The Vikings prepare to return to Paris; Yidu reveals her heritage to Ragnar; Lagertha fulfills a major promise. Photo stills and recap of “Promised”, which aired Thursday, March 17 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“Promised” opened up in Hedeby with Viking soldiers and shieldmaidens preparing for their next raid of Paris. Erlendur had some target practice in the forest with his modified crossbow; Kalf and others were impressed with the weapon’s increased range. Separately, Kalf and Erlendur speculated that Bjorn must have killed the berserker (which was true). But for Erlendur, it didn’t matter. He believed they now had a spy in Ragnar’s household who would share with them the Lothbroks’ weaknesses and the best time to strike—Torvi. Why was Erlendur so sure Torvi would betray Bjorn? Because if she didn’t Erlendur would kill their son. But what of Lagertha?
In a separate conversation, Kalf tried to convince Lagertha that Erlendur had forgiven Torvi for leaving, but Lagertha didn’t seem convinced. But that was the least of their concerns because Lagertha had a surprise–she was pregnant. (WHATTTT?!) Both Kalf and Lagertha were happy… Kalf even proposed. Though Lagertha smiled, she didn’t give him a response.
In Kattegat, Ragnar and Bjorn were also preparing for the raids. As they worked on the ships, Ragnar and Bjorn expressed his distrust of King Harald Finehair from Tamdrup (who would be joining their journey to Paris). Ragnar changed the conversation to ask why Bjorn refused to care for Little Siggy. Bjorn said that he did care about his daughter, but that she reminded him of things he’d rather forget (probably Porunn 🙁 ). Ragnar also seemed displeased about Bjorn separating Torvi from her son:
R: “And what kind of man takes a mother away from her child?”
B: “You tell me. You tried to take me away from my mother.”
OUCH. But Ragnar remembered the situation differently. It was in fact Lagertha and Bjorn who left him.
R: “It is not easy being a father. It is even harder being a husband. Maybe I have failed at both. No. I have definitely failed at being a husband.”
Father and son had a chuckle about Ragnar’s husbandly failures.
Bjorn got even more frustrated about Finehair and went to speak to him directly. Bjorn inquired about how many boats and men Finehair would contribute. Finehair’s brother Halfdan would be leading the 20 boats and 600 men to Kattegat. Bjorn was still concerns about Finehair’s ambition and the potential threat. But according to Finehair, didn’t they all want to achieve fame like Ragnar? Wasn’t that Bjorn’s goal too?
B: “You don’t know me. And fame won’t make your small kingdom any bigger.” (SHADE!)
Ragnar watched the exchange and seemed pretty proud of his son.
Later Ragnar was at his secret hunting lodge with Yidu. Yidu shared that she was from China and even changed to some clothing from her homeland (though, if she was at home, her hair would be much shorter).
As usual Ragnar was curious and asked questions about China. Yidu revealed that it was ruled by Emperor Dezong, of the Tang Dynasty. The Emperor had many wives, daughters, and concubines. Ragnar was particularly distressed when Yidu told him about the eunuchs who would guard the Emperor’s concubines.
Yidu said that her father was a well respected merchant, but Ragnar seemed to think she was lying and was really one of the Emperor’s daughters.
Elsewhere, as Harald combed his fine hair (LOL!), he invited Bjorn to sit and talk again. Bjorn reiterated that he did not trust Finehair, but Harald responded that he would never give Bjorn any reason to kill him.
B: “That is not for you to say. I may find cause where others may not. Who knows?”
But for now they were allies and they would raid Paris together. Ragnar needed Finehair’s men and ships. And Harald was excited to go to Paris and destroy Christians. The Vikings were the masters now.
Soon Halfdan and the rest of Finehair’s men arrived in Kattegat. Finehair tried to introduce Halfdan to Ragnar, but Ragnar seemed less than interested. He was skeptical of Halfdan’s eagerness to wage war and kill Christians.
At the feast that night, Finehair and Halfdan invited Floki and Helga to eat with them. Halfdan was very impressed with Floki the boat builder and couldn’t understand why Ragnar would fall out with the man who made him famous.
Floki: “Because I killed his pet Christian.” (WELPS!)
Meanwhile, Ragnar stole away with Yidu to sit on the roof and watch the stars. Ragnar shared that he wasn’t excited to go back to Paris. He no longer had his youthful vigor and passion for winning. Ragnar told Yidu of the Viking settlement in Wessex and how soon after he left, the settlers were all killed. Secretly, he lived with so much guilt because of it. Yidu then revealed that her father was Emperor Dezong.
The next day, at the lodge, Ragnar bathed Yidu and washed and cut her hair (it was quite the erotic experience, too!).
But there was some serious trouble at home. Ivar took a break from his lessons with Floki to play a game of keep-away with the other children. He got increasingly frustrated that no one was passing him the ball. Floki saw this, caught the ball, and threw it to Ivar. But when another young boy tried to take the ball away, Ivar grabbed an axe and struck the boy with in the head. (YIKES!) While the boy bled to death, Aslaug grabbed Ivar and told him everything would be alright.
