Vikings Review by John Keegan

Vikings 4.11: The Outsider

Vikings 4.11: The Outsider

Written By:
Michael Hirst
Directed By:
Daniel Grou

One of the best things about having one writer for the entire run of a show is that there is a strong sense of consistency.  Given how much of what happens on Vikings is deeply internal and even mystical, it helps to have those elements delivered in the same manner, episode by episode.  With this mid-season return being introspective on many levels, that clarity is a must.    

 


 

Seven years have passed since the disappearance of Ragnar Lothbrok, and so this episode serves as a slow but steady reintroduction to the status quo.  That’s not easy when one can never quite be sure what side of Ragnar is going to hold sway.  On the one hand, it seems fairly clear that he wants to reclaim his rightful place as ruler. On the other, he seems awfully tempted to reconnect with Lagertha and go back to his old life.  Something tells me the foretold calamity suggests a very different and more violent and disruptive path awaits.

 

One of the highlights of the episode is the reunion between Ragnar and Floki.  They love each other more than brothers by blood would, and that shines through.  This is important because there are undertones that suggest this could be the last time they see each other.  When the plot has two dear friends and allies from a rift and then reaffirm friendship, something ominous is on the horizon.

 


 

Ragnar’s sons must now contend with their father’s return, and this is where the tale turns towards Ivar.  Historically all of Ragnar’s sons would go on to various feats worthy of record, but it is worth noting that Ivar has a brutal reputation.  He also succeeds far more than one would expect.  So his resolve and anger at this stage serve as foreshadowing of his eventual rise.  Also notable is his relationship with Margrethe.  While she satisfies the urges of his brothers happily enough, she seems to be doing more than fighting to save her own skin when she tells Ivar about the greatness within.  She could very well recognize that she could gain by giving Ivar more than her body.

 

It seems fair to assume that while the other brothers go to the Mediterranean, Ivar could go with Ragnar to exact vengeance on King Ecbert.  His conversation with Lagertha, however, seems to betray doubts about his future role.  Even his desire to reconnect with Lagertha is essentially blocked by the feisty and compelling presence of Astrid.  His eventual suicide attempt suggests he feels like he no longer has a place in the world, which could be why his return is so calamitous.  Trying to force greatness onto his shoulders may lead Ragnar to threaten all he has managed, against all odds, to create.


Our Grade:
A-
The Good:
  • Establishes the new status quo effectively
  • Ragnar continues to be a compelling central character
The Bad:
  • The time leap is still a bit jarring and glosses over Ragnar’s recovery

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Vikings by - 12/1/2016 1:27 PM142 views

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