'Vikings' 2.7: Volatile Mix
A rather grim Vikings 2.7 last night, featuring the slow death Ragnar metes out to Jarl Borg at the end. Not only do I think Ragnar might have been wise to include Jarl Borg on his next trip to England, but I found the death scene, well, off-putting. For all I know, this is indeed the way the Norsmen put certain kinds of enemies to death, but I would have been fine not to see this in such stomach-turning detail.
Also unfortunate is the souring of Ragnar's relationship with Floki. Yeah, I know the master shipbuilder is somewhat out of his mind, but his distrust of Ragnar seems unmotivated. King Horik's view that Floki loves Ragnar seems much closer to the truth than the simmering and now increasing antagonism we saw from Floki towards Ragnar in 2.7.
The best action, as I've been saying for a while this season, was back in England. The uneasy alliance between the Kings of Northumbria and Wessex is a good move for a variety of reasons. Despite his prowess, Ecbert's eventual victory over Ragnar cannot be assured. Ecbert can thus use all the help he can get, and the fact that he knows this shows again what a formidable enemy he will be for Ragnar.
So, as Ecbert strengthens his position, Ragnar's is weakening in two ways. The first is Ragnar's own doing - his killing of Jarl Borg - and the second is the inexplicable resentment that Floki is now harboring for Ragnar. When you add into the volatile mix the likelihood that Horik cannot really be trusted as an ally - he sees himself as someone above Ragnar (which Ragnar admits to, politically), and gives the impression that he could turn against Ragnar on a moment's notice if he thought it would be of some benefit - we have some tough times ahead for our hero.
The good news is that these tough times should make for some excellent television.