Bernard Walsh / History

Is Ragnar Asking For It, And By 'It' We Mean 'A Brutal Death,' On Vikings?

Also, will that stupid son with the bad hair stop harping about Harbard already?

Would it have been so hard to give Aslaug safe passage?

I'm sure this killing is, unfortunately, the Viking way. Some bitch steals your man and your town AND your happiness, you can't smile and let her wander out of town with a good, fluffy animal skin on her back to boot. Aslaug was a witch, so she knew what was coming, and Lagertha was just doing what was expected. But for one brief, shining moment it seemed as if sisters were, if not coming together, wrapping up the business of a hostile takeover with much more civility than what you see on Wall Street or on an episode of The Bachelor. It was dignified and reasonable and, whoops, arrow to the back of the head and dunzo.

RIP, Aslaug, even though you were largely a dumpster fire whose only skills were having bad dreams and procreating.

Wasn't Aethelwulf totally over his dad earlier this season?

Aethelwulf isn't the brightest bulb, but when he hooked up with Queen Kwenthrith, it seemed that his tiny, dim, 15-watt brain might have figured out that his dad saw him as a thoroughly disposable pawn in the game of pasting together all the quibbling English fiefdoms into one big empire. Yes, after Kwenthrith's death it was pretty clear Ecbert was better at playing royal chess than anyone ever, but did Aethelwulf have to fall back into chasing his dad around, trying to impress him that he'd had Ragnar beaten up, then shuffling around like a misfit toy when he didn't get a pat on the head and a cookie?

I suppose some of it has to be an act, though -- he had the common sense to send Magnus packing after Ragnar declared him not of his loins. Kinda sad that Ecbert would be more interested in keeping around Ragnar's kid than his own grandson, but obviously he and Aethewulf are not going to hug it out anytime soon anyway.

Could Ragnar have been any crueler to Magnus, or would that have required weaponry?

Speaking of Magnus, I'm pretty sure even a Viking could have said something a little nicer than "I never screwed your mom and she always pissed on me," although I guess this was not an age of helicopter parenting or clever euphemisms for sex. Probably by age eight or ten, kids of this time period already knew about the birds and the bees, as they had to start having progeny of their own before the Black Plague or the common cold took them out. Who has time for niceties when it's always cold and everyone is on the brink of death shortly after puberty?

Jonathan Hession / History

Jonathan Hession / History

How exactly does Ecbert think he can spin killing everyone in the settlement was just the right move at the wrong time?

This long, bromantic date between Ecbert and Ragnar didn't start out so well. There really isn't any way to spin or apologize for brutally killing another ruler's subjects, is there? "Mea maxima culpa, sorry for slaughtering the women and children of your village who only wished to farm and live peacefully"? "Oopsy"? Really? It's also a little tough to sell it when you're keeping the guy in a cage that's about a foot too short for him. Ecbert's really pretty lucky Ragnar was on a suicide mission, or I'm pretty sure he would have made killing Ecbert his first order of business once he got the feeling back in his legs.

Why is '80s Hair Band Sigurd so hung up on Harbard?

While it was hard to watch Ubbe desperately try to at least poke Lagertha in retaliation for Aslaug's death, Sigurd wasn't so motivated. Why? His mom had sex with someone other than his dad! Sure, Ragnar got around, but how dare she do the same when she could be spoonfeeding her kids and playing patty-cake? What woman wouldn't prefer that to getting down to business with a guy who might actually have been a god (but probably wasn't and oh well, it was still hot sex). As evolved as the Vikings seem to be about some things, Sigurd was perfectly suited for the 1950s, though his hair was strictly 1980s. In so many of the worst ways, a man ahead of his time.

How did Ecbert and Ragnar's conversation morph from a drunken, existential college dorm discussion to two exes bonding on My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?

Initially, watching Ecbert try to snow Ragnar about the village was painful. But then, it just got weird. Ecbert and Ragnar have too much to drink and start comparing gods, then the meaning of life, then turned into a couple of teenage girls bonding about their mutual crush on a guy, who in this case was Athelstan. I loved him! No, I loved him and it's my fault he's dead! Because I loved him more than Floki, and Floki was jealous! I was jealous! Aaargh! This is so weird! Why don't you guys start punching each other, because isn't that what men do instead of share feelings?

It all does end nicely, with Ragnar convincing Ecbert to send him to King Aelle for a truly horrific death. There's even handholding so Ecbert doesn't feel all poopy about getting him killed. It's so darn cute, really.

This can't be the end of Ragnar, can it?

I realize that history dictates that Ragnar does, in fact, die a miserable death (this is not a spoiler, people, because: history), but Vikings without Ragnar just doesn't feel like Vikings anymore, even when Ragnar has been weird and navel-gazing and annoyingly like the crazy uncle you invite to family dinners because you have to but not because you want to. I'm not sure I'm ready to watch any of the sons, even Ivar, take the reins. But if this means we get more Lagertha kicking ass, I might be able to adapt.

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