The Vikings arrive in Frankia and finally find out what happened to Rollo; Paris prepares to defend their city; a familiar face returns to Kattegat. Photo stills and recap of “What Might Have Been”, which aired Thursday, March 24 at 10:00pm ET|PT on HISTORY.
“What Might Have Been” began in Hedeby with Lagertha burying Kalf and performing burial rites over his grave. Erlendur came to the grave and asked why she killed him, and Lagertha replied that it was to fulfill a promise she made to kill Kalf for taking her earldom. When Lagertha asked if Erlendur planner to leave, he said that he would stay and go to Paris with her and Ragnar.
Lagertha then gave some advice to young Gurthrum (Erlendur and Torvi’s son), telling him that while she and his father were gone, Gurthrum should keep his friends close to him and watch out for traitors.
In Kattegat, Ragnar spoke to his people in the great hall and announced that they would be leaving for Paris in exactly three weeks. Yet today, they would perform an important ceremony where Ubbe and Hvitserk would receive their sacred arm rings. Bjorn helped Ragnar to perform the coming of age ritual, reminding Ubbe and Hvitserk of their ties to the earth and sea and loyalty to their king and father. The boys put in their rings as the crowd cheered. Then Ragnar told Aslaug that Ubbe and Hvitserk would be joining him in Paris. She thought the boys were too young, but Ragnar disagreed. They would be safer with him anyway. (The last time he was in Paris, the boys almost drowned while Aslaug was having her affair with Harbard; but Siggy died while saving them, Season 3, Episode 4)
Later at the lodge, while giving Ragnar his hallucinogenic meds, Yidu convinced him to let her come to Paris.
“It’s the only way you can get your medicine. And you may need me for other things as well.”
Afterall, Yidu could speak Frankish. (But did Yidu have plans of her own?)
Ragnar then asked her to tell him the day he would die…
…and we flashed to Ragnar asking the Oracle the same question:
“You will die on the day that the blind man sees you.”
Soon after, Aslaug, Sigurd, and Ivar watched as Ragnar and the Vikings began the journey to Paris. A man beat a drum and chanted well wishes as the boats sailed away.
Back in Kattegat, Sigurd was bored. Now that his older brothers were gone, he didn’t have anyone to play with. He wasn’t interested in hanging out with Young Siggy either. But when Sigurd walked in on a naked Aslaug breast-feeding Ivar.
Later, Aslaug came to the hall to find Harbard waiting for her. Apparently, he knew her suffering and came to free Aslaug of her pain. She brought Harbard to Ivar, who smiled and giggled in their faces.
In Wessex, Ecbert also made a proclamation to his people. After consulting with Father Prudentius, Ecbert decided to send Alfred on a pilgrimage to Rome to see the Holy City and meet the Pope. Given Alfred’s parentage as the son of Athelstan, Ecbert believed Young Alfred was destined for great things and that this visit to Rome would prepare him.
Both Prudentius and Aethelwulf would travel with Alfred. When Aethelwulf tried to protest, saying that he should stay behind to lead the invasion of Mercia, Ecbert told his son not to worry. He would personally lead the charge to restore Kwenthrith.
Alfred was worried that the 1,100 mile journey would be tiring, but Prudentius assured him that in the end, his soul with be filled with joy and happiness.
Soon, the pilgrims received a blessing and bid their goodbyes. Judith told Alfred to listen to his father and Father Prudentius, who knew best. And Ecbert said that a pilgrimage was like a bath for the soul. This would be good for Alfred and he would pray for the boy everyday.
As the Vikings sailed to Frankia, there were several conversations—
Floki (and Helga) sailed with Finehair and Halfdan. When they asked Floki if he would rather travel with Ragnar, he said:
“No. I am here with my new friends who love the gods as much as I do. And would never betray them.” (This is the beginning of a dangerous friendship…)
On another ship, Bjorn and Torvi sat together and he revealed that he got Erlendur’s ring from a berserker sent to kill him. He gazed across the water to boat carrying Erlendur to Paris with them.
That night, when Ubbe and Hvitserk were afraid, Yidu sang a lullaby in Mandarin to help them sleep. It seemed to sooth everyone, except Floki (who cringed and covered his ears).
When a storm hit, all the boats were separated and blown off course. Bjorn was the lead navigator and tried to use the compass to get them back on track. Eventually, they reunited with two Viking ships, led by Lagertha and Finehair.
Together the three boats eventually reached Frankish soil, and when the Vikings disembarked they came across a camp of Frankish scouts. The Vikings killed all the Franks and set up camp. However, one soldier was able to escape and probably went to Paris to tell the Emperor that the Vikings had returned.
Ubbe and Hvitserk watched as Ragnar ordered to men to tie a Frankish soldier to a piece of driftwood and send him sailing into the water. Why?
“So that our last boat knows that we’re in front of them.”
Torvi also spoke with Lagertha about her son and was encouraged when Lagertha said Gurthrum was well and had great things in store for him. Erlendur then confronted Torvi about not asking him about their son. He also revealed that he didn’t care about her feelings for Bjorn. If Torvi didn’t do what he wanted, Erlendur would kill Gurthrum. She was never free.
Signal fires were lit and news of the Vikings’ arrival would soon reach Paris.
Finehair decided to take the Frankish hostages for “a walk”. When Floki went to follow Finehair, Helga stopped him. Shouldn’t Floki try to rekindle his friendship with Ragnar? But Floki totally disagreed:
“What are you talking about? He tortured me and shamed me. How is he my friend?”
Finehair, Floki, and Erlendur ted the soldiers to a pyre and lit them on fire. The Vikings watched the men burn while cheering and screaming.
Elsewhere, Ragnar was concerned that Lagertha was in Paris fighting instead of keeping her baby safe. He then asked about Kalf’s death and whether she was heartbroken. But Lagertha said her heart couldn’t be broken because Ragnar had already done it a long time ago. Besides, Lagertha was no longer his wife or his concern.
In Paris, Charles convened his advisors to announce that Ragnar and the Vikings had returned. The Emperor begged Rollo to defend Paris and not betray them and return to his brother. Rollo said he would not betray the Emperor, Paris, or his wife.
However, Odo had no faith in Rollo. He confided in Therese that Paris could not be trusted to a pagan. Odo said that he had lost all faith in the Emperor. He then chained Therese and whipped her. While he did so, he shared his plan to save Paris and then lead a coup against Charles to install himself as ruler.
As the Vikings sailed up river to try and find Rollo and the Viking settlement (which wouldn’t be there), Ragnar took more medicine from Yidu and had a hallucination of his old life as a farmer. On the beach he saw a white horse galloping, Lagertha and their daughter (Gyda, who had died in Season 1), Athelstan, and young Bjorn. Lagertha beckoned for Ragnar to come to them… but then Ragnar realized it was just a vision.
Eventually, they came across the Frankish forts and saw Duke Rollo, in all is Parisian finery, on the shore with Frankish soldiers. The Vikings were shocked, but Ragnar and Bjorn were enraged. The episode ended with Bjorn yelling to his Uncle.
If you missed Thursday’s episode, you can watch “What Might Have Been” online HERE, OnDemand, or on the HISTORY app.
Make sure to watch a preview for next week’s episode “The Profit and the Loss” below: