Vikings season 5 episode 18 review: Lagertha returns – what happened to her?

LagerthaWe only have a few episode of Vikings season 5 left and we still have no idea where Lagertha is or if she is going to make it out of this season alive. Add to that all of the other balls in the air right now with Ivar wanting to invade England, Bjorn heading to Kattegat to take it back and Alfred preparing to fight 300 vikings ships that are quickly approaching his shores. Things are getting really intense, but this is Vikings so we expected nothing less!

What happened to Lagertha?

While at the house of a healer (she has a lump in her breast and feels that she is dying), Judith notices a woman in the corner of the hut rambling on about Bjorn and realizes that it’s Lagertha! What happened to her? Judith takes her back to the palace and helps nurse her back to health, but Lagetha is having visions of Ragnar’s death (and we get to even see him once again) as well as intimate moments of love between them from long ago. Losing Heahmund and Astrid and Ragnar have clearly broken her heart in a way that she is unable to come back from and feels that her time is nearing an end.

Gunnhild’s choice

After the last episode of Vikings it was really hard to predict which way she was going to fall since she wants to be the Queen and knows that Harald can provide her with that, but after Bjorn’s confession of love it was possible that her feelings for him could override her ambitions…. and it did. We saw Bjorn and Gunnhild marry in Harald’s court. Harald just cannot catch a break when it comes to finding someone to love who will love him back and the hurt from losing Gunnhild was painful for him in a way we haven’t seen since losing Astrid and what he thought was his baby. He wants to be king, but being in love is really what he wants more then anything and he seems to think that being king is the only way to secure that love.

Bjorn really doesn’t know when to just accept that he’s won and instead needles Harald about his father being better then him, and winning Gunnhild from him all the while still reminding Harald of them working together to help him take back Kattegat. Bjorn is a smart guy in a lot of regards, but knowing when to back off and just accept his win isn’t his strong suit.

Hvitserk’s journey

He has reached king Olaf’s lands as he promised Ivar he would and when he meets Olaf he immediately thinks that he is more then just the king of these lands – he thinks that he is he Buddha based on his body and his laugh. Seems that¬†Hvitserk’s journey into Buddhism is far from over. When Olaf asks about Ivar and what kind of ruler he is Hvitserk is honest saying that Ivar is a tyrant and says that he didn’t make this journey to ask him to raid with Ivar, but instead to ask him to help him overthrow Ivar as king. Olaf denies this request and Hvitserk is taken by his guards. After torturing him for a while and seeing Hvitserk’s mind unchanged, king Olaf changes his own mind and is ready to attack Ivar with him.

Ivar faces rebellion

Freydis warned Ivar that a loving merciful god is better suited for longevity then one that strikes fear in the heart of his people and he probably should have listened. Someone has chopped up the statue of him in the square and placed a pigs head on his face.

When Ivar finds the young woman who did this he decides to have a conversation with her to find out why she did this. She explains that when Ragnar ruled that the people of Kattegat were free to do what they wanted and were never forced to worship him as a god because he knew that he was a human like the rest of them. Ivar seems to take this as an opportunity to try a different way of dealing with the situation and instead of dragging her into the streets and doing all sorts of horrible things, he releases her without any punishment – he seems to show her mercy.

In reality he’s marked her face and sent his guards after her. She runs into the woods where she sees Ivar’s guards rounding up a bunch of other villagers including her family and burns them all alive while making her watch before burning her alive as well.

After all is said and done Freydis gives birth to Ivar’s son and his son is deformed. While Freydis says that this is a true sign that Ivar is a god and so is his son, Ivar doesn’t know how to react, and for the first time since coming into power we can see that his heart is truly broken for his son. In the dead of night Ivar takes his son into the woods and leaves him there to die saying that as a man who has grown up with these challenges that he cannot do that to his son and put the same burden and pain on him that he faced growing up.


He has met with the three kings that are ready to attack the Saxons telling them that he has land given to him by Alfred, enough for all of them to live, put down roots and flourish if they will back down from this battle. Two of the kings agree but the one who doesn’t is challenged by Ubbe to a single combat.

Related – Check out a preview for episode 19 of Vikings season 5.

CarterMatt Verdict

There were a lot of different things going on in this episode and while last week’s episode felt like a bit of a filler installment, this one feels like it’s starting to take more shape of the final episodes. There are only 2 episodes left and a lot to tie up in that time including two brothers ready to barrel down on Ivar for control of Kattegat.

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