Welcome to the recap for Episode 20, entitled “On The Eve,” of the Season 4 finale of Vikings. Get ready, this will be a rough ride.
SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains information about the 20th episode (entitled “The Reckoning”) of the Season 4 finale of History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.
Episode 20 of the Season 4 finale of Vikings opens with what appears to be an addled King Ecbert (Linus Roache). Don’t be fooled though, this man is still canny.
The battle that began in Episode 19 of Vikings continues in full force in the finale. But, before you can really settle into it, Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) realizes the Saxons are defeated and retreats.
When he returns home, he is setting up to move everyone out, knowing the Vikings will not be far behind. Ecbert, however, insists on staying behind, ready to meet his destiny with the Vikings in the Season 4 finale. As Aethelwulf reminds him, the king cannot be left behind. So Ecbert does the one thing that will get Aethelwulf to leave him: renouncing his crown.
Before Aethelwulf can really object, he is crowned the new king of Wessex and Mercia and everyone else is cleared out. As Aethelwulf is leaving, Ecbert implores he one day returns to claim what is rightfully his and viewers suddenly get the suspicion Ecbert is not all about putting things right like Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) did when he returned to England to die, that maybe he has an ulterior motive to staying behind.
Bishop Edmund (Philip O’Sullivan) decides to stay behind with Ecbert, and, after everyone else leaves, the pair set about getting drunk while they wait for the Vikings to show up in Episode 20.
When the Vikings finally approach Ecbert’s stronghold in the Season 4 finale, a battering ram makes short work of the defenses. It is an uneasy confusion once they realize the place is empty.
Quickly, they search the place. Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) finds some scrolls and just when you think he might be remembering his religious experience in Spain, he sets fire to them as Helga wanders through the place with her adoptive daughter, Tanaruz (Sinead Gormally).
Floki hears what sounds like Helga singing and goes to investigate. But he is too late to prevent Tanaruz from fatally stabbing Helga. He does, however, get just enough time to talk to Helga as she lays dying and viewers are left heartbroken as they watch the unshakable pair say their final farewells before Floki gives her a proper Viking burial.
Later, Floki admits to Bjorn that he is now dead inside. The first part of himself died with his daughter, Angrboda, the second with Ragnar, and, finally, the third part of him died along with Helga. So, now, he will move forward into Season 5 of Vikings an empty vessel. He will allow the gods to fill him as required.
As the Vikings burn the place, Ecbert decides to leave the throne room where he and the Bishop are staying. He makes his way outside where he is confronted by Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig). Bjorn has Ecbert spared in Episode 20 whereas the other Vikings would like to kill him.
Bjorn discusses with his brothers what to do with Ecbert. Not surprisingly, Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh) wants to blood eagle him. Bjorn, on the other hand, wants to help realize his father’s dream of settling his people in England. And that is how Bjorn convinces the Vikings to make a huge mistake.
Ecbert, now renounced of his crown, continues on like he is still king, creating a document that he and the Vikings sign agreeing to Viking settlement in England. Ecbert also allows the Vikings legal right to his lands. Hence why he had told Aethelwulf earlier to come back and reclaim his lands.
So, not knowing Ecbert as well as his father, Bjorn Ironside signs the document. The Vikings think they have won Wessex and Mercia in the Season 4 finale of Vikings, but, in reality, Ecbert has set them up much in the same way Ragnar set him up for revenge when he said his sons would not seek revenge with Ecbert.
Along with this agreement, Bjorn also allows Ecbert his wish of dying by his own hand in Episode 20 of Vikings. Ecbert chooses to slit his own wrists and viewers are left feeling both angry with him for setting up the Vikings and, yet, sorry for his death, as he was certainly a multi-layered character.
Now that the Vikings think they own a large chunk of England, they set to feasting. Yet, the conflict between Ragnar’ s sons is still festering away under the surface.
Even though Bjorn settled with Ecbert, he will not remain in England to farm. He announces he will return to the Mediterranean, meaning, when Aethelwulf retaliates for his father’s death, Bjorn will likely not be present. Surprisingly, Halfdan the Black (Jasper Paakkonen) decides to part ways with his brother, Harald Finehair (Peter Franzen) and joins Bjorn.
Ivar, while remaining in England, will continue to raid and plunder.
An argument arises over the conflicting opinions between the brothers and, unfortunately, poor Sigurd (David Lindstrom) gets caught in the crossfire. Ivar ridicules him, calling him gay. Things get heated, and, before Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) can calm Ivar down, he throws a battleaxe at Sigurd, hitting and injuring him. Sigurd gets up, lunges at Ivar, and falls to the ground again. It is unclear if he is dead or not and fans will have to tune into the Season 5 premiere of Vikings to find out his fate. It doesn’t look good, though.
Finally, Episode 20 of Vikings concludes with the highly anticipated introduction of Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Entertainment Weekly announced he will play a religious warrior called Heahmund. This character first appears in Season 4 presiding over a funeral. However, it is quickly revealed he is not as holy as first indicated, bedding the widow after the funeral.
For those of you who were wondering what the word, “ananyzapata,” on Heahmund’s sword means, you can check out this Inquisitr article on the various interpretations. But, basically, in the context of Vikings, it is a word that could be interpreted as, “Jesus Christ defeated death (or the devil).”
As for what is happening in Kattegat, viewers don’t get to find out if Torvi (Georgia Hirst) survived the raid on Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) new territory in Episode 19 of Vikings.
What did you think of this recap and of Episode 20 (titled “The Reckoning”) of the Season 4 finale of Vikings? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
Vikings has been confirmed by History Channel as returning with Season 5. As yet, no release date has been announced.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Hession/History Channel]