Vikings Recap S2E7: Blood Eagle

The snow falls, and a spider crosses it’s web. King Horik walks through the streets to Ragnar’s keep. Ragnar kills a rat, still intent to kill Jarl Borg. King Horik tries to reason with Ragnar, they need Jarl Borg’s men and ships for a successful raid. Ragnar has already started looking for another partner to replace him. Rollo questions if King Horik thinks that Ragnar should turn the other cheek as if nothing has happened, exactly as he has suggested before. King Horik instead suggests holding off the execution until another partnership is established. Ragnar accepts waiting, glad that at least they are still allies. It sounds more like a question than a statement. King Horik is still bound for revenge upon King Ecbert, and asks that Ragnar comes with him.

In the Kingdom of Wessex, a royal family arrives. King Aelle has come to meet King Ecbert, so that together the King of Wessex, and the King of Northumbria could band together and save England. Hails of God save England rend the air, even Athelstan joins in the proclamation.

Helga watches Floki work, pounding away. She bears good news, she’s with child. He takes pity on the child to have such a father. Helga thinks he’ll be a wonderful father, but he cries that he’ll be a horrible father. He comforts her that he was a fool, that they’ll all be happy. He tells Helga that they should be friends, that the gods will bless them. She wants their friends around, even Ragnar, but Floki does not want Ragnar spoiling this. He helped Ragnar rise to power, and now Earl Ragnar has everything in the palm of his hand, but he will not let Ragnar have the two of them.

Ragnar tries to find out what is troubling Bjorn. He is upset that he was not let in on the plot to capture Jarl Borg. Ragnar could not find him because Bjorn was with the servant girl. Bjorn just wants to just be kept in his confidence. Ragnar will decide how far down the rabbit hole Bjorn is allowed to go, he gives him some advice though, to think with the big head, not the small one.

Princess Aslaug is having a rough pregnancy she tells Siggy, she is afraid. She told Ragnar when he came to the farmhouse, that if he forced himself on her within the first three days of his return she would bear him a monster. She doesn’t know what made her speak the words, she spoke, but the gods chose the words. Siggy pays the guards for privacy. Jarl Borg tells that being Blood Eagle is the worst death of all, but it is astonishing to watch. He hears water being scooped from the nearby bucket, and finds King Horik has come to him. Jarl Borg drinks deeply, King Horik will take no pleasure in his death. Things change, Ragnar humiliated King Horik, and let his ambitions show, he wants to be King. Jarl Borg reasons that there is no reason for Ragnar to stop at his own death, his fame eclipses the Kings own. King Horik does not deny his words, asks what he would do in his stead. Jarl Borg would plot his escape, and kill Ragnar. King Horik bears a gift: the skull of Jarl Borg’s first wife. Jarl Borg clutches it to him like Gollum and his precious.

Ragnar speaks with the seer. He’s had dreams of Athelstan, but he does not know where he is, in Valhalla or hell. The seer tells him that he is in neither place, he is alive. He is physically alive, but his spirit is tormented. Ragnar wishes to know where he is. The seer tells him that he is with a man he knows, a foreigner, a king. A raven watches Athelstan, and he looks pleased.

Ragnar watches from behind a screen as his brother makes a grand show. After defeating his foe, Rollo asks what he plans to do with Jarl Borg. He knows his plan, but he told the king he would wait. Rollo does not understand why Ragnar keep making concessions to Horik, but he is king. Bjorn continues to pursue Porunn, wanting to know about her life, to tell her about his. But she continues to give him the cold shoulder, she’s a servant, always has been. Ragnar watches from the shadows, sees his son try to halt the girl with no luck. Princess Aslaug brings the equally pregnant Helga a drink. Both ladies are progressing quickly. She finds kindness in Princess Aslaug, and walks away quite melancholy. Floki tells Bjorn, that his uncle is quite heavy handed in his show of love, but real warriors hold back. Bjorn thinks Floki is wise, but Floki thinks he is only a joker. Siggy notices that Helga is heavy with child, and asks if  Floki is happy. Floki is complicated she says, as Ragnar watches them too. He spies on everyone friends, family, partners. Siggy asks if they will marry with Ragnar’s blessing, she says that Floki does not think that they need Ragnar’s blessings only those of the Gods. Ragnar’s eye continues to roam, and he sees Siggy report to King Horik that Floki is angered with Ragnar. King Horik doesn’t believe her, Floki loves Ragnar, and Ragnar slips deeper into shadows.

