Vikings, “Boneless” (2.8)- TV Recap

By Charlotte Keeys

Vikings Boneless

Vikings, Season 2, Episode 8, “Boneless”

16th April, 2014, 9:00pm (EST), History

With the motif of the moon hanging over this episode, “Boneless” brings the supernatural back to Vikings. After her prophecy about bearing Ragnar, a monster, we open with Aslaug in the midst of a difficult birth. Siggy once more comes to her rescue as she talks the princess away from the easy embrace of death and towards the more challenging real world. It is clear there is something unusual about the boy, with Ragnar dubbing him a runt and expressing a clear desire to expose the boy to the elements. Here we get another glimpse into the dog eat dog world of the Vikings, with the boy’s lack of a working leg clearly denying him the chance of a meaningful life in the eyes of his father. With their values set on strength and valour, those unable to fight would not have been seen to be part of the community; the Earl’s son would be destined for a life as an outsider.

The prophecies of Aslaug are troubling for the overall theme of the show, Ragnar’s success is based upon his carrying favour with the gods. Given Aslaug’s clear connection to them is it possibly this birth of a son unfit for a Viking Earl is indicative of a change in the gods feelings about Ragnar. As they set off for Wessex Ragnar better hope this is not true.
Upon the full moon Lagertha returns to Kattegat with her men, ready to leave for England. Before they leave Bjorn, who is less than confident in his abilities as a warrior, confesses his love for the servant girl who seems to return his affections. This is not the only revelation however, Ragnar reveals that the seer believes Athelstan to be alive, a fact which only increases his distrust of King Horik who informed him that the former monk was dead.

Over in England Athelstan is introduced to the Princess of Mercia, Kwenthrith, who has a unorthodox relationship with sex (at least for the conservative world of AD700 England). Her insatiable appetite leaves King Ecbert over come, sending in his warriors to finish what he started. While her character is fairly predictable, she at least is another strong female character to challenge the dominance of the men. While she may have killed her brother she is not yet in control of her kingdom and to Ecbert she turns. Despite his agreement with Aelle he agrees to help her, it is clear this is part of some elaborate plan to ingratiate himself with her and then betray her to gain control of the most powerful kingdom in England … but who knows? Ecbert may have a curve ball to throw our way.

With the Vikings landed in Wessex Ragnar sends an envoy to inform Ecbert of their arrival, a fact that Lagertha and Horik are displeased with. Ragnar sees himself as above the other two despite Horik status as king, and his inability to hide this fact is starting to get him into trouble. The King’s son returns with offers to come and discuss an alliance with Ecbert, while Ragnar readily agrees (especially after he learns of Athelstan’s safety) he is forced to allow the others to come along. It is not clear whether Lagertha or Horik speak English at this point, some some of this exchange was probably not understood by the pair but despite this they seemed to get the gist of the conversation.

Horik, however, has other ideas. On returning home Ecbert’s son and men are ambushed by Horik’s baby-faced warrior son, there is a massacre which only Ecbert’s son escapes from. What will be the consequence of Horik’s prideful actions? Surely all hopes of reasoned discussion are now out of the question …

“Boneless” is a solid set up for the final two episodes of season two of Vikings, while it was for the most part a scene setter there were some interesting ideas laid out about Ragnar’s favour with the gods fading and the impending war in England.

The Roundup

  • Floki appears to be questioning his alliance with Ragnar, choosing to travel with Horik and talk about building ships for him … as he told Helga, Horik understands the real, darker gods. Could Ragnar’s luck be about to change?
  • How will Bjorn fare in his first ever battle?
  • What is Ecbert’s plan, and who is he going to double cross to see it carried out?
78/100 ~GOOD. “Boneless” is a solid set up for the final two episodes of Season two of Vikings, while it was for the most part a scene setter there were some interesting ideas laid out about Ragnar’s favour with the gods fading and the impending war in England.
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