Ragnar finally decides Floki’s fate! Photo stills and recap of this week’s Vikings “Kill the Queen,” which aired on Thursday, February 25 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“Kill the Queen” brought us back to England, as we found the tentative peace between Wessex and Mercia was completely upended.
The episode picked up with Bjorn in the frozen tundra, trying to make his way through the wilderness. He was completely alone, and the journey was made difficult by the high winds and abundant snow. Eventually, Bjorn came across a hunting lodge. Now that he had shelter, he went ice fishing for food. He was able to catch a fish, which he cooked over an open fire back at the lodge.
Back at Kattegat, life continued for Ragnar. As he ate supper by himself, he overheard a commotion outside. Apparently Floki had escaped and a search party was gathering to find him. When a guard notified Ragnar, he didn’t seem at all surprised at this turn of events. Ragnar calmly finished his meal, while the search for Floki commenced. (Interestingly, Helga was hiding in the dark, right by where Floki had been chained.) The next day, we saw that Floki had escaped and was climbing through the forest, hills, and river.
We then found Helga and Angrboda hiding by the docks, building a fire. Soon, Ragnar joined them. He asked her outright if she freed Floki. Helga’s response:
“I don’t know. I might have done.”
Again, Ragnar didn’t see surprised and he didn’t blame her. He viewed it as Helga’s wifely duty to help Floki. She responded by asserting that Floki loved Ragnar. But Ragnar believed Floki only loved himself and Helga should know that more than anyone.
Before Ragnar left them, he gave Helga a sack of food he brought with them:
“Winter is coming, no matter what happens, you and your child need to eat.”
The search party was hot on his heels and tracking Floki’s movements. Even Ragnar’s sons Ubbe and Hvitserk were there. Ubbe seemed particularly determined to catch Floki, and was able to locate him when Floki was hiding under water. As the guards captured Floki, he fought and screamed, but was unable to free himself.
Floki was brought back to Ragnar, and he taunted his former friend:
“Why didn’t the gods protect you? Why didn’t they hide you better from such innocent eyes? Could it be that the gods were not interested in saving him? Because they are angry at you.”
Floki had no response, he had said everything he wanted to say.
Ragnar promised to make Floki suffer with an “imaginative” punishment, an idea he got from the gods…
However, Ragnar was still angry. He stormed back home, kicking things in his way. Why wouldn’t Floki admit the truth of why he killed Athelstan? Yet, Aslaug seemed to sympathize with Floki:
“But he’s [Floki] right. What did he do that was wrong? All he did was kill a Christian. Why should he be punished just for that?”
For Ragnar, it wasn’t about Christianity or faith. It was about loyalty, something obviously Aslaug couldn’t understand. Ragnar slapped her across the face twice, until she fell to the ground, then walked away.
Later Ragnar came upon Helga, trying to dig a grave in a snow storm. Angrboda had died and she was devastated. Ragnar asked if Helga has told Floki, but she hadn’t. Ragnar then dug the grave himself.
We then saw Floki in the midst of his punishment, bound in a cave, going crazy, while water dripped on him.
(“The sagas tell how Loki was imprisoned by the gods, held underneath dripping venom.” via Entertainment Weekly)
In Paris, Rollo (now a Frankish Duke) helped Count Odo prepare for the Northmen’s return. They were planning strategy about how to fortify the river. Rollo suggested building two forts on either side of the river, and when the Viking ships made their way towards Paris, they would use a chain to capsize the boats. Rollo also advised the Franks to build more boats that could attack the Vikings on the river. Count Odo was pleased with Duke Rollo.
As he had drinks with his lady companion, Therese (who he first met in the Season 3 finale) in his sexy times dungeon, Odo shared that he liked having a sound strategy for protecting Paris, and was absolutely thrilled with Gisla’s horror at being married to Rollo. Odo believed Gisla would try to have the marriage annulled, claiming it was never consummated. He also confessed he was angry Emperor Charles was taking credit for saving Paris, when in truth, Charles was a coward. Therese agreed, saying Paris would need a stronger emperor, then she toasted Odo as that man. Therese also said that he would need a consort who could match his strength. Odo should look to her instead of Gisla. Then they commenced their BDSM play.
It later turned out that Therese was scheming, herself! She had another lover, Odo’s #2 man, Roland! Therese shared the information about Odo’s potential coup against Emperor Charles. Roland seemed sad that, in order to get the information, she had to suffer Odo’s violence. But he encouraged Therese to get any information that might discredit Odo:
“Then, when the time is right, I will inform his Imperial Highness of the duplicity and treachery of his high and most trusted servant…Then, let the cards fall as they may.”
