With the picture of English lands in his head on the say-so of King Ecbert (Linus Roache), Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) leads his people to the far-off shores of Wessex in England. King Ecbert is a sly one and has made them promises. Ragnar is not certain whether he will keep them. Ragnar the explorer is searching for something more and he stumbles upon the city of Paris, in France. Renowned for its impenetrable walls to outside forces, Ragnar and his Norsemen must unite to take Paris and become legends.
Vikings is one of those shows that gets better with each season. Season 3 is bloody and brilliant, not necessarily in that order. It gives us big battles, plot twists an otherworldly visualization of Lord Of The Gods, Odin himself. Starting off this season, we have Ragnar helping out Ecbert to seat Princess Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey) on Mercia’s throne. This season incorporates the political side of early England and how Ragnar eases himself into the game.
Vikings has delved into more mythology with a supernatural take on it. It was quite trippy, truth be told. In correlation, we’d see Athelstan (George Blagden) experience a spiritual reawakening. Ecbert is cunning. To call him cunning would be a gross understatement. He’s the Vikings equivalent to Game Of Thrones’ Tywin Lannister. Ecbert’s winning over of Lagertha, seducing her and then scheming to betray Ragnar and using Athelstan’s bastard as a tool to tighten his hold on the realm; a masterful plan if there ever was one.
I will never get over Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) murdering Athelstan. Even to this day, my disdain of Floki is as resolute as in the episode that he killed Vikings’ golden boy. But Ragnar’s reaction is what got to me. Other season-defining moments include the two sieges of Paris and Ragnar trolling the Parisians into opening the gates. Athelstan’s death helped to define Ragnar as character. As an audience, we’ve seen bonds over ‘breaking bread’, battle, religion and culture but never a friendship as honest and pure as Ragnar and Athelstan. All the other friendships were between men puffing out their chests and who can be more dominant and more masculine than the other, in addition to brutal violence and pillaging churches. Ragnar and Athelstan were part of a rare friendship, almost effeminate as it was mostly built on close conversations and feeling.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) started strong, as she established and built a relationship with Ecbert (Roache). It showed her soft side, the other half of her warrior-like battle born persona. When Ecbert finally revealed his master plan, she changed again, which again, reinforced her character. But deep down, she never really trusted him. After divorcing Ragnar and killing her second husband, Lagertha can now do as she pleases. But to Ecbert, she shows her femininity, her sexual side and her vulnerability yet simultaneously remaining vigilant.
Season 3 is Vikings at its greatest. It’s between multiple locations, the story is good and the character development is on point. It’s riled up with large scale battles and it looks at the intimate moments between characters under a microscope. In addition, Kevin Durand’s “Odin” was a thought-provoking side plot while Ragnar and his brigands were up to shenanigans with Ecbert and company in Wessex many miles away in England. There’s lots going on throughout the season and you have to be paying attention of all times.
Overall, this is the best season yet. With each season we receive, the performances, narratives and events, seem to get more epic. Vikings season three is truly something awesome.