As Ragnar’s health declines, the Northmen launch a second assault on Paris. Photo stills and recap of Vikings season 3, episode 9 “Breaking Point,” which first aired Thursday, April 16 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“Breaking Point” began with our Vikings trying to recoup after their loss in Paris. Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was still ill (urinating blood) and there seemed to be a general restlessness in the camp. He went into the forest to find Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), who was naked, sitting is a sort of tree house, and lamenting their loss. After asking after Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig, Ragnar said his son was doing better), Floki expressed that he didn’t understand what had happened in Paris. He had done everything to make sure the Vikings would succeed (did this include killing Athelstan?). As Ragnar walked away, he said that the others would try again that night. Meanwhile, Floki noticed that Helga (Maude Hirst) was watching him and after they made brief eye contact, she also walked away.
That night Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) led a contingent of shieldmaidens, swimming through the Seine, to the Parisian walls. Once they arrived, they climbed up the wooden beams supporting the lookout posts, silently entered the posts, and killed several soldiers on duty. When the Parisian soldiers recognized they were under ambush, they sounded the alarms, and a fight ensued. The Parisians fought back and doused the shieldmaidens with hot oil. At the same time Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) distributed daggers to other women and asked them to pray that the devils would not enter the city. However, if they did, they should make sure the Vikings didn’t take them alive. The shieldmaidens continued to fight with bows/arrows and setting a big fire.
Count Odo (Owen Roe), Princess Gisla, and a second contingent of soldiers also arrived just in time to see the Viking men (including Floki and Rollo) storm the gates. However, the Parisians released a spike barrel that rolled towards the Northmen that impaled some and sent the rest running away. As the Parisians tried to retract the barrell, Floki and Rollo (Clive Standen) obstructed it’s path, jumped over it, ran towards the Parisian soldiers, and continued the fight.
Odo and Princess Gisla left the front gates to find Emperor Charles (Lothaire Bluteau, who was praying) to the Holy Mother. The Vikings had almost penetrated the city and if the Emperor would show himself to the soldiers, it would renew their fervor. However, Charles refused, even when Odo pleaded and asked the Emperor to put on his armor and join the soldiers as Charlamagne would have done. Alas, Charles was not his grandfather (which he stated).
The Count returned to the bridge where the Parisians were struggling to keep the Vikings out, but the Northmen were fierce. Lagertha, Floki, Rollo, Kalf (Ben Robson), and others continued to fight, but they couldn’t get through. At that point, Rollo called for the Vikings to fall back. Unfortunately Earl Siegfried (Greg Orvis) and Sinric the Wanderer (Frankie McCafferty, who told Ragnar how to find the mouth of the Seine and enter Paris) were left behind.
Ragnar was back at the camp, watching from afar, and clearly still suffering major injuries. He could barely stay standing and ended up curled up in a ball in a pool of blood. He was having visions of Athelstan (George Blagden), crows sitting on a cross, as well a second Ragnar staring down at him.
Back in Paris, Sinric and Siegfried were brought to see the Emperor. Sinric begged for his life saying that he wasn’t an enemy about would help Paris in any way he could. Count Odo asked after the man who stopped the rolling spike… “a great warrior…a man of such strength and such violence.” Sinric told them that this was Rollo, Ragnar’s brother and a fierce warrior who fought “like a bear”. Odo proclaimed that Sinric would be helpful to them.
What would they do with Siegfried? Well, the Count planned to barter him back to the Vikings. However, Gisla demanded his head. Siegfried was paraded through the square and, before he would be beheaded, stated that he didn’t mind dying and asked that someone move his hair from his neck so it would be a swift/clean strike. The Parisians obliged…and when a soldier went to swing the axe, Siegfried pulled back so instead of his neck, the person who was holding his hair had his hand chopped off. Siegfried and Sinric proceeded to laugh. Odo and Gisla were scandalized.
