Vikings begins with the Earl Haraldson blessing a child. He appears to be shaken by something.
Meanwhile, Athelstan asks Ragnar if he is still a slave. He is less inclined to escape now, but he would like to be free. Ragnar seems open to talking about it but clams up when Athelstan asks if the gods have something to say about an upcoming mission.
Later, the Earl leads a raid on the village while Ragnar is out hunting. Ragnar hears screams and runs back to help his family. He is soon wounded but battles his way into the village. He reaches his family in time to evacuate them.
Ragnar limps out from his house and falls to his knees in front of Haraldson while his family escapes in their boat. The Earl asks if Ragnar accepts that he is a criminal. Ragnar replies that he accepts his fate and requests to speak with his god. He prays to Loki and then successfully escapes. Haraldson orders Ragnar’s home to be burned.
Ragnar gets away from the village, but he is still pursued by Haraldson’s men. He eventually passes out and falls from a cliff overlooking the sea. Fortunately, his family is waiting at the bottom, and Athelstan is able to pull him out of the water. The group goes to Floki in hopes of saving Ragnar
Meanwhile, Haraldson sends orders for Ragnar and his family to be found. He then hold a feast with a guest, a Swede who is being given his daughter, Thryi, in marriage. The man promises to take care of her as she bears him many sons.
Siggy confronts Haraldson over his decision to marry off his daughter. He tells her that she shouldn’t judge a man by the way he looks, and that the Swede is King Horik’s cousin. Haraldson explains that the marriage will bring money and alliances that will ensure their survival. Siggy says he’s wronged her too many times and mentions their dead sons. Haraldson admits that their sons were disrespected before being buried. He gives her locks of hair from the boy’s heads. “You see Siggy, when you have this kind of knowledge, being married to a rich old man isn’t so bad,” Haraldson says.
Ragnar survives his wounds and begins the road to recovery. Lagertha notes that they have lost everything, but Floki notes that they are alive and asks that the gods provide for them. Athelstan begins to recite one of his prayers, but this time Floki stops him and tell him to eat. However, Ragnar notes that Athelstans prayer sounds a lot like his own.
Rollo crashes Thryi’s wedding to speak with Haraldson, who sends his daughter and drunk son-in-law off to their wedding bed. Rollo tells the Earl that there is no point in having him followed. He states that he believes in his heart that Ragnar is dead. He also reminds Haraldson that he told the truth at Ragnar’s trial and that he didn’t deceive anyone. Rollo admits that the Earl controls everything, and he just wants to work. Haraldson says that it will take time to trust him, but Rollo can stay and earn his trust.
In camp, Athelstan asks questions about the Vikings’ gods. They tell him stories about Odin and Thor.
Rollo meets Siggy in private. He walks up to her and immediately kisses her. She warns him that he must leave because Haraldson wants him dead. They kiss again before she leaves. Rollo is then attacked and beaten severely as he walks through the city. He is brought before Haraldson and interrogated. When Rollo doesn’t say anything, Haraldson takes a blade to his mouth.
A messenger arrives and states that Siggy told him about Haraldson torturing Rollo. Ragnar sends Floki to Haraldson with a message challenging the Earl in single combat.
This is one of the more intriguing episodes of Vikings. Earl Haraldson finally uses all of his resources in his effort to bring down Ragnar, including the torture of Rollo. That was something that I felt needed to happen for the story to move along. The show has been rather disjointed in the past couple of weeks, and this episode of “Vikings” finally brought everything together.
However, there were a couple rather awkward moments. The Earl never really explains why he still regards Ragnar as a criminal or why he decided to destroy an entire town full of his own people. Ragnar was found innocent of all charges in last week’s episode, but he’s still being treated like a criminal.
Moreover, we have no clue why Haraldson even has a major problem with Ragnar. Yes, we know that Ragnar defied him with the first raid in England, but the Earl was wary of him before that. Viewers don’t really know what Haraldson’s problem is.
Overall, “Raid” was a solid episode that exhibited good balance between action and dialogue, as well as some advances in the storyline.