TV Show Review

TV Review: VIKINGS: Season 4, Episode 4: Yol [History]

Dianne Doan Vikings Yol

History‘s Vikings Yol TV Show Review. Vikings: Season 4, Episode 4: Yol overflowed with all kinds of interesting…uh,…developments. Yuletide brought with it a wave of lust, love, and an unexpected new rival. Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) found a new love, while Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) went and stole one, and Rollo (Clive Standen) finally won his over. “A king and a slave”, Ragnar muses while bobbing in a bath,  both people have the same pressures and the same desires. Ragnar hosted Yol celebrations, but first, he flirted with Yidu (Dianne Doan), and it was a wildly sweet courtship. Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) watched their exchange like she was almost pleased. This development did not come as a surprise, because it was obvious the queen had picked Yidu for this very reason. Aslaug is nothing if not clever, which was the trait that endeared her to Ragnar in the first place.

Ragnar’s fascination with Yidu was obvious. He even trusted her share in his “secret place”. Plus, they ended up “shrooming” out? They felt natural and comfortable with each other. Despite Ragnar’s invitation to let her leave if she wanted, Yidu stayed. In all practicality, she really had no where to go, but her decision felt reminiscent of another beloved slave-turned-best-friend. I like Yidu. (Not because of the ‘shrooms though.) She seems strong, despite her circumstance, and that was the spirit that endeared Ragnar to Athelstan. In truth, it has to be Ragnar’s intense curiosity and intuition that exudes a magnetism that both slaves found hard to resist.

Bjorn versus the phantom berserker was incredible! The cold and haunted look of the battleground lent a surreal vibe to the one fight scene. Then, it got real. Bjorn adapted to the environment, his opponent and employed some ghastly creativity to gain the upper hand on a giant. After last season, we have so far been starved for battle – we have mostly seen slaughter, and epic girlfight and torture (I just do not count that sad battle in Mercia, sorry). So, Bjorn’s fight with the big guy was a bit of welcome Viking brutality. You have to wonder if he knows who sent the assassin.

Before Bjorn Ironside went home to Kattegat, he visited mother. I think he wanted to make sure she was still alive. Erlendur (Edvin Endre) and Kalf (Ben Robson) looked super frightened when Bjorn appeared big, determined, and alive in the doorway of their great hall. Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), on the other hand, looked proud of the man her son had clearly become out in the wilderness. Bjorn’s whole persona had changed to something self-confident and brimming with a barely contained wildness. He came there to take Erlendur’s woman, the former Viking queen, and of course, she went with the powerful prince. Erlendur lost again.

In Frankia, Rollo finally spoke Princess Gisla’s (Morgane Polanski)  language and made their union concrete. Once again, it broke a little bit of my heart to see him toss his brother’s bracelet, a gift of love, aside. It was a bittersweet moment when he convinced the princess of his dedication to her and to Paris. At the same time, I feel happy for Rollo because he finally got a victory through his own wit.  The newlywed antics during Christmas festivities was an unexpected joy for all at court. There seemed to be a feeling of general acceptance settling amongst the players in Frankia. Not so much in Wessex where the “swinger court” is underway. King Ecbert (Linus Roache) may not have to wait for Ragnar to return to see a certain destruction in his own home, destruction he is causing.

Queen Aslaug was at the center of a couple of interesting developments in Yol. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), a man apart, became Ivar’s mentor. Aslaug appointed her son a godfather who was devout to ancient gods, even if not so favored. We know Ivar goes on to be a great ruler in Viking history, so perhaps this moment was the portrayal of Ivar’s “christening” or “anointing” for leadershhip.  Choosing Ragnar’s frenemy for this appointment shows Aslaug’s disdain for Ragnar is growing stronger. It was apparent in her behavior when one of her old suitors showed up in Kattegat, sitting way too comfortably in King Ragnar’s chair. She did nothing, except encourage a fight. Cannot wait to see how Ragnar, his sons, and his warriors, handle this newcomer.

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About the author


I am ...a lover of all things film ...a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law ...a D.C. native, who frequents local and international film festivals ...a self-professed couch potato who can usually be caught watching anything produced by Joss and Jed Whedon. My favorite TV shows include the Buffy & Angel Series, Sons of Anarchy, Oz, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Shield. Still, I am open to everything on TV and Netflix, which is doing big things.

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