I almost didn’t recognize Athelstan when he first popped up in this episode. He’s dressing more…Nordic. Yes, that’s the word.
It’s time for a pilgrimage to Uppsala, the finest recreation of a Viking temple that CGI can produce, and Ragnar is taking his clan and family there. That includes Athelstan, who seems to be seriously questioning his faith. Considering his book seems to have been destroyed by fire, and he even can identify the Norse gods well enough to shut up Bjorn’s cocky mouth, I’d say he’s at a crossroads.
Let’s face it: take away the rampant theft, rape, murder, and human sacrifice, and the Viking way of life does look rather sweet.
So, here’s Ragnar with his whole family. He has cause for doubt. Lagertha’s miscarriage seems to run afoul of the prophecy he received about having many sons. So, while Lagertha is praying to the gods to bring Ragnar more sons, Ragnar is praying to know who the mother of his promised many sons would be.
And then there’s Rollo, screwing around behind Siggy’s back, but Siggy was an Earl’s wife and she knows politics better than that dumbass Rollo so she puts him in his place rather easily.
And then there’s Athelstan. He takes some hallucinogenic mushrooms, maybe gets his cherry popped, and then finds out he’s to be a human sacrifice. After denying Jesus three times (how symbolic) the Norse priest spots a cross on his wrist. That ruins his chance to be a human sacrifice unless someone will take his place. Someone actually does, because Vikings.
Also, Ragnar meets with a king who tosses chickens into temples until people find out who he is. It’s actor Donal Logue as King Horik! Ragnar will swear allegiance to the man, and he only has to settle a border dispute first.
Of course, Rollo wasn’t invited. Athelstan and Floki? Sure. Take the Christian and the crazy guy, but leave the hungover brother. I am sure that won’t lead to problems.