Wednesday, December 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Vikings' - Lagertha Mounts the Defense of Her New Village When Bandits Strike in 'All the Prisoners'

History's Vikings - Episode 6.04 "All the Prisoners"

Lagertha leads her village's response to the recent attacks but despite her best efforts, when the inevitable attack comes, the consequences are tragic. Olaf has a bold new plan for the future of Norway. In Kiev, although Ivar discusses Oleg's ambitions for Scandinavia, he's actually more interest in the plight of Igor, the young heir who Oleg controls.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of History's Vikings.

"All the Prisoners" was written by Michael Hirst and directed by David Frazee

Lagertha knows the pain of losing a child. She lost a daughter a long time ago. And now, she has to endure that same loss all over again with Hali dying during the recent raid on the village. She left for a more isolated life. It offered her a chance at reconnecting with her roots. Instead, it has only done more damage to her life and the family she has created. She thought she could keep Bjorn and Torvi's children safe here. As such, the rulers of Kattegat could tend to their business elsewhere. It would also lift her spirits up. And now, there comes the pressing concern of having to mourn the loss of a child while expecting even more damage to come. This storyline highlights the resilience of the viking spirit. Lagertha is there to console her grandson as he is dying. He just wanted to impress her. Instead, White Hair took advantage of that loss and needed to make this fight personal. This village is much more capable at fighting than it was originally perceived as doing. They can push back against this band of bandits. However, they may still come back to bring even more violence. The viking way of life is to always stand up to defend what one has built in this world. Lagertha is embracing her warrior spirit once more. It just continues to have as many consequences as it did throughout her former life. That is personally devastating. And yes, Gunnhild is on her way after having a prophetic dream. That too showcases importance for her ability to connect to the emotional traumas of the world. Torvi is prevented from leaving Kattegat even though she extends so much love to her children. These shield maidens are always willing to fight. They may be pregnant but they have so much more to be concerned about as well. Ubbe doesn't want to fear that the worst has happened. He has to be firm with Hvitserk. Sure, he may be too harsh to his brother. Hvitserk is essentially have a mental breakdown. He is no longer capable of interacting with reality in a tangible and meaningful way. His brothers want to give him responsibilities in order for him to emerge from this dark headspace. He may be too far gone though. That too is tragic. It means he may be the latest member of this family to die. He is vulnerable and isn't getting the help that he needs. Most people don't know how to help him either. Ubbe just sees his inability to represent this community on the world stage as the latest evidence of betrayal on Hvitserk's part. It's not an active choice though. Tough love may be able to help parts of this situation. It won't fix the underlying issues though. Hvitserk is forever afraid that Ivar will haunt him until he dies. That may happen sooner rather than later. Prince Oleg is ready to invade Scandinavia. He wants Ivar to sit on the throne once more. Of course, he largely wants his friend's rule to be a symbolic one. It's just a way for Oleg to expand his influence throughout the continent. It's a power play where he doesn't care who gets hurt in the process. That creates more agency within Ivar as he too knows how to play the game effectively. He feels the pressure to create conflicts here that may be beneficial to him later on. He wants this family to be at odds with one another while still fundamentally viewing him as the most trustworthy ally they could have. He has grown close to them. He too is prepared to strike. He just has to be more cautious. That too is a powerful tool and lesson. Bjorn made swift efforts to attack King Olaf to rescue King Harald. His army was defeated in battle because they waded into a trap. Despite that, Olaf comes forward with an offer to potentially unite all of Norway under Bjorn's leadership as the sole king. That is a tantalizing prospect. Of course, it also highlights the inconsistency of Olaf as a threatening presence. At one moment, he is commanding his troops effectively in battle. At other times, he is a meandering old man reflecting on the lessons the gods may be trying to send him. It's erratic storytelling that makes it more difficult to truly connect with the emotions and potential changes to the characters at play.