Eventually, Siegfried was beheaded and his head placed on a spike in the middle of the city. Afterwards, Gisla and Odo went to see several Parisians who were suffering and dying from an unknown sickness. The city was also running out of fresh food and starving. Their loss was so great that Odo appealed to the Emperor to consider making peace with the Vikings. Gisla begged her father not to listen to the Count’s advice. Charles was under extreme stress and demanded time to pray alone to find the will of God.
Later, Sinric brought the Parisians to the Viking camp and when they arrived he told Ragnar that Emperor Charles wanted to end the siege. Count Odo wanted to meet with Ragnar (outside of the city and without weapons) to discuss the terms. The Parisians left, but not before Rollo freed Sinric.
The was severe disagreement amongst the Vikings about how to proceed. Bjorn wanted to negotiate…they’d lost 1,000 men, winter was coming, and they still hadn’t breached the city. Kalf agreed, especially since they were running out of food. But Lagertha, Rollo, and Erlendur (Edvin Endre) disagreed. Ragnar interrupted their bickering…he was King and would have the last say about their course of action. As he spoke, Ragar coughed up blood…but articulated that they would meet with the Franks tomorrow.
With Sinric as the interpreter, Ragnar and Odo negotiated (though Ragnar stayed mostly silent). In addition to gold, he wanted to be baptized. He was dying and when he died he wanted to be reunited with his Christian friend (Athelstan). When a Parisian priest said that Ragnar would to hell and not heaven, he responded by saying that was not the priest’s decision to make.
Ragnar walked into a nearby lake and asked that the ceremony be performed at that time. The priest agreed. As they performed the baptism, Lagertha, Floki, and Rollo arrived just in time to witness Ragnar being dipped. Floki was enraged, but Ragnar was wide-eyed as he made eye contact with his fellow Vikings.
In Wessex, Judith (Jennie Jacques) went to see King Ecbert (Linus Roache) who had requested to meet her. After asking after his two grandsons (including Alfred), Ecbert shared that Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) would be returning from Mercia after a successful journey. It seemed that neither Ebert or Judith were really thrilled, though they both thanked God. Ecbert reaffirmed his promise to protect Judith and her sons, even from his own son. He freely offered his protect, but at the same time, he also wanted recompense…a reward. What could Judith offer him? That night, Judith came to Ecbert’s rooms…he spoke in riddles, which Judith didn’t understand. Ultimately Ecbert said that he wanted Judith to be his mistress. She agreed as long as he promised to look after Alfred.
The next day, Aethelwulf returned and at dinner, Ecbert toasted to his return. Aethelwulf admited that Kwethrith (Amy Bailey) tried to use her feminine wiles against him, but with God’s help, he was able to resist. Both Ecbert and Judith praised his restraint. It also seemed Aethelwulf had come to terms with his wife’s relationship with Athelstan because. Though he didn’t understand, he said he believed it was God’s work. Aethelwulf then asked his father if Ecbert was prepared to let him die to secure Mercia. Ecbert was offended (*wink*wink*). No Saxon king had ever managed to peacefully turn over their kingdom to their son, and Ecbert claimed that he intended to be the first…and not only Wessx, but all of England. Aethelwulf then toasted his father for being loving, loyal, and true. (WHAT A MESS!)
In Kattegat, Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) sat on the throne while a Christian missionary was brought to her by the townsfolk. The man was in the marketplace denouncing the Viking gods, which he confirmed in front of Aslaug. Though Aslaug recognized that Christ was “a god”, she believed the Viking gods to be mightier. The missionary vowed to put his own beliefs to the test and submit to the judgement of the pagan gods. He was given a hot burning rock/beam to hold, which he took in hand (no pain or burns) and dropped it in front of Aslaug. He won, right? Well, that was just a dream. In real life, when he took the beam in hand, she screamed, cried, and dropped to his knees as his hands burned. That night, when Aslaug was with Ivar, she commanded that the Christian be killed.
If you missed the episode on Thursday, you can watch “Breaking Point” online HERE, OnDemand, or on the Vikings app.
Make sure to get ready for next week’s season 3 finale episode “The Dead” with the preview below: