Vikings season 5, episode 18 recap: Baldur


In the new episode of Vikings, Floki goes to find his Gods, Ivar’s son is born, and tensions rise between Bjorn and Harald. Oh, and Lagertha’s back.

The battles are coming as the finale for Vikings season 5 approaches. Episode 18 “Baldur” built up to these events while finally answering where Lagertha has been since missing at the end of the battle in episode 15.

Lagertha’s return & Ubbe stepping up

Nothing too overwhelming here. Lagertha was found by an old healer woman, who slowly nursed her back to health. This woman also happens to be the one that Judith is visiting. As it was teased last week, Judith is suffering from breast cancer and she knows her time is coming.

During her recovery, Lagertha experienced visions of the late Ragnar’s death. It was cool to see my favorite Viking again, albeit during his death scene. The dreams are fairly haunting, as Lagertha not only witnesses Ragnar’s death but takes part in it as she takes the form of King Aelle and some of his men.

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Lagertha’s sanity is soon restored and she is taken back to Wessex where she’s welcomed by Alfred. Judith, who loves telling everyone of her evil deeds, fills Lagertha in on how she murdered Aethelred. Lagertha also hears the word that Bjorn has returned to overthrow Ivar and Ubbe is off trying to persuade the Norseman to find a peaceful compromise. Why Lagertha had to go missing for weeks, I don’t really know, but it did provide some neat flashback scenes of Ragnar.

Also in England, Ubbe and Torvi meet your typical Viking characters in bearded, tattoo-faced burley men. He pitches a good case to them that they can share in the land Ubbe and his people had been granted but only persuades two of the three Viking kings. When the third refuses, Ubbe immediately jumps to an “okay, we’ll fight to the death in single combat then,” approach.

So I suppose when Ubbe wins, the two remaining Viking kings will agree not to attack Wessex. So far Ubbe’s doing a fine job of keeping the peace in England. He’s the kinder, more level headed version of his father.

Floki’s done with people

Going against my prediction from last week, Floki didn’t kill Kjetill. He did remind him that the old Floki would butcher him, his family, even rape his son (weird of Floki to include this, but he was speaking with rage), but instead, he decides he’s done with his failed settlement. He’s done with people, too.

Instead, he goes to find his Gods, wandering off to the beautiful landscape of Iceland. He eventually comes to a cave where a wide smile spreads across his face. He thinks he’s found Hel. What’s in the cave? Who knows, but Floki does seem to have some spiritual connection to the Gods. Do I ever know where this storyline is going? I do not.

Ivar’s son is born…

… but not before we’re reminded for the hundredth time that Ivar is an insecure evil psychopath. Hvitserk’s girlfriend destroyed a statue erected in Ivar’s honor and it doesn’t take long for the king of Kattegat to discover that she was responsible. He tries to get her to understand that he’s trying to keep Kattegat safe and prosperous before allowing her to leave in peace.

Of course, this is not the case. The girl is stalked back to her home by Ivar’s men. There her village and father are burned alive. She, too, is burned alive. I guess Ivar’s subtle threats from last week came true sooner than I anticipated.

I wouldn’t say that Ivar gets a taste of his own medicine, but he does experience heartbreak when his son, Baldur, is born with deformities. Freydis is ecstatic, saying it’s a sign of the Gods, but Ivar feels the opposite. It’s a curse.

It’s odd to feel sympathetic for such a villainous character, but if anyone knows the hardships of growing up in such a world with disabilities, it’s Ivar. On the other side of the spectrum, Ivar earned fame, power, and his father’s kingdom despite his crippled legs… so the deformities were not a death sentence–until Ivar makes it so.

Torn over Baldur’s hard life ahead and the negativity it could bring to his image, Ivar takes his son out to the woods where he leaves him to die.

Ivar is the cruel, power-hungry version of Ragnar–a version we rarely saw, but characteristics that his father definitely had.

Bjorn marries Gunnhild

Harald sits on his throne with a forced smile as Bjorn and Gunnhild get married. He envisions himself sleeping with her and it’s clear he’s jealous and saddened that she chose Bjorn. In a conversation with Bjorn, Ragnar’s oldest son rubs it in even worse, saying that Harald isn’t destined to be a king and that he’s always been envious of the great Ragnar Lothbrok.

When Harald confronts Gunnhild, she tells Harald that when she told him she wanted to be queen, it didn’t mean she wanted to be his queen. What is wrong with these people? Don’t they understand that Harald is cutthroat and that he is capable of killing both of them? Bjorn knows it, but he’s confident that Harald will remain his ally in the retaking of Kattegat. This feud is destined to boil over at any moment.

Hvitserk meets Buddha

Hvitserk journeys to meet King Olaf, but first, he comes upon his attendant, a dwarf viking, who strips him naked and throws him into a sauna. Hvitserk looks up to see Olaf, a naked fat man sitting high above him. He smiles and says he’s found his Buddha.

It doesn’t take long for Hvitserk to state his real intentions: to betray Ivar and take Kattegat. At first, Olaf wants to stick to the original plan, and he has Hvitserk thrown back into the sauna as a prisoner. However, instead of killing him, Olaf tells a delirious Hvitserk that he will help him against Ivar. Wow… Ivar is about to have a real problem on his hands with like three armies coming his way.

The leftovers:

  • Ivar taking his son to the woods is an interesting callback to the same decision Ragnar had to face. He, too, took his deformed son to the woods to leave him. Aslaug ended up saving Ivar and Ragnar regretted his decision. I don’t think Freydis will do the same.
  • Does Vikings have the courage to off Ivar this season? There’s really nothing else they can do to prove how ruthless he is. Now that he’s more power hungry than ever, there’s no going back. With only one season remaining, will these next few episodes mark the end of Vikings top antagonist?
  • The scenes for next week look pretty interesting. Bjorn and Harald will battle it out before they can even take on Ivar. About time.
  • I guess Judith’s completely off the hook for killing Aethelred. Her days are numbered, though.
  • Will Floki ever return to the main storyline or will his story end in the next two episodes?
  • Although Ragnar’s gone, I love the constant presence the character still brings to the show through his three sons. No more than four scenes go by without reference to the man.

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Predictions for who we will lose in the next two episodes:

  • Harald
  • Judith
  • Gunnhild
  • Floki, maybe?

What did you think of this episode of Vikings? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!