History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ Season 5: Recap Of Episode 17, ‘The Most Terrible Thing’

Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Here’s what happened in Episode 17 (titled “The Most Terrible Thing”) of History Channel’s Vikings Season 5.

SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains information about Episode 17 (titled “The Most Terrible Thing”) of History Channel’s Vikings Season 5. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.

As Carter Matt pointed out with the preview for this episode, the remaining episodes in Season 5 of Vikings could turn out to be one crazy ride. This is certainly the case for Episode 17.

Episode 17 of Vikings Season 5 sees King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) recovered from the ailment that struck him down in last week’s episode. However, he awakens to find that his brother, Aethelred (Darren Cahill), is being buried.

To make matters worse, his mother, Judith (Jennie Jacques), admits to him that she killed Aethelred in order to save Alfred. She also gives him a lecture on how the king must do things that he really doesn’t want to do in order to rule. Perhaps, Alfred will take heed her words and have his own mother called out for filicide.

Meanwhile, Aethelred’s wife, Ethelfled (Ann Skelly), is also questioning Judith’s intentions as well as hoping she never comes across another mother in law like her. It will be interesting to see if Judith also deals with Ethelfled in the same way she dealt with Aethelred in upcoming episodes of Vikings.

While Alfred may be concerned with his mother, there is little time to dwell on it in Episode 17 of Vikings Season 5 because word arrives of a new Viking invasion — this time from the Danes. Alfred quickly summons Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) in order to plan their course of action. Torvi suggests that merely having King Alfred at the helm of the army will not be enough to scare the Danes away. Ubbe then suggests that he should be the head of the army, not Alfred. As yet, viewers do not know which side Alfred will come down on regarding this matter.

Alex Hogh Andersen as Ivar the Boneless and Marco Ilso as Hvitserk
Featured image credit: Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

In Kattegat, Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen) is setting new rules for the community that seems to take a lot of the decision-making out of the hands of the people of Kattegat and into his own. Episode 17 of Vikings also sees him sowing the seeds for suspicion and paranoia when he suggests that people spy on each other to find out if there are any traitors among the people of Kattegat.

Ivar also suggests to Freydis (Alicia Agneson) that his brother, Hvitserk (Marco Ilso) should be done away with. However, Freydis suggests that Ivar will be a better ruler if people loved him rather than fear him. So, heeding her words, Ivar sends Hvitserk on a diplomatic mission to meet with Olaf the Stout.

In York, Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) is asking King Harald Finehair (Peter Franzen) for a fleet to attack Kattegat with in Episode 17 of Vikings Season 5. However, Harald is not inclined to send the fleet since it is the wrong time of year to do so. Bjorn is persuasive, though, and eventually, Harald is swayed with the allure of being king in Kattegat — the same promise Ivar made to him — and the potential of taking on Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars) if Bjorn should perish.

Alexander Ludwig as Bjorn Ironside and Peter Franzen as King Harald Finehair
Featured image credit: Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Later, Harald approaches Gunnhild and talks about their fates. Gunnhild asks if Harald still plans to be the king of all Norway and when he says yes, she replies that she would like to be the queen. However, when she speaks to Bjorn later on, she tells him that Harald is planning to be the ruler of Norway and it is unclear just which side Gunnhild is truly on.

And, if you are sick of seeing Bjorn bed every woman he comes across in Vikings, it appears that in Episode 17, he admits his love to Gunnhild as well as revealing that he thinks he has never truly been in love before.

Finally, in Iceland, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Ketill (Adam Copeland) arrive at Eyvind’s (Kris Holden-Ried) new establishment. And, instead of helping, it is revealed in the latest episode of Vikings that Ketill has been maintaining a grudge against Eyvind for the deaths of his family. So now, he slaughters everyone there and Floki returns home a broken man for not being able to stop it all.

Aud (‎Leah McNamara) is so distraught to hear the news when they return that she takes her own life.

Adam Copeland stars as Ketill Flatnose
Featured image credit: Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Vikings returns on Wednesday, January 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. History Channel provides the following synopsis for Episode 18 (titled “Baldar”).

“Hvitserk is severely tested. Floki makes an amazing discovery. Freydis gives Ivar a surprise. Ubbe negotiates with three Danish kings that have massed their armies in Reading, but the negotiations may have a perilous outcome.”