King Ecbert reveals that Ragnar is no longer alone in attacking their shores, but King Aelle still thinks he is the greatest disturbance to their world. King Ecbert agrees, thinks that they should be prepared to him, and if they have alliance, both prepared to rush to the other’s aid they will all be stronger. King Ecbert sends everyone from the room to talk to King Aelle alone. There is much chaos in their country, their neighbor is tumultuous, and if they bound together not only against the Northmen, but also Mercia, they could divide it amongst themselves. King Aelle thinks that after they conquered Mercia, there would be nothing to stop him from turning on Northumbria. King Ecbert admits that at the moment there is nothing that would stop them, and he proposes that they unite their houses through the marriage of their children. That is an offer King Aelle likes the sound of.

Floki moves rocks and uncovers the skull of his father. He also pulls a sword from the soil.

King Aelle walks his daughter down the aisle to unite her with King Ecbert’s son. Floki and Helga have a wedding of their own. The Royal wedding is a serious affair, but Floki and Helga’s nuputals are much more lively. The sword Floki dug up was part of the ceremony, as they exchange swords. They say their vows, but there is no talk of serving and obeying in their wedding, only swearing to the Gods that they want to marry each other. With rings exchanged, both parties find themselves married.

A man comes riding in to talk with Ragnar, and finds Rollo. He tells him that Ragnar would want to speak with him. Ragnar is busy playing games with Torstein, and nearly shoots his head off when Rollo brings the messenger to see him. The man tells him of Earl Inkstad, who has enough men and ships to raid. Ragnar has never heard of the man, and he did not want to waste the journey his messenger said, that Ragnar was still in need of an ally. Ragnar wishes to meet the Earl.

Rollo tells Siggy that a new ally has been found, she asks when he will arrive, which will be soon. Rollo wishes it were sooner so they could execute Jarl Borg. King Horik goes to visit Jarl Borg again.

Rollo’s love making becomes painful to Siggy as he wraps his hands around her neck. He asks why she sleeps with King Horik, and she tells him that she does it for him. He chokes her more for a moment, before releasing her. He does not know what King Horik could do for him, which his brother cannot. She tells him that right now they are allies, and in the event of a fallout, Rollo should be able to chose between the two. She reminds him that King Horik is a king and to never forget his power.

Jarl Borg asks what he has decided. King Horik has decided to go with Jarl Borg’s plan, that there are those who pretend to be loyal to Ragnar but are not. He tells him that after, they will kill Ragnar.

Bjorn asks Ragnar what a blood eagle is as Ragnar bathes. Ragnar describes the process. The offender is down on his knees, his back opened with knifes. His ribs are pulled away from his spine, opened, then his lungs are pulled out of his back and layed on his shoulders so they look like eagle wings. He stays like that suffering until he dies. Ragnar tells him that if he suffers in silence he may enter into Valhalla, but he screams he can never enter its portals. Torstein tells Ragnar that Earl Inksted has arrived, but is refusing to enter the great hall, instead sticking to the woods.

Ragnar and two others ride out to meet the Earl. Once he draws near he finds that it is not a man that he’s come to meet, but Lagertha. She did not give him her name, for fear that he would turn her away. Ragnar circles her as she asks after her son. He is happy, looking forward to going to England, as is she. He asks if she is truly an Earl, and she is, now his equal. She questions if it is difficult for him, but it is not. He asks how many ships she has, four, and over a hundred warriors. She asks if he accepts her as an ally. He tells her that if she is really Earl Inksted then the answer is no, but if she is still the Lagertha that he knows then the answer is yes. The chemistry between the two still sparks as they ride together, him laughing over her Earl Inksted.

Jarl Borg plays with a rat, hiding his wife’s skull when Bjorn comes to see him. Bjorn offers jarl Borg some food, and he devours it. He is more animal than man.

Ragnar watches Lagertha train. Princess Aslaug tells him that the turn of events were unexpected, Ragnar wonders if the Gods are playing a joke. Princess Aslaug does not think it is a joke. She like Lagertha, she tells Ragnar, she would rather be her, she is formidable.

Darkness falls, and it is time. Jarl Borg is unchained, and he grabs his wife’s skull. He thinks himself free, but he is not. King Horik stands in his path, Ragnar up above, with Floki and the others lurking beyond. Surrounded by fire, Jarl Borg removes his cloak, flinging it to Helga as he faces Ragnar. He falls to his knees, and prepares for the blood eagle. As Ragnar slices up his back, Jarl Borg does not make a sound. It’s hynoptically beautiful, the blood falling. As Ragnar hacks into his back with an axe, Helga faints. Jarl Borg’s arms fall, and Ragnar replaces them as he continues his process. Many of the women struggle to continue watching, but not Lagertha. She watches with neither horror nor disgust. The black eagle draws near as Ragnar completes the process and walks away. It is done.


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