TV Tuesday: Vikings S03E08, “To the Gates”

Ah, the well-known Episode Where a Bunch of Shit Happens episode. So, obviously in this episode the main characters attack the walled city of Paris, defended tenaciously by the Franks. NorthmenBarques There were some interesting things about this battle:

  • I like how much time they devoted to the sort of logistical aspects of the thing. You got a definite sense of the Viking force as a patchwork of many different contingents, each with its own leaders, and some sense of how much faff and organisation and stuff was required to make it work. The early shots with the non-fighter types running around with buckets of water and so on were both a good buildup to the giant fight scene and a good indication of the complexity of warfare in a show that has sometimes neglected it.
  • Is this the first time we’ve seen Rollo at the head of a squad of similarly-shirtless berserks? I like that he’s acquired some followers now. And I guess that does explain why he goes around without a shirt on.
  • It is nice, for once, to see the defending side not being a bunch of idiots.
  • In grand let’s-mash-up-all-things-French tradition, Charles is sitting around being the Man in the Iron Mask while Gisla is preparing to be Joan of Arc. But isn’t it “Oriflamme,” not “ore-ih-flame?” Again, I could be wrong.
  • Similarly, it’s nice to see Floki getting into trouble resulting from his own blind conviction.
  • I am not convinced there were a lot of crossbows kicking around in the 9th century, although I speak subject to correction when it comes to Frankia. My understanding is that you only really start to get a lot of them in the 11th century? I could be wrong, though. Certainly Anna Comnena thought she had to explain what they were to her readers.
  • I get why Kalf saves Lagertha from the trap; she’s brave and forthright and direct, he’s brainy and cautious. But I do wish that they had had him do that in a way that didn’t make her look like such a chump; he actually cold-cocks her and drags her back, which is slightly out of character for a woman who chews up iron and spits out nails.

It looks good, particularly if you don’t look keenly at the dudes just standing around so Ragnar can axe them or wonder why the effing Jeff the Frankish crossbowmen aren’t lashing shot after shot into a mass of infantry standing stock still at close range. Anyway, Bjorn gets shot up but doesn’t die and Rollo gets looked at by Gisla and then falls in the water. We get a really long shot of him sinking into the river (and a really cool shot of his blood clouding the water) because it’s like baptism geddit? Geddit? Because he’s going to convert to Christianity, geddit?

I can’t believe we’re already so far into the season — I guess that is because I watched the first half all at once. I am quite interested to see where this goes, but I do not think I’m going to get the comeuppance scenes I want.

TV Tuesday: Vikings S03E08, “To the Gates”

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