Vikings: Portage
April 8, 2016 10:11 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

An increasingly unhinged Ragnar directs his raiding party on a new plan to re-attack Paris. Young Siggurd tries to expose Harbard to Aslaug. And the court intrigues of both Wessex and Paris turn bloody.
posted by dnash (6 comments total)
posted by dnash at 10:12 AM on April 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

OMG, Floki and Ragnar together again! I've been waiting for that forever. I was hoping they would put the ships on wheels, such as when vikings attacked Constantinople, but no such luck.

Odo....dead? Things weren't looking good for him, but did I miss seeing a body?

Ecbert, kudos, your plan is complete?

Wessex...worth killing for...and what I don't quite grasp, how has it remained a secret? Have no viking merchants/traders tried to go visit the colony to sell them homemade viking wares they might not have access to in Wessex? It baffles me.

Harbard kind of fell off for me in this episode. I always felt that previously, there was this kind of strange air of 'he might be a god' to him or something like that. I felt in his speech to Aslaug, he came across just as a random holy man (kinda preaching something close to Christianity about taking on the sins of the world). We really haven't had nearly enough mysticism/religious imagery as we're used to this season. Though, I guess there was that 'medicinal' vision? And of course, the opening sequence of the season...hrm.
posted by Atreides at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2016

Odo....dead? Things weren't looking good for him, but did I miss seeing a body?

There's a shot of his bloody corpse still hanging in the chains right before the scene of the Frankish king announcing that Odo was "executed for treason."

The creepy pair (have we fully figured out if they're legit brother/sister or just lovers pretending to be?) who arranged for Odo's downfall now seem to be aiming to get closer to the King, which is probably bad news for Rollo.

Harbard upped the ick factor for me even more this time. His schtick about "I sleep with others to help them with their sins" it pretty much straight out of the same playbook that predator New Age gurus and cult leaders use to this very day. Which, in a way, I guess some kudos to the writers for bringing that in here to a time period where I imagine more people would've been easily susceptible to it given that everyone was walking around believing in gods that could incarnate and meddle in human lives directly.

Now we get to find out what happens when Ragnar has to go cold turkey. (I'm assuming Yidu was honest that she was out of drugs. The pouch looked empty when Ragnar handled it after.)

(Oh, and on the subject of the drugs. I saw some AV Club commenters suggesting betel nut as a likely candidate, given the teeth staining.)
posted by dnash at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

God dammit, Franks wouldn't start using forks for another 100 years, and they didn't really catch on until after the Crusades!

And for that matter, Ecbert does not behave like a Saxon king at all. He should have a party of picked men that he keeps with him as a personal bodyguard, and this should require him to be continually feasting his gesiths or thegns and giving out rings, and arm-bands, and the like. It is hard to believe that he wouldn't hold a large feast following his successes in Mercia. Furthermore, he should be traveling a lot more, even when not at war- he needs to continually work to secure the loyalty of various large landowners within Wessex, so that they will commit their own war-bands in support of his, as well as the smaller free-holders who would represent the main body of an Anglo-Saxon army. This takes place before the introduction of feudalism to England, so there is no guarantee of military support for the king. If he can't raise the troops, someone else who can will take his place. Maintaining the throne is resource-intensive: treasure must be acquired through warfare, and significant amounts of grain, livestock, beer, and mead must be produced to support feasting (the women in his court would also have a much more active role in managing this aspect of authority). This was actually an issue for Anglo-Saxon England as late as 1066, when Harold Godwinson had difficulty retaining the troops he had levied that year, once the normal fighting season had ended.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:04 PM on April 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

> betel nut as a likely candidate, given the teeth staining

Interesting - yes, Ragnar's teeth was a little pink in some scenes and it's wrapped in a leaf. But betel is a stimulant (and mild euphoric) and not typically an analgesic although stimulating adrenal production could provide some analgesic effects. It's also not a "Chinese" thing, but Yidu could easily have been lying about having been an emperor's daughter.

Betel withdrawal - "Those symptoms included mood swings, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and flu-like symptoms. His symptoms were resolved after receiving supportive pharmacological treatments with a low dose of antidepressant/anxiolytic and hypnotics."


Are we ever going to see ├×├│runn again?


> in front of your children

I'm kinda surprised that the kids looked like they cared, given Bjorn's initial relationship with Athelstan.


Go/Poor Kwenthrith!
posted by porpoise at 8:09 PM on April 8, 2016



posted by Pendragon at 10:27 AM on April 9, 2016

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