Recap: Vikings 4.3 "Mercy"

Mar 03, 2016 by Sarah Moffatt

Poor Floki. Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the guy – his best friend (aka the king) turned on him and now he’s being tortured for doing what he thought was the right thing – it gets much, much worse.

I have to hand it to Helga. She is a very loving and loyal wife in a time where the idea loyalty in a marriage seems to be open to interpretation. You can’t help but feel bad for her as she holds the bowl over Floki’s head to collect the water constantly dripping on his head and slowly driving him crazy. It’s hard to imagine a water drip really being torture; couldn’t he just ignore it? But, then I think about how annoyed I get when someone starts tapping their foot or their nails over and over and over again and I realize that’s probably the worst sort of torture, even above pain.

But Floki’s torture isn’t over yet: As Helga holds the bowl over Floki’s head day and night, Ragnar pays them a visit and forces Helga to tell Floki about how she and Ragnar buried Floki and Helga’s daughter. I never really liked Floki very much, especially in the first two seasons, but my heart hurt for him in this moment.

Ragnar is still dealing with an internal battle about what to do with Floki. I suppose this struggle is the reason Athelstan’s, um, ghost came to see him in the middle of the night. Ragnar was called out of bed and drawn to his throne, where Athelstan washed his feet and repeated the word “mercy” three times, prompting Ragnar to cut Floki loose because he’s “suffered enough.”

Athelstan had a busy night, also summoning King Ecbert to the room of the holy texts. There, Athelstan does not touch or speak to King Ecbert, but he signs the cross before disappearing when the King reaches for him, saying “How I’ve waiting for you.” King Ecbert took this visit as a sign Athelstan was dead, but I think perhaps Athelstan was blessing him for sleeping with his son’s wife. But maybe that’s none of my business.

Speaking of King Ecbert’s son, Aethelwulf, he returns from saving Kwenthrith and her son Magnus, who turns out to be Ragnar’s son too. He seems to know right away that something’s up with Judith, who had been crying after Ecbert told her Athelstan is dead. If you recall, the last thing he said to Judith before leaving on his mission was something like “since I can trust you again, I don’t find it hard to leave.” I thought then it was a bit of sarcasm mixed with a warning, which Judith did not heed since she slept with his father. After Aethelwulf returns and sees Judith, he goes to Kwenthrith’s room that night and sleeps with her.

For a minute there, Kalf and Lagartha were my favorite couple ever. After he confessed his love and said he would love nothing more than to have her be the mother of his “children,” I melted. Note that he didn’t specifically say “son,” which was probably one of the straws that broke her and Ragnar’s relationship in the end: he lost it after the gods took away his and Lagartha’s son – though he only referred to the baby as his son if I remember correctly – during birth. I had high hopes for this new ass-kicking couple until Kalf put out a hit on Bjorn, Lagartha’s only son. Lagartha can’t help but pick guys who probably mean well for the most part, but end up making very bad, devastating choices. I’m not looking forward to this bombshell.

Until Kalf’s hired berzerker shows up, Bjorn has his hands full in the woods, fighting to find food and stay warm. He does stumble across a surprise tiny keg of ale, which he proceeds to get wasted off of (good for him), though he’s feeling it the next day when he’s attacked by a bear. I bet he wished he had some of that ale left after having to seal a gaping hole the bear left in his shoulder/chest area with a piping hot sword.

Rollo is still doing his thing in France: fighting for his wife’s love and helping the Franks defend themselves against his brother’s inevitable second attack. Gisla ends up asking for a divorce, which leads Rollo to think he needs to learn French, so he can communicate with his new wife but based on him throwing the very old teacher across the room, it doesn’t go well.

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