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Vikings - Kill The Queen - Review: "What Took You So Long?"



Vikings Season 4 Episode Guide
4.01 - A Good Treason
4.02 - Kill The Queen
4.03 - Mercy (Airs 3 March)
4.04 - Yol (Airs 10 March)
4.05 - Promised (Airs 17 March)
4.06 - What Might Have Been (Airs 24 March)
4.07 - The Profit and the Loss (Airs 31 March)

Vikings 4.02: Kill The Queen
Directed by Ciarán Donnelly & Written by Michael Hirst

This episode came of the strong premiere by switching the attention back to Wessex after an England-free A Good Treason and as a result the second episode couldn't quite match the quality of the first, despite giving us a pretty intense ending battle that this show always has been good at. I'll get onto the action scene later, but first, let's look at Bjorn. He's ventured off into the wilderness in a desperate bid to prove something to his father, eating fishes and experiencing the harsh, cold winter conditions for himself. But Bjorn was merely a minor thread in the Viking saga that instead decided to cover everything this week, rather than a narrower focus of A Good Treason.

It isn't long before Floki is escaped and the townspeople are alerted. Ubbe, Bjorn's younger half-brother, is able to spot what everyone else seemingly couldn't and sees the direction that Floki is headed in when he joins the hunt for the escaped prisoner. He discovers Floki hiding in the stream and as a result Floki is recaptured, having been freed by Helga. However when confronted, Helga admits to Ragnar about what she's done and Ragnar tells her that he understands her actions. Floki, whose escape attempt failed to come to fruition, is imprisoned again, chained in a cave by Ragnar despite Aslaug defending him. Aslaug of course is easily put down by Ragnar, who tells her that she doesn't understand loyalty and trust. Of course he doesn't know that Aslaug has done more than just cheat on him with Harbard, and that she's actively plotting to take the throne. Aslaug and Floki are both immediate problems that Ragnar has to deal with and it'll be interesting to see how Vikings continues their narrative over the course of the season. Will either of them make it to Season 5 alive? It'll be interesting to see whether they're killed off or the show attempts to see them on a path of a redemption.

One thing that felt odd about this episode was the return to Wessex but without any Northmen involved. Every other story going on here had at least one Viking involved in its plight but the Wessex sequences did not seem to have that going for it. It felt disconnected as the show attempted to return to the power-play and political intrigue. The Queen was held hostage with her child and a desperate rescue attempt was lead by the forces against the uprising in a bloody, brutal extended action sequence that whilst was effective and increased the tension, it did so with characters that we aren't as invested in as the ones back in Scandinava. I mean, it's unknown at this stage as to what role the people of Wessex will play in the show's future. Will Rollo come to England? Will Ragnar return? Will they stay separated? Regardless of where this takes us it's interesting to note that this show is shaping up to do the opposite of what Game of Thrones is doing at the moment. Unlike in the HBO series, where all the characters seem to be heading on a path that will drive them together, Vikings seems content on driving them away. But regardless, it seems like Ragnar is having another betrayal on his hands alongside that of Rollo in the form of Ecbert. Ecbert may not be directly plotting against him but for the meantime, is keeping himself occupied by trying to woo Judith, by promising her unrestricted freedom to learn and read whatever she wants despite the objections of the monk Prudentius. He doesn't seem to care too much about what Judith's husband and his son, Aethelwulf might think, sending out Aethelwulf to rescue the Queen, which he manages to do despite battling a ticking clock. But unfortunately, I was not invested enough in either of these characters for the battle to make the desired impact that at needed to.

The same thing seems to be happening in Paris as well at the moment. Despite the betrayal being effective at the end of last week and the battle sequence that followed, the French storyline can't quite be as interesting as the show's writer, Hirst perhaps wants it too be. I mean, we already have the Wessex Court and political intrigue, and now Rollo's story is starting to feel like Wessex 2.0, in a case that's very much been there, done that. It didn't help also that we continued to meet a lot of new characters this week limiting Rollo's screentime further, and as a result, it meant that things didn't quite happen as quickly or as interestingly as they could have done.

The episode ended with a twist that didn't quite feel as shocking or as impactful as it could have done with the burial of Helga's child, Angrboða. This doesn't stop Ragnar from being shocked though when he stumbles across the digging of her grave, and asks Helga what she died of. Helga responds bluntly, "Does it Matter?", and accepts Ragnar's help to bury her child in the freezing wilderness, even though he's obviously in pain from the still-healing wounds. It's where we leave both characters at the end of the episode and hopefully when we return to them, Vikings will regain the form that made the first episode so strong. Because right now, after the great series premiere, Kill the Queen was unfortunately an underwhelming one with too many storylines about too many people that we don't care about.

What did you think of Kill The Queen? Let me know in the comments below and check out the next episode of Vikings tonight at 10pm on History. If you're following Black Sails and The Shannara Chronicles, be sure to look out for my reviews of the latest episodes of both shows over the next couple of days, with Black Sails coverage going up tomorrow, whilst The Shannara Chronicles finale review will go live over the weekend.

Overall Episode Verdict: B-
Positives:
+The hunt for Floki.
+Aethelwuf's rescue attempt may have allowed for some nice action, but...
Negatives:
-...We don't really care about the Wessex storyline.
-Paris turning into Wessex 2.0.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Class, Hell on Wheels, Murder in the First, Narcos, The Shannara Chronicles, Veep and Vikings for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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