While Bjorn was looking at the maps he took from Paris and speculating about the ring her took from the berserker, Torvi came to talk about feeling shut out of his life. While Bjorn tried to console Torvi, she saw the ring and said it belonged to Erlendur, who got it from his father, King Horik. (AND NOW BJORN KNOWS!)
In Wessex, King Ecbert met with King Aelle, Aethelwulf, Judith, and Kwenthrith to discuss strategy for dealing with Mercia. According to Ecbert the only way forward was a full-scale invasion. However, he wondered if there was another way…maybe if they could find the Mercian nobleman “W” who had given them the information that led to Aethelwulf to successfully liberate Kwenthrith and Magnus (Season 4, Episode 2). However, Kwenthrith believed W was Wigstan, one of the most powerful warlords in Mercia. She didn’t believe Wigstan could ever be an ally since his personal interests were his only concern. For Kwenthrirth, the only option was to eliminate all the factions in Mercia that stood against her.
Later that night, after Aethelwulf’s self-flagellation, he asked Judith to come to bed. However, she refused, saying that she didn’t want to. Aethelwulf’s response?
A: “Very well. Then go sleep with my father, you whore!”
J: “Yes, yes, and why don’t you go and sleep with your mistress, the Queen.” (What a hot mess!)
Aethewulf became very upset and pushed Judith forcefully. He almost hit her, but strangely Judith didn’t seem phased. Their marriage wasn’t real anyway, and they were both free to do as they will. Judith went straight to Ecbert and told him of her argument with Aethelwulf. She acknowledged being his whore, be her choice. Ecbert responded by giving Judith his wife’s ring (Was this Aethelwulf’s mother? And was this a proposal?)
The next day, as Aelle left to return to Northumbria, he agreed with Ecbert that they needed to invade Mercia. Aelle also warned Judith again about her relationship with Ecbert, though she still planned to do what was in her best interest, and said so.
Kwenthrith was concerned that Ecbert would betray her, but reassured her that he would keep his word to restore her to the Mercian throne.
Ecbert then went to the church to pray. He knew he was cast out of the Lord’s light.
“And yet, I would sup with the devil if he would show me how to achieve my earthly goals.”
Ecbert’s kingdom was of this world and needed to strengthen and maintain it. He then snuffed out a candle with the palm of his hand and left.
In Paris, Duke Rollo and Count Odo prepared to ward off the Vikings. The Franks had created the forts along the river to Rollo’s specifications and they were in the process of constructing an iron chain that could be raised between the forts to prevent the passage of any boats. Rollo was still concerned that the barriers wouldn’t be enough. There was no alternative; they had to keep Ragnar from taking Paris, or else all of Frankia would be lost.
Rollo and Gisla were still in love. Yet he shared about his dreams of reclaiming the Northern Lands for himself. Gisla encouraged Rollo that he had business in Paris as the Emperor’s advisor. She didn’t trust Count Odo and believed Charles needed Rollo’s strength. Interestingly, Gisla suggested that Odo might die in the battle against the Vikings by some “unknown assailant.” When Rollo said that it would be cowardly to kill someone with a knife to the back, Gisla told him to let go of his Viking sensibilities and learn how to wade through Frankish courts.
Elsewhere, Roland (Odo’s number two man) continued his plotting. He had a secret audience with Charles and warned the Emperor against trusting Odo.
“He [Odo] is ambitious. Ambitious beyond ambitious. So that even an Emperor’s crown would not sit untidily upon his head.”
According to Roland, Charles needed to watch his back, lest he lose his kingdom. Charles seemed doubtful, until Roland said he had the word of Odo’s mistress, Therese (we know that Roland and Therese were in cahoots together). Charles didn’t think he could believe Therese… until Roland revealed that she was his sister and should be trusted (INCEST WHATTTTT???!!!) Therese confirmed that Odo had freely revealed his ambitions to replace Charles and Emperor. Charles begged Therese to stay close to Odo and report any signs of his treachery. He seemed distressed, but when Roland and Therese left, Charles chuckled to himself.
The episode ended as it began, in Hedeby with Lagertha and Kalf. This time, it seemed that they would be getting married. Lagertha was beautiful in an ice blue gown and white flowers in her hair. When Kalf came to have a private moment with her, he was stunned by Lagertha’s beauty and kissed her. While they kissed, Lagertha pulled out a dagger hidden in her sleeve, and then stabbed Kalf in the gut. As he bled to death, Lagertha kissed him.
She then went out to address the people. Lagertha was surrounded by her shieldmaidens when she announced that Earl Kalf was dead, and she, Earl Ingstad would rule alone. (Talk about playing the long game! Lagertha is so savage!)
Long live Earl Ingstad! And Erlendur is all alone.
If you missed Thursday’s episode, you can watch “Promised” online HERE, OnDemand, or on the HISTORY app.
Get ready for next week’s episode “What Might Have Been” with the preview below: