Wow. That’s all we can say about tonight’s thrilling episode of “Vikings.” Episode 9 started off on a slow note but quickly picked up speed once the battle between the Vikings and Saxons went down.
But before we raise your heart rate to an unhealthy speed, let’s start from the beginning:
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Tonight’s episode, titled “The Choice,” began with Athelstan reading scriptures to King Ecbert. These two have grown close since the former Viking was taken down from the cross at the request of the King.
“We must do battle with Ragnar Lothbrok and his allies,” King Ecbert reveals to Athelstan. The statement leaves the priest feeling unsettled, which is why he asks the King if it’s possible to speak to Ragnar in hopes of reaching an agreement of peace.
“He’s looking for land to farm for him and his people,” Athelstan says. “Send me to speak to him.”
But King Ecbert is reluctant and won’t even toy with the idea of losing his most valuable friend to the pagans.
“You’re already too dear to me and too important, which is why I think they would kill you,” the King said.
Episode 9 then cuts to a scene between Ragnar and King Horik. The two have been butting heads due to their different ideas of how to raid Wessex. King Horik wants revenge on King Ecbert for his brutal attack during his first visit to Wessex but Ragnar is just looking for a place to plant.
The allies debate over what they’re next plan of action should be. King Horik is eager to start sharpening his sword, however, Ragnar suggests that the Vikings should keep their faith that the Vikings and Saxons can reach a peaceful agreement.
“What is good faith?” King Horik questions. “Why should there be good faith between us and Christians. What do you say Floki?”
Ragnar has never asked for Floki’s opinion before.
“They worship a false god,” Floki sneers.
Ragnar insists the he alone will go to King Ecbert’s kingdom but King Horik is not fond of the idea.
“You will not divide our forces, Ragnar,” King Horik replies. “You seem to forget I am king. Armed and ready we will go seek battle.”
After battle-talk, Bjorn is unable to sleep. He confesses to his father in the middle of the night that he wonders what it’s like to die.
Ragnar reassures his son that his life will not end on a battlefield in Wessex.
“[The Seer] told me something about you,” Ragnar explains. “That you would marry the daughter of a king or else sail around a sea with no tides.”
As Bjorn goes to bed with happy thoughts, King Horik dreams up something wicked as he compares Ragnar’s eldest son to Thor.
“Bjorn reminds me of Odin’s favorite son. You know the story,” King Horik says to Floki.
“The Gods made everyone swear an oath hat he would be safe,” Floki responds. “Everyone rejoiced—all except Loki, the sly one. It sickened to see him immune from attacks.”
“Yes, the sly one knew he had to find a way to kill him,” King Horik replies. Uh, is King Horik planning on killing Bjorn? Maybe the buff Viking should sleep with one eye open.
Before the war between the Vikings and the Saxons began, fans witnessed Athelstan praying to both Gods to protect the Earl of Kattegat. How sweet.
As the warriors march onward, they see the Saxons sitting at the bottom of the hill. King Horik suggests that they quickly attack seeing the have the advantage but Ragnar explains that they should wait. However, King Horik is eager and charges on, leaving Ragnar and his fighters hanging back. All of a sudden, another group of Saxons appear out of the blue. Ragnar orders a wall against the wishes of King Horik.
“Why are you stopping? The Gods are with us!” King Ecbert says.
The Vikings are now split and being attacked from every angle. Seriously, what a blood bath. The Vikings attempted to hold their own but they were completely outnumbered by the Saxons. And the dead pagans on the ground could prove that.
During the battle fans witnessed the unimaginable happen—Rollo’s death. Well, kind of. During the fight, Ragnar’s brother was sliced open with a knife and then trampled on by horses. The Earl saw that his brother had fallen and went on a complete rampage, striking any Saxon who came near him.
Eventually Ragnar yelled for his warriors to retreat. But despite his own commands, Ragnar continued killing the warriors who took his brother’s life. Bjorn saw his father outnumbered and ran to Ragnar’s side. The father/son duo took on as many men as they could before escaping the Saxons’ clutches.
As the victorious side swept the battlefield killing any wounded Viking still alive, Athelstan came across Rollo. The Wessex men determined it was Ragnar’s brother and they bring him back to their village.
