Vikings: A Simple Story
January 26, 2018 2:29 PM - Season 5, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The army leaders consider their options in the aftermath of the battle. In Floki's camp, all hopes of binding the community together are dashed as tragedy unfolds.

* Halfdan gets his chance to show of his pipes, as does Harald
* Astrid reskinned in a new battle look, Bjorn and Snaefrid have a cuddle, Ivar has a half chub anticipating the fight

* Also reskinned Lagertha leads her troops to the high ground overlooking the killing field, the invading force is much bigger
* Fade to black; Lagertha and Heahmund have a moment - Lagertha's vulnerable again and has a snog, "Now I can die."
* Fade to black; Hvitserk enjoys Ivar's company, until he doesn't, again
* Hvitserk encounters Ubbe on the field, Ubbe can't do it
* Snaefrid is painted up, ambushes a group of Harald's dudes, she's pretty damned badass, until she finds her father dead and gets an axe in the face
* Fade to black; Bjorn and Halfdan discuss loyalties
* Halfdan finds himself in battle, flashbacks to being lost in a desert, encounters Harald; Harald could do it
* Margrethe has visions, wigs out in front of the orphan children again
* Fade to black; Harald asks Astrid to cut his hair, "I would never cut my hair until the woman of my dreams married me."
* Heahmund and Lagertha practice their trade, Torvi and Guthrum kick some ass
* Until Hvitserk kills Guthrum before Torvi could get there, Torvi drives Hvitserk off but doesn't engage
* Lagertha flashbacks herself as a child, "Thor will take care of you, always.", and an intimate moment with Astrid thrown in there because
* Lagertha and Astrid have an astral meeting, Astrid is traumatized by her situation, wants to die, learning of the pregnancy Lagertha obliges her

* Ivar ditches his crutches to inspire his boys, stays behind though, manages to lock eyes with Heahmund across the field, and with Lagertha
* Ivar flashes Ray Harryhausen armoured skeletons instead of people
* Bjorn uses Viking magic to order an arrow volley on Ivar's position, all the way across the field; Ivar does a Jet-Li-from-Hero only to have his men shield him
* Margrethe has a scene with The Seer, acts all psycho and stuff
* Bjorn does his thing, stumbles on Guthrum, having lost his own weapon takes Hvitserk's axe that had been left in Guthrum, does the archer thing
* Ivar sends in a wave of Franks, Bjorn sounds the retreat
* Bjorn somehow finds Snaefrid's body

* Eyvind and family mourns Bul, denies overtures from Thorgrim's family, Floki offer condolences, Eyvind lashes out, Floki warns against starting a cycle of vengence, appoints Eyvind "Law Giver" on that condition
* Aud shows Floki Thorgrim's body drowned in a geyser pool
* Floki lectures, calls for a sacrifice, offers himself

* A sorrowful Bjorn returns to Kattegat, Torvi can't find her kids and confronts Margrethe, the kids are allright
* Bjorn sets into motion an evacuation of Kattegat, finds a washed up but traumatised Lagertha
* Uncle Rollo is coming
posted by porpoise (13 comments total)
This was dumb. Kattegat has been shown to be defensible and does ok on sieges.

Why would they voluntarily meet a numerically superior force on the field in a valley? Why give up the high ground - crossbows (of which many crossbowmen were shown last ep) suck against elevated positions whereas bows excel from the high ground.

Why feed most of your warriors to a meatgrinder and then surrender Kattegat because you no longer have enough bodies to populate the defenses?
posted by porpoise at 2:33 PM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I agree with the assessments of the dumbness.

I did like this episode's style of presentation though, more so than any of the other episodes this season.

But, yeah - the writing this season is bumming me out in a general sense.
posted by Golem XIV at 4:22 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, agreed on style points. I've commented on it for the previous couple of seasons and this. Must have been a producer/director/writer turnover, swerving further away from a "gritty real" feel to a more romanticized storytelling narrative.

If I was a belle-weather fan of GoT, I'd have salivated over all the 'Fade to black;'s. As a neophyte recapper, I don't hold this episode's editor with much respect.

