“Vikings" Review/Recap: "Brother's War"

Dymon Lewis ’14 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Clive Standen in the Vikings episode "Brother's War." Photo Credit: Bernard Walsh / History Channel.
Clive Standen in the Vikings episode “Brother’s War.” Photo Credit: Bernard Walsh / History Channel.

The season two premiere of Vikings continues at the same breakneck speed that made the first season so damn enjoyable. You simply cannot miss an episode of this show cause most likely someone super cool died in a super cool way (R.I.P. One-Eye). While Vikings season one’s finale “All Change” left the viewer primed for an epic clash between brothers Ragnar and Rollo, “Brother’s War” twisted the knife but didn’t finish the deed. Rollo surrenders allowing Ragnar to convince Jarl Borg and King Horik that their wasting their energy fighting each other when they could be destroying those meek Christians out west. This sets up the season for more raiding and further exploration of how the title of “Earl” will change Ragnar as he struggles to be both a warrior and a politician.

Related: Katheryn Winnick Talks Lagertha’s Journey And Season Two of “Vikings”

Another area where Vikings continues to deliver is in its representation of strong female characters. Amazingly it is not the newly-arrived Aslaug to whom Lagertha directs her rage, but at the philandering Ragnar. Sure she throws Aslaug some shade (so what if my mom and dad weren’t a mythical shield maiden and dragon-slayer, Aslaug) but she is genuinely hospitable to the pregnant woman and doesn’t abandon Ragnar until he tries to pull a heterosexual Three’s Company on her. On another, lesser show the arrival of Aslaug would have turned Lagthera into a weeping willow or haranguing shrew but the character of Lagertha has too much pride for Ragnar’s foolishness.

Travis Fimmel in the Vikings episode "Brother's War." Photo Credit: Bernard Walsh / History Channel.
Travis Fimmel in the Vikings episode “Brother’s War.” Photo Credit: Bernard Walsh / History Channel.

The character of Siggy is also intriguing as her Lady Macbeth-esque character is enriched with startling touches of humanity. No one has lost more than Siggy—she’s lost her sons, her husband, her status as the wife of the earl and her daughter. But she remains a strong, conniving and passionate woman determined to inspire Rollo to keep fighting. Even Aslaug, despite her home-wrecking, is a mystery. While on the surface it may appear that her agreement with Ragnar’s sister-wives setup is simply a ploy to have the man to herself, her soft demeanor and gentle attempts to ingratiate herself with Ragnar, Lagertha and the young Bjorn could stem from a genuine desire to merge the family units. Her ability to share Ragnar like a Gameboy despite her royal background makes her quite the unique princess.

Related: Clive Standen Discusses Hair Extensions And Season Two Of The History Channel’s Hit Show “Vikings”

The departure of Lagertha and Bjorn is heartbreaking, though semi-historically accurate (according to the 12 century historian Saxo, Bjorn is actually the son of Ragnar and Aslaug, Ragnar and Lagertha had a son, Fridleif, and two unnamed daughters). While Ragnar gets to keep his power and position and enjoy a brand new wife and the extra sons he so desperately wanted, Lagertha and Bjorn literally set out into wilderness. Throughout the episode Bjorn is repeatedly warned that he must grow up and then is ultimately made to choose between his mother and father. This season opener was full of people making choices and facing the consequences of those actions. There’s no doubt the choices of these characters will reverberate throughout the season.

Overall Episode Grade: A


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