Had Ragnar taken on the entire force, our Vikings might well have lost. But in the key moment, Ragnar realizes that the two enemy forces are too far apart to come to each other's aid during the battle. So Ragnar attacks the weaker force.
Ragnar, in other words, continues to be not only a fearsome warrior but a brilliant strategist - one, moreover, able to make the right decision on almost a moment's notice. A savagely intelligent opponent indeed, and an apt personification of why the Vikings conquered so much and so far our real history.
Meanwhile, there's some good supporting character development. Ragnar's son Bjorn is better than ever, and is soon to be a father himself with his shield-maiden Porunn, thus recapitulating Ragnar and Lagertha. But Lagertha is now coveted by the Wessex King Ecbert, who shows her the farmland that drew the Vikings to England this time around.
But history shows and this narrative demands that the Vikings will take a long time before they settle into farming, even in the lush lands away from Scandinavia. This is the Shakespearean tragedy underlying this story of the Vikings on television. Ragnar longs for the peace and contentment of farming with reliable crops and temperate climate. This life seems right in his reach now that he's in England. But his prowess as a warrior is irresistible to Ecbert, who won't let Ragnar have the farm until all of Ecbert's enemies are vanquished. And once ignited, England will just be the beginning of Ragnar and the Vikings' lust for new lands to conquer.
Glorious and sad for Ragnar, good grist for the story that is ahead this season of Vikings and beyond.
See also Vikings 2.1-2: Upping the Ante of Conquest ... Vikings 2.4: Wise King ... Vikings 2.5: Caught in the Middle ... Vikings 2.6: The Guardians ...Vikings 2.7: Volatile Mix ... Vikings 2.8: Great Post-Apocalyptic Narrative ... Vikings Season 2 Finale: Satisfying, Surprising, Superb
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
historical science fiction - a little further back in time