And Roland probably expected to step into Odo’s position when that time came.
Elsewhere, Rollo had a makeover so he could look more worthy of his new rank. Rollo seemed to hope this would help him with Gisla’s affections. But when she walked in, she just laughed in his face (how sad for Rollo!).
In Wessex, England, King Ecbert and Aethelwulf called their nobles came to share urgent news from Mercia. They had learned that there were a group of Mercian nobles refusing to pay homage to Wessex. They had, in fact, revolted against Queen Kwenthrith and overthrown her. She and her son, Magnus were being imprisoned in a tower while the nobles formed a ruling council. Ecbert was adamant that retaliation was necessary and made calls to his ally, King Aelle. They would try rescue Kwenthrith without using force, but Ecbert was prepared to go to war if necessary. Scouts from Wessex were already on the way to Mercia to try and locate Kwenthrith and Magnus. As a precaution, Aethelwulf ordered the nobles to assemble their soldiers. Some of them were concerned that this would be an unnecessary expense if Wessex didn’t end up having to go to war with Mercia. But Ecbert was firm. Was it more expensive to keep a standing army OR to suffer the consequences of being unprepared when Ragnar Lothbrok and other invaders came to their shores?
The battalions were assembled, just in time for Ecbert and Aethelwulf to receive a message from Mercia: the maimed and dismembered body parts of their scouts in a box. One of the scouts had survived. Apparently, a noble (“W”) who refused to join the Mercian Ruling Council told him where Kwenthrith was being kept. The scout would lead them there. Ecbert believed this was a trap, using Kwenthrith as bait. Aethelwulf was less skeptical. As a safety measure, he would go to Mercia with the scout and a contingent of warriors to see what was really going on. Before leaving, Ecbert advised his son to kill the scout if there was any doubt in his honesty. Ecbert also implored his son to save Magnus, no matter what.
As he left, Aethelwulf didn’t have many kind words for Judith, although he did say that he trusted her again, so their parting was less sad (this was probably sarcastic). Later, Judith sat with Ecbert, and she was clearly upset. Yes, her husband had rode off on a dangerous mission She refused to share Ecbert’s bed. But would he force her? According to Ecbert, they weren’t enemies, and he wanted Judith to be free. What would give Judith the most pleasure and satisfaction? Of all things, Judith wanted to be a painter and work on the sacred texts, like Athelstan. Ecbert promised to find her a great teacher.
Ecbert kept his promise, and soon Judith met her painting instructor…someone who looked A LOT like Athelstan. His name was Prudentius, a monk from Frankia. At first, Father Prudentius refused to work with Judith, to teach the sacred mysteries to a woman. Judith encourage him to talk to Ecbert, who would confirm that she was his new student.
Ecbert introduced Father Prudentius to Wessex’s Bishop Edmund. They drank wine while Ecbert shared plans to have Prudentius teach “us” some of the secrets of illumination. When Athelstan left, there were many sacred texts unadorned and unfinished. Prudentius would complete the work. Ecbert also said that he intended for Judith to learn how to illuminate, even though Prudentius thought it was immoral. Did the Bishop agree? Well, Bishop Edmund knew where his bread was buttered and assured Prudentius that all was well:
“God, saw fit to allow a former prostitute to wash the limbs of His own son when He was brought down from the cross. If He tolerated such a woman touching the sacred flesh, how much more would He approve of a good and pious Christian woman adorning His sacred texts?”
Prudentius would teach Judith.
When Aethelwulf arrived in Mercia, he found the tower where Kwenthrith was being kept. A contingent of his warriors stormed the gates and attacked the guards, while Aethelwulf and the others scaled the wall and ran to the tower. It was a fierce fight, and Kwenthrith watched it all from the tower.
The leader of the Mercian forces ordered one of his soldiers to kill the queen and the child immediately. Kwenthrith fought hard and tried to protect Magnus. Down below, Aethelwulf also fought to get up tower. He was able to get to the upper room in time to stop a female guard from choking Kwenthrith.
Kwenthrith: “What took you so long?!”
If you missed Thursday’s episode, you can watch “Kill the Queen” online HERE, OnDemand, or on the HISTORY app.
Make sure to get ready for next week’s episode “Mercy” with the preview below: