We knew it was coming, saw it was coming from far away, and getting closer and closer. There was no way Ragnar could ever really recover from the debacle in Paris. He was carried on his last voyage to England by second-class ships. And, of course, we saw that conversation last week between Ragnar and Ecbert.
We saw more of that this week. But the crucial conversation in this remarkable episode was between Ragnar and Ivar. Ragnar telling his son that everyone around him will underestimate him, and that that will be his best weapon, which he should take advantage of. Words to live by, and Ragnar showing a profundity of spirit and a fatherly love we've really seen from him before.
For Ecbert, the indelible scene was not painted with words by eyes. Ecbert, looking at Ragnar as he was being tortured, then dying, conveying admiration and love in his eyes under that hood. Last week's episode ended with Ecbert's eyes, when they realized, or attempted to realize, what Ragnar was proposing to do. Ecbert knows, someplace deep down, that there's more to this than Ragnar told him. Ecbert's eyes were our eyes, looking at Ragnar's last moments, but we know what Ragnar told Ivar about Ecbert, and there is indeed more to Ragnar's plan.
But he won't see it happen. His sons will, as will history, as will the audience. The book on Ragnar is closed. It was a great and unforgettable story, of what surprise and power and cunning and finally wisdom can do.
I'm looking forward to what in effect will be its sequel, starting next week.
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 ... Vikings 4.14: Penultimate Ragnar?
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