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S05.E16: The Buddha

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Airdate 2019.01.02

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Bjorn achieves one of Ragnar's dreams.  Ivar hatches a new plan in Kattegat while preparing for a divine arrival.  A settler in Iceland returns in a terrible state as King Alfred faces his greatest threat yet.

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Well, as Omar said, "when you come at the King, you best not miss".  In this case the King's Mommy will take you out. Poor Aethelred, he just waffled at coming at the King and then changed his mind.  But Judith always chose Alfred over him. This was just the last and deadly way of choosing Alfred.  Still this was hard to watch. Yes, what kind of mother are you, Judith?

The magical penis strikes again! 

Ubbe's happiness over receiving the land was lovely.

Edited by magdalene
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I want Judith to die a horrible death. I never have liked her, but this pushed me other into loathing.

I believe Harald wanted Gunnhild for himself.

I love Torvi. Bjorn didn’t deserve her.

Iceland. Whatever. 🙄

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1 hour ago, LittleIggy said:

I want Judith to die a horrible death. I never have liked her, but this pushed me other into loathing.

I believe Harald wanted Gunnhild for himself.

I love Torvi. Bjorn didn’t deserve her.

Iceland. Whatever. 🙄

That was hard to watch! I had mixed feelings about Athelred but he did save Alfred's life in battle. But his wife gave off a creepy Margarite (spelling?) vibe when she said she hoped Alfred would die so that he could become king. That's just evil. I also love Torvi. Way too good for Man Whore Bjorn. They are just going overboard with his character sleeping with a new girl in every episode. Iceland = time for bathroom or snack breaks without pressing the pause button on my DVR. Snore. 

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I think now that Judith has so brutally killed her own child karma will get her and she will die before the end of the season.

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13 minutes ago, magdalene said:

I think now that Judith has so brutally killed her own child karma will get her and she will die before the end of the season.

One can only hope.  I just want to not see her dumb hairstyle anymore.  For gosh sake, every other woman at court has long hair that covers both ears - the one woman who only has one ear has to adopt a hair style to emphasize that fact? 

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18 minutes ago, magdalene said:

I think now that Judith has so brutally killed her own child karma will get her and she will die before the end of the season.

We can only hope.

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What was the point of bringing in the Buddha? Hvitserk is looking for a new religion? What will be the followup?

Athelred was being entirely truthful describing his part in the coup to his mother, and in saying that he singlehandedly aborted it by not giving the signal. He has amply exhibited his loyalty to Alfred in the last few episodes. And yet in the circumstance where Alfred is disabled the nobles and clerics will undoubtedly focus on him as the best possibility to lead the country if Alfred cannot. Couple that with the ambitions of his wife. I can believe that, however loyal he may have been at the moment, circumstances could have pressured him to change his mind about standing by his brother's kingship and to take it for himself. Even if Judith believed Athelred's story, she could still see that reality.

As things stood when his mother poisoned him, he seemed to be wavering ever so slightly. He probably believed he had some right to the throne (and maybe some lingering resentment about having been passed over) but was not overly ambitious to take it. Supporting a king and being in his favor is a much easier role than being king. And Alfred seemed to feel that the upside of having his brother at his side far outweighed whatever downside there may have been. This was something he tried and failed to impress upon his mother. If Alfred were not to recover, what then?

This story reminds me of historical England several centuries down the road during the reign of the Lancastrian king Henry VI who suffered periods of mental breakdown essentially leaving the throne vacant during those periods. The struggles to fill the vacuum of leadership ignited the War of the Roses in the 15th Century.

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Hvitserk going all Zen and setting back Buddhism by a thousand years in the process.  Yeah, Hirst History strikes again.

Poor Aethelred, can't catch a break any more than his father could.  But this time the bee was named Judith.  She poisoned the wrong member of that couple since Aethelred was the loyal one and his widow not so much.  She will be seeking revenge.  Not for Athelred but for her own ambitions suddenly seemingly to have been squashed.  And I hate what they have done with Judith who I loved early on when she had a curious mind and sought the education women didn't get back in the day.

Loved the scene where Ubbe lifts the rich black soil in his hand and cries out to Bjorn about how wonderful it is.  One of the few decent scenes for Bjorn of late was him realizing he doesn't fit into his father's vision of a new way of living for his people.  It was kind of sad.  Oh well someone has to intrigue with Harold and fight Ivar and Bjorn is now too old to change his ways it seems so he who lives by the sword etc etc.

Meanwhile back on Survivor Iceland: Isle of Nobodies (tm raven and thuganomics85's comments meshed together), Jeff Probst snuffs a finger and people I don't know walk around in rain and mud and fall down a lot.  And you know Bad Father Guy isn't ever going to change.  He is like Lucy with the football to Floki's Charlie Brown.  God, Buddha and Thor, please make this Iceland stuff STOP!

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Unless the payoff is Floki walking off a cliff and vanishing into oblivion, I never want to see another boring Iceland scene again.  (Although last night's Iceland scenes gave me the chance to put my laundry away, go to the bathroom and grab a snack, so there's that)

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Well, there was some good stuff here.  Bjorn has the strongest storyline by far and that was really good stuff.  I like Gunnhild a lot and here's hoping this is a relationship with him that actually sticks.  While I wish more time would be given to Ubbe and Torvi, their storyline remains the strongest one and it was great seeing Ragnar's dream fulfilled.  The brothers share a good scene together but definitely Bjorn and Torvi's scene was the strongest. 

I always like when these characters get to experience new cultures/religions though Hvitserk and Buddhism came out of nowhere.  I did laugh a bit seeing Ivar's reaction to it.  But yeah, is this actually going to lead somewhere.

Return to Iceland...NO!!!!!  I didn't think it was possible for this storyline to get worst and more boring but I was wrong.   It took three LONG and BORING scenes for Floki's cult to reach a decision.  The scenery is nice but this storyline is awful.  Stop trying to make it happen, Hirst.  It's never going to.

As for Judith, I was really hoping it was going to be a murder/suicide between her and Aethelred.  Not Draco Malfoy picked up JRM's mantle when it comes to worst actor on his show and Judith continues to be The Void, sucking any kind of enjoyment and entertainment value on this show when she appears.  Although The Void should refer to the Iceland storyline now.  Oof.

The show still has its moments to be sure but it's definitely long past its prime.

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I found it interesting that the episode synopsis says Bjorn achieves one of Ragnar's dreams. From where I stood it looked more like Ubbe was the one who did the heavy lifting to get them that land. He's the one who converted to Christianity, forged a relationship with Alfred, helped train him, and came up with the plan to defeat Harold's army. Bjorn just sorta went along with all of it and sulked the whole time, when he wasn't busy making use of his magical penis. 

Ubbe and Torvi are absolutely my favorites at this point. 

At least Bjorn made a point of thanking Torvi and acknowledging that he'd been kind of a dick to her before he left.  

Edited by wlk68
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2 hours ago, green said:

Meanwhile back on Survivor Iceland: Isle of Nobodies (tm raven and thuganomics85's comments meshed together), Jeff Probst snuffs a finger and people I don't know walk around in rain and mud and fall down a lot.  And you know Bad Father Guy isn't ever going to change.  He is like Lucy with the football to Floki's Charlie Brown.  God, Buddha and Thor, please make this Iceland stuff STOP!

I feel bad for the actors here too. They gotta always be wet and cold and muddy. What a miserable place to be stuck for them too.

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I forgot about this until I saw Bjorn's cuts healing, but when his face was slashed in battle, I thought for a moment he was going to lose an eye, like Odin.  It would have been awesome to see him march into Kattegat saying, "Who's the god now, Ivar?"  I did like that he acknowledged Torvi's grace in handling his rejection, but how is it possible that he hasn't died of syphilis yet?

And Hvitsirk, in the future, the word for what Ivar is doing to you will be "gaslighting."

Magnus, Lagertha, and Floki's Island of the Damned are signaling the demise of this show, as far as I'm concerned. The plotlines are racing along without the careful development of previous seasons.  I'm sad about it.  

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As Bjorn leaves for perhaps the last time (for the 100th time), he pours his heart out to Torvi to show her how much he appreciated everything they had and everything she did for him over the long years of good and bad:

"Thank you"

Meanwhile, his alter ego Magnus is like a puppy when Bjorn shows up at King Herald's...jumping around him like he Bjorn had a pocket full of Scooby snacks. 

It's clear that Herald has a thing for Gunnhild but he's been good at keeping his mouth/zipper shut vs. starting trouble.

...and speaking of not starting trouble, apparently Lagertha isn't with Herald and has likely  gone on a walk-about after seeing Bishop Batman get skewered right in front of her....on top of everything else that's happened to her since ruling Kattegat.

I'm torn about the death of Aethelred.  He seemed to have shown his support of his brother via the battle and his explanation to Judith.....but then was apparently mulling being King after his woman mentions her wanting him to lead.  Judith, on the other hand, with one son lying incapacitated, decides to kill off the only other link to being able to keep living in the Big House (aside from the new baby).  I would think she'd be happy to have either of her children as King.....but here we are.

I thought Floki did a great job of explaining WHY they shouldn't go back and save the Evil Family.....everything was much quieter and safer since they'd left.  "But they can change!". 

Fool me once on the Island of Misfit Vikings.....

But then, here they are, travelling along and what's their reward?  Rain, heavier than I can even imagine.  How aren't their furs/clothes just a 100 lb wet pile they get to carry around?

