TV Show Review

TV Review: VIKINGS: Season 4, Episode 5: Promised [History]

Ben Robson Katheryn Winnick Vikings Promised

History‘s Vikings Promised TV Show Review. Vikings: Season 4, Episode 5: Promised saw everyone playing their first moves in political chess, well, all except for Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). For Lagertha it was check mate!Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) confessed his deepest secrets to his concubine while Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) learned the identity of the author of his attempted assassination. The writing shines in this episode where Michael Hirst allows the players to say so much by saying so little.

There was the quietest revelatory exchange between Ragnar and Yidu (Dianne Doan) that opened flood gates in their relationship. Ragnar’s dogged persistence that Yidu reveal who she really was finally paid off. He has the Chinese emperor’s daughter. (Take that Rollo (Clive Standen)!) Yidu wanted to be trusted and Ragnar wanted to trust her, revealing his own guilt and shame over what he perceived as his failures, which we saw in Season 1. Every word they said to each other was measured, but delivered with a casual air. It could easily be boring watching their flirtation but somehow I stay mesmerized because it is like drug-induced-friends-with-benefits-meets-the-royals.

Wessex and Frankia prepared for war in the midst of internal unrest. In Wessex, Ecbert’s court accepted the reality that Mercia will have to be conquered by force. Although, while Ecbert (Linus Roache) was nonchalantly proposing war in the name of Queen Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey), it was flashing red on his forehead that he meant not even a word of his fidelity. No one seemed to be oblivious pawns in Ecbert’s game, but it was clearly a game. Most of the story in Wessex was told through sneaky looks and guilty glances across the war table, undermining what was being said. Ecbert wants an empire and it all starts with an invading army led by his standard.

In a heated exchange, Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) and Judith (Jennie Jacques) finally acknowledged that their marriage is “in name only”. I do wonder why Aethelwulf cared at all to become so angry. He should have known that from the moment her ear was cut off all loyalty was lost. Meanwhile, Rollo and Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) were getting along swimmingly in Paris. He and his wife seemed to have found a nice rhythm, while Rollo continued to oversee defensive preparations.

Rollo also found an easy ally in Count Odo (Owen Roe), but both Gisla and Roland (Huw Parmenter) made their subtle and robust moves toward ending Odo. Gisla planted the seed of murderous ambition in Rollo, who we all know is highly susceptible to that kind of talk. Roland exploited the emperor’s insecurity by planting the seeds of doubt in the emperor’s head about Odo’s sincerity. I truly enjoy watching Lothaire Bluteau in the role of Emperor Charles. Bluteau plays the emperor like a mousy, effeminate Shakespearean tragedy. Bluteau pretty much rules the moment whenever he is on screen.

Another marital arrangement caught many off guard: Lagertha finally accepted Kalf’s (Ben Robson) proposal, but that happy spectacle ended with blood. I feel like Lagertha just loves to ruin beautiful freshly washed garments with blood baths. Nevertheless,Lagertha’s promise to Kalf was fulfilled. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to such an interesting character as Kalf. His mischief was only just beginning. In all fairness, she promised him this outcome. She regained her earldom – unshared.

With Bjorn knowing that he must confront Erlendur (Edvin Endre) for trying to kill him…honestly, when will people learn that it is foolish to mess with the Lothbroks? I am not saying they are invincible, but Erlendur versus Bjorn is not even a contest, which why the weasel sent an assassin. So, in Promised, almost everyone has been exposed in some way. Now, it is all about how the game plays out.

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About the author


I am a lover of all things film and a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law. As a self-professed couch potato, I 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, and The Shield. My favorite current TV shows are ...TBD. So for now, I am open to everything on TV and even Netflix, which is doing big things. A D.C. native that frequents local and international film festivals, you can catch my film reviews at

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