As the Vikings prepare to raid Paris, they face new births, deaths, and bad news from Wessex. Photo stills and recap of Vikings season 3, episode 6, “Born Again,” which first aired Thursday, March 26 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“Born Again” began with the Vikings preparing to raid Paris. Athelstan (George Blagden) had constructed a model of the Seine River and Paris for Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) to try and figure out how to penetrate the city. Athelstan didn’t remember too much since the last time he was in Paris he was a monk and didn’t pay attention to things like fortifications. But he remembered the city was surrounded by thick, high walls, with at least one bridge…impregnable. As usual, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) was watching Ragnar and Athelstan and was clearly displeased.
Later, Floki brought some distressing news. One of the farmers from the settlement in Wessex (Stender, Søren Pilmark) found his way back to Kattegat with news of how Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) and his soldiers had slaughtered practically everyone and destroyed the settlement. A few of the survivors were able to reach the coast to steal a boat and make the difficult journey home. Floki was convinced that this was a result of Ragnar ignoring the warnings of the gods. Ragnar swore that Aethelwulf and Ecbert (Linus Roache) would feel the wrath of of the gods and his revenge. This wasn’t enough for Floki: he blamed Athelstan for first convincing them to form a settlement in Wessex. Athelstan persuaded them that Ecbert and the Christians could be trusted when, in fact, this was all a trap. But Ragnar didn’t blame Athelstan; he blamed himself.
Floki stormed out of the room, while Ragnar continued to question Stender. The farmer said he hadn’t told anyone else what happened. It seemed Ragnar didn’t want anyone else knowing about the settlement, because then he strangled Stender until he was dead. The farmer struggled against Ragnar, but perhaps this was a mercy…now he could be with his family.
Elsewhere, Porunn (Gaia Weiss) was in labor and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) insisted on being with her. But she was incredibly distressed. Porunn didn’t want the child, afraid that it would be weak and deformed. Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and Helga (Maude Hirst) encouraged her to pray to Freya…and the baby was born, a little girl. Bjorn held her and was clearly in love with the most beautiful child he’d ever seen…his sweetheart…and he named her Siggy.
Aslaug was having nightmares of Siggy’s drowning. When she woke up from one particular dream, Ragnar was watching over her. He said that she could have had sex with Harbard in front of the children for all he cared, as long as Aslaug was looking after them. She became angry and started to slap Ragnar, who didn’t seem phased at all. Once Aslaug tired, she fell back in the bed and Ragnar wished her a good sleep (most likely being sarcastic).
Athelstan was also sleeping and woke up to a rat crawling on him. He then started to have visions of a light beam that he felt compelled to follow. When he touched the wall from where the light emerged, he was struck in the chest by some force and thrown back to the floor. When Athelstan woke again, his visions continued…he praised the Lord for sending him a sign and answering his prayers. Now he was reborn… Athelstan thanked God for the gift of sight and faith…he returned the beach where he built the model of Paris and had a sort of baptism in the water. He took off the bracelet Ragnar gave him and threw it into the fjord. Unsurprisingly, Floki was watching.
As Floki left the beach, Bjorn approached him to ask why he wasn’t working on the boats anymore. Floki said that he was discouraged and told Bjorn about Athelstan throwing his sacred bracelet into the water, which Floki had recovered. Bjorn also shared that he was concerned about Ragnar. He didn’t understand his father’s fascination with Christianity. Floki said he would leave Kattegat and go home to his family. In the mean time, Bjorn needed to tell the others about Athelstan’s betrayal of the gods.
Athelstan went back to find Ragnar to tell him that the Lord had spoken to him. He was born again and had rediscovered his faith. Athelstan was 100% dedicated to Christianity. He could no longer accept the Viking gods and planned to leave Kattegat. Ragnar was incensed. Athelstan couldn’t leave him! Ragnar loved and trusted his friend, so Athelstan had to stay. Ragnar promised to protect him.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) had returned to Kattegat (probably to see her new granddaughter) just in time for Kalf’s (Ben Robson) arrival to attend the Paris raids. Ragnar, Aslaug, and the boys welcomed Kalf. He had also brought Earl Siegfried and Horrick’s son (Earl Erlendur, Edvin Endre) and his new wife, Torvi (Jarl Borg’s widow, Georgia Hirst). Erlendur asked about the settlement in Wessex and Ragnar assured him that all was well (UNTRUE).
