‘Vikings’ Season 5 Premiere: Recap Of Episodes 1 and 2, ‘The Departed’

Episode 1 of ‘Vikings’ Season 5 kicks off with a two-hour episode

Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Welcome to the recap for the premiere episode of Vikings Season 5. Episode 1, titled “The Departed,” is double the length of a normal episode. As a result of this, there is a lot of ground to cover as History Channel sets up the game play for the remainder of the season.

SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains information about Episode 1 (titled “The Departed”) of the Season 5 premiere of History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.

Episode 1 of Vikings Season 5 opens with Sigurd’s (David Lindstrom) funeral. While Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh) seems genuinely upset and remorseful for his actions in the Season 4 finale that culminated in Sigurd’s death, he is also mindful of the fact that his brothers might exact revenge for Sigurd’s death. This results in a lot of uneasy power play between the brothers during Episode 1 of Vikings.

Regardless, of this, the brothers still manage to decide on a strategic move to take York. This looks like a bad plan, but, as Ivar points out, York is not surrounded by their enemies like their current location of Wessex is. As a result, York is attacked during Ascension Day and it seems like the Vikings might finally have a legitimate foothold in England. As Michael Hirst points out in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ivar is “intent on destroying the English armies.”

The Vikings may not know that they can’t actually lay claim to King Ecbert’s (Linus Roach) lands because they were given after Ecbert abdicated. However, it isn’t long before Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the new warrior bishop, finds out and heads towards York to retaliate against the Vikings, not only for their attack on York, but also to exact revenge for Ecbert and Aelle’s (Ivan Kaye) deaths.

Episode 1 of Vikings Season 5 sees Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) return to his wife, Judith (Jennie Jacques). While their son is safe, it seems Judith’s son to Athelstan, Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), is unwell. However, Alfred has a vision of his father and announces they must go to York and he is miraculously healed.

And so, all the Saxons are now together near York and the Vikings don’t even realize yet that their foothold is tenuous. This is especially true once Heahmund discovers the old Roman wall at York is not being fortified by the Vikings and is now the easiest way to attack the Northmen.

History Channel's Vikings,' Season 5, premiere, Episode 1, The Departed, Bjorn Ironside
Featured image credit: Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

While Ivar, Hvitserk (Marco Ilso), and Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) remain in England as part of the Great Heathen Army, their brother, Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), is returning to the Mediterranean. Considering he doesn’t know about the plot against Kattegat issued by Harald Finehair (Peter Franzen), he sends Harald back there on his behalf to let Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) know the outcome of their attack on England.

When Harald arrives there, Lagertha confronts him about his part in Egil’s (Charlie Kelly) attack on Kattegat. Eventually, Harald has no choice but to admit he played a part in it, but explains that he did it for love, and now that that love has been betrayed, he is back to not wishing harm against Lagertha and Kattegat.

Lagertha, while not killing him outright, doesn’t believe him either. She keeps him captive while they talk about alliances and what she should do about Harald. In the process, Harald escapes and takes Astrid (Josefin Asplund) hostage. His plan, if Lagertha won’t align with him as his queen, is to have Astrid fill her place. Astrid refuses at first, but it looks possible that ambition will take over in future episodes of Vikings Season 5.

History Channel's Vikings,' Season 5, premiere, Episode 1, The Departed, Floki
Featured image credit: Arnaldur HalldorssonHistory Channel

Finally, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), distraught over the death of Helga in the Season 4 finale of Vikings, leaves on a personal journey. Building a small ship, he decides to sail the seas and let the gods take him wherever they decide. And that place turns out to be Iceland, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. However, as far as Floki is concerned, he has wound up on the shores of Asgard at the end of Episode 1 of Vikings Season 5.

Vikings returns to History Channel on Wednesday, December 6, at 9 p.m. ET. TV Guide lists the following synopsis for Episode 2 (titled “Homeland”).

“Celebrations are cut short in the aftermath of the battle at York; Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons are pitted against each other as tensions reach an all-time high, and each is forced to choose a side.”