Wednesday, January 16, 2019

REVIEW: 'Vikings' - The Birth of Ivar's Son Leads to a Shocking Moment While Judith Finds Lagertha in 'Baldur'

History's Vikings - Episode 5.18 "Baldur"

Hvitserk is severely tested. Floki makes an amazing discovery. Freydis gives Ivar a surprise. Ubbe negotiates with the three Danish Kings that have massed their armies in Reading, but the negotiations may have a perilous outcome.

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.

"Baldur" was written by Michael Hirst and directed by Helen Shaver

As the season is coming to a close, it's surprising just how many different directions the narrative is spreading out in. Some stories have hit their emotional climaxes already and are dealing with the personal fallouts for the characters. Others are holding the characters in a specific position until something more dramatic can happen. Others are just racing through stories in the hopes that they can build to some epic conclusions for the final two episodes of the season. It's slightly jumbled and scattered. It means that the Iceland settlement has failed from Floki's perspective and he is going off on his own adventure once more. That's his understanding of the world. He sees himself as a changed man. But that corner of the world has been absolutely tangential and may only continue to be with Floki isolated even more. Meanwhile, Lagertha and Judith are changing as well. Lagertha makes her grand return to the narrative but it's not of her own choosing. Instead, Judith finds her when she is seeking out some primitive healing. Both of them view themselves as past their prime and dying. Of course, they both delivered decisive and major blows earlier this season. Lagertha was still on the battlefield while Judith killed Aethelred and is still dealing with those consequences. And now, the show is suddenly putting them in new positions as kindred spirits. It's a fascinating idea that once again teases that their arcs in the narrative may be coming to a close sooner rather than later. That would be a tremendous loss for the show. It's what's being signaled through Lagertha's delirious state of seeing Ragnar's final moments of his life though. That's an out-of-body experience that proves their connection is still strong even though everyone has been moving away from that unifying goal that Ragnar started for his people. That means that Bjorn is getting married and making the final preparations for his attack on Ivar in Kattegat. Hvitserk is also mounting his own rebellion by reaching out to the new allies Ivar was hoping to rely on in the next raids on England. Ubbe also finds himself as a diplomat in the hopes of avoiding even further bloodshed in England. The new Danish forces that have arrived bring a set of three kings. Two are willing to hear him out about peace. The other demands a battle. That ensures that the pressure is still on for Ubbe to deliver all that he has promised to King Alfred. But all of this also proves that people are stepping out of the shadows of their parents and their legacies. Ubbe is known for his own achievements even though the world isn't aware of the alliance he has made with the English. That's still portrayed as a positive though. Ubbe and Torvi can preach the values of diplomacy without the need for both sides to lose too many lives in this conflict. However, all of this also stands in stark contrast with what's going on with Ivar. He hasn't learned and grown from his father's legacy. In fact, he is making the mistakes that could have doomed Ragnar in the first place. Ivar has embraced himself as a god who can do no wrong. As such, he must kill whomever speaks out against him. That's so devastating. It proves that he really is a tyrant who needs to be dethroned as soon as possible. But he's also a monster because he abandons his newborn baby in the woods. That's a decision that Ragnar could not make with Ivar despite his deformities. Ivar may be better informed of what living with such difficulties means. But it's still so cruel and horrifying especially after he has spent so much time talking about the divine power that comes from the arrival of his son. All of this shows how corrosive his mind has become even with the threats closing in on all sides around him.