Vikings season 5, episode 15 recap: Hell


Vikings episode 15 “Hell” provided us with a solid battle scene, a game-changing reveal to King Alfred, and the fall of another major character in battle.

Season 5 of Vikings hasn’t been the most popular of the shows run, but this was my favorite of the entire season. There were plenty of surprises, an intense battle, and the lackluster Floki settlement took the week off.


After last week’s atrocious act, Ivar takes a backseat to the main plot and not a whole lot really happens in Kattegat. He has the Seer buried and claims he was taken, but Hvitserk isn’t believing that. A statue is erected for the great God Ivar, who makes another speech claiming he is now a divine-being.

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In a conversation with Freydis, Ivar tells her that he never felt love from anyone but his mother and that he’s so filled with hate and rage because he was always treated as a cripple first. We already know this.

Freydis tells him to see his next big move in a vision, which will surely be something evil or crazy like a vision to kill his brother or his wife or something. Who knows when it comes to Ivar. I still think he’ll end up killing Freydis by the end of the season.


Much of the episode is dedicated to the lead up to war. Bishop Heahmund has a nightmare of going to Hell, a final warning of God to renounce his love for a pagan. He sorrowfully tells this to Lagertha, who guilt trips him and accuses him of never really loving her.

Ubbe steals the catapult idea from the French while also continuing to advise and train King Alfred. He’s basically become his top general. So when Ubbe goes to meet Harald to discuss battle terms, we know he won’t bite on Harald’s persuasion to betray the English.

I always find it fascinating how much respect there is between the Vikings. How Ubbe and Harald are clearly enemies, and Harald definitely can’t be trusted, but they still agree to drink and discuss the upcoming battle together and no blood will be spilled beforehand.

Harald tells him of the plan to return and take Kattegat from Ivar, but that isn’t enough to sway him. Ubbe reveals that he’s Christian now, disgusting Harald. He tells him that tons of silver and gold will be negotiated tomorrow for Harald to leave, and Harald agrees.

However, Harald realizes he’s been deceived when Magnus shows up at camp ready to join the Vikings and tells him that Alfred will be on the battlefield. The silver and gold not coming, Harald knows he’s been duped by Ubbe and that the English have moved the battle to where they wanted while he was foolishly waiting. Maybe next time he won’t break bread with his enemies.

Before riding off to battle, Alfred has the man who was conspiring against him arrested for treason. Giving something for Judith to do (who hasn’t really been much of a factor for a long time now), the King’s mother begins leading the torture of the conspirator, demanding to know who else was involved. She even seems to enjoy it. We know who’s involved, but will the man spit it out?

The battle

One thing that Vikings does consistently well is battle scenes. This one, in particular, cut back and forth to a bloody-faced Alfred speaking about the event, leading up to the eulogy of a lost fighter… More on that later.

Taking advantage of their selected battleground, the English fire catapults and surround Harald in a ring of fire. It worked way too well, but it was a cool addition to the battle.

Harald seemingly trusts Magnus, who is now fighting right alongside him in battle. Both cut down plenty of Englishmen. Harald spots Lagertha and goes to exact his vengeance but he becomes distracted when other Englishmen attack him.

Everyone gets their time to shine as they cut down their enemies. I was surprised to see Alfred left unattended and he’s nearly killed before being saved by Aethelred. I was reminded how awesome of a fighter Bjorn is as he slew Harald’s men. He also took a nasty cut over the eye from the Jarl of York’s wife (that’s going to leave a scar).

Speaking of– the Jarl of York dies almost instantly, taking an arrow to the head. He’s the only other casualty of note besides the major one. Heahmund is cutting down enemies left and right until he’s taken from his horse. Still, he remains dominant until he spots Lagertha.

Surrounded by fire and blood and dead bodies, the burning battlefield is eerily familiar to the dreams he had of Hell. The distraction is long enough for him to drop his guard and he takes three arrows to the gut–all witnessed by Lagertha. Instead of shouting for God, he shouts out Lagertha’s name, his last words are that he loves her.

Defeated, he falls to his knees before taking a sword through the back to finish him off (it may have been the Jarl’s wife, whose name currently escapes me–but I think she’s about to become a much more important character).

Lagertha takes a nasty wound to the knee and falls over, but she kills the man before he can finish her. Harald retreats and the English are victorious.


Heahmud is laid to rest.

Lagertha can’t be found among the dead. No one knows where she is. The obvious answer at this point would be that Harald took her, but then the scene cuts to the defeated Norsemen heading home on their ships and Lagertha is not with them.  So who knows where she is?

Harald speaks with Magnus, the latter finally living his dream of being a Viking as he sails to a new home.

Alfred’s victory celebration is cut short once Judith reveals that his brother was at the head of the conspiracy. I wonder where this will lead, as Aethelred clearly can’t be trusted, but also seems to have completely changed his mind by saving his brother’s life.

The leftovers:

  • Ubbe is really taking his conversion to Christianity seriously, wearing a cross into battle. He only decides to wear his Viking bracelet because Torvi makes him.
  • I’d guess that Judith is more loyal to the crown than her real son, but there is definitely much to discuss regarding what to do about the Aethelred situation. We don’t really have many English characters remaining after losing Heahmund.
  • I only enjoyed Heahmund when he was on the battlefield. His whisper talking, his modern-day gelled hair, and his forced relationship with Lagertha won’t be missed. Still, I’m surprised they offed him at this point.
  • Where is Lagertha? If not taken or still injured on the battlefield, there can’t really be a good explanation. Has she just run off on her own because she’s broken-hearted?
  • Hopefully, this leads to a more interesting story for Lagertha, one of Vikings best characters.
  • One thing I will add about Vikings is that no one is ever safe. Yes, you can say that about a multitude of shows today, but really, I can’t even choose who the main character of the show is. I could see any one of these characters being killed at any moment. It definitely keeps me on my toes, as I really didn’t see Heahmund’s death coming.

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Overall, that was an excellent episode that Vikings really needed. Next week teases Ivar finally decided to go back to England. This will lead to the season’s final battle, and if it’s anything like this week’s, I can’t wait.