History Channel's Vikings keeps fans both glued to their seats and cringing back in horror. With such an epic televised death as Jarl Borg's in Blood Eagle, how can season 2's next episode Boneless top it?
The answer: With a baby. Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) gets a new son, but just as Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) prophesied, the baby is born a monster - with no bones in his legs. Meet Ivar The Boneless. After an extremely painful birth, Aslaug refuses to get rid of her child - even at the prodding of her husband. Ragnar secrets the deformed child away to kill him by the river, "There's no other way. There's no other way my son." But at the last moment, he can't go through with it. He is a family man after all.
Speaking of Ragnar's family, bumbling, lovesick oaf Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) reveals to his mother Lagetha (Kathryn Winnick) the reason he is so tongue-tied around gorgeous slave girl, Thorunn (Gaia Weiss). "I'm in love with her." Later Thorunn reveals that the feeling's mutual.
Rollo (Clive Standen) is still also obviously in love with Lagetha. During a practice duel with Bjorn he says, "Your mother is an amazing woman."
Bjorn replies, "I know. You were in love with her once."
"Those feelings are wasted," Rollo comments.
Then, the usually lost-for-words Bjorn gets deep; saying no love is wasted if the Gods have something to do with it. Is Bjorn signing off on a romance between Rollo and his mom? Would such an affair be the last straw for Ragnar?
In Episode 8, we get introduced to Princess Kwenthrith, played by Amy Bailey. She has a thing for sex in general, and holy man Athelstan (George Blagden) in particular.
The randy Princess bests King Ecbert of Wessex (Linus Roache) in bed, and then gets to sexually conquer a slew of warriors. But she's got her eye on Athelstan. It will take all the monk's prayers to ward her off. This might be harder than his crucifixion.
Showrunner Michael Hirst always juxtaposes Christian and Pagan perspectives. When it comes to sex, Princess Kwenthrith does the talking for him, "heard they make love to whoever they chose," she says.
"They have a different morality to us," Athelstan responds.
"Is it not more natural?" she teases. Hint, hint Athelstan...
To wrap it up, the Vikings head off to England and attack King Ecbert's son. Creator Michael Hirst hints that the battles will rage on in Season 3. According to Hirst, Ragnar will attack the extraordinary city of Paris with one hundred ships.