At the welcome feast, Lagertha spoke to Kalf and he said that he wanted them to fight together. He believed that their destinies were already intertwined. Porunn, who covered her face with a veil, was trying to evade the feast, but Bjorn stopped her. He told Porunn that she was beautiful and he wanted her. She knew it had been a long time since they’d been together. But rather than having sex with Bjorn, Porunn suggested he sleep with Torvi. Bjorn asked Porunn not to do this, but she emphasized that she suggested the arrangement because she wanted him to be happy. Bjorn replied by saying his father didn’t believe happiness mattered. According to Porunn, Bjorn was not his father.
Bjorn then introduced himself to Torvi, who said that she planned to join them in Paris…she was a Viking and wouldn’t be left behind. He seemed to be impressed by her bravery.
Athelstan joined the dinner and the party ended. He was approached by several Northmen who pushed him, spit on him. Rollo (Clive Standen) then exposed that Athelstan didn’t have the sacred bracelet anymore. Ragnar was watching but intervened. He introduced Athelstan to the wanderer that first guided him to England…who spoke the language of the Franks and knew how to find the mouth of the Seine and enter Paris.
The next day, Floki was in the forest carving a wooden mask and it began to bleed. He dropped to his knees and then got up and took off running. Helga chased after Floki to find out where he was going, and he said that he’d received a sign that blood must be spilled and a sacrifice made. Floki’s purpose was now clear and he only lusted to please the gods. Helga had to swear that she wouldn’t tell anyone that he’d left. Floki almost choked her, but quickly apologized. He didn’t mean to hurt her, but Helga believed he meant to hurt someone.
That evening the Vikings were having some sort of ceremony in Kattegat. There were fires with beating drums and chanting. Torvi went to find Bjorn sitting on the beach. He very clearly stated that he loved his wife…and then had sex with Torvi.
Meanwhile, Athelstan was in his room having his own Christian services. As this proceeded, Floki sailed into Kattegat, jumped off his boat, and strode up the beach with a purpose. Hei avoided being seen by Rollo, found Athelstan, and killed him. Just beforehand, Athelstan saw Floki. He must have known what Floki meant to do because he asked the Lord to receive his soul. Floki then took Athelstan’s blood and rubbed it on his face.
Sometime later Ragnar must have found Athelstan because he bound the body and rode into the forest to bury his friend as the Christians would. He carried Athelstan up a hill… “this is as close to your God as I can get you” …he shared some words, saying he respected Athelstan for being brave and fearless because he dared to question. Ragnar was also angry. There was so much more he wanted to talk to Athelstan about….especially since they wouldn’t be reunited in the afterlife. God would probably object to Ragnar visiting Athelstan in heaven. There was no consolation. As he spoke, he tied two sticks together in the form of a cross and placed it above where Athelstan was buried. (*SOBS*)
Ragnar then went to a nearby stream and used a knife to shave his head in the style of a monk (as Athelstan used to do). As he did this, Ragnar asked Athelstan for forgiveness for what he was about to do…he then put on Athelstan’s cross…
In Wessex, Judith (Jennie Jacques) had also given birth to a son. Aethelwulf came to congratulate his wife…before she was arrested by Ecbert’s order. She didn’t even have a chance to hold her new son before she was led away. Judith was found guilty of adultery against her husband and sentenced to have her ears and nose cut off. She cried out for help and mercy from Ecbert and Aethelwulf. When they were about to start, Ecbert halted them to ask if she would name the father of the child…but she vehemently refused. They cut off her first ear.
Before they could cut off her second ear, she screamed that it was Athelstan. Ecbert then spoke to Aethelwulf, saying that she could not truly blame Judith for being with Athelstan, who was a godly man. According to Ecbert, God probably had a hand in all this, so of course Judith couldn’t be blamed for being chosen to give birth to a special child. Ecbert announced that the boy would be name Alfred. The baby would be Christened and Judith would be spared. (Did anyone else think that Ecbert totally set this all up???)
If you missed the episode on Thursday, “Born Again” will be re-airing on HISTORY at the following times:
March 29, 2015, 11:03PM – 12:01AM ET
March 30, 2015, 3:04AM – 4:02AM ET
You can also watch online HERE, OnDemand, or on the Vikings app.
Make sure to get ready for next week’s episode “Paris” with the preview below: