Well, Michael Hirst promised devastating loses this season and Vikings Season 3 Episode 6 delivered.
I think this particular death is going to stay with me for a while, because Athelstan's friendship with Ragnar was so interesting and evolved over the three seasons. Yeah, this one hurt and I'm not sure the series will ever be the same again.
And Floki, he's gone to a place that's made him unredeemable. How long before he's gone as well?
Ragnar's eyes lit up when Athelstan described Paris as impregnable. The King loves his challenges, and I have no doubt he realized this particular siege was one for the history books. Meanwhile, Floki kept hovering around giving off dirty looks. How great was that recreation of Paris in the sand? Athelstan certainly got The Seine right.
I think Aslaug's one redeeming quality is the way she protects and loves Ivar. When Porunn talked of her baby being deformed, she scolded her "maybe you will love it just the same." It was touching that Bjorn chose to call the baby Siggy. He also reminded everyone present how she saved Ragnar's sons.
It certainly didn't take long for Ragnar to learn what Aethelwulf had done at the Viking settlement. Floki gloated and it made me despise him just a little more. Sure, he was he right all along but after this installment I'm counting the hours until his death.
Floki: Do you see now Ragnar? This adventure was doomed from the start. We ignored the warnings of the Gods, and so they refused to protect our farmers. And who can blame them Ragnar.
Ragnar: Believe me Floki, Aethelwulf and his father, will feel the wrath of the Gods and my revenge.
While it was great Ragnar took responsibility for the failure in Wessex, I was surprised he killed that poor old man. Imagine traveling all that way, to have your King just strangle you to death; brutal. The old man wasn't the only one with knowledge of the slaughter, I wondered if Floki was next.
In Wessex, Judith gave birth to a son and naturally Aethelwulf was not pleased. That said, I can't say I expected her to be dragged out into the square and tortured according to the "holy book." After losing an ear, Judith gave up Athelstan which surprised me. Still, that's exactly what spared her since King Ecbert thought hers was a divine conception. Ecbert's reasoning was twisted, but even Aethelwulf went along with it.
I didn't quite understand what was going on with Athelstan and the beam of light. I thought Floki's blade was going to pierce through the wall and take his eye out. Though all the religious symbolism surrounding Athelstan wasn't clear, we now understand he was destined to be a martyr.
Lord, praise the Lord. I've asked for a sign. You have given me a sign. You've answered my prayers. I was blind, but now I see. I was dead, but I'm reborn. Father, hear my prayer and let my cry come unto thee.Athelstan
How fantastic was George Blagden this week? I mean, he was always phenomenal on this show, but every now and again he outdid himself. Damn Floki had to see Athelstan toss his armband into the sea; didn't he? Yeah, things were about to get nasty. I just didn't realize how nasty.
"What do you mean born again? Like a baby?" Ragnar asked Athelstan. It was a great moment, because it's a concept that's hard to grasp unless you're the one experiencing it. Ragnar's reaction to Athelstan leaving was powerful and it was nice to hear him say he loved the priest. Of course, it was clear he would not be able to protect a Christian in a Pagan world.
Bjorn shared Floki's concern about Ragnar and all things Christian. How convenient that he planned to head back home and left Bjorn behind to do his dirty work for him. It's amazing how a character so beloved in the first season has fallen so far. It's as if Michael Hirst wanted us to hate Floki, so his death wouldn't affect us as much. Well, it's safe to say I will no longer miss the wacky shipbuilder.
Kalf's arrival in Lagertha's former ships was frustrating. Didn't she say she was leaving after Ragnar refused to help her reclaim her lands? Will she win it all back someday?
Kalf: I'm sure that you remember King Horik's son and the widow of Jarl Borg. They also have expressed a desire to take part in our raid.
Ragnar: Erlendur. Torvi. I have to say that I'm a little caught off guard seeing you here.
Erlendur: I figured there was a reason you spared my life. Maybe it's for this. I have to ask, how is the settlement in Wessex?
Had Erlendur already heard what took place in Wessex? Did he have a hand in it somehow? Obviously, the kid's not going to take the slaughter of his entire family lying down; he's up to something.
Wasn't it creepy the way the party died down when Athelstan entered the room? It was almost too obvious they had been made aware that he renounced the Gods. I guess now we know the wanderer that set Ragnar on his original path was not Harbard; too bad.
Part of me knew Athelstan wasn't going to make it, but it's going to be tough saying goodbye to one of the most interesting characters on the show. I'm not sure anyone can replace George Blagden on this cast; he will be missed. Yes, I'm really sad to see Athelstan go. He was the one bright light in this gloomy death-filled world.
Ragnar failed to protect the priest, and the loss has definitely changed him. "Forgive me my friend, not for what I have done but for what I'm about to do." This final scene gave us another brilliant performance by Travis Fimmel. The guy is Vikings, I can't imagine this show lasting long without him.
What did you think of "Born Again"? Were you shocked by Athelstan's death? How do you feel about Floki now? Your turn my fellow Vikings fanatics. Hit the comments below and share your thoughts on tonight's devastating turn of events.
As always, you can watch Vikings online via TV Fanatic if you missed an installment or want to re-watch this one.
NOTE: Vikings Season 3 Episode 7 is titled “Paris” and airs on Thursday, April 2.