Wednesday, January 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Vikings' - Ubbe Fights for His Life While Floki Makes a Major Discovery in 'What Happens in the Cave'

History's Vikings - Episode 5.19 "What Happens in the Cave"

Ubbe is forced into hand-to-hand combat. Floki reaches new depths and is met by a shocking sight. Bjorn sets off for Scandinavia with an old rival.

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.

"What Happens in the Cave" was written by Michael Hirst and directed by David Wellington

It truly does feel like things are coming to a lethal conclusion for all of the characters at the moment. The show is closing out its season by making the audience concerned about everyone. There is the uncertainty of anyone being killed at any moment in time. Some have miraculously survived for much longer than expected. Meanwhile, others have perished surprisingly quickly. This hour opens with Judith's death. That's the loss of a tremendous character. One that leaves a void that may not be filled in the English court anytime soon. She did so much to protect her son. And now, Alfred is king. He has already changed the landscape of England so much. However, he will have to continue doing so. His alliance with Ubbe continues to work out though. Ubbe proves that there may be a better way to live in peace beyond fighting. The English army could once again fight off invaders. However, Ubbe reaches out and is able to stop the conflict completely through one-on-one combat. Sure, it's an absolutely grueling sequence in which it seems like Ubbe may die at any moment. However, he ultimately prevails. He kills the one Danish king who wanted to go into battle and take over all of England. He didn't want to take Ubbe up on his offer of the land already granted to the vikings by King Alfred. As such, he dies in battle here. There is the sense that Ubbe may die as well. He only had the strength to prevail because he called out to the Norse gods for strength. That too is a pivotal moment because it may prove that he hasn't transformed all that much despite his new relationships in England. However, he is also able to achieve his father's dream of creating a prosperous viking settlement in England. It's no longer just a handful of viking soldiers either. Now, an entire army is going to settle here. That includes Lagertha. When she was found following the battle, her healer told her that her life as a queen and shield maiden had died. Now, she was reborn as something else. At first, it seemed like she was sliding into the role of maternal figure offering counsel to Alfred. But she closes the hour with a return to her roots. She is proud to celebrate the dream that Ragnar had. She is back to being a farmer in the viking settlement in England. This could offer her a sense of peace. It will represent a dramatically different life that may still be fulfilling for her. That stands in sharp contrast to the discovery that Floki makes in Iceland. He desperately wants a sign from the gods that this is still a cherished place that he should respect completely. He sees himself as a changed man. However, he is only confronted with the reality that this was a land once belonging to the Christians. Their religious monuments may be gone but some relics are still left behind. That is a cruel and tragic reveal for Floki. It's also one that may lead to his own death because he can't make sense of any of it. And finally, Bjorn and Harald return to Scandinavia and are preparing for war with Ivar. Of course, Ivar is already aware that they are coming. He knows that he has to protect his home instead of sailing off to raid England once more. However, two sons of Ragnar are united once more. Their bond of strength is renewed. Bjorn and Hvitserk have fought on opposing sides for awhile. However, they both now see the devastation that Ivar has left in his wake as the cruel and oppressive ruler of Kattegat. They know that he must be dethroned. Hvitserk sees it as the mission the gods placed him on when he got off the boat all those years ago. That may prove to be the case. However, it's still abundantly clear that the stakes of this battle could leave many of the characters in disarray with a number of outcomes being possible.