If Ragnar is going to spend all of season four pouting over Floki saving his life, it’s going to be a long season.
Since Ragnar woke up, he’s been nothing but pissy to pretty much everyone he encounters, particularly Floki. Oddly enough, one of those rare exceptions is Floki’s wife, Helga, even though she freed Floki from his towncenter shackles to make a run for it. Ragnar can’t be bothered to hunt Floki down, however, so he sends his second eldest son, Ubbe – who is, like, ten – to lead a search party. Despite his flaring temper these days, Ragnar is gentle with Helga and tells her he doesn’t blame her for setting Floki free. But when Aslaug, his wife and mother of most of his children, mentions that Floki killed Athelstan, who was Ragnar’s friend despite being a Christian, she gets slapped twice and knocked to the ground because she doesn’t understand “loyalty and trust.” I understand he loved Athelstan, but wouldn’t any sane person be more upset at the person who set your prisoner free? I guess “sane” is the operative word; Ragnar has seemed off his game since the Paris raids.
Floki is recaptured and taken back to Ragnar, who promises to make him suffer for a long, long time, like Ragnar has been forced to suffer by being alive. Oh, whine! Floki’s hands are tied to the walls, maxing out his wingspan, he’s been stripped down to just a groin covering, and a slow and annoying water drip is pitter-pattering on his head. His wife, who seems to be loyal to a fault, does her best to save him from the torturous drip, but her neglect of their sick daughter sends her into an early grave. A grave Ragnar helps Helga dig.
Back in Paris, Rollo is teaching the Franks how to defend themselves against another Viking attack and is basically doing a dinner theater version of Beauty and The Beast. Princess Gisla sees him as an animal with long hair and bad manners, so in an effort to win over his wife’s heart, he gets a haircut and changes his clothes to fit his new role as Duke Rollo. Instead of a knowing smile and a moment of appreciation from Princess Gisla, Rollo gets laughed at by her and her servants. It’s a slight variation from the Disney version, but all I can see in my head is the Beast with his hair curled with ribbons and bows right before “Tale As Old As Time” starts.
Meanwhile, King Egbert sends his son, Prince Aethelwulf, on a dangerous mission to rescue Princess Kwenthrith and her son Magnus from Mercia, though he makes clear Magnus is the only one he truly cares about. While he’s away, Judith asks the king to order a priest to teacher her lumination, or what seems to be painting the holy texts. Since women have never been allowed to study or work on holy texts, the priest hired to teach her – who Judith mistakes for Athelstan at first, not knowing he’s dead – refuses the job. But she tells him to complain to the king if he has an issue with it, which he does but is quickly told he must teach her anyway. I say, good for her, sort of. It’s very progressive of her to be the first woman to work on holy texts.
We see just enough of Bjorn this episode to know he’s still surviving in the blistering cold of the wilderness, but I imagine we’ll see more of his journey next week.