Vikings : “Trial” – The Breakdown
“Trial” begins with one of the surviving Northumbrian guards returning to his village to warn King Aelle of the Vikings’ arrival.
Meanwhile, Ragnar and his men approach the town of Hexam led by another one of the survivors. As they draw near Hexam, Rollo proposes attacking immediately, but Ragnar tells him that they will wait until the following day. When an unhappy Rollo questions why they must wait, Ragnar tells him he will know tomorrow.
In King Aelle’s throne room, the Northumbrian guard tells the king about the Vikings’ arrival. King Aelle asks if the invaders are Francs, but the guard tells him no. Instead, these invaders came with axes, and most of them are as tall as giants. The king is then informed that these invaders may be the same people who destroyed the monastery. Aelle decrees that wherever the invaders came from, they are not welcome in his kingdom.
The following morning, Ragnar waits until the town goes to church before attacking. The Vikings find the townspeople worshipping with their weapons left outside of the church. They enter the church and plunder it after warning the people not to resist.
The men fan out throughout Hexam and begin to plunder. Rollo finds a sick man and gives him water before emptying his glass and taking all of his goods. Floki tastes the sacramental wine and spits it out, which offends the worshippers in the church. He then slits the head priest’s throat as Ragnar smiles approvingly.
Knut attempts to rape an English woman, but Lagertha steps in to save her. Knut and Lagertha struggle, and he briefly overpowers her. He then tries to rape Lagertha, who grabs a knife and stabs Knut to death.
Later, Ragnar asks about Knut’s whereabouts. Lagertha admits to killing him after Knut raped a Saxon woman and then tried to rape her. Ragnar then asks if there were any witnesses, to which Lagertha replies that there were none.
The warband heads back to the beach with their plunder, and they are met by a group of armed Englishmen. They attack the Vikings, who slaughter them mercilessly.
In the King’s throne room, the surviving Englishmen tell Aelle that the Vikings fight with no fear, but that they did capture the two men who guarded the warband’s boat. The Englishmen noted that they could not understand anything the men said accept for the word “Ragnar.”
Ragnar and his men hold a brief ceremony to commemorate the deaths of their lost, and then Ragnar offers the man who took his crew to the town a drink. The man is then killed.
Back on the farm, Bjorn requests that Athelstan allow him and his sister to meet their father when he arrives in town. Athelstan tells him no. Bjorn then threatens to sacrifice Athelstan to Thor for his father’s safe return.
Later, Athelstan questions his faith and God for allowing his fellow monks to be slaughtered and sold. “Where are you, Lord?” he asks. “Where are you, and why don’t you answer me?” He then agrees to take Bjorn to town the following day.
Ragnar’s crew arrives to a hero’s welcome, and Earl Haraldson salutes him as well. Ragnar informs the Earl that there was a battle, but the warband emerged victorious. He then shows Haraldson the plunder they brought back to him.
However, things turn sour when Haraldson asks him where Knut is. Ragnar informs him that he killed Knut because he tried to rape his wife. Haraldson finds it “too convenient” that he would kill Knut and asks what Ragnar thought that he would gain. When Ragnar explains that he didn’t expect to gain anything, Haraldson orders him to be arrested.
Haraldson summons Rollo to meet with him. He asks Rollo if Ragnar treats him fairly. Haraldson then tells him that he believes that Ragnar considers himself to be first among equals. Rollo tells him that Ragnar would not have achieved anything without him. Haraldson says that as long as he is Earl, Ragnar can give him nothing.
However, Haraldson can give him everything. He then explains that he could confiscate the plunder from the last England trip and give Rollo a large portion of it. Haraldson then implies that he could choose Rollo to wed his daughter by proving that he is ambitious and stepping out of his brother’s shadow.
Siggy enters the room and notices what’s going on. She asks the Earl to not forget about her. Haraldson introduces them; Rollo can’t take his eyes off of her.
Ragnar is brought before the Earl, who lays out the case against him. Lodbrok explains that he killed Knut after finding him trying to rape Lagertha. When Earl accuses her of lying, Lagertha confesses to killing Knut. Haraldson refuses to accept it. Rollo then steps forward and surprises the Earl by backing Ragnar’s story.
Later, Ragnar tells Rollo that he owes him a great debt. Rollo admits that he looks forward to collecting on that debt. He then tells Lagertha that he did it for her. Just then, an armed band attacks them in the tavern. Ragnar’s men emerge victorious, but there are losses.
The following morning, a frustrated Ragnar leaves the farm to mentally prepare himself for battle. Meanwhile, the Earl is meeting with a seer who tells him that there will be violence in the future. The seer informs him that Ragnar seeks to kill him. At that point, Haraldson questions whether or not the gods exist.
“Trial” has its ups and downs. “Vikings” continues to be highlighted by outstanding acting, beautiful scenery and excellent fight scenes. In particular, George Blagden stood out in his role as Athelstan. Blagden’s portrayal of a man who is questioning both his role in the world and his faith in God was brilliant. The rest of the cast put together solid performances as well, even in moments where the script wasn’t as good as it should have been.
However, the episode was marred by a rather simple plot. Who wouldn’t expect something to go wrong with Knut during the raid? Who wouldn’t think that Haraldson would use Knut’s death as a way to rid himself of Ragnar overall? These are things that viewers have seen coming for a while now. Even the Rollo curveball at the end didn’t surprise me. “Vikings” is an entertaining show, but it would be even better with a more complex plot than what we’ve seen thus far.