Crippled by his guilt over Athelstan’s death, betrayed by a brother he thought he knew, and no longer feeling the same thirst for westward expansion that drove his rise to power, Ragnar Lothbrok is a shell of a man he once was. Though his life as a farmer was much smaller and less exciting than his time as King, Ragnar at least had the love of his children and Lagertha to keep him going; he needed to provide a home and life for them, so he was willing to accept that his world might only be limited to Kattegat. His adventures upon rising from Earl to King, wholly resting upon his desire to give his people the type of access to resources he never had, might’ve initially been more satisfying than farming life, but with age, experience, and the pressures of power came a numbness that has only compounded, hence his desire for someone, anyone, to put him out of his misery.
On tonight’s episode of Vikings, Ragnar gets his last request granted thanks to a merciful Ecbert, as he makes it to Northumbria to come face to face with King Aelle. Wanting nothing more than for Aelle to put him out of his misery, thereby paying his old friend Ecbert a major favor by diverting the wrath of his sons to another kingdom, Ragnar’s death wish is as close as it’s been to being fulfilled, given than Aelle doesn’t have the same type of emotional attachment to Ragnar than Ecbert does. Aelle revels in the possibility of being the one to put down the great warrior Ragnar Lothbrok, of having his name rather than Ecbert’s etched in the annals of history, of getting revenge on Ecbert for snatching control of Mercia following Kwenthrith’s demise, but Ragnar’s presence in the kingdom alongside Ivar isn’t without complication. While he might be ready to end his journey in this world the same place he began his time as world-exploring royalty, Ragnar has one last plot against the Saxons to execute, one last punch in the mouth to give his enemies before he makes it to Valhalla. Only this time, he’ll get to involve Ivar in the joyfulness of his scheming.
Elsewhere on Vikings, Lagertha makes her first moves as the new Queen of Kattegat, while Bjorn continues his voyage to Rome with Rollo in tow.
Vikings airs tonight at 9:00 on History.
Will Ivar make it out of Northumbria unscathed should Ragnar fall at the hands of Aelle? What would losing Ragnar mean for Bjorn, Lagertha, and Floki? Could Lagertha continue ruling while grieving her former husband?