Bold and bloody -- that’s how the hit History Channel series, “Vikings,” kicked off its exciting new season. But could you honestly expect anything less from the historical drama that featured a blood eagle in the last installment? We didn’t think so!
After months of patiently waiting for Season 3, it only felt right that the first scene of episode 1, “Mercenary,” featured the mysterious Seer (John Kavanagh) giving a prophecy. Kattagat’s oracle used his supernatural powers to perform a reading for Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), who questioned if she would ever bear another child. But it looks as though Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) will be Lagertha’s only heir, according to the soothsayer.
Despite not seeing a baby in Lagertha’s future, the Seer revealed he did envision a harvest celebrated in blood, a trickster, a city made of marble and a broiling ocean. Aggregated and confused, Lagertha then asked when she would die. Once again the Seer did not give her the answer she sought. “Come back and see me another day,” he told her, “and perhaps I may tell you the exact moment of your death.”
Lagertha wasn’t the only one looking toward the future in the premiere episode. Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was also counting down the days that he could go back to Wessex and claim the land King Ecbert (Linus Roache) had promised him. That is, after all, what King Ragnar planned on doing with his new power. While Ragnar desired land for farming, his son craved battle.
“I want to fight,” Bjorn said. “I want to raid.”
Noticing his son’s restlessness, Ragnar decided to give Bjorn the talk about authority and what it means to have control. “The power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best. I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to pick it up,” he revealed.
Meanwhile in Hedeby, Lagertha had invited Kalf (Ben Robson), her right-hand man, to join her on her journey to Wessex. However, Kalf declined her offer and instead proposed the idea of him taking charge while she was away. Lagertha agreed, considering the fact that traitors lived amongst their village who were trying to steal her title of Earl. But as it turned out, the biggest conspirator of them all was Kalf. While Lagertha was away Kalf decided to team up with those who opposed her to help convince the people of Hedeby that she wasn’t fit to be Earl.
As Kalf began his mission to sway the village against Lagertha, Bjorn tried to persuade Porunn (Gaia Weiss) not to join the warriors on their dangerous trip to Wessex. But the young shield maiden claimed she was ready. “I have entered many hours of training,” she rebutted. That’s when Bjorn revealed his fear of Porunn entering a battle while she was with child. “If I lost you then I would also lose my child,” he explained. But Porunn had already made up her mind that she was going to raid -- despite being pregnant. That’s right! Bjorn’s going to be a father.
Bjorn and Porunn weren’t the only couple to argue in the Season 3 premiere episode. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) and Helga (Maude Hirst) also experienced a dispute over their “perfect” family. Floki was flabbergasted that he could be so happy. “I feel trapped in all this happiness,” he said, only to have Helga suggest that he should leave if he felt the need.
“You’re too reasonable, Helga! It doesn’t help. Why are you not angry with me?” he said before storming off. “You’re so horribly good, Helga!”
After months of waiting to sail, the eager Vikings finally made their way to Wessex, where they were greeted by King Ecbert. He questioned what happened to Horrik (Donal Logue) after finding out Ragnar was now King. “He met with a unfortunate accident,” Ragnar smirked. But his smile quickly faded when he learned that the men he left behind to fight for Princess Kwenthrith (Amy Bailer) were killed by the Mercians.
That’s when Kwenthrith asked for a new slew of Viking warriors to help finish -- and win -- the war against her uncle. Ragnar stated his concerns, revealing Kwenthrith’s quarrel was not theirs to fight. But to keep the peace (and their land in Wessex) Ragnar agreed to fight -- and so did the others.
King Ecbert asked Lagertha to stay behind to help establish the settlement and farm the land. And you know Lagertha -- she can’t ever pass up a good opportunity to plow and sow! But we have a feeling Ecbert had other motives for asking the Earl to stick around while the others went to raid. King Ecbert made his intentions for the Earl clear when he revealed to Athelstan (George Blagden) that he was infatuated with Lagertha.
“He likes you,” Athelstan told the blushing Earl after she caught him starring at her.
While on their way to fight the Mercians, Princess Kwenthrith revealed to Ragnar that she believed magic had been used against her brother to persuade him to take her vicious uncle’s side. So when it came down to choosing between waging war against her uncle (on the right bank) or brother (on the left), they opted to steer their ships toward Kwenthrith’s uncle. Unable to cross the river, Kwenthrith’s brother watched as his uncle and his warriors were demolished by the Vikings.
The battle was intense -- and bloody. But ultimately it was the Vikings who came out on top due to their brutality. The premiere episode ended with Floki smashing the head of Kwenthrith’s uncle with an ax.
What did you think of the premiere episode of “Vikings”? Sound off with your thoughts about the return of Season 3 in the comments section below.