History‘s Vikings Portage TV Show Review. In Vikings: Season 4, Episode 8: Portage Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was a frightening genius. There was not much action, but there were shocking twists that reshaped the political landscape. Clearly, no one can be trusted anywhere at anytime.
Ragnar seemed distant and at the same time intensely focused. He was under pressure to find a way through Rollo’s defenses. He found a way around them instead using the method of portage. Ragnar came up with the idea and immediately looked to Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) for support. In The Profit and the Loss, Floki’s new friends pretty much abandoned him in the water during the battle and Floki nearly drowned. It was Ragnar who jumped in to save his friend. We still can not tell if Floki has forgiven Ragnar but, Floki’s curiosity and pride were piqued by Ragnar’s idea. “Everything I do is for you”, seemed like a promise and a threat coming from the enigmatic Floki. Floki designed an apparatus to raise the Viking longboats out of the river and over land past the river forts. The whole operation was a work of genius that both men devised. Yet, once again it seemed like it was Ragnar who was getting the credit form the other leaders.
Finehair made the mistake of speaking ill of Ragnar in front of Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). His words were clearly meant to stir up dissent among the warriors. Lagertha would have nothing to do with it. Her threat to Finehair was very clear. Though they may be apart Ragnar and Lagertha still love each other. I truly think half of the reason Lagertha goes raiding with Ragnar is for Ragnar. Finehair’s judgments of Ragnar would fall on deaf ears and Lagertha’s bloody sword. On another note, Torvi (Georgia Hirst) imagined Erlendur (Edvin Endre) killing Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) at the first opportune moment. It was a vivid vision, but deaths came later.
No doubt Ragnar’s behavior has not been questionable of late. He has been out of sorts due to his opium addiction by way of Yidu (Dianne Doan). They were intrigued by each other and even shared secrets. Their relationship gave the impression that they would or could last as a power couple. Yet, Yidu’s position was always precarious, playing with a man as unpredictable as Ragnar, a man who seems to have an addictive personality. Then, she threatened to tell his secrets and tried to keep “medicine” from him because his mind could not take much more of the drug. She controlled his “medicine”, but Ragnar made it clear he controlled her. In a burst of violence from Ragnar, Yidu lost her life. It was sudden and shocking. Previews hinted he would be fighting someone in the water, but it was unexpected to see Ragnar drowning this young princess simply to take drugs from her. Ragnar – a Viking king – was reduced to a desperate addict. In that moment, he was unrecognizable from the Ragnar of old. Even his small children did not believe their eyes. I know I could not believe mine.
In Paris, the court engaged in a tempered victory dance. As Rollo (Clive Standen) explained, Ragnar may be down, but not dead. That means Paris is still in danger. Meanwhile, Emperor Charles (Lothaire Bluteau) was being goaded into killing Odo (Owen Roe). Poor Odo – kind of – I mean, what a way to go out. He was flogged to death. Sure, that may have been his dream come true in some ways, but this was an execution by shame. His death signaled that the siblings in the French court, Roland (Huw Parmenter) and Therese (Karen Hassan), were moving up in the food chain. Now, that these two have successfully dispatched Odo, they have clearly set their sights on controlling the emperor.
In Wessex, King Ecbert (Linus Roache) finally showed his true colors to Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey). It was pretty bold of Ecbert to cross a crazy woman, then believe he could sleep peacefully in his bed with her under the same roof. Then again, Ecbert is a master manipulator, which shows in his paramour, Judith (Jennie Jacques). Judith did not hesitate to stab pregnant Kwenthrith in order to defend the king. In my opinion, Judith has become a little psychopath since her public mutilation. She is just quieter about her crazy as compared to Kwenthrith. I am still not certain if Ecbert was frightened or proud of the monster he created in Judith.
All in all, Portage was a solid and shocking episode that set up many more storylines. It is becoming increasingly difficult to like Ragnar given his current actions and state of mind. One minute I could be cheering for him, the next minute, cringing. Bjorn needs to deal with Erlendur soon. Rollo must not let down his guard with the psycho siblings on the loose in the Parisian court. Ecbert has lost his potential leverage over Ragnar. There are so many things to deal with after Portage, it feels like the drama has only just begun.
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