I farted on the Lagertha/Astrid scene, but it was as well done as could be given trying to show the writer's (incoherent/irrational) intent. "No makeup" Lagertha in the end was another really highpoint for me.

Maybe its an overall response to a viewer demographics change. Eyvind (Kris Holden-Ried) has a lot of good work behind him - maybe Discovery is trying to woo (now) older 'Lost Girl' fans.

I'm more wondering if much of the original behind-the-camera crew moved on and the current crew are more commodity entertainment focused/experienced/breaking-into-the-business.

Floki's arc feels like a result of a focus group - yeah, more Floki! Iceland! but its been a vomit of too many new characters and too many new relationships. I'm hoping Floki goes through with his sacrificing himself and we never hear about the Icelanders again. But then again, there are still 10 more episodes (and another season?).

I'm not really expecting a satisfactory conclusion to all of this.
posted by porpoise at 6:55 PM on January 26, 2018

Episode title should read: Moments of Vision
posted by porpoise at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2018

I actually found myself enjoying this episode, particularly the juxtapositioning of brothers - where one was unable to kill his brother, and the other, well, kind of shrugged it off "Sorry, bro!" and sliced through his brother's arterial vein without mercy. It also definitely felt a little house cleaningish - we have too many characters, let's reduce! Though, to be fair, a high number of the dead were somewhat expendable in terms of their roles in storylines and what not. No son of Ragnar died, but their friends and lovers did!

I don't think Kattegatt is that easily defended. When what's his name, the earl, or whomever, attempted to invade not so long ago, his forces did manage to break the defenses - only Lagetha setting up ambushes inside the town finished them off (Did I remember that correctly?). Not to mention, with the exception of Ivar's forces at York, we've never seen the Vikings not go with a direct clash rather than a siege. True, and especially moving forward in time, sieges happened a lot more commonly than battlefield engagements, but sieges require stockpiling stores and it's possible that Kattegat could not sustain a large army for a very long time. Not to mention, Viking alliances, as we've seen in the show (but I think also true to history), were not always the longest lasting things. Viking leaders needed to give their followers reasons to support them, hence one reason we have the raiding. Who's to say a siege wouldn't give time for Ivar to promise rewards to Lagetha's allies?

Likewise, do we know if the Kattegat forces knew about Rollo's contribution of men? Bjorn looked pretty darn shocked before calling a retreat, so perhaps the idea was that they would be able to defeat Ivar's forces for a second time on the open field.

And well...I really can't wait to hear what Rollo has to say when the show picks up after this mid-season finale. I figured when he contributed men, he had something in mind. Perhaps he wants more North Men to help establish Northman/Normandy. Dunno!

Let's not forget the Saxon drama unfolding and interjected into the battle monologues! We finally have King Alfred! And....the writers apparently really didn't want to bother waiting through previous kings to get to him. Poor Aethelwulf, slain by the small sting of a bee.
posted by Atreides at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

All great points, Atreides. Yeah, the last time Kattegat was attacked, there was some very bad tactical mistakes by the attackers, and yet Lagertha just barely managed to repel the attackers.

The Kattegat forces must have been able to infer from "too many Frankish ships to count" that the Franks are contributing fighters.

The way this was presented is a lot more dramatic/ romantic, to be fair.

I'm just annoyed that the show veered away from the original philosophy behind filming fight scenes, but as the stakes/ number of people involved increased, so would combat tactics and strategy.

I can't believe there are still ten more episodes this season, and a confirmed sixth season.
posted by porpoise at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm just annoyed that the show veered away from the original philosophy behind filming fight scenes, but as the stakes/ number of people involved increased, so would combat tactics and strategy.

My favorite battle/fight scene may still be the first time Rollo and Ragnar faced off against each other. The sides simply crashed into each other, shield wall against shield wall, pushing and shoving for advantage until one or the other broke and mayhem ensued.
posted by Atreides at 9:54 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to play rugby so I absolutely loved those small unit shield wall scenes.

My favourite was when they part a little and pull some hapless guy through the wall and let Floki go nuts on the now solitary guy.
posted by porpoise at 12:57 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thoughts on Heahmund's thing for Lagertha:

The ages on the show are all wonky, but I'm sort of reading Heahmund as closer to Bjorn's age than Lagertha's, or even younger. Which would mean that he was a kid during the first Viking raids of England, and grew up hearing Lagertha's name next to Ragnar's. Part of it seems to be saving his life, part of it is his personal interactions with her, maybe hoping to convert her? But his immediate allegiance to her is remarkable even with that, and some kind of personal connection/awareness of her fame from a young age could play in.

I was wondering if he would have some conflict once he realized Christians were fighting on the other side.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:59 AM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I was wondering if he would have some conflict once he realized Christians were fighting on the other side.

Geez, I completely didn't think about the Franks' participation in the battle in that context. That's a great observation. I guess Bjorn calling a retreat when they showed up helped prevent any direct confrontation, but....when Rollo shows up after the mid-season break, it very well could result in an interesting dynamic, especially if Rollo shows up with a bishop.

I have wondered if Heahmund's relationship with Lagertha will lead to her conversion. When we last had a devout Christian hanging with Ragnar's people, he ended up going agnostic for a while before finding his faith again (and quickly being escorted to Heaven courtesy of Floki). I think Heahmund's own appreciation of his weaknesses, the duality that he operates within himself, will prevent that type of slide.

Hrm. I wonder if Rollo will show up with the intention of taking the surviving members of Lagetha's faction back to France to establish Normandy. Also, those Frankish boats looked pretty darn weak compared to our slick sailing viking vessels. Just sayin'!
posted by Atreides at 7:26 AM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

The ages on the show are all wonky

... as is the timeline.

In my head, I'm pegging Bjorn as early 30's, which makes Lagertha pushing towards 50 (!). Ubbe is a solid 25, Ivar early 20s, and Hvitserk 19 or 20.

Yeah, my feel is that Heahmund's a little bit younger than Bjorn, maybe even Ubbe's age.

Of course, thats all in wear-and-tear 9th century years, using professional hockey typical career trajectories as a model. (The retirement age for established players on average is a little higher than other contact sports, a goodly number of players start young (18), Gordie Howe has a 34 year career starting at age 18 [but that was in another era, and that was Gordie Howe], and in the last couple of decades there've been more than 20 players who continued to play past age 40. jebus, there is only one current active NHL player who is older than me and I'm tied with the tie for #2. <sigh>).

I can't even for Torvi, Astrid, or Magrethe. Just "Hollywood" aged.

In 2017;

Alexander Ludwig 25
Katheryn Winnick 40
Jordan Patrick Smith 25
Alex Høgh Andersen 22
Marco Ilsø 23 (!)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers 40 (!!)
Georgia Hirst 23
Josefin Asplund 26
Ida Nielsen 21

(Gisla/Morgane Polanski 24, Rollo/Clive Standen 36, Floki/Gustaf Skarsgård 37, Eyvind/Kris Holden-Ried 44; Ragnar/Travis Fimmel 38)
posted by porpoise at 7:21 PM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I wonder if Rollo will show up with the intention of taking the surviving members of Lagetha's faction back to France

<jaw drop>

So that's why Rollo requested that Bjorn be spared - Rollo has always been jealous of Ragnar, been humiliated regardless of 'redemption,' and Bjorn's reputation has been kinda ascendant.

Breaking Kattegat with one hand and receiving her evacuees with kindness with the other draws Bjorn (and as a bonus Lagertha) into Rollo's fold, as subordinates. Bastard.

Historically, (the) Rollo (married to a 'Gisla') had his aims (and success) on 'England' after Alfred's the Great's death by a decade or two (and Alfred reigned for almost 30 years).
posted by porpoise at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Halfdan gets his chance to show of his pipes, as does Harald

I came looking for this thread to see if anyone knew what this song was and I managed to figure it out in my final google search before hitting post comment. It's a 10 century skaldic poem by Egill Skallagrímsson, "Þat mælti mín móðir"
posted by poffin boffin at 10:41 AM on April 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

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