Vikings Recap S2E9: The Choice

Athelstan reads over the scrolls of Caesar’s battle as King Ecbert listens. Caesar was always thinking, always using the terrain. At the critical moment, Caesar strode to the front of the line, and addressed each of the men by name. King Ecbert sees that he has no choice but to kill Ragnar and all his men. Athelstan cannot believe that Ragnar did not want to speak peacefully, knowing that Ragnar is looking for fertile lands for his people to farm. He asks that King Ecbert send him to negotiate, but King Ecbert feels he is far too valuable, and would be slaughtered. Instead, he will wait for his allies to arrive, and then kill the Vikings.

Ragnar points out that King Horik’s actions make it very difficult to negotiate with King Ecbert. King Horik never intended to negotiate. Lagertha hopes that if they were to win against King Ecbert they would prosper with not only more gold and silver, but also more land. Ragnar points out that King Ecbert sent Athelstan’s bracelet as a gift of good faith, but King Horik isn’t looking for gifts from Christians. He asks Floki’s opinion, but he thinks little of them. Ragnar wishes to go to speak with King Ecbert himself, but King Horik reminds Ragnar that he is no king, and therefore will not split up their forces.

Bjorn cannot sleep, he worries what it feels like to die, but Ragnar tells him that only the dead know how it feels, not even the seer is truly dead. Ragnar reveals to his son what the seer told him about Bjorn marrying a princess. Bjorn does not think that will happen. King Horik tells Floki that Bjorn reminds him of the story of Odin’s son Bolder, implanting in his head that how the sly one, Loki, knew someone had to find a way to kill him.

Athelstan prays to God about the other Gods that wreck his nights. He has seen the Pagan Gods and does not understand why they are false, things that he has seen with his own eyes, things that Ragnar believes. He prays that Ragnar does not die, or King Ecbert either.

The Vikings march forward, and a crow flies overhead. They come to a stop, Ragnar feeling that this is the place. King Horik asks how he knows, because they are already there. A large force comes out onto the field. Ragnar thinks they should wait, but King Horik wishes to forge ahead, and use the advantace of the hill. Another force comes to their side, and Ragnar digs in to meet them. King Horik wishes that they march ahead, but Ragnar does not. Riders close in, and Lagertha tries to form a wall, but many are crushed beneath the horses. It’s a bloody battle, and the Northmen are slaughtered as King Ecbert watches. Rollo targets the horses, on a rampage. Aethelwulf rides him down, crushing him beneath hooves. Lagertha goes down, and others fall around as Ragnar fights to get near his loved ones. Torstein places him upon a horse. He searches for his son as more riders arrive. Lagertha with Torstein make for a retreat. Floki pushes King Horik into a retreat. Bjorn fights his way towards Ragnar, but they are forced to leave Rollo behind. No, not Rollo. With the battle over, King Ecbert’s men spear the fallen to ensure they’re dead. Athelstan finds Rollo and stops him from being speared. Rollo still lives, and although badly wounded King Ecbert orders them to try to save him. Crows circle above.

Ragnar asks King Horik if he thinks that talking first was still a bad thing. King Horik thinks that it was fated, and nothing else would change that fact. Bjorn is angered by the battle, Rollo died and they were defeated. Although they may have been defeated, Ragnar compliments his fighting, and doesn’t believe Rollo is dead. He knows it would take a lot to kill Rollo. Since no sword or spear touched Bjorn on the battlefield he calls him Bjorn Ironside, which makes King Horik’s story to Floki resonate all the more. Lagertha turns her attention to their next step. Abandoning their raid may be the best course, but Bjorn wants to stay until Rollo is returned. Ragnar asks King Horik what they are fated to do.

King Aelle is impressed with King Ecbert’s tactics, and they celebrate their victory over the Northmen. Athelstan goes to check on Rollo. Athelstan is not a welcome sight, he thinks that Athelstan betrayed them just as King Horik claimed he did. Rollo would kill Athelstan if he had the strength to do so.

The funeral pyres are lit, and the dead honored by the Northmen.

King Aelle splashes around King Ecbert’s tub. He wishes to attack again and wants to slaughter the rest. King Ecbert thinks that would be a bad idea. He wishes for an end to the incursions, and to do that they need to negotiate. King Ecbert thinks that they should hire the Northmen and quell the upheaval of Mercia. King Aelle likes that option, but not even the advisors think there is an envoy who would wish to negotiate with the Vikings. Aethelwulf suggests sending Athelstan to negotiate, but King Ecbert fears him being killed. Aethelwulf does not see his father’s attachment to the priest.

