Wednesday, January 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'Vikings' - Floki Is Horrified By What Has Become of His Settlement in Iceland in 'The Most Terrible Thing'

History's Vikings - Episode 5.17 "The Most Terrible Thing"

An unexpected turn amongst the settlers leaves Floki powerless. King Alfred confronts Judith. In York, Bjorn must strike a deal with Harald. Wessex is once again threatened by a viking force, but who will lead the Saxon army to defend the realm?

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 Most Terrible Thing" was written by Michael Hirst and directed by Helen Shaver

This episode may feature Bjorn at his most vulnerable. He is a viking who has lost both of his parents. He knows that Ragnar is dead but he has no idea what has happened to Lagertha. He felt out of place in his life as well fighting for a cause he didn't believe in. He's now forming an alliance with King Harald that could turn against him at any moment. And finally, he is possibly experiencing love for the very first time in his life. He has accomplished so much. He has carried on the legacy of his father. He has seen parts of the world no viking has previously explored. He had a wife and children. But now, he is realizing just how empty all of that has been. He sees Gunnhild and knows that he is feeling something brand new. He opens up to her but is still very much afraid of expressing too many emotions. That actually is endearing to her. It doesn't matter that she was his prisoner when this relationship began. Now, it has morphed into something new where Bjorn admires just how fierce and strong she is. That's compelling and comes across as a strong character moment that informs so much. It allows there to be a significant perspective heading into this renewed fight for Kattegat. Ivar is preparing for it as well. He's just doing so by consolidating even more power for himself. It's sickening to watch as he becomes more of a tyrant. He basically accepts that he wants to be feared instead of loved. That's how he handles the new situation with Hvitserk. But that may mean his brother is conveniently missing when the battle comes to Kattegat once more. Ivar needs people to fight for him if he will continue to succeed in battle. He may be defeated soon and forced to reckon with the idea that he may not be a god after all. Right now, he is more than comfortable taking away the voices of his citizens by saying his advisors will make their recommendations and he will decide what's in the best interests of the people. He believes that he must always know best because he is better than anyone else because he's a god. That's just a flimsy argument made to ensure that he holds onto his power. He does have a crowd of cheering people for him though. Hvitserk is the only one who stands in horror to what he is witnessing. The viking conflicts aren't going to be contained to Kattegat though. Now, Alfred and Ubbe are dealing with a new threat from the Danish which could mark a new invasion. That will more than likely introduce numerous more characters into the narrative. It also means that Alfred and Ubbe will have to trust each other because they may not have any other allies in England at the moment. Judith is at least honest to Alfred about killing Aethelred to protect his power. And yet, that honesty may prove to be just as destructive to their trust and family bond. And finally, everything comes to a shocking and deadly climax in Iceland. Floki assembled these people with the hopes of creating a better life. One that didn't reward vengeance and revenge. One where people could thrive as farmers and didn't need one person to lead them all. Instead, this hour proves that no one has been capable of such change. It was foolish of Floki to try to create a new and better settlement. Kjetill kills Eyvind's entire family. And then, Aud jumps off a cliff to the waterfall below. It all destroys Floki. He once again finds himself the lone survivor amongst his warring loved ones.