Air Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 10 pm ET/PT on History®
“There are some things that need to be said but other things that only need to be understood.” – King Ecbert
After an unsuccessful attempt to take over Paris, the Vikings ponder what to do next while the French remain on alert. Yet, time doesn’t stand still in the Vikings’ universe and with a lot happening in Kattegat, Paris and Wessex, the morning daylight brings some surprising events in the Vikings’ penultimate episode, “Breaking Point.”
Here are my top five moments of the episode:
Moment #5 – Siegfried’s Trick
We first met Siegfried (Greg Owens) in “Born Again” when Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) humorously inquires about him, “Who’s this chunk of meat?” This is a clear reference to Siegfried’s size and ever since then, I’ve nicknamed Siegfried Meat Man. In “Breaking Point,” despite the dire situation he finds himself in, Siegfried shows he’s a man who won’t go down without a fight all while maintaining a sense of humor about it. He sure does trick the French and seeing him leave them stunned and speechless is just priceless!
Moment #4 – Some Wise Up in Wessex
Master puppeteer King Ecbert (Linus Roache) thinks he has everyone under his thumb and he’s almost right. His son Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) is back home safely after successfully resolving a dispute with Princess Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey). His daughter-in-law Lady Judith (Jennie Jacques) agrees to give Ecbert the “recompense” he requests for guaranteeing the safety of baby Alfred. One could say, life is good…but both Aethelfwulf and Judith are beginning to challenge Ecbert. Their actions are mere baby steps but seeing them speaking up is exciting and hints at conflicts to come. Unfortunately for Aethelwulf, this is more of a short-lived situation. As soon as he hears Ecbert share his vision for “the kingdom of England,” and in spite of knowing he’s being manipulated, Aethelwulf starts drinking from the Kool Aid vat all over again! With such a reward, it appears Aethelwulf is able to justify his father’s actions. For Judith, it’s a slightly different situation. Hearing the scale of Ecbert’s ambitions, she figures out the plans for the kingdom could impact her own father, King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) of Northumbria—or at least it seems so. Judith seems considerably more assertive in “Breaking Point;” it will interesting to see whether she remains under Ecbert’s control.
Moment #3 – Count Odo and Princess Gisla Stay the Course
Once again, the cowardice of Emperor Charles of France (Lothaire Bluteau) is front and center. He easily dismisses the threat of the Northmen’s attacks on Paris, a city now facing famine and disease under the siege. In spite of such poor leadership, the French have two strong beacons of hope who happen to have very distinct approaches to resolving the conflict. On one side is the hard line stance advocated by Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski), who refuses to negotiate with the Vikings. Count Odo (Owen Rowe), on the other hand, has an opposite perspective and pushes to pay off with Northmen so they leave. Considering Emperor Charles’ weak personality, it’s not hard to guess which person he sides with.
Moment #2 – The Fierceness of the Shieldmadens and Rollo
Another exciting battle takes place within the bridge and walls protecting Paris where other lethal weapons are introduced. The night attack is led by Lagertha’s Navy Seals …I mean the shieldmadens, and what an exciting scene it is! I thoroughly enjoyed the courage and precision these women showcase. Lagertha never quits when facing some very challenging moments. Rollo (Clive Standen) proves yet again the battlefield is the place where he feels most at home, as he clearly is in his element. Sinric (Frankie McCafferty) is absolutely right in saying Rollo “fights like a crazy bear.” Rollo’s standout moment is dismantling a deadly French weapon almost all by himself and Standen does a terrific job portraying Rollo’s determination and fearlessness. Rollo’s actions get him noticed by Count Odo and once again, by Princess Gisla. Both Lagertha and Rollo prove, like Ragnar says in “To the Gates”, one doesn’t need a title to be a leader.
Moment #1 – Visions of Athelstan?
The nightfall doesn’t just bring darkness; it also brings visions of Athelstan to a badly hurt Ragnar, who makes a controversial decision. As luck would have it, the group of Northmen leaders arrives just in time to see what happens. Ragnar’s decision will make some people in his inner circle reach the breaking point for sure! Will Floki, Lagertha, Rollo, and the rest of the Northmen leaders remain loyal to King Ragnar? Will Ragnar no longer subject himself to the judgment of the gods?
Religion continues to be a central theme in Vikings all throughout – Kattegat, Wessex, and Paris. Many contrasting parallels are drawn to showcase both sides of the same situation. Series creator/writer Michael Hirst brilliantly advocates and gives voice to both the Christian and Pagan sides but my favorite is when he shows how the stereotypes and prejudices faced by one side are mirrored by the other. The contrasts drawn between Emperor Charles and Ragnar are fascinating but it’s very interesting to note these rulers are only willing to make the hard decisions when alone.
“Breaking Point” is a transitional episode and as the title of the episode suggests, it’s about how the actions of certain characters push situations into a near volatile state. Hirst and team deliver another action packed episode that successfully builds significant momentum for what is shaping up to be a drama-filled finale.
Tune in to the season three finale of Vikings on Thursday, April 23 at 10 pm ET/PT, only on History®.
What did you think of “Breaking Point?” Did the second Paris raid live up to your expectations? Please let me know on Twitter at @lutzelle or leave a comment below.
For more on the show, please visit the Vikings website.
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© 2015, elleL. All rights reserved.
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