A New Reik
Episode 4 of Barbarians begins with a grim foreshadow of things to come. Ansgar spots bloodshed and clashed swords as these flashes come thick and fast.
Meanwhile, Arminius sits with Folkwin and admits to his brother he really wanted to kill him but changed his mind. Now answering to Ari, he cauterizes the wound on his brother’s arm with a burning hot sword. Unfortunately one of the Roman soldiers survived Ari’s attack and crawls away to safety.
As he does, Thusnelda arrives on the scene and hears all. Ari admits this means nothing and that he’s a prefect for the Roman army. Folkwin takes advantage of Ari’s confliction and asks him to join them in the fight ahead, using the compassion toward the hanged bodies as an example of this.
Together, they concoct a plan to fool Varus. Ari cuts the head off the fallen barbarian from the skirmish earlier and decides to use that to fool Varus and convince him Folkwin is dead. While he does, Folkwin and Thusnelda ride for the Bructeri tribe in a bid to fool them into believing Thusnelda is a seer.
Meanwhile, Varus propositions Segimer, telling him he needs to stand down and allow Arminius to be the new reik of his village. Arminius returns with the severed head not long after and Varus is more than pleased.
Ari promises to bring glory to Rome but Varus betrays him, giving Ari an alternate plan involving taking over the village nearby. Given he was born a barbarian, Varus shows his true colours and confirms the boy will remain in Germania indefinitely.
Segimer, understanding that his time is passing, heads out to the cursed lake and allows himself to be submerged. With his sword laid bare, our witch returns and plunges the sword in front of Segimer’s door.
Folkwin and Thusnelda return to Kunolf and his tribe again, desperate to unite them this time and ambush the Romans, pushing them back.
As they draw swords, Thusnelda uses Folkwin’s idea and reveals that she’s a seer and capable of conjuring forth the wrath of the gods. Kunolf sees through this façade though until Folkwin seizes his opportunity and manages to slay the leader.
Thusnelda settles into the role well – perhaps too well – bearing them all with he mark of Thor while brandishing Kunolf’s heart in her hand.
Meanwhile, Arminius feels his simmering anger bubble over and explode in a fit of rage. Eventually he composes himself and heads back into his tent. As Varus’ words echo in his mind, he destroys the roman statue in his room before learning that one of his men is still alive and survived the skirmish.
Needing to hide the evidence, Ari kills the man in cold blood within the infirmary. Unfortunately he was watched by Talio who’s being seen to after his whipping.
Afterward, Talio speaks to Arminius is private and they talk cryptically about what he saw. Varus enters the tent though and sees his foster son dressed as a barbarian, which he brushes aside as Ari’s way of becoming one of the barbarians.
Out in the forest, Arminius speaks to Talio and asks him if he’s preparing for a revolt. He defiantly refuses but Ari opens up and admits that he’s not with the Romans anyway. Essentially, he puts the idea in their head to team up and revolt.
Back in the village, Segestes decides to put himself forward as the new reik, brandishing the sword and lifting it above his head. Sitting atop the throne, he settles into his new role. Only, it’s short-lived as Hadgan returns asking for his bride again.
Just before things explode in a messy fit of anger and bloodshed, Arminius arrives and seizes the position of reik for himself. He gives a speech to the villagers, telling them he’s their new leader and promises to protect them.
Riding out, he meets Folkwin and Thusnelda in secret and confirms he’s on their side now. In order to prove himself though, he needs to ambush the Romans with them. Ari tells his brother they need to unite the tribes beforehand and there’s only one way to do it. He needs to marry Thusnelda. Well, Folkwin’s fist has other ideas.
The Episode Review
With a slightly slower episode this time, everything falls back on uniting the tribes, which I guess is third time lucky. After falling into their trap the first time, the seer idea is a good one but not enough to properly unite them all. It’s clear that a marriage would unite everyone here and I’d imagine that’s what we’ll see in the next episode.
In terms of action though, this one has been disappointingly light on big skirmishes and instead sticks to singular bouts of fighting. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, compared to action-packed shows like Vikings then this one does pale by comparison, feeling pretty mediocre as the episodes have ticked by.
Still, the story is intriguing enough to keep you sticking around and hopefully there’s a big fight at the end to make the journey worth taking.