The Vikings face off against Paris one last time and Ragnar takes the lead with a secret plan. Photo stills and recap of the Vikings season 3 finale (episode 10) “The Dead,” which first aired Thursday, April 23 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“The Dead” began with the Parisians returning to the Viking camp and bringing the promised treasure. They’d met their obligations and expected the Vikings to leave immediately. The Northmen descended on the gold and silver and started distributing it.
Rollo (Clive Standen) went to tell Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) that the Franks had brought the payment…but it made no difference to his brother. Ragnar was in bed, pale, and coughing. He was dying, but took solace in know that, now the he’d been baptized, he’d see Athelstan (George Blagden) again.
Afterwards, Rollo and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) talked about Ragnar’s decline. According to Floki, he’d been warning them all along. The priest had poisoned Ragnar’s mind and now they were seeing the full manifestation of Athelstan’s manipulation. But still, Rollo had a heavy heart. He also talked with Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) who refused to believe that Ragnar was a Christian in his heart. For Rollo, the gods protected him from the “Christian magic” when he was baptized. However, they refused to protect Ragnar…it was all Athelstan’s fault.
Kalf (Ben Robson) and Erlendur (Edvin Endre) also gossiped about Ragnar becoming a Christian. Erlendur wasn’t sure it was true, but Kalf hoped it was because that meant Ragnar would never be allowed to rule the Vikings. However, they agreed that someone needed to kill Ragnar.
In Paris, Emperor Charles (Lothaire Bluteau), Count Odo (Owen Roe), and Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) attended mass in the cathedral. After the service, Odo approached Gisla to talk to her, but she brushed him off. She was upset that Odo advised her father to negotiate with the Vikings. Gisla couldn’t even believe that Charles would call this a victory since he’d paid the enemy to go away. But according to Charles, next time they would prepare by blocking the river and fortifying the city. If Charlemagne were there, he’d celebrate too. But Gisla wasn’t so sure.
That night, as the Vikings celebrated Floki went to Helga (Maude Hirst) to beg her forgiveness, but she refused. There was no way she could understanding. Elsewhere, Ragnar spoke to Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), saying that when the time came for his son to be King, he should lead with his head, not his heart. Ragnar also asked his son to do something that he could only trust Bjorn with. Later, as Ragnar slept, Lagertha looked in on him.
Meanwhile, Rollo looked upon Paris and recalled the Seer’s words: “If you truly see what they gods have in store for you, you would go down now and dance naked on the beach.” The next morning, Floki was back in the forest and as he worked, Helga came to him. Ragnar asked Floki to build him one last boat…
In Paris, Odo was then approached by another woman who said that she appreciated his valor and service to the city, even if the Princess didn’t. Odo invited her to a secret chamber and asked her to submit to being chained up and whipped. She agreed…and the BDSM commenced with a strike.
Almost a month passed and the Vikings were still in Paris, to the Franks chagrin. Count Odo went to the Viking camp to ask why they had not honored their pledge to leave. Bjorn shared that Ragnar was too weak to travel and Odo demanded to see for himself. Ragnar was still bed-ridden and shivering, but made a request. If he was to die, he wanted a proper Christian burial. Afterwards the Vikings would leave. Odo agreed to have a mass for Ragnar in the cathedral.
Bjorn comforted his father and held his hand…
When Ragnar died, Bjorn sealed him in the casket/boat the Floki built. Lagertha, Floki, Rollo, and the Vikings were distraught. One by one they went in to pay their final respects:
Lagertha spoke of how she never imagined what the gods had in store for them. But if Ragnar went to heaven, she would never meet him again. She believed that Odin would come rescue him and bring him to Valhalla where Ragnar belonged. They would meet again and fight, drink, and love one another.
Rollo spoke of how he’d always resented Ragnar. He was sorry his brother was dead, but it happened to everyone sooner or later. But wasn’t it funny that the gods took Ragnar first? Hadn’t the gods always favored him? Perhaps both Rollo and Ragnar were mistaken.
