Vikings: Paris
April 6, 2015 6:46 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

The viking fleet sails up the Seine and establish camp within eyesight of the prize of Paris. Within the Parisian walls, the king of West Francia, grandson of Charlemagne, makes the decision at the urging of his daughter, to remain in the city despite the threat of attack. In Wessex, King Ecbert sends his son to Mercia to remind its ruler of its vassal state status. Also, Ragnar places Floki in charge of the attack on the city.
posted by Atreides (9 comments total)
Gleeful Floki is great, although this has to be some kind of trap. I can't imagine ragnar doesn't know that Floki was responsible for killing Athelstan.

The Mercia stuff could have been a lot tighter. The AV Club review made a big point about that, and I think I agree. We got four separate going to Merica scenes:

Son, go to mercia
Underlings, let me through to mercia
now I am in mercia
still in mercia but with more threats

the second of these is especially inessential. It could have been cut entirely without losing anything. I'll forgive more bloat in the last two because I love Kwenthrith the murder princessqueen.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:44 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ragnar DEFINITELY knows what Floki did. I love Floki, but there's some major retribution coming his way and oh, poor Helga. I hope she doesn't suffer the consequences of what he did, that character has so much potential and seems to be the nicest (maybe too nice) of the lot.
posted by saturnine at 8:12 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I suspect that Ragnar has set up Floki to fail, which almost doesn't make sense – he does want to take Paris, doesn't he? I also fear for Floki's survival: even though he's not my favorite character, he adds a strong flavor and manic energy that would be sorely missed if he departs. The AVClub commenters are mourning his loss already, and are grumbling that S3, with its Angleland diversions, is turning "Vikings" in "Downton Abbey".* Let's not go quite that far, folks!

As Ragnar stood surveying Paris, with shaved head, wearing a dark robe and golden crucifix, and bearing a simple staff, I was certain he would enter the city disguised as a monk. I can't help but think that'd be a very in-character stratagem, and explain why Ragnar asked Athelstan's forgiveness for what he was about to do. But instead it looks like we'll get a "proper" siege instead, based on the preview. I do hope the producers take a page from GoT's script (esp. the Blackwater and Castle Black), and devote the entire episode to Paris.

I don't mind the diversions to Wessex and Mercia – yet – and really enjoy watching Ecgbert (in part because the actor so clearly is relishing the role). But my interest in those realms is pinned to the Vikings' doings there, not for their rivalries among each other. I know there will have to be a reckoning for the Norse settlement, but I wonder if we're going to have to wait for S4 for the locus of the Vikings' attention to return there. How are we already 70% through this season??

* Poor "Downton Abbey": how the mighty have fallen! I read reviews saying that "Wolf Hall" is no "Downton Abbey", and see comments hoping that "Vikings" won't turn into "Downton Abbey". Season 1 of that show was great, at least – maybe that deserves a re-watch.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ecgbert is such a delightful villain and I am especially fond of his unashamed fangirling of Athelstan, whether it is sincere or religio-political propaganda. Presumably he and Judith are going to start boning down now and the only real question is which of them is going to pretend the other one is Athelstan. Probably both.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2015 [9 favorites]

Floki's place in charge is fascinating and it puts a swinging ax over his head that I desperately want to ignore because as much as his craziness towards Athelstan drove me crazy, he's still a fun and rather unique character. I'd hate to lose him, even though no one is obviously safe in the show. The one thing that's his saving grace, in part, is the fact that they went out of their way to show the war council, so to speak. The decision on how to attack Paris was vetted, so it lifts a fair bit of the personal responsibility from Floki's shoulders, and kind of puts it onto Ragnar for choosing him in the first place.

The real issue will be whether Floki's siege ladders work properly (if they fail massively, then there'll be some blow back), and if there's some midst of battle important decision that needs to be made and if Floki makes the right choice. At the very least, it's possible Ragnar is simply setting him up to be humbled. "So smart guy, you thought you could do my job, huh? How's that feel?"

I agree with the English diversions and I can only think that one reason they continue is that somehow their important to what will eventually happen, so we the viewers, are able to watch the events unfold there that will have ramifications for our Vikings later and it won't just come out of thin air.

Presumably he and Judith are going to start boning down now and the only real question is which of them is going to pretend the other one is Athelstan. Probably both.

posted by Atreides at 3:02 PM on April 6, 2015

Does being struck from behind count as a warrior's death? I hope so because I like to imagine a very surprised Athelstan finding himself in Valhalla, sort of the reverse of what happened to this guy.
posted by homunculus at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

...unashamed fangirling of Athelstan

Oh I think we're all pretty much guilty of that around here.

And I think our Cher Cousin is correct above that Ragnor is just setting up Floki to see how difficult it is to lead to avoid any more questioning of his authority. If they kill off Floki I'll be irritated.

In terms of the future of course we know the Vikings do eventually to back to Wessex, historically at least anyway. In terms of the future of the show, I'm less afraid of it turning into Downton Abby than I am of it turning into Sons of Anarchy.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's possible this would be the result of Athelstan arriving at Valhalla.
posted by Atreides at 7:08 AM on April 8, 2015

Since I've recently finished mainlining all of Mad Men, Ragnar putting Floki in charge of the Paris raid reminded me of Joan putting Dawn in charge of the timecards and supply closet. "You don't understand, this is a punishment."
posted by dnash at 12:33 PM on April 10, 2015

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