Decisions, deals, and betrayals are the three main beats of episode 13 of Vikings Season 4. This episode, titled as “Two Journeys”, is a much improvement on the previous two episodes of the second half of season 4 with plenty of surprised moments, some “Viking” style action, and (by the time the episode ends) leaves you wanting more, which is a good thing.
While the episode is called “Two Journeys” is more like three journeys as the episode’s narrative follows the story threads of Ragnar, Bjorn, and Lagertha.
In Ragnar’s story, we see that once proud Viking king and his crippled son Ivar finally land in Wessex, despite losing their most of their warrior raiding followers and their ships. With the survivors blame and pointing their fingers at Ragnar for bring them here, it was quite shock to see Ragnar’s decision to “thin the herd” by ways of him and Ivar killing all of their fellow raiders. Did not see that coming at all. Now, with just the two of them, the pair head off to see King Ecbert. It was interesting interaction to see Ragnar carrying Ivar (literally carrying him) as they journey onward through Wessex. We see the father and son bond appreciate their company, which is something that Ivar seems to cherish. In truth, it would seem that Ragnar does as well. With the duo reaching Ecbert’s castle at the end of the episode, Ragnar and Ivar are (presumably) going to be taken prisoner and separated from each other, testing their personal strengths and willpower in the next episode. In short, this story threads had its surprised moments, but also showed some father / son bonding between the two Vikings.
As a side-note, we finally see some of the other Wessex characters, including King Ecbert, his son Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford), and a brief cameo-like appearance of Aethelwulf’s wife Judith (Jennie Jacques). All three played minor roles in this episode, but I’m sure they’ll be fully explored in the coming episodes as their roles in “Two Journeys” is just a way to reintroduce them since the last time we saw them.
Finally, there is Lagertha’s story, which sees the former Shield-maiden (now Earl of Hedeby) plot and executing her revenge on Queen Aslaug by taking the kingdom of Kattegat. Lagertha has always been a fearsome female character in the show (on the battlefield), but she’s also cunning as well, luring Ragnar / Aslaug’s two sons Ubbe and Sigurd away from Kattegat (inviting them to Hedeby at her behest) with the temptation of Margrethe (Ida Nielsen), the young servant slave that the four brothers have “fooled around” with. However, it was a trap with Astrid, under Lagertha command, imprisoning the two sons of Ragnar, giving Lagertha the upper hand of not having not to deal with two warriors when trying to take Kattegat.
As for the taking of Kattegat, it was good and it was nice to see return of some action. As I said, there was a lot setup and character building in the previous two episodes, so it was great to see some action return to the show (since the mid-season premiere of season 4). While it was super grand like the siege of Paris in season 3, it was effective with plenty of extras, swords and shield clanging about as well as a few screams and shouts (and a few cannon fodder deaths here and there).
The only minor complaint I would say is that the initial battle to take Kattegat was fairly short. However, the episode ends with Lagertha calling a “cease fire” with Queen Aslaug readies herself to meet her, garbing herself in her finest and bearing the sword of (I can’t remember…Norway? Sweden? Denmark?). Well, I’m going to call it the sword of Kattegat for this. So….you never know. The battle for Kattegat may not be over yet.
Things finally get moving on Vikings as “Two Journeys”, which (oddly enough) sees three separate journeys of some of its main characters, facing choices, obstacles, and reunions along the way. I assume that these three storylines (Ragnar, Bjorn, and Lagertha) are going to be the main focal point narrative threads to follow for the remainder of the season, which is kind of interesting because they were part of the original cast of characters. All in all, “Two Journeys” was a great episode, bringing forth some revelations, surprises, and excitement. Can’t wait to see what happens next….
Score 8.5 / 10
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