Vikings 5×04 Review: The Plan

the plan vikings lagertha

I suppose you could say there were several plans being hatched in tonight’s episode of Vikings; the question is, which one was The Plan?

In the past I’ve loved watching the Vikings characters discover new places, but neither Bjorn nor Floki’s travels are really living up to my expectations. Thankfully “The Plan” shows Floki apparently getting ready to leave the ‘land of the gods’ that he has discovered, but at the same time Bjorn and crew entered into a somewhat odd situation of their own. They arrived on Sicily, somehow had or acquired a whole lot of horses, and ended up being invited to meet with some of the settlement’s most important people.the plan vikings bjorn ironside

Unfortunately for Bjorn, the people he met in Sicily were not really the ones in charge – their actual leader is in Africa, though I’m not too upset about that…Sicily didn’t seem all that interesting, outside of maybe the nun-turned-singer. I imagine she’s more than what she seems, and being a nun she very likely might have heard of the vikings and possibly even Bjorn himself. Regardless, they’re all on their way to Africa and I for one am interested to see how well this whole merchant story holds up.

The Saxons, on the other hand, are already up to their necks in trouble. I get that Bishop Heahmund has his faith and all, but it’s maddening that he wanted to go back to York so soon…especially considering that their first attack didn’t go very well. It’s weird that Aethelwulf is the one making sense, for once. While the seize that Heahmund suggested sounded like a decent idea at first, Aethelwulf’s argument made, well, a lot of sense – it would be very easy for the vikings, who very much outnumber the Saxons, to come pouring out from the city and attack before help came from other quarters. Not that the Bishop deigned to listen to Aethelwulf…and as much as I question Ivar’s secret plan (surely “The Plan” that the episode title refers to), I still can’t see this going well for the Saxons.

the plan vikings ivar the boneless hvitserkOn another note, while it has been a while since we’ve seen Rollo, the theme of younger brothers striking out on their own is still strong in this show. Recently we heard from Halfdan about why he decided to follow Bjorn instead of his brother, and in “The Plan” Hvitserk explained that he stayed behind with Ivar (rather than follow Ubbe) because he was sick of being treated like Ubbe’s ‘loyal dog’. That said, Hvitserk made it very clear that he doesn’t really agree with or trust Ivar, and it probably doesn’t help that Ivar is pretty much acting like a petulant child. His brothers went behind his back, which upset him, and even though Hvitserk chose to stay with him Ivar won’t reveal his plan…which of course causes Hvitserk to question Ivar’s rule. It’s a vicious cycle, and it probably bears noting that there is a somewhat similar battle going on between Heahmund and Aethelwulf.

“The Plan” left England on a foreboding note – the Saxons moved to attack York, which appeared to have been abandoned by the vikings – but it was pretty obvious that York being ‘abandoned’ by the vikings is part of Ivar’s plan. I imagine we’ll get the rest of it next week.

the plan vikings lagertha ubbeWhile I think it’s pretty obvious that Ivar has things well in hand in England, Lagertha is unfortunately losing her grip. I hate to see this because I’ve loved her character through everything that has gone before, but the fact that she made an alliance with Ubbe while at the same time she is losing her trust in those closest to her is frustrating and sad. I mean, she even has a moment where she questions Torvi’s loyalty…and I really hope questioning one of her closest friends (not to mention her daughter in law) doesn’t come back to bite Lagertha in the ass.

The end of “The Plan” brought about the marriage of Astrid and Harald Finehair, and they’ve definitely got me curious as to whether Astrid is marrying him because she’s ambitious and wants to be a queen, or whether she plans to kill him soon and take over his people. This would be somewhat similar to what Lagertha did (not once but twice), but if this is Astrid’s plan there’s still the question of whether she means to fight Lagertha for Kattegat…or bring Harald’s people to heel and forge a peace between the two ‘kingdoms’. Needless to say, right now I’m definitely more interested in this plot than any other.

What is your favorite story line in Vikings so far this season? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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