‘Vikings’ season 4 finale review: Sibling rivalry turns deadly for Ivar and Sigurd

VikingsWe have made it to the finale of “Vikings” season 4 and with this being a super sized season with double the episodes, we expect a super sized ending tonight that will set us up well for season 5 (which is well under way when it comes to filming!). Last week we saw the battling building between the sons of Ragnar and Aethelwulf’s army and while Ivar’s plans have worked so far to kill off some of Aethelwulf’s army, the real battle is still ahead of us.

Let’s talk about this battle between Aethelwulf and Ragnar’s sons for a moment: There have been a lot of really great battle scenes on this show (no one does a battle scene quite like “Vikings”), but this was easily the biggest battle scene we’ve seen so far. They held nothing back – it was violent, gruesome and powerful. The Vikings gave Aethelwulf everything they had and it looked like he was going down in flames, especially when he saw Ivar come riding up in his chariot throwing axes at everyone he saw. He calls for his men to retreat and Ragnar’s sons have won this battle… but the war is not over.

Aethelwulf returns to the castle and tells Ecbert that they have to pack up and go before the vikings get there, but he refuses to leave. Instead Ecbert wants to hand the crown over to Aethelwulf, and send him off to safety – which is exactly what he does. All hail King Aethelwulf! They all leave the kingdom to regroup in hiding, but Ecbert is ready to face his fate as he and the Bishop stay behind and get drunk on really good wine. If you’re going to die, why not be stupid drunk when it happens?

When Ragnar’s sons get to Ecbert’s castle and find it empty, they worry that they have walked into a trap. They quickly learn that the kingdom is empty and start burning the palace to the ground (Floki takes special interest in burning all the religious documents since most belonged to Athelstan). Ecbert steps out of the castle and confronts Ragnar’s sons and we expect them to put an ax in his head, but Bjorn orders the vikings to spare him. They put Ecbert in a cage and Bjorn has all the sons discuss what to do with him. Ivar wants to kill him and move on to raid the rest of land so that Aethelwulf can’t regroup (and Sigurd actually agrees with Ivar), but others want to keep the king alive to use at another time.

Ecbert tries to make a deal with them saying that even if they kill everyone that they still don’t have legal claim to actually keep land, but because he’s king (which he really isn’t any more) that he can legally give them land and create a farming community like Ragnar wanted. Ivar tells Bjorn that they should take the deal of land but only if Ecbert is Blood Eagled by him afterwards and that’s the deal Bjorn brings to Ecbert – to which he agrees… mostly. Ecbert wants to choose the manor of his own death and Bjorn agrees. Ecbert takes his own life by cutting his wrists in a bath, which we actually found a little strange since suicide is against the christian religion.

So where does this leave Ragnar’s sons? Bjorn plans on leaving to raid the Mediterranean again, while some of the sons plan on setting up shop on their new farm, but Ivar wants to raid the rest of England. Seems that the sons are still divided, especially Sigurd and Ivar and as the tension between them rises – Ivar throws an ax in his chest and kills Sigurd.

One thing we didn’t expect to happen was to see Helga’s stolen “daughter” stab her in the throat and then kill herself. We expected to lose vikings in this battle on Ecbert’s castle, but this was a death we did not see coming. We can’t say how much we love Helga and Floki together, no one understands him like Helga. After losing his daughter and the love of his life, Floki is lost and leaves the vikings group. If he has left the show, expect us to riot.

This finale had it all: Major battle scenes, vikings raiding as only they do, deaths of beloved characters (Helga, Ecbert and Sigurd) and enough of a cliffhanger that season 5 can’t come soon enough. The brothers are divided and planning on splitting off into different directions, and with Ivar killing Sigurd (which was bound to happen at some point), we expect them to be even further divided. What we can’t wait to see is how the brothers will deal with Ecbert’s betrayal once they learn that he was not king when he signed the lands to them. There is a lot left ot explore. Episode grade: A

What did you you think of the “Vikings” season 4 finale? Leave us a comment in the box below. If you want some more scoop on what’s coming up on “Vikings” season 5 then head on over to t he link here. Also, in case you missed our exclusive interview with Alex Hogh Andersen (Ivar the Boneless) you can check that out at the link here. (Photo: History)

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