History‘s Vikings The Profit and the Loss TV Show Review. In Vikings: Season 4, Episode 7: The Profit and the Loss we finally got our battle. Against his brother, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) suffered a crushing defeat. The victory seemed bittersweet because we finally saw a chink in Rollo’s (Clive Standen) new armor.
Many things signaled Ragnar’s raid would be unsuccessful. He was unprepared. before his other conquests he spent many hours talking with Athelstan, his other warriors and kings, the seer and the gods about his plans. We simply have not seen much of Ragnar the “thinker” thus far this season. Maybe that is because he has been preoccupied. His fascination with Yidu (Dianne Doan) has kept his attention rapt. At home as king, he could indulge in their fantasy. Abroad as a general it was foolish to assume he could do the same. Come on Ragnar! You are hooked on opium, Yidu is your pusher not your lover. At least she showed some remorse for her actions. What is with these two brothers (and really every major male hero in history) that a woman is nearly always their downfall or their boon.
Ragnar is not just obsessed with Yidu’s “magic” but also with Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and her baby (What Lagertha does is none of your business Ragnar, tend to your battle plans!). Rollo is eager to show off for Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski), but we saw that he also harbors some affection for Lagertha. He barely wanted to call the command toward the ground force that Lagertha was leading, but he did.
The battle was a massacre. I was holding my breath sometimes, gasping other times. Their previous loss in Paris was similarly horrific, but this was Rollo slaughtering his kin. Rollo knew every angle in which to defeat Ragnar’s forces. He even orchestrated the slaughter at the Viking camp (totally ruthless!). By river, by land, he was the superior tactician, and I cannot be mad. Ragnar essentially handed over his forces to Rollo on the strength of a battle plan that amounted to some boats and a prayer. Those boats were capsized, the men drowned and burned. The prayers, honestly, I may be wrong, but there were no prayers. If he had been thinking clearly, Ragnar would have thought differently, since he would have considered that Rollo knew everything.
Ragnar’s mind has not been right since he lost Athelstan (George Blagden), his spiritual guide and companion. At Yule he was dutiful and honored the gods but he also tortured his best friend for harming a christian. There is so much confusion in his drug-addled brains, that Ragnar has neglected his spiritual side, which previously strengthened his resolved and blessed his ambitions. Even Ragnar admitted to Yidu, he has lost his fire. Ragnar has lost his wives, his best friends, his brother…he has lost nearly everything, although he his surrounded by everyone. Now, he has lost faith (and he is talking to what I can only assume is Athelstan’s skull in his tent, so he may have lost his mind).
Meanwhile, King Ecbert (Linus Roache) made a big show of marching off to war in Mercia to reinstall Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey), but then only met with her enemy. The mysterious “W” at the head of the counsel was actually Kwenthrith’s kin, and he wanted nothing more to remove her from power and see Mercia ruled by someone capable of ruling. W handed the kingdom over to Ecbert in the interest of peace. That is how Mercia was won – in a secret meeting between two old men in a cave. One man ambitious, the other weary.
After, Ragnar, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) find their camp had been attacked and Helga (Maude Hirst) burned badly and barely breathing, Floki goes off to pray in isolation. In his despair, he imagines Queen Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) making love to him. We see Floki transition into being Harbard (Kevin Durand) and back again. Apparently, the lovemaking in Kattegat bled into the horror in Paris in a confusing swirl of erotica. Every woman in Kattegat was being seduced by Harbard. Now, Floki feels the love that Aslaug is freely giving. He has been shown something with this vision; it is just unclear what.
I am still Team Ragnar, of course, but this was painful. Ragnar looked nothing like himself, more like a shabby shell of himself, not a leader of a Viking army. Round 1 goes to Rollo, but he did not look satisfied by the victory, even a little uneasy. The only question is how will Ragnar rebound from this crushing defeat?
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