In England, it was good to see more of the wisdom of Ecbert, the Wessex king. He's the best strategic match for Ragnar we've seen so far in the series, in either England of Scandinavia. One question occurred to me: was it always the King's plan to surprise attack the Norsemen, or did that occur only after Ragnar broke his bargain, and left England with no notice? Very likely the latter, but it's a measure of Ecbert's cleverness than you don't quite know, for sure.
I was also glad to see Ecbert spare Athelstan from his crucifixion. This speaks further of Ecbert's intelligence - Athelstan could be his best intellectual asset - as well as the good future of the series. Athelstan is one of the best characters, and certainly the most pivotal, being the only one who has an understanding both cultures.
Back in Scandinavia, it was great to see Ragnar reunited with his son Bjorn, now played by the older, taller Alexander Ludwig rather than Nathan O'Toole (both excellent). I hope the show is not laying the groundwork for his loss in battle, as he, too, is one of the best characters in the series.
Come to think of it, almost all the characters are the best, one reason why Vikings is so compelling. It was good to see Lagertha coming back to life and action. Her husband's a dud, and Lagertha is a vibrant contrast to Princess Aslaug. The Princess has her moments, but her status as princess apparently puts her above the battles raging around her, and makes her much less of a help to Ragnar than Lagertha with her weapons and military prowess. I'm also not clear exactly what the serpent in the eye means for the baby and the future, but we'll no doubt be learning a little more about that before the season is over.
Vikings continues to be excellent historical drama, and a worthy successor to Rome, The Tudors, The Borgias (in which Nathan O'Toole also appeared) and Spartacus.
See also Vikings 2.1-2: Upping the Ante of Conquest
And see also Vikings ... Vikings 1.2: Lindisfarne ... Vikings 1.3: The Priest ... Vikings 1.4: Twist and Testudo ... Vikings 1.5: Freud and Family ... Vikings 1.7: Religion and Battle ... Vikings 1.8: Sacrifice
... Vikings Season 1 Finale: Below the Ash
Like historical fiction? Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...