Wednesday, January 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Vikings' - Judith Protects One Son by Hurting the Other While Bjorn Makes a New Alliance in 'The Buddha'

History's Vikings - Episode 5.16 "The Buddha"

Bjorn achieves one of Ragnar's dreams. Back in Kattegat, Ivar hatches a new plan while preparing for a divine arrival. In Iceland, a settler returns in a terrible state. King Alfred faces his greatest threat yet.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of History's Vikings.

"The Buddha" was written by Michael Hirst and directed by Steve Saint Leger

Faith has played such a huge role over the course of this series. The various people of this world each have their own belief systems. There have been so many clashes between Christianity and the Norse beliefs. Each side believes that they are right. They believe they have all of the answers about what to expect in the next life. That's what makes it so fascinating when this episode sees the coming together of two of those sides while introducing a new religion into this world. Alfred makes good on his promise to grant land to Bjorn and Ubbe because of their assistance in fighting the viking army. It's what Ragnar always aspired to have in England. The vikings can now form a settlement in which they can farm and grow their influence in the world. But it's still a story told through Ubbe and Torvi being welcomed because they have been baptized and continue to partake in Christian ceremonies. That's something that Bjorn simply cannot do. He already views the gods as being angry with him. He understands that this is the path his father wanted for the vikings. Bjorn just knows that he must now explore different pursuits. He sees the value in sailing back to Kattegat in order to overthrow Ivar. That's the destiny that must also be obtained for the vikings. It just means Bjorn has to form an alliance with Harald. That just seems so random. It continues to prove that the loyalties and alliances are constantly shifting in this world. Even though Harald was defeated in battle, all Bjorn has to do is show up to prove that he still commands an impressive army that could prevail no matter where they go next. But again, this represents two very different factions of vikings. Ubbe and Torvi have been granted this land. And yet, they may be the only vikings starting a family here. Lagertha has gone missing. That remains a mystery as well. She just vanished during the latest battle. She will return when the time comes for her to be an important part of the story once more. Bjorn, Ubbe and Torvi all trust that that will happen at some point. They shouldn't just wait around for something to happen though. They have to continue living their lives. That's why Bjorn wants to sail back home. He wants to claim the kingdom that was stolen from his mother. It just happens to coincide with Ivar's plans to return to England to fight alongside Harald to ensure that the English are defeated. He wants to have a rematch with Alfred knowing that they have both become kings amongst their respective people. But again, it's a little unclear where the next battle will be fought. Will it be amongst the vikings once more in Kattegat? Or will England see even more bloodshed? It all seems to be centered around the idea that Hvitserk has found a new religion in Buddhism. That's a faith brought to this land by one of the slaves in Kattegat. But it's also something that Hvitserk immediately holds onto. He understands that his people have the potential to change. That has already been evidenced elsewhere in the story with the new settlements in England and Iceland. Floki is making the choice to be better and try to save everyone even though it could lead to more people being put in harm's way. Moreover, Judith makes such a wicked decision in order to secure her power and the belief that Alfred was anointed to be king for a reason. She kills her eldest son, Aethelred. That's a shocking moment that proves that she won't let anything jeopardize Alfred's reign. She is potentially making the country vulnerable should Alfred also die from his latest illness. And yet, she sees this as a necessary action because the country needs to rally around Alfred and not hold onto the hope that a new king could be crowned just as quickly.