that issue very clearly when they adressed their respective prayers to the Gods. Lagertha doesn't blame Aslaug  but I think she was taken aback when Aslaug waltzed in Kattegat pregnant with no regard for her family. Lagertha actually tried by tolerating Aslaug's presence despite Ragnar cheating on her, trying to engage a civil conversation with Aslaug. The situation seemed somewhat bearable to Lagertha right until Ragnar talked about the polygamy thing without consulting her first (since they were supposed to be a partnership) and thought he could get her to accept Aslaug as a sister-wife (Aslaug the way she showed up it was pretty clear that she was there to stay so her agreeing to Ragnar's idea was no surprise). And he tried to guilt trip her with the whole BS "Gods answered my prayers" instead of being honest that he just wanted both women. Lagertha was not fooled so she called it quits. It wasn't about his cheating, it was about how he treated her in the aftermath, which was absolutely insulting. At that moment, Ragnar loved himself more than anyone else. Ragnar made all the choices that led to Lagertha leaving, and Aslaug could've never forced him to wife her if Ragnar didn't really want to. But since he wanted his legacy, more sons and on top of it that royal lineage being too enticing...

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The slash was strong in this ep.

 

First sword slash, and then hoyay slash. I'd say so.

Athelstan rode to the Viking camp in a mule

 

I thought it was a donkey. (Mules are bigger.) And yeah, it's customary for monks to ride asses. ...Wait. Donkeys. Or maybe asses too. We'll have to see next week!

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I detail about this episode that I found delightful was that Athelstan rode to the Viking camp in a mule.

 

I thought it was a donkey. (Mules are bigger.) And yeah, it's customary for monks to ride asses.

 

I also noticed Athelstan first rode in on a mule/donkey. I too thought it was customary for priests to ride mules as some sort of nod to their simple life. But then when he returned to the Vikings with a larger contingent (to deliver Rollo), he was riding a horse.  Maybe the donkey/mule wouldn't have been able to keep up with the horses?

Edited by bunnyblue
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Lagertha should be thanking the gods that Aslaug came into their life.  It allowed her to free herself of the constraints of marriage and become a woman of consequence in her own right.  She has power, she has property, she has a title that makes her equal with her ex.  Being Ragnar's wife gave her some prestige, but nothing like she has now.  I'm guessing it was a rare thing for women to achieve this level of influence in Viking society.  Only someone Lagertha awesome could do it.  Princess Kwickisex should take note.

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Athelstan must be such a relief to Ragnar, literally the one relationship where he doesn't have to maintain a rigidly prescribed role or put on a front. He can just be himself, no pressure, no expectation, except that he be honest and intelligent and questioning.

I think it must be exhausting for any of the leaders in their societies to have to constantly work to maintain their power through successful raids and good leadership, and to always keep an eye on those around you and behind you who want to take your place, or who are simply jealous of you, like Floki.  Athelstan is one of the few men Ragnar's age who does not compete with him and who has no ambitions that threaten him.  That must be a huge relief, in addition to the fact that they get along well, and the fact that Athelstan is an enormous resource of knowledge for Ragnar.  In Athelstan's absence, when Ragnar was killing time as a non-guest at Floki's wedding, he was reduced to drunkenly throwing knives and shooting arrows at Thorstein and vice versa.  While Ragnar seemed to enjoy their potentially lethal game enough, I think he really missed having someone to talk to.

Aslaug: Why do you want to be like Lagertha?

I mean, really? She needs to ask? Don't we all want to be Lagertha awesome?

I had forgotten until just now, but Aslaug had basically said she wanted to be Lagertha to Ragnar an ep or two prior.  So she knows why women want to be Lagertha, she was teasing.

Only someone Lagertha awesome could do it.  Princess Kwickisex should take note.

It would please me to no end if Lagertha's fan club reached the shores of Wessex and beyond. 

 

Princess Kwickisex was at the meeting with Ragnar, Lagertha, and Horik, and King Ecbert, right?  She took in Ragnar of course, but I wondered what she thought of Lagertha -- particularly since Lagertha had obviously been in battle and still had wounds?  You'd think she be impressed, but she might possibly be someone who ignores and resents other members of her gender.  I have not seen her speak to a woman yet, that I can recall.

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