After the war, you can tell the morale among the Vikings is down. However, Ragnar finds the silver lining and dubs his son “Bjorn The Ironside” because of his superb fighting abilities.
After the cool new nickname is given, the Vikings get down to business. Lagertha asks if they should abandoned the raid but Bjorn says he refuses to leave Wessex without his uncle.
“Well, King… what are we fated to do? “ Ragnar snickers.
While the Vikings are trying to figure out their next plan of attack, King Ecbert and his allies are celebrating their victory over the Northmen.
However, Athelstan is not one of the rejoicing men. Instead he is tending to Rollo.
“Horik was right,” Ragnar says his first words since the attack. “You betrayed us. If I had enough strength to kill you now, I would.” Rollo wraps his giant hands around tiny Athelstan’s throat.
“Vikings” then cuts to a scene of a ritualistic burial of the pagan’s. They send burning bodies out to sea in honor of those who had fallen in battle. But little do they know Rollo is still alive and in the clutches of King Ecbert. But the King isn’t interested in killing Rollo. In fact, he doesn’t want to finish the Vikings off like King Aelle had suggested.
“The only way to bring an end [to this fighting] is to come up with an agreement for both sides,” King Ecbert explains.
That’s when the King’s son chimes in that they should send Athelstan to negotiate with the Northmen. But King Ecbert isn’t keen on the idea. However, he lets the priest slip through his fingers into Viking territory.
When Athelstan arrives to the Vikings camp, he informs the warriors that Rollo is still alive.
“I want you all to know Rollo is alive. Wounded and being taken care of,” Athelstan explains.
“Why have you come, Athelstan? Did you escape?” Lagertha questions.
King Horik jumped in getting a few jabs—comparing Athelstan to a butt-sniffing dog.
“You do his bidding for him. You’re one of them,” Horik cries. But Athelstan insists he’s just there to talk peace.
“We will meet him,” Lagertha said of the Vikings meeting with King Ecbert. King Horik questions her ruling but the Earl replies that he can just stay behind if he doesn’t like her decision.
Ragnar then accompanies Athelstan out of their camp so that King Horik’s men, who are hiding in bushes, won’t shoot an arrow through his heart. In the woods, Athelstan explains to Ragnar that he struggles with his religion. He elaborates by saying he can see the truth in both the God’s of the Vikings and the Christians.
“I hope one day our Gods can become friends ,” Ragnar says.
Meanwhile, King Ecbert is planning on who to send as a hostage for his get-together with the Vikings. King Aelle asks if King Ecbert’s son will be sent again, the Wessex ruler reveals that he actually wants to send to King of Northumbria. Although he was reluctant at first, King Aelle finally agrees and goes off with the Vikings once Ragnar, Lagertha, and the rest enter the King’s kingdom.
“Why must we save you brother?” Floki questions Ragnar on their journey into the kingdom. “How can you trust [Athelstan]?”
Ragnar responds by laughing in Floki’s face.
“You talk about trust. You?” the Earl says.
“What are you saying? I am a trustworthy person,” Floki replies. Instead of answering Floki, Ragnar gives him a look. We guess Ragnar isn’t in the dark like we thought.
At the meeting between King Ecbert and Ragnar, Athelstan explains that the King is willing to pay in money, treasure and land for farming if the Vikings agree to stay peaceful. Lagertha and Ragnar seem on board with the deal, especially since King Ecbert throws in that they’ll even trade over Rollo. But King Horik isn’t happy. He wants to see King Ecbert’s head on a platter.
After the peace treaty gathering commences, Ragnar reaches out to Athelstan telling him to come back to Kattegat. We learn that the priest will accept Ragnar’s offer as episode 9 ends. “I came back because all of you are my family,” he says.
But the most exciting part of the ending to “The Choice” is Bjorn and Purrun’s reunion. Princess Aslaug has made the shield maiden-in-training a free woman. And from the previews of next week’s episode, we think these two free souls will have a jolly good time basking in their young love.
At the very end of “Vikings,” fans get to see Floki and King Horik have another heart-to-heart. The King explains that he has a proposition for the shipbuilder. And we have a feeling it’s not going to be one we like.
What did you think of tonight’s episode of “Vikings”? Chime in with your opinions in the comments section below.