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Vikings Series 02 Episode 05 - "Unforgiven" - Review

5 Apr 2014

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Vikings Season 2 Episode 5 - “Unforgiven” - Review

I usually wait a day or two (or three) to write about these Vikings episodes, mostly just to process what went on, but having not been able to review the episode last week and this week’s episode being what it was, I feel the need to get the thoughts out pretty quickly.

I feel like this episode more than any other this season had such a strange feeling to it. Not a bad episode at all, but definitely one of the more weird episodes the show has done. It still worked very well, however, and we ended up with something that was different than what we were used to but still contained some incredible stand out moments.

Those people I’ve chatted with about the episode agreed that it was a bit strange, but no one has really been able to put their finger on why. There were a few moments, however, that may have contributed to that a little bit.

We open with Siggy this week, and while I’ve been hoping that they give her own story line this wasn’t really what I was thinking. I hope there’s a point to having her sleep with Horik’s son besides it just being icky and visually shocking. It’s a bit unclear what her intentions are, although she says she’s doing all this for Rollo but implies to the Seer that she’s doing this for herself. These goals could be one in the same and I’m glad Siggy is getting a bigger storyline as we head into the back half of the season. Also, good for her for standing up for herself against Horik and telling him that she is not his whore.

This was a big week for finally seeing the females in this show strike back against their abusers and oppressors, especially for Lagertha. It has been heartbreaking to watch Lagertha’s struggle over the past few weeks, and I think it has also been incredibly personal for some people. She has become one of the strongest female characters on any show and to see her mentally, verbally, and physically abused has had a lot of people wondering just when she would strike back. That all came to a head this week after being savagely beaten and publicly undressed by her husband she decides to take matters into her own hands and give him a nice stab in the eye. After which one of the men in the hall goes a step further and takes his head. Yes, I do wish it had been Lagertha that had had the honors, but I’m glad to see him go because he was just an awful character to have to endure.

What will happen to her now is anyone’s guess. I vote she gets to rule her new home on her own, but maybe she will head back to Kattegat?

Someone who doesn’t seem like they will be headed back to Kattegat anytime soon is Athelstan, who seems to have the miraculous ability to become a personal confidant to whomever captures him. This week he and King Ecbert have a deep discussion about religion, and Ecbert charges him with guarding and re-copying all the sacred Roman texts. Athelstan is overjoyed to be given such a position. I’m really like King Ecbert and I really want to see what his end game is. Back at Kattegat no one seems very concerned about the disappearance and/or death of Athelstan besides Ragnar and Bjorn, which was sweet but heartbreaking at the same time. I suppose Athelstan didn’t assimilate as well as they thought he did. It’s ok, Athelstan, at least you won Bjorn over.

This week’s episode culminates in a secret attack on Jarl Borg. At Horik’s suggestion, Ragnar agrees to work with Jarl Borg again but of course it’s a trap and Ragnar and his men trick Jarl Borg and promise to serve justice on him. This was such a great scene - at first I couldn’t tell if Ragnar was in on this plan, but the scene played so well. Lots of suspense, great cinematography, and wonderful score to accompany it. And to be honest I won’t be sorry to see the end of Jarl Borg, if that’s where the story goes.

What did you all think of this week? Did it seem like a strange episode to you? Did you enjoy it? With only four episodes left where do you think we are headed from here?

Tune in next week at 10pm EST on History Channel!

About the Author - Trina
Trina is a contributer for Spoiler TV who reviews Vikings, Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Mad Men. She is a European History major living in the united States. She is an avid TV watcher and keeps up on most shows. When not writing she spends her time reading, working on a thesis, and running.


  1. Thanks for the review Trina, I totally agree it was good but very strange.

  2. I loved the episode, but I also agree it was a strange one. Many of the scenes were a bit unexpected, to me at least - from Siggy sleeping with Horik's son, to the attack on Jarl Borg. I didn't expect Ragnar to just forgive him, but I don't know..I didn't see that attack coming either.
    Siggy, I too like to see more of her and I was hoping she would get a good storyline, just NOT this one.

    Athelstan...*sigh*...I honestly don't like what they are doing with him. He's been my favorite character so far and his current storyline is not making me happy. I hope there is something more to it and the end will prove to me it was all for the best. I think in a way the writers might be trying to keep his role as 'the audience' - they did say in season 1 this was his main role, he was discovering the vikings pretty much in the same rhythm as the audience. Now I think it could be said he is being used in the same way, but this time to discover more about the Christian's lifestyle during that period of time. But...I don't even know how to phrase this, my thoughts on the matter aren't clear enough. His character at the moment just seems all over the place and also pretty unbelievable.

    Lagertha....that has been a hard part to watch throughout the episode and I was so glad when it was over and that guy was killed.

    I also like Bjorn more and more and I'm really curious where they will go with him and his crush on the slave girl. Finally I'm glad people are starting to really forgive and appreciate Rollo again.

    All in all a great episode as always. And I was a little shocked seeing the promo, realizing there are only 4 episodes left. Yes, I knew the season would have 10...I just didn't realize how quickly time went by.

  3. I think there were two aspects which made the episode "strange"...for one, it had more moments with characters reflecting on their feelings as usual...we had Siggy, Rollo becoming accepted in society again, Horik's (totally off the mark) thoughts on Ragnar, and naturally Bjorn's bidding romance (I already like Porunn btw).
    But mostly this episode hurt. It hurt to see Lagertha getting beaten down, even if she got the upper hand in the end out of desperation. It hurt to see Siggy giving up even more in her quest to advance...I wish she had said no, but since she didn't, she now lost her self-respect, too. It hurt to see Athelstan getting shut into a gilded cage. And it hurt to see our "hero" doing something so unhonorable. However we try to rationalize it, Ragnar's revenge was more than gruesome...I especially have huge problems to get over the fact that they just burned the people in the barn (in which apparently not only Borg's people but also the servants slept). That's not the Ragnar who promises a village to spare them if they don't fight and keeps his word, or who hides a little child from his men. That's the ruthless killer we rarely get to see.

  4. Well, this series is not your typical series. There is a mystical quality to it as they bring in elements of the Viking religion, and Hirst treats it very reverentially. We in modern society have lost being tuned in to the spiritual world, and we tend to have lost the sensitivity to it, and feel strange when subjected to it. More elemental cultures still have it, and they tend to feel much more at home with the mystical side of life. There is an unseen world beyond science, and this series taps into it and makes a lot of people who don't accept anything other than science uneasy. It doesn't make me feel strange because I believe in the unseen world and have experienced enough of it, to find it valid. I'm not into the Vikings' religion, but I think a lot of medieval people would have found all this very easy to accept.

    That being said, I guess I'm enough of an "eye for an eye" type of person, to find satisfaction in seeing these victims getting justice on their abusers and oppressors. Ragnar and Legertha rock! Good to see Athelstan also being appreciated. Siggy was using her sexual power to move toward obtaining power in the way women often did in societies of the past. I really liked the spunk of Bjorn's serving girl's confrontation of his assumption that he could just have the woman he wants by virtue of his power over her as her master. She may provoke him to change his assumptions about the master/servant rights and dynamic. These Viking women were not docile! Love it!

    I have a feeling that Lagertha may find herself ruling her husband's people. The men seemed to find her brand of justice totally justified, interestingly. I don't know that she'll go back to Ragnar, other than as a new ally in his raiding. She may be the one to supply men to swell the Viking ranks for the raids. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens.


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