March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Vikings “To The Gates”

Season Three, Episode Eight.

I watched a CineFix video recently on great battles on screen, and they mentioned how well the Battle of Helm’s Deep worked in The Two Towers because the movie cuts back and forth between armies, focusing on individual characters, as a way of showing how strategy and counterstrategy work, how the tides of battle change, and make for a really good fight.

I think this episode approaches that on a smaller scale with a TV budget for most of its 44 minute runtime.

So, the battle was under the auspices of That Asshole Floki, and it basically composes of Lagertha, Kalf, and a ground assault trying to get through the gates to the bridge while the other vikings take That Asshole Floki’s floating siege towers and go over the city walls.  It’s a pretty good strategy, but it ends up not working.  The Francs are armed with pretty good crossbows, those wooden siege towers are easy to set on fire, and between Count Odo’s strategy and Princess Gisla’s rallying the men by bringing out the banner of Saint Denis, the vikings lose, and lose badly.  Sure, Ragnar, Rollo, and Bjorn (among others) manage to make it over the wall, but all are eventually repulsed.  Rollo gets off easiest since he just hits the water.  Ragnar bounces off the wall and then lands on a heap of bodies.  Bjorn gets a couple arrows to the back, but ultimately lives.  Lagertha is knocked out and dragged away by Kalf before a trap is dropped on the vikings on the bridge.

But what brought me joy?

That Asshole Floki falling apart in stages.

  • STAGE ONE:  He’s happy!  His plan is working!  It hasn’t really got very far yet, but it’s working.
  • STAGE TWO:  He’s wary.  Too many vikings falling to their deaths with arrows in their backs as he dances around the base of one of the towers.  Maybe something is wrong.
  • STAGE THREE:  He’s blaming Athelstan for what looks like a losing fight.
  • STAGE FOUR:  He’s outright baffled.  He gave away half of his best stuff.  Why have the gods deserted him?
  • STAGE FIVE:  He’s full of selfish guilt.  The battle’s over.  He thinks it was his fault everything went wrong.  Helga leaves him because of that nonsense.

Really, it was a bad day to be That Asshole Floki, but a good day to be someone who isn’t overly fond of That Asshole Floki.

But what does Ragnar think of all this?  Well, he did put That Asshole Floki in charge of the fight.  As he tells Athelstan (you know, the dead guy), that was the point.  Ragnar knew That Asshole Floki’s plan would fail.  He got a glimpse of Paris, and he’s more determined than ever to conquer the place.  It’ll take a patient man to do everything he plans on doing for this raid, and he’s a very patient man.

Speaking of glimpses, Big Shirtless Rollo and Gisla both take a moment to spot each other.  I am sure that will add up to something.  And Kalf and Lagertha get it on, despite Lagertha’s promise to kill him someday.  You’d think that’d be a deal breaker for at least one of them.  Eh.  Vikings.