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VIKINGS Recap: The Great Army (Season 4, Episode 17)

VIKINGS Recap: The Great Army (Season 4, Episode 17)

We’ve seen the Allfather and his many ominous signs. Beware the Vikings spoilers below!

Ivar said it best, “In the end, we assemble an army twice the size father took to Paris… In the name of our dead father, Ragnar Lothbrok, the greatest hero of our country, and in the name of Odin, we declare war on the whole world.” Okay, maybe not the “whole” world, seeing as how they only really knew about a handful of countries at that time–but you get the picture. The game is set and the players are readying themselves for another war by any means possible, including a new pack of scheming plots and lies. Where ever do we begin?


Rollo, surprisingly, is the only person not scheming and plotting. He’s actually acting pretty reasonable atm. (Goes without saying that Ivar would totally loathe his uncle.) Oh, Rollo–you handsome, complicated French Norseman. I can’t quite seem to side with him for some reason. And I’m not alone–all pleasantries were thrown out the door in the blink of an eye because guess what–Gisla’s sassy fury makes its perfect return with a few French obscenities, hard slaps, and one solid punch to Rollo’s poor nose. Welcome back to the doghouse, Duke. (Sorry, not sorry–you kinda deserved it this time.)

Rollo’s legacy as the first King of Normandy will in fact outshine his nephews though. But I still can’t stand how he’s absently hoping around between the two languages, religions, and cultures–not to say he can only pick one, but it seems like he could make more of an effort to bridge the divides. After choosing to indefinitely return to his Frankish title and family instead of avenging his brother’s death, he brought up a good point about life in the Viking Age: “What is us, Floki, is changing.”


Change was certainly in the air during the late ninth century CE–it’s already washing over the English as seen with Judith’s awesome feminist-heavy speech to her ultra-sheltered family. (Major points  for encouraging her sister to learn how to read! R.A.B. D.A.R. G.A.B.) Knowledge is power, and only a few key people fully embrace that fact, like King Ecbert who’s wisely giving his grandson Albert pointers a la Mufasa to Simba.

Um, sidenote: how about some one keeps an eye on Harold Finehair and Halfdan the Black? The Viking “Bash Brothers” are up to something indeed. All signs point to an internal seize of power, either during the distraction of this great war or afterwards when the majority of warrior men and sheildmaidens from Kattegat have perished. Their target is obviously the throne and all surrounding lands, but they might go down the order of succession too, starting with Ragnar’s first-born son, Björ–you know, for bragging rights and fame.


Lucky for them, after a short reunion with his mother/queen, it’s clear that only two things rule Björn’s mind now: revenge and exploration, while family–mainly Torvi and his children, and maybe even Lagertha–drops down to the lowest cares of his life. (Any one else feel a bit Michael Corleone and Kaye Adams Godfather drama going on?) And yeah–Astrid and Björn are an item now because why not make Lagertha’s life even more of a living hell? (I strongly object against this union!)


Are the Gods in Lagertha’s favor or is she marked for a terrible death? It’s still not so clear now that Björn is back to help hold down the  fort with her many capable and dedicated sheildmaidens. There’s also a new love-sick young man at her side, which may or may not bring about anything promising for her and her kingdom. Still, things are stacking up against her, including Ivar’s never ending quest to avenge his departed mother. Kattegat’s defenses are shaping up nicely–so there’s that at least.


If there’s anyone who backs the idea of all-out war the most, it’s Ivar. Nothing is out of reach for him, not even his own brothers. Tensions are still high between him and Sigurd, with older bro Ubbe playing peace keeper. Luckily Hvitserk is back in top form to balance out their wrath with some middle-child wisdom! (He’s technically Ragnar’s middle son, which means Hvitserk is my favorite and you should love him too!)

No one can relate to Ivar as much as Floki–the two are equal parts crazy and wild, worshiping the gods with intense Viking devotion. In many ways he’s Floki’s adopted son and new best friend sans Ragnar. After a cute role reversed Yoda-Luke moment, (Teach you, I will!) Floki delivered for his young Norse padowan, building Ivar a legendary means of transportation and destruction, the chariot. Many civilizations relied on chariots since the dawn of the wheel (they were also featured heavily in Persian, Celtic, and Roman mythologies)–but Vikings didn’t use chariots in war so much. Enter, Ivar the Boneless, gloriously riding into battle in a massive horse-drawn chariot of Floki’s design. Somewhere in Valhalla, Ragnar is grinning.


I know it seems like we say this a lot, but war is coming and the episodes are few now. Join us next time for our episode 18 recap, “Revenge.” Do you think Lagertha will meet her death this season? Who will make it out alive from the Great Heathen Army in the following episodes? Leave us your Vikings comments below.

Images: The History Channel
GIF: VikingsHistory/Tumblr

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