I'll have to see whether Buddhism had an influence on the Viking culture at some point in history.  As was mentioned before, Ivar's Gas Lighting of poor Hvitserk should be just another reason he needs to bail before the Bjorn and Harald show comes to Kattegat.

Overall....I thought I didn't like the episode as it went along but in retrospect, it wasn't bad.

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Loved when Ivar said to Hvitserk “You’re crazy!” and Hvitserk replied “I’m crazy?” 😆

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35 minutes ago, motroro said:

As Bjorn leaves for perhaps the last time (for the 100th time), he pours his heart out to Torvi to show her how much he appreciated everything they had and everything she did for him over the long years of good and bad:

"Thank you"

Oh boy, can't wait to watch this cathartic moment *eyeroll*

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Why did the writer make Bjorn the man-slut of Norway?  He goes through chicks like they're tissues.  Now he's hooking up with a recent widow who is built like a football player.  GAG

ADDED:  Also, it is nonstop treachery and backstabbing this season. Brother vs brother, making deals to overtake Kattegat, killing family members to keep others in power. It's getting to GOT levels.

Edited by patty1h
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50 minutes ago, patty1h said:

Why did the writer make Bjorn the man-slut of Norway?  He goes through chicks like they're tissues.  Now he's hooking up with a recent widow who is built like a football player.  GAG

 

Like father, like son...?  If you count Magnus, we know Ragnar had sons with at least 3 women.

....and if you asked me, Bjorn's current shaved head is a little too...........anglo......for me? 

Edited by motroro

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By God, Odin, and Buddha, Floki and the Island of Misfit Vikings just grinds the show to a halt every freaking time. You can hear the "MEANWHILE" in the script every damn time they cut over to them, it has so little to do with anything else happening on the show. I mostly feel bad for the actors, who are actually trying to make this crap work, but are probably spending every day cold, muddy, and wet, all for a truly god awful subplot that everyone seems to hate. 

Poor Aethelred, just like his dad, always the bridesmaid never the bride, and dies with the people he worked for treating him like a second thought. He might have been wavering a bit about his loyalty to his brother, but when push came to shove, he stuck by his brothers side, and even saved his life. And Judith really is angling for worst mother of the middle ages, which is pretty impressive with some of the parenting seen on this show. Whos the crappy Christian now, Judith? I mean, I am sure that Aethelred has known his whole life who his moms favorite was, but to have that being the last thing he ever knows before he died horribly at his own mothers hand is freaking brutal, no matter what he did or would have done. I would honestly love it if Alfred found out what Judith did, and have her executed for murder and treason. Oh the irony! 

Bjorns got another girlfriend, shocking, but at least it seems like he might actually have a real plot going on now, so at last he can do something beyond brood. I did actually like a lot of his scenes this episode, like him realizing that this farm, while his fathers dream, isnt something he wants, and his goodbyes to Ubbe and Torvi, which were actually really sweet, especially when he thanked Torvi for being such a good mom and friend to his family, despite how crappily he treated her. I mean, its always impressive when members of this family can part ways without axes being chucked, so they should all be proud! 

Love seeing Ubbe so happy in the new farm lands, like when he was geeking out and showing Bjorn the fertile soil. I hope he and Torvi have some nice times there before shit inevitably goes down again. I also liked the brief scenes of Alfred and Ubbe, like the little scene where Alred reminded Ubbe to do the sign of the cross after receiving communion. It was funny, but also rather sweet. Ragnar must be proud, wherever he ended up. 

Not sure where the stuff with Hvitserk going all zen is going to go, but I did love him turning around Buddha before getting down to the sex. I would keep quiet about your new philosophy around Ivar though, Hvitserk. Dude is very territorial about religion. 

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Okay so everyone is bitching about the Iceland storyline but isnt it obvious to all that it's gonna end up in Greenland then America ? And I'm looking forward to that !

And speaking of far-travels, I feel like Hvitserk is gonna end up in the Far-East and that can be really good ! 

Edited by Triskan
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1 hour ago, tennisgurl said:

Whos the crappy Christian now, Judith?

Athelstan would definitely NOT approve.  

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I actually thought the Iceland story was pretty good this episode, and now I'm looking forward to how it ends.

Poor Harald, he just can't win with women.  He looked pretty pissed when he saw Bjorn with the female linebacker.  

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 12:04 PM, motroro said:

I'll have to see whether Buddhism had an influence on the Viking culture at some point in history. 

Apparently, it was a real thing.  I guess that Michael Hirst had read this story a few years ago.  Kattegat is now a big trading center with merchants from all over.

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-buddha-statue-found-in-an-ancient-viking-hoard/

Edited by Babalooie
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19 hours ago, watcher1006 said:

Athelred was being entirely truthful describing his part in the coup to his mother, and in saying that he singlehandedly aborted it by not giving the signal. He has amply exhibited his loyalty to Alfred in the last few episodes. And yet in the circumstance where Alfred is disabled the nobles and clerics will undoubtedly focus on him as the best possibility to lead the country if Alfred cannot. Couple that with the ambitions of his wife. I can believe that, however loyal he may have been at the moment, circumstances could have pressured him to change his mind about standing by his brother's kingship and to take it for himself. Even if Judith believed Athelred's story, she could still see that reality.

As things stood when his mother poisoned him, he seemed to be wavering ever so slightly. He probably believed he had some right to the throne (and maybe some lingering resentment about having been passed over) but was not overly ambitious to take it. Supporting a king and being in his favor is a much easier role than being king. And Alfred seemed to feel that the upside of having his brother at his side far outweighed whatever downside there may have been. This was something he tried and failed to impress upon his mother. If Alfred were not to recover, what then?

Maybe my memory isn't correct, but my recollection is that he wasn't passed over. He wanted to be king, the courtiers wanted him to be king, but his mother pressured him to step aside so that Alfred (who didn't seem all that keen) could take the throne instead.

In real life Aethelred was king of Wessex (after his and Alfred's older brothers Aethelbald, who became king and promptly married his stepmother... Judith, and Aethelberht) and I'm not sure that the narrative has actually been served by ignoring that, particularly if the show is just going to kill Aethelred off anyway.  There could still have been plenty of emotional conflict with Aethelred as the king and Alfred as the brother of the king, particularly if Alfred began to become more "kingly" in his disposition as he matured.

At any rate, I really don't understand the purpose of this "twist."  It only serves to push Judith past the point of no return and, more importantly, it doesn't even make sense.  If Aethelred is dead and then Alfred dies (this isn't going to happen, of course) then all the power she thinks she has disappears.  Even if the baby is born before Alfred dies, this wasn't a period in history where the crown passed to a deceased king's child via regency (that's why Alfred became king, because Aethelred's sons were only children when he died and the courtiers, quite reasonably, wanted an adult to be in charge).  In all likelihood the house of Wessex would be overthrown and replaced by a new house.  Judith needs Aethelred, if only for the insurance that the family stays in power.

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Yeah, it made no sense (if murdering your son ever makes sense) to kill Æthelred while Alfred was still gravely ill. The relatives of the executed conspirators would be the first to sharpen their knives for Judith.

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If the cast gets paid by the episode, Katheryn Winnick got the easiest paycheck ever, by only being on screen for twenty seconds.  Not a bad seconds work for the first-billed star!

So, Alfred decides to spare Aethelred since he saved his life on the battlefield, but after he gets sick and Aethelred begins wining and dining the nobles, Judith takes it upon herself to end it, by poisoning and killing him.  Talk about having a favorite child!  I wonder how she's going to play this?  Is she going to tell the truth and claim it was because he was a traitor?  Or is she going to feign ignorance and claim it was one of their enemies?  And where there be any suspicion or pushback from Aethelred's wife or even Alfred himself?

Of course, Bjorn ends up hooking up with Gunnhild, because I'm guessing Alexander Ludwig's contract require him to hook-up with every female character on this show or something.  At least he is going to quit being a party pooper and has found his true calling: teaming up with Harald and going to take on Ivar at Kattegat!

Hvitserk is thinking of being a Buddhist, now?  Well, when I guess the other option is to worship your insane brother, that really isn't that far-fetched!  You do you, buddy!

I hope things actually work out for Ubbe and Tori, but I'm not holding my breath.

Finally, after a week long break, we return to Floki and the most boring season of Survivor ever (really, these scenes would actually benefit from goofy challenges and Jeff Probst being a prick to everyone.)  To sum it up: son from the outcast family returns and claims everyone is sick, and wants them to help.  Floki is hesitant, but Viking Edge is apparently a big old softy, so now they're off on another adventure!  Of course, 

Spoiler

next week's previews kindly show that it looks like Viking Edge actually has violent intentions after-all.  I hope he spears someone!

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5 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

Yeah, it made no sense (if murdering your son ever makes sense) to kill Æthelred while Alfred was still gravely ill. The relatives of the executed conspirators would be the first to sharpen their knives for Judith.

As I recall when Aethelred first told Mommy Dearest about wanting to marry that he said his then wife-to-be was the daughter of the quickly-made and quickly-dispatched conspiring bishop that Bishop BadActor sent to his grave.  So now the new widow will be twice pissed off since Mommy-in-Law Dearest didn't do anything against Bishop BadActor once her Daddy got offed and now there goes Aethelred and her imagined future queenship with him down the drain.  You don't need The Seer back to see more Wessex conspiracies a-comin'.  We only have one Wessex male still running around or at least sick in bed and three Wessex women, all with their own agendas, ready to do battle.

