Vikings: Valhalla – Season 1 Episode 4 “The Bridge” Recap & Review

The Bridge

Episode 4 of Vikings: Valhalla begins with Leif awakening in a sea of dead bodies. As we see flashes of a big battle, we cut back a day before to find the Vikings discussing their upcoming battle.

With attack towers and a fortified bridge, Harald suggests they focus on Edmund rather than conquering London. This plan happens to be Leif’s and he intends to exploits the weakness of the drawbridge. They need to be ready when the tide turns and that means positioning their men accordingly, using boats to destroy the foundations.

To make this plan a success, Leif proposes three of their best boats be used in his plan but Olaf scoffs at this idea, while Canute refuses to entertain such a risky idea.

At night though, Canute approaches Leif and after talking to him about his motivations, and how he’s more concerned with his own men than Canute or the glories of the Vikings, it’s enough to convince Canute to go ahead with his plan after all.

At the same time, Edmund rides out to see Eadric Streona, who bargains with him in order to take on the brunt of the responsibility for the Viking attack. In exchange for joining the fight, Edmund wants Mercia to become an independent nation after this is all done. Instead, Edmund suggests doubling their land. Emma bites her tongue.

As day turns to night, Leif and his men use a paddle-board to stealth their way upstream. After making short work of the guardhouse, they switch to rowing boats and press on. With tarps covering the men and women onboard, the soldiers press on to the bridge.

At the same time, Canute and the other Vikings bide their time and prepare to strike. And as night turns to day, the Vikings ready themselves. Some are on their longboats, led by Olaf, while Canute rallies the ground troops.

Canute marches up on the Englishmen and enacts a parlay, complete with a white flag. This is all a ruse though to bring out the soldiers en-mass to the drawbridge. Unbeknownst to them, Leif and his men happen to be hacking away at the foundations.

With Streona bound to arrive at any moment. Canute decides to antagonize Edmund by calling him King Belyoa (which means coward), and knowing exactly how to get under his skin. And it works a treat.

Emma and Godwin both do their best to try and stop him, but Edmund ignores them and decides to lead his men into battle without Mercia reinforcements.

While Emma watches on the rooftops, the Vikings decide to retreat as their men are attacked and killed on the bridge. Canute leads his men back, Edmund falls for the bait and leads his men forward.

Emma senses that this whole attack is a trap and readies the archers to attack the longboats. It’s too late though, as Leif’s plan goes into action.

He uses archers, attached with ropes, to hit their shields and allow them to row away and break the foundations of the bridge. With the foundations snapping, Leif helps out by hacking away with his axe to help speed this along.

Godwin rides out to meet Streona, informing him that Edmund has taken the fight to the Vikings. Next, he rides up to Edmund and tells him about the plan, but of course the Viking force is far stronger than Edmund was led to believe.

Numerous men and women appear from the marshes and taunt King Edmund. This time, they take the fight to the Englishmen, while Edmund cowers in fear, trying to make it it back to the castle.

The foundations eventually topple, as does the whole bridge, leaving Edmund stranded and outside the castle. The Vikings cheer in victory, while Leif is the only surviving Greenlander from under the bridge.

Upon seeing the destroyed bridge and how frail the Englishmen are, Streona decides to hold back and not attack after all, believing there’s a greater battle to be won. So naturally, they decide to head back to Mercia, while Canute ends up with Edmund in his grasp. Emma remains behind her high walls as the Vikings cheer for Leif.

The Episode Review

Hail the Greenlander indeed. Leif’s plan is a success and with it, the fate of England rests in Viking hands. Edmund’s arrogance has got the better of him and leading his men out to attack Canute head-on may have lost some Viking lives, but it’s nothing compared to the casualties suffered by Edmund.

It’s a really foolhardy move but it’s also one that’s not entirely historically accurate. Edmund Ironside was actually a decent fighter, not the watered-down Joffrey we get in this chapter.

It does make for good TV though and this is easily one of the best episodes of the series, if you can look past some of the historical liberties taken here.

Still, it’s hard to grumble too much with this one, as Vikings: Valhalla ups the ante and keep up a good deal of tension across this chapter.

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You can read our full season review of Vikings: Valhalla here!

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