Lagertha leads a new breed of Viking shield maidens

Three episodes in and Lagertha swears to retire from public life retreating to a farm that’s inhabited by the widows, mothers and sisters of Vikings who have been lost at sea and battle.

Despite losing both her female and male lover who filled the void left by great love Ragnar she hoped to return to tranquil farm life, it was only a matter of time before seeing her dig up the sword she buried.  She’s become the target of loyalists to Ivar the boneless, who were exiled by son Bjorn and who just so happened to end up on the patch of coastline she chose to spend her final days.

After local villagers turn to her after being beaten, raped and pillaged she vows to preare them for the next attack, because she’s adamant “they will return”.  Unlike the shield maidens Lagertha has led in previous seasons, this is a village of women engrossed in loss and fury which properly channeled, can turn the vulnerability of The Prophet’s impending attack on Kattegatt into a powerful force fueled by pure vengeance.   The stakes are much higher as Lagertha offered to look after her grandchildren for Ubbe and Torvi who have been charged with looking after the defences of Kattegatt in Bjorn’s abscence.

It’s been a story arc of characters going back on their promises with Bjorn publicly declaring his plans to turn Kattegatt into the greatest world trading station in Scandinavia, but forced to delay his follow through after hearing word of King Harald’s imprisonment and rushing to his aid in a (spoiler) ring of fire!

One of the surprising moments was when Bjorn finally succumbed to the advances of his wife’s hand maid, Gunnhild.   His character and approach to Viking life was always defined by his reaction to Ragnar’s affair with Princess Aslaug in Season 1 and his motivation has always been to complete the work his father never could, so this moment of weakness was disappointing.

Hvitserk’s descent into a medieval alcoholics anonymous TV special includes haunting visions of brother, Ivar and dead girlfriend, Thora.   Just where does his storyline end up as he’s been the sidekick to his little brother for the bulk of the time he’s been on screen. Over on the Russian continent we’re seeing a gentler side of Ivar as he continues to bond with the captive and heir to the Kievian Rus, Igor.   It’s a different side that has rarely been given air time and a nice change from the intense rage that tends to motivate this character.   It’s also quite interesting watching him let The Prophet take the lead to enact his promise to avenge his mother’s death with the Season 4 premonition and every other prediction told by the seer shaping up to be true…

Six more episodes of the first half and the stage is being set for a great mid season finale with the storytelling at a much more accelerated pace and development each episode.  Season 6 will comprise of twenty episodes in total with unconfirmed reports of a spinoff in the works.


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Wednesday 8.30pm on SBS
Seasons 1 to 5 available on Netflix

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Cover Image: Kathy Hutchins / Getty Images

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