And speaking of the third one, how is Alfred's wife (Elsewith I think her name is) going to explain away why her soon-to-be newborn has totally blonde hair and their first words are "Sons of Ragnar rule!" and "Where is Daddy Bjorn?" 

I'm also betting that that last love making scene with Aethelred and then Future Widow was to set up that his widow is now with child too.  I'm betting both children are male and thus will become rivals for the throne or at least chess pieces for others vying for the throne.  Too bad for them that Alfred lives to a ripe old age.  Unless Hirst changes that as well of course.

Edited by green
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Wasn't Aethelred called "The Unready"?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Æthelred_the_Unready  (tl;dr -- yes, he was.)

Personally, I wasn't that upset by the murder -- this is the 11th Century, they had just had an attempted coup, killed at least ten conspirators in the public square, and we watch the Vikings gut each other because they slight their honor (Harald and Tall Guy).  Death has a very different meaning to them in that time and those cultures.  Also, for what it's worth, the actress portrayed the Queen as devastated and horrified by the decision and action she took.  She didn't do it lightly.  (That head slam on the table must have been a shocking sight to see.)

I thought the episode was a strong one.  I loved watching Ubbe proud of his treasure -- realizing Ragnar's dream -- and becoming part of England.  And I enjoyed Bjorn's stubborn resistance (unlike the way it was portrayed by Floki back when he killed Athelstan.)  I think it's all very reasonable.

Anyone know if Lagertha's actress has another gig?  Maybe she's been written out for a few episodes while she does Lady MacBeth on the West End or something. 

 

Corrections:  Apparently, we're watching a different Aethelred (not "The Unready"), so that point is moot.  I was corrected on the century (which I had taken from The Unready) so, we're in the 9th Century not the 11th.  Meaning of death is not much different, though.  It's a brutal world.

Edited by Captanne · Reason: Corrections
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Yeah, I don't get why they just didn't go with Aethelred being King first and then Alfred having to take over after his death.  Like the way it was historically.  That would have been a far more interesting storyline but Hirst was in such a rush to get to Alfred as king that he chose the most boring and ludicrous way to do it.  Basically, Alfred had to become king because Ecbert had a raging hard-on for Athelstan.  Judith did too of course but it basically came down to Ecbert's view of "St. Athelstan."

Quit trying to make Judith happen, show.  She continues to remain a void of entertainment whenever she appears onscreen.

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16 hours ago, nowornever said:

Athelstan would definitely NOT approve.  

I still miss Athelstan to this day. My very favorite character on this show. :( I liked Judith way back then but she has turned into a sadistic piece of shit. And Athelstan is certainly rolling in his grave over her behavior. 

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When Bjorn was saying goodbye to Torvi and saying she was a good mother to his kids, I just kept thinking "where are the kids?" Are they with them in Wessex?

Ubbe is pretty much my favorite at this point. I have no idea what is going in Iceland, I completely tune out when Floki is on screen. 

Every time Magnus goes on about how they are Vikings, I roll my eyes! Magnus, you are not a Viking, stop pretending to be.

Ivar's reaction to Hvisterk going all Buddha had my rolling. He had this incredulous look on his face and just goes "what?!" It was hilarious, I rewound it a few times. 

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3 hours ago, Captanne said:

Personally, I wasn't that upset by the murder -- this is the 11th Century, they had just had an attempted coup, killed at least ten conspirators in the public square, and we watch the Vikings gut each other because they slight their honor (Harald and Tall Guy).  Death has a very different meaning to them in that time and those cultures.  Also, for what it's worth, the actress portrayed the Queen as devastated and horrified by the decision and action she took.  She didn't do it lightly.  (That head slam on the table must have been a shocking sight to see.)

I wasn't that upset either, although that head slam on the table actually made me yell "ouch!"  

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35 minutes ago, MaggieG said:

When Bjorn was saying goodbye to Torvi and saying she was a good mother to his kids, I just kept thinking "where are the kids?" Are they with them in Wessex?

Ubbe is pretty much my favorite at this point. I have no idea what is going in Iceland, I completely tune out when Floki is on screen. 

Every time Magnus goes on about how they are Vikings, I roll my eyes! Magnus, you are not a Viking, stop pretending to be.

Ivar's reaction to Hvisterk going all Buddha had my rolling. He had this incredulous look on his face and just goes "what?!" It was hilarious, I rewound it a few times. 

I've been wondering about the kids as well. As far as I can remember, Magnus's insane mom urinated on Ragnar's wound. That is all she wrote. :/

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2 hours ago, MaggieG said:

When Bjorn was saying goodbye to Torvi and saying she was a good mother to his kids, I just kept thinking "where are the kids?" Are they with them in Wessex?

Ubbe is pretty much my favorite at this point. I have no idea what is going in Iceland, I completely tune out when Floki is on screen. 

