'Vikings' Season 4: A Non-Spoiler Review Of The First Four Episodes

With only one week to go until the season 4 premiere of History Channel's Vikings, here's a very special early sneak peek into the first four episodes.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information and speculation about the upcoming season 4 of Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed season 3 in its entirety or wish to avoid spoilers.

Okay, so I was very excited when I received my early screeners for History Channel's Vikings, so excited, in fact, that it has been extremely hard keeping my mouth shut about all the awesomeness that has been crammed into the first four episodes.

But now the wait is finally over -- well, nearly -- and I can at least give you a very small peek into what to expect in the season 4 premiere of Vikings next Thursday night.

In point form, here's my favorite bits from the first four episodes:

  • New opening credits.
I am a big fan of opening credits done right. As far as I'm concerned, there really wasn't much that needed changing in the opening credits of Vikings. However, History Channel managed to enhance the credits without losing any of the atmospheric moodiness of the original. While they mostly got it right, I feel the end of the sequence is a little cluttered with color.
  • Ragnar is still sick.
After injuring himself quite badly in the attack on Paris in season 3 of Vikings, even though there has been a time hop, Ragnar (played by Travis Fimmel) is still not his former self. He is still well enough though for plenty of story lines concerning him to happen.

Rollo Loreal Paris meme
[Image via hrafnheidur/Tumblr]
  • Rollo gets a haircut and makes the L'Oreal, Paris memes even funnier.
While the meme above is hilarious, it is not until Rollo (Clive Standen) gets a haircut in Paris and goes all regally coiffed that this meme really comes into its own.
  • The relationship between Rollo and Gisla is epic,
I am not a fan of Rollo at all. I find his personality wishy washy at best and downright treasonous at worst. However, season 4 of Vikings has managed to do something I would never have expected: I can now sympathize with Rollo.

Season 4 sees him arranged in a marriage that he seems pleased with, but his bride to be, Princess Gisla (Morgaine Polanski), is far from impressed. She is opinionated to start with, but season 4 sees her take on a whole new level of snark when it comes ot the fact her father wants her to wed a savage. Standen's comedic timing is just brilliant in their scenes.

Vikings Season 4 Travis Fimmel Dianne Doan
[Image via A&E Network]
  • Yidu.
Dianne Doan plays Yidu (pronounced "Ee-do"), the intriguing new character we know little about other than she is an asian slave captured by the French and then ends up in Kattegat. When she was recently interviewed by Design Trend, she gave away little about Yidu other than Ragnar will be captivated by her.

Season 4 of Vikings sees French slave dealers in Kattegat, and Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) purchases Yidu from them. It isn't long before Ragnar notices her and becomes intrigued.

Some interesting things to note about Yidu is the fact she is a terrible slave. This indicates that perhaps she came from nobility and not common stock as she struggles greatly with normal farming tasks.

Also keep your eye our for Ragnar and Yidu getting stoned. It seems Yidu is well versed in ancient Chinese medicines, something Ragnar appreciates.

  • King Harald Finehair.
Expect to be introduced to King Harald Finehair (Peter Franzén) in the first four episodes of Vikings. However, his brother, Halfdan the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen), is yet to be seen.

[Image via A&E Network]
  • Aslaug and Ragnar's relationship.
Speaking of Ragnar, the relationship between he and his second wife, Aslaug, is becoming downright icy. She is very much rooted in viking culture and does not like Ragnar's progressive outlook on religion.
  • Bjorn and the bear.
Entertainment Weekly first broke images of Bjorn battling a bear. I can confirm this happens within the first four episodes of season 4 of Vikings. What is the outcome you ask? That I cannot divulge. However, I can say that this event happens while Bjorn is in self-exile in an attempt to "find himself."
  • Harbard is mentioned.
Remember Harbard from season 3 of Vikings? It seems we could see more of him in season 4. Or at least have his name mentioned by someone not willing to let go of the past.
  • Speaking of people from the past, expect someone from previous seasons to make an appearance you weren't anticipating.
I know this is totally vague, but I can say that I am excited to see them again.

Vikings Season 4 Gustaf Skarsgard
[Image via A&E Network]
  • Floki and Helga.
There is not a lot I can say about this couple in regards to season 4 of Vikings that won't be a major spoiler. But, remember what Floki did to Athelstan in season 3? Yeah, there will be consequences for him. At least we get to hear his manic giggle again.
  • Betrayal, both done and being set up for further on in season 4
The theme of the season 4 trailers for Vikings have been pretty consistent in setting up the idea of betrayal playing a big part in this season. Already I can see the groundwork being laid for multiple betrayal storylines.

People who need to be aware of potential betrayal against them include Ragnar, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Judith (Jennie Jacques), and Bjorn.

  • Kwenthrith is still larger than life, even when she is in danger.
There are so many strong female leads that I find it very hard to pick a favorite, but Kwenthrith is right up there near the top of my list. She doesn't disappoint in season 4 of Vikings.
  • There seems to be a lot of snake imagery, especially in episode 4.
One trailer for season 4 of Vikings saw Ragnar surrounded by snakes as he pondered whether he would enter Valhalla when he died. This imagery seems to be carried through the start of the season. And, considering the historical viking sagas see Ragnar being killed by venomous snakes after being thrown into a pit of them by King Aella, I can see why this imagery might be important in season 4.
  • Season 4 seems to be all about women's rights.
While Vikings has always presented a lot of female characters as particularly empowered, expect season 4 to up the ante in regards to women's rights and just what is considered freedom in relation to females.

I will be posting my full recap of episode 1 (entitled "A Good Treason") of Vikings after the episode airs next Thursday night.

Vikings returns with an extended season 4 to History Channel on Thursday, February 18, at 10 p.m. ET.

[Image via History Channel]