Floki resented that he was the one who built the “boat” that would take Ragnar to heaven. He asked Ragnar to give his regards to Athelstan…but really, Floki was enraged. Ragnar had betrayed his heritage, the future of the Vikings, and Floki who had always loved him (though Ragar thought he was a fool). But even still, Floki loved Ragnar.
A large group of Vikings carried Ragnar’s casket to Paris’ gates and as the walked they beat drums and chanted. A small contingent was escorted inside the city by the priests who sang as they proceeded through the the streets to the cathedral. The Northmen placed the casket in the cathedral where Charles, Odo, and Gisla were waiting to participate in the service.
The mass began and Ragnar burst out of the casket, jumped out, and took the Emperor at knifepoint. (Trojan Horse, WHATTTTT?!) He killed the chief priest and when Gisla attacked, Ragnar grabbed her by the throat. “I win.” Charles fainted and Odo and the Parisian soldiers looked on while Ragnar used Gisla as a shield. He backed out of the cathedral and ran to the gates to let Bjorn and the remaining Viking forces inside. Right before, he let the Princess go and motioned for her to run back to Odo.
And as the Seer said: “I can see that not the living, but the dead will conquer Paris.”
Ragnar walked towards Bjorn (standing outside of the city gates) and fell into his son’s arms. Kalf, Erlendur, Floki, Rollo, and Lagertha looked on (surprised that Ragnar was alive) and then stormed Paris with the others.
Later, Charles, Gisla, and others were in the cathedral. Odo reported that the Vikings raided parts of the city, took what they wanted and left. It looked like the Emperor was completely stunned. The heathens had violated Christ’s city and the angels were weeping. But Gisla had enough. She told her father to get up. The pagans were gone so it was time to regroup.
Back at the Viking camp, Lagertha and Floki were upset with Bjorn. They couldn’t believe that he hadn’t told them about the plan. But Bjorn said that he followed his father’s instructions and had succeeded. He planned for them to return to Kattegat the next day with plans to raid Paris again in the Spring. As such, they needed a presence there. Floki volunteered to stay, but Rollo interrupted. He would stay for the winter because he had a reason. So Rollo and a contingent of Vikings stayed behind to spend their winter in Frankia. As the boats sailed off, Ragnar (who was still alive) looked back at his brother.
In Paris, Charles spoke to Gisla about how Rollo and some Vikings still remained, which probably meant the Vikings would be back to raid the city. He didn’t believe any of his brothers would come to their assistance. What could they do? Charles refused to become known as the French Emperor who presided over the destruction of Paris. So he would offer them something much more precious than gold. Charles offered Gisla’s hand in marriage and she was UPSET her father would do this. She would rather kill herself than be married to a beast. Alas, she had no choice but to obey.
Charles’ messenger brought the proposal to Rollo…in addition to marrying Gisla, he would be granted land and wealth. In return Rollo had to promise to defend Paris against Ragnar when the other Vikings returned. Rollo accepted and went to meet Charles and his future bride. Gisla quickly asserted that she refused to marry a pagan. She was disgusted by him. Rollo’s response? He said hello to everyone in French and smiled.
The other Vikings sailed home and on the water Ragnar called for Floki to come to him. Ragnar stared Floki down and finally said “you killed Athelstan.”
If you missed the episode on Thursday, “The Dead,” you can watch online HERE, OnDemand, or on the Vikings app.
So, as season 3 came to an end, there are several open questions for the fourth season: Is Ragnar going to survive his illness? Will Gisla actually marry Rollo? When the Vikings return in the Spring, will Rollo really fight against Ragnar and his fellow Northmen? Will Floki admit to killing Athelstan? When the Vikings return to Kattegat, what will Bjorn and Little Siggy do now that Porunn is gone? So many questions and potential conflicts…do you have any guesses? What are you most looking forward to seeing in season 4? Share your thoughts below in comments!
Also, watch this season 4 preview that features Bjorn taking on a bear (WOWSA!):
Read More: Vikings Will Return for Season 4 on HISTORY