Every time Magnus goes on about how they are Vikings, I roll my eyes! Magnus, you are not a Viking, stop pretending to be.

Ivar's reaction to Hvisterk going all Buddha had my rolling. He had this incredulous look on his face and just goes "what?!" It was hilarious, I rewound it a few times. 

I believe the kids are there in Wessex but I doubt we'll see them unless they become a useful plot device. They had kids with them in the boats when they escaped Kattegat and we got a glimpse of them when they were arriving in Wessex and Athelred brought them to see King Alfred. You could see them climbing out of those caged wagons. 

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14 hours ago, Captanne said:

I thought the episode was a strong one.  I loved watching Ubbe proud of his treasure -- realizing Ragnar's dream -- and becoming part of England.  And I enjoyed Bjorn's stubborn resistance (unlike the way it was portrayed by Floki back when he killed Athelstan.)  I think it's all very reasonable.

I agree - I pretty much enjoyed this one, except for Judith's character becoming more ludicrous by the moment.   The relationship between Alfred and Aethelred was more interesting than Judith's actions - which actually were not a surprise, I figured she was going to poison him as soon as we saw her working with the plants or whatever.  So I just rolled my eyes at the whole scenario.  As pointed up thread, besides being slightly unhinged, it's not really very smart of her. 

It was good to see Ubbe being proud of the land though if they had beaten Ivar's army, wouldn't he be in Kattegat?  I might be mis-remembering his intentions, it still seems to me that the character goes where the plot needs, rather than driving it.  I liked the conversation, such as it was, between him and Bjorn, they are two different people. Bjorn has inherited Ragnar's desire to keep moving (and unfortunately leave his children behind).  Other good things were Torvi talking about Lagertha - Torvi is absolutely one who can talk about her experiences and feelings for her - and Torvi's scene with Bjorn.  Bjorn's apology seemed heartfelt and I am curious to see how things work out with Harald.  I like Gunnhild as well, the actress works in what is so far a side role.

Hvitserk turning the Buddha around before having sex made me laugh, as did the Ivar/Hvitserk scene where Ivar is all "WHAT are you talking about" as Hvitserk quotes Buddhist aphorisms.  Hee.  Alex Hogh can do that sort of manic lite with and overt facial expressions, which I wish they would stick with rather than megalomania. 

Oh and Floki was there, one of the nobodies had a finger chopped off and wants his family saved or something. zzzz

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I actually rather liked the half of this episode that was about, you know, Vikings who aren't dragging ass through the rain endlessly whining about whatever on Vikings: Survivor.  The acknowledgement that we got from both Bjorn and Ubbe that Ragnar's dream and legacy was about more than just raping and pillaging their way through the world was lovely, with Ubbe showing that he has the mental flexibility to achieve the permanent settlement part of that dream while Bjorn has the restlessness that made Ragnar believe that there was anything worth pursuing beyond the same old same old in the first place.  I like that the brothers could appreciate their differences in that.  This was probably the most affecting Bjorn has been in awhile in his near brokenness that Lagertha may have wandered off to die.  While it was hard not to hope too much that Gunnhild would be the one woman who would be immune to "the look" and Bjorn's somewhat questionable charms five minutes after her husband died, I really like Gunnhild a lot.  She looks like a woman who could seriously kick some ass and she wasn't the least bit hesitant to call Bjorn on the fact that they weren't starting as equals.

Beyond that, seriously Judith?  The actress appears to be under the impression she's doing a dinner theater Lady Macbeth with her Cersei Lannister levels of overenunciation and now we can apparently add potion master to her all-encompassing list of talents, along with making a strong finish in the worst medieval mother ever competition.   Yes, it's a problem that Aethelred was flirting with the plotting against Alfred, but he came through both times when it mattered and it's like none of these people remember that he was the one with the legitimate blood claim to the throne in the first place and might still harbor some feelings about how Judith strongarmed him into tossing that aside.  How does she even see this playing out should Alfred the Eventually Great (as the Forbes reviewer has christened him) die or prove too frail to rule?   Without a spare, she's queen mother of nothing and all these disgruntled courtiers will probably happily toss her out on her overenunciating ass if not worse.  Even if everything aligns and Elsewith births a boy who isn't obviously Viking, history in general has not been kind to infant kings with very long regencies.  That's a recipe for overthrow and civil war.  

No, Magnus, you're still not Viking no matter how much you insist it.  Love how Harold announcing him as the latest son of Ragnar barely registered a shrug and a "who?" in comparison to the reception Bjorn received in showing up at York.  These people have the strangest sense of alliances.  Sure, our wounds from the battle where we tried our damndest to kill each other are still fresh, but now we're teaming up so we can go off to kill your other brother.  Hopefully, Gunnhild will keep her guard up because Harold doesn't exactly have a great track record with women who aren't interested in being with him.

I guess after your wackadoo brother has declared himself a god in the faith you were raised in and everyone has just gone along with it, any other path seems reasonable in comparison.

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Judith better hope that Alfred never finds out what she did to Aethelred.  Alfred loved his brother and while he may be slow to anger - once those kind of people are roused to anger....

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On 1/3/2019 at 4:35 PM, Triskan said:

Okay so everyone is bitching about the Iceland storyline but isnt it obvious to all that it's gonna end up in Greenland then America ? And I'm looking forward to that !

And speaking of far-travels, I feel like Hvitserk is gonna end up in the Far-East and that can be really good !

The thing is that there is only what?  Three or four episodes left of this season and next season has already been announced by Hirst as his final season.  It is already in the can, the wrap party held and actors dispersing to other projects with Hirst joining up with Martin Scorsese to wallow in the crazy family Caesar's history or Hirst's version of same for the next few years.  So I think there is no way that a slo-mo endless nothing subplot in Iceland speeds up quickly enough to get this gang of losers to Greenland let alone Canada. 

Also none of that band stands out.  I don't know any of their names outside of Floki.  The two main plot lines are in England and Norway and Iceland is a boring side dish of repeat the same thing over and over and over again nothings every episode.  Bad Daddy and family do something terrible.  Floki weeps and pleas.  Bad Daddy promises to mend his ways.  Floki leaves.  Bad Daddy and family do another thing evil.  Endlessly over and over again.

(Okay I did see a link in another thread that The History Channel wants to make a continuation/spinoff whatever somehow but it seems like a farmed-out version if it ever happens and set with a different cast probably.  I guess a band of non-loser Vikings could reach the New World in that sequel ... if it ever happens).

And Hvitserk is needed to be the counter balance to Ivar within his ranks so I don't see him leaving out the back door.  After all he has already learned from his weird version of Buddhism according to a random Chinese merchant that it is about the journey and his journey had him jump off the damn boat and stick with Ivar so he has to follow his journey through at this point I'd say.

 

9 hours ago, raven said:

I I like Gunnhild as well, the actress works in what is so far a side role.

Gunnhild looks and feels like Bjorn's first wife about 10 years on had not Hirst had her get wounded in the face and flip out about it and wander off for some reason I never understood.  Both shield maidens who are tall and strong looking only Gunnhild didn't get wounded in the face but did the wounding in Bjorn's face instead.

Edited by green
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On 1/3/2019 at 4:35 PM, Triskan said:

Okay so everyone is bitching about the Iceland storyline but isnt it obvious to all that it's gonna end up in Greenland then America ?

Oh, man, if they think Iceland is bad, wait til they get to Greenland!

On 1/4/2019 at 6:57 AM, Captanne said:

Wasn't Aethelred called "The Unready"?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Æthelred_the_Unready  (tl;dr -- yes, he was.)

No.  Aethelred the Unready was Alfred's great great grandson.  (It's confusing because they kept recycling names.)  Incidentally, Aethelred the Unready married a descendant of Rollo (who later was forced to marry the first Dane king of England, a fascinating story).

On 1/4/2019 at 6:57 AM, Captanne said:

this is the 11th Century

Nitpick.  9th c but your point is taken that good manners (like not killing your son) were rare.

2 hours ago, green said:

Gunnhild looks and feels like Bjorn's first wife about 10

When we first saw her I thought it was Porrun, or whatever her name was.  I forgot about the scar.

The way the Judith actress speaks in clipped, staccato way is as annoying as JRM's breathless whisper.  I guess someone had to pick up the "worst actor" crown now that Bishop Batman (heh) is dead.

I did enjoy the scenes with Ubbe and family in the bucolic paradise.  Can we follow their storyline instead of Misfit Vikings and delusional psychopaths?

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While it might not have been such a bright idea (guess we'll find out soon) I can understand why Judith killed Aethelred.  The dude just did not look trustworthy and I think she felt that she and Alfred could never trust him again, no matter what he said or did.  Her speaking voice doesn't annoy me but that bun on the side of her head surely does. 

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1 minute ago, Ohwell said:

While it might not have been such a bright idea (guess we'll find out soon) I can understand why Judith killed Aethelred.  The dude just did not look trustworthy and I think she felt that she and Alfred could never trust him again, no matter what he said or did.  Her speaking voice doesn't annoy me but that bun on the side of her head surely does. 

I get that. But he saved Alfred's life in battle. He could have been scot free and let the dude die; he becomes king free and clear. He saved him because he loved him, even if Bun Mom could never love him the way she loved Alfred. I liked Judith in the old days but she is just a fucked up mess now. 

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8 minutes ago, Hannah94 said:

I get that. But he saved Alfred's life in battle. He could have been scot free and let the dude die; he becomes king free and clear. He saved him because he loved him, even if Bun Mom could never love him the way she loved Alfred. I liked Judith in the old days but she is just a fucked up mess now. 