Athelstan rides in to speak with the Vikings. He greets Bjorn, asking if he remembers him. Of course Bjorn remembers him, as a child he wanted to kill him, and he grew to love him. Athelstan tells them that Rollo lives, that he is recovering. Athelstan acknowledges King Horik, who has yet to say anything. Lagertha steps forward, asking what he is doing there, if he has escaped. He’s been sent by King Ecbert with an offer of peace. King Horik thinks it is a trap, but Athelstan tells him that it is not, but King Horik alludes that Athelstan is little more than King Ecbert’s dog. Floki admires Athelstan’s clothing and hair. Lagertha asks if King Ecbert is prepared to offer a hostage and he is. King Horik asks who she thinks she is to make demands, seems someone has forgotten the whole equal partnership idea. Lagertha tells him that he does not need to go, she and Ragnar can handle things without him. If Ecbert means to kill them, so be it. Athelstan goes to give King Ecbert his answer, and Ragnar accompanies him part of the way. Assassins lurk in the bushes trying to get into position, but Ragnar pulls the priest close to both talk and protect him. He thought Athelstan was dead and is happy to see that he is not. He asks if he has gone back to his old faith, and renounced theirs. It’s not as simple as that. He sees both his God, and Thor. His life is infused with both. Ragnar hopes that one day both their Gods can become friends. Ragnar returns to him his bracelet, and tells him that he is safe to go now, but that he will see him again soon. They part still in friendship.

King Aelle asks who will be placed as hostage this time, and King Ecbert tells him that he will. King Ecbert is sure that there is no one that the Northmen would place higher, or treat better, and there is no way King Aelle can really back out of the prospect. Riders appear on the horizon approaching. Floki thinks that it is a mistake that it will end badly. He thinks that they risk too much for Rollo, and for Athelstan. Ragnar points out that Floki speaks a lot of trust, and Floki questions his accusations, claiming he is a trustworthy person. The exchange is made, King Aelle goes with the Northmen, and the small party of Northmen remain behind. King Ecbert welcomes Ragnar, Lagertha, Bjorn and King Horik. King Ecbert knows little of the language, so he lets Athelstan present his terms. Not only is the King offering money, he’s offering good land for farming as long as there is peace. In addition, he and Princess Kwenthrith are offering a heavy sum for any willing to fight for her. She watches them with great interest practically panting in their presence. Ragnar asks after his brother. Rollo will be released upon the acceptance of the offer, and the release of King Aelle. Ragnar and Lagertha accept the offer, King Horik remains quiet. Rollo is returned via wagon, and King Aelle is released. Athelstan extends the offer for mercenaries, and many men accept the offer. Ragnar tells him that he is taking Rollo home, and asks if Athelstan will come back with him, he wishes he come home.

Porunn learns to fight, trains as a shield maiden when Princess Aslaug approaches. She asks who told her to do that, but no one did. She wishes to go to war, to be like Lagertha. Princess Aslaug wonders why everyone wishes to be Lagertha. Aslaug frees Porunn, she is no longer a slave, and only serves if she chooses to do so. Porunn cannot believe she is being give this is happening, and Aslaug even gives her a parting gift.

King Ecbert looks over Athelstan’s things, touching the items left behind.

Porunn strips down on the beach, swimming out into the sea. She dunks herself beneath the water, and when she comes ashore she dresses in the items that Aslaug gave her.

Princess Kwenthrith looks over the men that have agreed to come and fight for her. She’s disappointed for a moment that Ragnar is not among them. She examines them as if they are little more than animals before announcing that she would like to breed with them, that they would produce giants.

The ships arrive back at Kattegat, and it is a little disheartening to see Rollo unloaded. Princess Aslaug welcomes everyone home including Lagertha asking her to make herself at home. Athelstan receives a warm welcome. Bjorn seeks out Porunn, and sees her in her new finery. Aslaug tells him that she now a free woman, no longer a slave. Porunn welcomes him back. Ragnar looks over his brother with worry as he is tended to. His leg is reset and splinted.

King Horik asks Floki for honesty, they have a weird twisted bond. He has a proposition for Floki.


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