As the Vikings attack Paris, Count Odo, Princess Gisla, and the Parisians stand firm. Photo stills and recap of Vikings season 3, episode 8, “To The Gates!,” which first aired Thursday, April 9 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“To the Gates!” began with a clear and sunny day. The time for the attack on Paris had arrived and the Vikings were getting ready to go. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) was overseeing the preparation of his tower/ladders, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel, crucifix in hand) looked on as his soldiers gathered their weapons and boarded the ships. Rollo (Clive Standen) pumped up his group with chants and then sailed off.
Meanwhile Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Kalf (Ben Robson), Erlendur (Edvin Endre) and their contingent of soldiers marched towards Paris’ gates. As they approached, the Parisian soldiers shut and locked the gate…unfortunately, not all of the Parisian people were able to make it inside beforehand. Count Odo (Owen Roe) was adamant that no Viking be allowed to breach the city, so his soldiers prepared catapults and crossbows.
Lagertha had her archers ready to cover them, and once Floki sounded the horn (from the river), she and her forces (under the cover of shields) stormed the gates with the battering ram. From within, Odo braced the gates. Once the Vikings realized the battering ram wasn’t working, Erlendur’s men attempted to penetrate the gates with spears and a giant hammer.
On the river, Floki had his tower/ladders set up and the Vikings began their attempt to climb up. The entire time, the Parisian soldiers fired their arrows down upon the Northmen. Floki, Rollo, and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) continued to encourage their men by assuring them that the gods were with them. Eventually, the Vikings made it to the top of the wall and the fierce fight continued.
As the bells in the city rung, Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) watched the Viking ships approach. She went to the priests who showed her the sacred banner of sacred banner of St. Dennis, the patron saint of France. In fact, the banner was dipped in the saint’s blood. She took the banner to the Monseigneur in the cathedral who anointed it as the people prayed. Gisla then took the banner to the wall and called upon Parisians to be brave and show no mercy. With renewed fervor, they took on the Vikings. Yet, the Northmen still climbed. At that point, the Parisians dumped buckets of hot oil on the Vikings and lit them (and the tower/ladders) on fire. Was there any hope for success?
Both Rollo and Bjorn ascended the tower/ladder. As Bjorn was going up, a Viking soldier was knocked down and tried to hold onto Bjorn so he wouldn’t fall. Ragnar saw this and came running to try and help his son. Bjorn was eventually able to kick the mad off him (who then fell to his death). Bjorn and Ragnar continued their climb up. Once they reached the top, Ragnar, Bjorn, and Rollo fought the Parisians with their axes. (*sidenote* I was pretty impressed with Rollo being shirtless with no hammer.) Rollo stared at Gisla, who was still on the wall in solidarity with her soldiers. Perhaps Rollo was distracted because the Parisians were able to knock over the tower/ladder and he fell to the river.
Ragnar kept on fighting, and at the first chance he got, he looked upon Paris. He then jumped (or perhaps was pushed) off the wall and fell to the pile of bodies below. As he stumbled away, he found Bjorn, who was unconscious: Bjorn had been shot with two arrows.
Meanwhile, Floki was inside of one of the burning tower/ladders lamenting the catastrophe. They were all going to die and he once again blamed Athelstan. Ragnar never should have trusted the priest. Floki cursed the gods for leading him astray and as he yelled, a burning body fell in front of him.
Back at the gate, the Vikings were able to make a breach. Kalf then had horses brought in, attached ropes to the gate and had the horses pull. However, the Parisians continued to throw heavy rocks trying to break their shields, and were eventually able to penetrate. But it was too late, as the gates were pulled open. What was on the other side? Nothing. As the Vikings charged down the corridor, something told Kalf to stop. He tried to get Lagertha to turn back, but she wouldn’t. Kalf then punched Lagertha and dragged her back the way they came. As he retreated, the Parisian soldiers began a counter-attack, launching arrows and spears into hoard of Northmen.
The Vikings gathered their dead and injured and retreated. Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo wondered if Bjorn might still live. Rollo and Lagertha lamented, saying that Bjorn never should have climbed the ladder, but Ragnar disagreed. Bjorn was a man and this was how he showed himself to be a leader. Rollo then said that they’d come so far to conquering Paris, but made too many mistakes…mistakes they wouldn’t make next time. At that point, Ragnar left the tent.
Helga (Maude Hirst) found Floki submerged in the river. He was sure that the gods were punishing him by letting them be defeated in Paris. But Helga had enough. Floki was too self-centered and selfish. Not everything was about him. And how was she supposed to live with the secret that he had killed Athelstan? But Floki said it wasn’t true…he was concerned about every human being. As Helga walked away, Floki cried and begged for her to come back.
That evening Kalf came to Lagertha as she was cleaning up and helped her. She wanted to hate him, but he wouldn’t let her. Kalf said that he desired Lagertha. He kissed her, but she stopped him. Lagertha didn’t trust Kalf and would never forgive him for usurping her earldom. She promised that one day she would kill him. However, if Kalf was ok with that, they could be together for now. He agreed.
As Ragnar was urinating (possibly blood), Bjorn finally woke up. The first thing he said was that his father never should have called him Bjorn Ironside, as if the gods were actually protecting him. Bjorn then asked what they would do next. Ragnar replied that he had to talk to a friend first.
In the forest, Ragnar “spoke” to Athelstan and revealed that he had a larger plan. He was a patient man. Paris was everything he thought it would be and he would conquer it no matter what.
In Paris, Emperor Charles (Lothaire Bluteau, who spent the entire battle hidden in his throne room) and Odo looked over the dead Viking bodies. They entered the cathedral to applause and Gisla followed behind and placed the sacred banner on the alter. She then gave a speech hailing her father for the defense of the city…although it was pretty clear she didn’t mean it. Charles and Gisla then knelt in prayer.
If you missed the episode on Thursday, “To The Gates!” will be re-airing on HISTORY at the following times:
April 16, 2015, 9:00 – 9:58PM ET
April 17, 2015, 1:01 – 1:59AM ET
April 23, 2015, 10:00 – 10:58AM ET
You can also watch online HERE, OnDemand, or on the Vikings app.
Make sure to get ready for next week’s episode “Breaking Point” with the preview below: