As a wandering storyteller displayed his powers in Kattegat, Ragnar finished the battle of Mercia, and Lagertha and King Ecbert became friendlier. Photo stills and recap of Vikings season 3, episode 3, “Warrior’s Fate,” which first aired Thursday, March 5 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
This week’s Vikings episode (“Warrior’s Fate”) began in Kattegat with Helga (Maude Hirst) bringing the stranger they’d dreamed of to see Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) and Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland). When questioned, the man identified himself as Harbard (Kevin Durand), a wanderer and storyteller who exchanged stories for hospitality. Harbard was unsure how he hurt his hand…probably from sleeping rough. Aslaug invited the wandering storyteller to stay with them, perhaps because the men were in England raiding. Siggy seemed hesitant to support Aslaug’s invitation and her eagerness to disclose information to the stranger.
In Wessex, King Ecbert (Linus Roache) was bringing his nobles to see Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) new settlement. The nobles were upset that the “pagans” were getting help from them with farming, yet Ecbert made no demands for the Northmen to share their ship construction skills. Moreover, why not demand that they convert to Christianity? Ecbert responded by saying the alliance with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) would do much for Wessex, especially when Mercia came under their sphere of influence. He challenged the nobles to contradict him and question his decision-making—of course the nobles stayed quiet. When they arrived at the settlement, Lagaertha welcomed Ecbert in the Saxon language, which impressed him. Ecbert, fond of bestowing gifts on Lagertha, presented a new plow to help farm the land. Needless to say, she was extremely pleased. Ecbert and his nobles soon left, but invited both Lagertha and Athelstan (George Blagden) to join him at his villa anytime.
Over in Mercia, Ragnar and his men were getting ready to go after Burgred (Aaron Monaghan) where he was hiding in the mountains. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) was upset and expressed his ire to Ragnar. Why were the Vikings fighting and dying for Christians? Ragnar replied by saying he thought it was important to secure peace for their future. However, Floki quickly disagreed: their gods and the Christian God could not coexist in peace. Before things could escalate, Rollo (Clive Standen) broke up the conversation.
Elsewhere, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Porunn (Gaia Weiss) were getting ready for battle together. In an oddly sweet moment, Bjorn helped Porunn to put blood on her face (you know, like war paint!). Ragnar seemed annoyed by the gesture and interrupted them. As the men were leaving their camp, Princess Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey) asked Ragnar to spare her brother’s life and Torstein (Jefferson Hall), now without his left arm, demanded to fight in the battle. At first, Rollo told him to stay behind, but seeing Torstein’s determination, assisted him.
As the Vikings were stealthily climbing the mountain, Torstein volunteered to scout the area first. On his climb up, he came across Mercians. The soldiers weren’t sure that what they were seeing was real, but as Torstein continued his approach, the Mercians fired arrows at him. Torstein was able to shield some of the arrows, but was eventually felled. As he dropped to his knees, Torstein called on Odin, saying he was prepared to join him. Torstein was killed by the soldiers, but definitely went down fighting.
Ragnar and his remaining men finished their climb and ambushed the Mercians, and as expected, bloody battle ensued. Ragnar was head-butting, Floki was slicing throats, and Rollo was wielding his deadly axe. Porunn was also fighting and holding her own, but was struck down by a Mercian. Bjorn came to her aid (and he was ANGRY), but Porunn was still unconcious. Burgred’s forces were substantial, but when Aethelwulf (David Murray) arrived with his soldiers, Burgred surrendered and his life was spared.
As they were recuperating from battle, Floki immediately made it known that he blamed Ragnar for Torstein’s death…a pointless death. How many more had to die for Ragnar’s Christians? Had Ragnar converted to Christianity and wanted to use his own men as sacrifices to Jesus Christ? Ragnar responded with just as much vitriol. Every single Northman was there by choice, including Floki, so he should “shut [his] your face!” Once again, Rollo broke up the argument and called Ragnar to see Bjorn who was distraught. Porunn was alive, but barely, and her face was badly scarred. Bjorn blamed himself for not protecting her, and when Ragnar found out Porunn was pregnant, he blamed Bjorn too. Ragnar actually slapped his son and said that Bjorn had the strength of a man, but the will of a little girl. Rollo, assuming the role of peacemaker, encouraged Bjorn to be strong and to coax Porunn back from the doors of Valhalla. As Ragnar stormed off, Kwethrith brought her brother to apologize to Ragnar for fighting against him. Burgred claimed his evil advisors were to blame. After head-butting Burgred, Ragnar offered his forgiveness.
Back in Wessex, Lagertha and Athelstan visited Ecbert, who took them to an old Roman bath house. The walls were decorated with images of Roman gods, and when Ecbert tried to compare them to Viking lore, Lagertha quickly said that her gods were as real as she was—they loved and bled as humans did. Ecbert was able to convince Lagertha, Athelstan, and Judith (Jennie Jacques) to get into the bath. He and Athelstan also shared stories about the glory of a city the Romans built across the water—Paris. Soon enough (and unsurprisingly) Ecbert and Lagertha started to kiss. Judith ran from the bath and Athelstan followed after her. While we thought she was uncomfortable with Ecbert and Lagertha, Judith was actually feeling guilty for wanting to kiss Athelstan. He tried to absolve her and encouraged her to go to sleep with a blessing.
*sidenote* Here, I have to wonder whether Athelstan is genuine in trying to help Judith. It seems to me he might be enjoying Judith’s affections, at least a little bit. Thoughts?
The next day, Ecbert brought news to Lagertha at the settlement that the battle for Mercia was won and Ragnar, Bjorn, and Aethelwulf were alive. She and Athelstan invited Ecbert and Judith to stay for the blessing of the new harvest and sacrifice to Frey, god of plenty. Both agreed to stay, even though the nobles were uncomfortable. After witnessing the ceremony I could understand why—Lagertha, dressed in white, officiated as a cow was decapitated. The cow’s blood was collected and poured on Lagertha, while the remaining was thrown on the land. The nobles were shocked and wanted no part of the paganism. If the Vikings planned to stay, they needed to stop their pagan ways. However, it was clear that Ecbert was more enthralled with Lagertha than even before.
Finally, returning to Kattegat, Harbard was telling an animated story about meeting giants and drinking and wrestling with them. Siggy was unimpressed and questioned the validity of the story…who could drain the seas and fight old age? Obviously the story was about Thor, but Harbard insisted that he witnessed the events himself. In the middle of the exchange, baby Ivar started to cry. Harbard was adamant about seeing the baby and then proceeded to take away Ivar’s pain. As the baby fell asleep, you could see Aslaug’s gratitude and Siggy’s mistrust.
The next morning, a fisherman approached the shore shouting for help. As he was fishing he had caught two boys in his net. They had drowned, but how? Siggy suspected Harbard had something to do with it and went to the Seer (John Kavanagh) to ask for help. The Seer listened, but responded that he had seen nothing and the gods hadn’t revealed anything. With that said, Siggy and the other ladies had seen something…remember their dream about the Seer bound and bleeding? What could this mean? The Seer replied that there was no one who could help them.
If you missed the episode on Thursday, “Warrior’s Fate” will be re-airing on HISTORY at the following times:
March 10, 2015, 11:00PM – 12:01AM ET
March 11, 2015, 3:01AM – 4:02AM ET
March 13, 2015, 10:00PM – 11:01PM ET
March 14, 2015, 2:01AM – 3:02AM ET
You can also watch online HERE, OnDemand, or on the Vikings app.
Make sure to get ready for next week’s episode “Scarred” with the preview below: