Vikings, “Unforgiven” (2.6)-TV Recap

By Charlotte Keeys


Vikings, Season 2, Episode 6, “Unforgiven”

3rd April 2014, 9:00pm (EST), History

Kattegat is back in Ragnar’s hands and with Henrik asking that Jarl Borg be part of their raiding force, it seems that Ragnar’s capacity for forgiveness may have grown considerably since the end of series one. Rollo is sent to bring Jarl Borg back into the fold with assurances that Ragnar is a man above revenge, a fact we know not to be true. Meanwhile in England, King Ecbert finally reveals his reasons for saving Athelstan from the cross. It seems that his earlier assertion that a race of giants built the impressive bath complex, in which we often find him lounging, was a diversion. Having served in the court of King Charlemagne he is well aware of the Romans and their cultural significance for England and the rest of Europe. He lets Athelstan into the secret showing him the beautiful Roman frescoes that adorn the walls of his palace. They share a conversation that allows us to see Ecbert as culturally aware and conscious of his place in history. It seems the knowledge has been kept from Ecbert’s more senior advisors for fear of their dismissal of the pagans as heathens, but Ecbert see the truth that these men were pagans but their gods allowed them to rule the known world. There is some allusion to the power of the Vikings during this conversation; perhaps Ecberts previously expressed want to ally himself with the invaders has some basis in truth?

Athelstan’s religious vision continue, this time with a vision of himself as a stigmata - his experience on the cross has brought his faith (or lack thereof) into sharp focus and he is struggling to come to terms with his feelings. It seems that he lusts after his previous way of life in the monastery, the brotherhood, the intricate work, but Ecbert is able to give him a more secular way to enjoy his craft - copying out manuscripts of Roman texts. This task not only holds great historical significance, as many Roman texts only survive in 8th century onwards manuscripts, but is also significant for the relationship between the king and the monk who now share a secret passion.

“Unforgiven” deals with the politics of betrayal and the desire for revenge.

Back across the ocean the Jarl decides to return to Kattegat to help Ragnar and Henrik. It seems that Rollo’s assurances of Ragnar’s forgiveness did not take his own feelings into account. He torches the barn in which the Jarl’s men are sleeping and rounds on the Jarl himself beating him to within an inch of his life. During Rollo’s previous visit to the Jarl, he was revealed as a very disturbed man, a man who takes advise from the skull of his dead wife. With this disturbance revealed the Jarl is no longer the simple invader, his odd personality makes him interesting and intriguing. He is dragged before Ragnar who reveals that he is not above revenge, as he leans down and tells the Jarl how he will open up his ribcage like the wings of an eagle. With the Jarl’s personality coming to the fore in this episode he is now set up as a much more viable opponent to Ragnar, their previous encounters have been heavily weighted in Ragnar’s favour but the tete-a-tete to come will prove to be far more interesting.

Siggy is lured into having sex with Henrik’s son, at Henrik’s request. Her slow moving plan to regain her position in society has gained some powerful backers including Rollo and Henrik himself, but it seems her scheming has come at a price as Rollo resents her moves towards the other man.
Bjorn has desires a servant girls who seems less than interested in him, with his morality challenge he battles against his ability to simply take advantage of her - an act which is very much within his power.

Lagertha, returned to her husband, is punished for her trip to save Ragnar with a beating in the night. Men sent by her husband descend on her in the night, and while she puts up a good fight, she is overcome and badly beaten. Her new husband takes his punishment too far when he threatens to expose her during a communal dinner, this is too much for the proud Lagertha who turns and stabs her violent husband in the eye. As a man steps in with a sword the fear is for Lagertha’s life, but instead he swiftly cuts of the head of his Earl. It seems Lagertha’s valiant leading of the men in battle has earned her more respect than her drunken husband ever had. Maybe she will now join Ragnar with her men on their voyage West?

“Unforgiven” deals with the politics of betraya and the desire for revenge. As the plot moves towards the Viking colonisation of England, the relationships are once again becoming frayed. With tensions at a high will they still make it to England, and what will Ecbert have waiting for them when they arrive?

[The Roundup]

  • “We have forgotten more than we ever knew” Ecbert proves himself to be a philosophical man, perhaps we have misjudged him.
  • Will Ragnar succeed in carrying out his gruesome punishment on the Jarl?
  • What will await the Viking invaders when the head West? What are Ecbert’s intentions?
  • Will Athelstan be able to regain his sanity now he has had an important task given to him?
76/100 ~ GOOD. “Unforgiven” deals with the politics of betrayal and the desire for revenge. As the plot moves towards the Viking colonisation of England, the relationships are once again becoming frayed.
Film has always been a massive part of my life, and now I am able to pester everyone with my views, not just my immediate friends and family - so that's great. I live in the UK and am based between Kent (in the south) and Edinburgh (in Scotland). I write for TQS Magazine, as well as indie newspapers and my own blog