So, here’s the thing I can’t figure out about this show: is it a historical drama, or is it a cartoon? Because sometimes …
… let’s take Episode 7, in which the Vikings attack Rollo’s forts and get the absolute hell beat out of them for their troubles while Ragnar stumbles around off his face on drugs and part-time King of the Gods Harbard dispenses spiritual truths to the lady folks back home, much to the possible displeasure of young Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye. Ragnar’s plan in this episode is dumb as hell. Knowing that he’s been sold out by his own guy, knowing that said guy knows exactly how Viking strategy works and has had a year to prepare, and without any scouting or other preparation, he orders a cunnin’ two-pronged assault that Rollo, who let’s remember is supposed to be the dim one in this family, sees coming and bloodily repulses. To add insult to injury, Duke Whatsisname remembers that horsies exist and stages a raid on the camp that gravely wounds Helga.
Now everyone should be mad at Ragnar, and some of them are, although they don’t have much place to speak, having all fallen for the exact same baby-talk-stupid trap themselves. But it’s actually hard to blame Ragnar, because, and here’s the key point, back in the first and second seasons this kind of nonsense worked all the time. Ragnar could disembark his army in the face of a disciplined enemy, hit the beach swinging an axe and inexplicably come off victorious. So why wouldn’t he think that the Franks were asleep at the wheel? He’s been betrayed not by his brothers but by the writers.
I half-expected Odo to discover when he tore off his mistress’s dress that she was wearing a wire. Speaking of police work, Bjorn seems very concerned to gather convincing evidence against Erlandr, which seems superfluous given that Hedeby runs entirely on stab-logic and he’s twice the little weasel’s size.
Am I supposed to think that the Norwegians are bad guys? Bjorn seems unhappy with their treatment of prisoners, which would be a pretty selective approach to the issue of the rules of war.
Anyway, this show continues to be silly but look good.