Sure, in the heat of battle he saved his brother's life but he's still untrustworthy in Judith's eyes.   She might have been afraid that his supporters would continue encouraging him to overthrow Alfred, and he would eventually give in and do it.   So I can see why she killed him.  That's just  my take on it.    

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The thing is they just made a huge point in laying out all of the known supporters of the coup.  That's an object lesson that's hard to miss for any other would-be plotters, as is the reality that Aethelred let them commit to that plot and then balked at being its end object to leave them to their punishments.  With the continued grumbling about Alfred as a "weak king" and no other viable options without overthrowing the family entirely, it's probably better to keep Aethelred on a short leash while letting him be seen as a steadying backup presence at least until Alfred has a viable heir or two who isn't a fetus.  The disgruntled can take some level of comfort in the idea that if Alfred does die or become permanently unable to rule as they seem to fear, they'll still get his brother and they won't have to lose their own heads over it.  It leaves the family in a much stronger position to keep the throne.

I'd like to think Alfred understood that much in saying he "forgave" Aethelred, but the writing has been murky on how savvy he really is in reading this sort of thing before, so who knows?  Judith has reached The White Princess version of Margaret Beaufort levels of batcrap crazy that's tedious to watch rather than interesting.

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That explanation notwithstanding, sometimes one just has to clean house.   That's what Judith did and I'm down with it.  Will there be dire consequences for her?  Probably.  But she did what she thought was best.

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On 1/4/2019 at 3:57 AM, Captanne said:

 

Regarding Alfred giving lands to Ubbe et al: does anyone know how it is that land in East Anglia is Alfred's to give? Historically East Anglia was a separate kingdom from Wessex, which the Danes conquered by defeating its king, Edmund the Martyr.

Edited by Steph J
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43 minutes ago, Steph J said:

Regarding Alfred giving lands to Ubbe et al: does anyone know how it is that land in East Anglia is Alfred's to give? Historically East Anglia was a separate kingdom from Wessex, which the Danes conquered by defeating its king, Edmund the Martyr.

Facts, schmacts. <handwave>. The writers never let accuracy stand in the way of their storytelling. 

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With Judith not being aged up in looks at all, most of her scenes with Alfred have more of a husband/wife Lady Macbeth vibe than mother/son. It’s super weird. 

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43 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

With Judith not being aged up in looks at all, most of her scenes with Alfred have more of a husband/wife Lady Macbeth vibe than mother/son. It’s super weird. 

Haha, yeah.  Until they finally put a gray wig on Lagertha's character I was starting to think that the Dark Ages (we still haven't reached the Medieval Era or Middle Ages yet) weren't so dark for women after all.  They all seemed to have discovered The Fountain of Youth while their male counterparts got all wrinkly and old looking.

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On 1/4/2019 at 5:02 PM, LittleIggy said:

Yeah, it made no sense (if murdering your son ever makes sense) to kill Æthelred while Alfred was still gravely ill. The relatives of the executed conspirators would be the first to sharpen their knives for Judith.

Now is the perfect time to off Æthelred. If she didn't, he would take over while Alfred was still gravely ill.

I'm not sure Judith cares more for herself than Alfred (unlike, say Cersei from GoT).

Æthelred's hissing at Judith I found truly terrifying. To me that showed how he was not to be trusted, that he still craved power, that he was still garnering support. But also overall that he was weak, if he had been strong perhaps Judith would have been not quite as strong in her favouritism of Alfred. (Interesting but irrelevant mythological fact: "Alfred" means "elf counsel".)

Team Judith. Powerful people were always being offed throughout history, part of the game of thrones. We've seen it enough in Kattegat, even from people we like. Even royal family members in history were offing each other, and Æthelred's mother decided to off him before he offed his brother. It was really affecting to see how she was as she was doing it though. I actually like her, even though the showrunners are so sexist in making Floki look a million years old but none of the women.

Glad Bjorn's striking off on his own, doing something that will lead to plenty more plot trouble.

Don't get the Buddha thing except to get Ivan's hilarious confusion and show how cosmopolitan the Vikings were. Hvitserk is just spinning his wheels. I know Ivar the Boneless is destined to face off against Alfred the Great (millenia old spoilers?) so I feel like they're gonna be okay for a good long while, despite the show's ahistoricity 

Iceland subplot just breaking a lot of rules of writing in that it feels like it has no relevance to anything else and is leading nowhere. It's just so moany and improbably miserable, like raining inside the houses. Iceland actually had a nicer climate than now when it was settled, and covered in trees, but they just have to make it look like a volcanic hellscape, I just don't believe they could survive on growing/hunting ANYTHING in that landscape. Also, interesting historical fact, seems there may have been Christians there who buggered off when the Norse heathens arrived.

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