Among the high points of the conversation was Athelstan, how Ragnar and Ecbert both loved him, competed for his attention, with Ragnar saying and Ecbert acknowledging that Athelstan loved Ragnar more, which is why he went back to Scandinavia. (I always thought that Athelstan went back with Ragnar more from a motive to learn more about this strange new culture, than the magnetism of Ragnar, but the two factors are related.) But Ragnar also feels deep guilt about Floki's murder of Athelstan, and Ragnar's failure to protect his friend.
The appearance of Athelstan's son in many ways epitomized this profound scene. It indicated that Athestan would be continuing in some way in the flesh, and gave Ragnar another chance to show his love for Athelstan, in that long hug.
The death of Athelstan and his continuance in his son also serves as prelude for the ultimate message of the conversation between Ragnar and Ecbert. Ragnar feels his time on this Earth is ending, and he wants to take his leave in a way that most protects his sons and his legacy.
The look in Ecbert's eyes when he realizes what Ragar is asking him to do, well, just said it all - and superb, deftly effective acting in this season from both Linus Roache and Travis Fimmel.
So will Ragnar be dispatched to Valhalla in the next episode? The coming attractions certainly suggest that, but we've been surprised before, and as much as I like change, I'd like to see Ragnar stay on forever.
See also Vikings 4.1: I'll Still Take Paris ... Vikings 4.2: Sacred Texts ...Vikings 4.4: Speaking the Language ... Vikings 4.5: Knives ... Vikings 4.8: Ships Up Cliff ... Vikings 4.10: "God Bless Paris" ... Vikings 4.11: Ragnar's Sons ... Vikings 4.12: Two Expeditions ... Vikings 4.13: Family
And see also Vikings 3.1. Fighting and Farming ... Vikings 3.2: Leonard Nimoy ...Vikings 3.3: We'll Always Have Paris ... Vikings 3.4: They Call Me the Wanderer ... Vikings 3.5: Massacre ... Vikings 3.6: Athelstan and Floki ...Vikings 3.7: At the Gates ... Vikings 3.8: Battle for Paris ... Vikings 3.9: The Conquered ... Vikings Season 3 Finale: Normandy
And 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