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All Hail King Ragnar!
The season finale of Vikings delivers on a year of secret plots and wavering loyalties, with King Horik finally making his move and learning that Ragnar was always one step ahead of him.
The focus of Lord’s Prayer was actually on Floki, and how he is able to convince King Horik (and myself) that he is ready to betray Ragnar. Over the last season we have seen that he had enough reason to be upset with the Lord of Kattegat, and combined with Floki’s upredictable behaviour he seemed like someone the King could convince to join his side. In the end, he was part of an elaborate ruse set up by Ragnar, which included Siggy also feigning treachery as well, and Thosten playing the victim of a supposed poisoning.
The episode itself was somewhat slow, consisting of long feasting scenes where characters get to talk to each other in short interludes. We get introduced to Horik’s wife, if only so that Lagertha has someone to fight later in the show. There are a few other plotlines going, most notably how Ragnar seems to be taking a stronger interest in Christianity, but viewers will be mostly concerned with the bloody demise of the Viking king – it was an impressive scene to have Ragnar finish him off with a series of headbutts, showing how brutal he could be to those who cross him.
I never quite enjoyed the character of Horik – he was portrayed more like Ragnar’s partner than his ruler, and you never had the sense that he was a real threat. It was as if he was an overstaying house-guest who spent most of his time talking about getting revenge on King Ecbert instead of running a kingdom (did he have his own home somewhere, and other earls to deal with?). I think the writers made a mistake in making him the main adversary this season, as this could have been a storyline given to another Earl.
The season finale effectively wraps up this storyline, leaving Ragnar as the new king. There is also talk of them exploring new lands and new enemies – an interview with show creator Michael Hirst reveals that Paris will be part of Season 3.