Leap of Faith
Episode 6 of Vikings: Valhalla season 2 begins at the Volkhov River, near Novgorod. Olaf is hot on the trail of Harald and the others, who are obviously unaware of this and currently have made camp out in the forest on their way to Constantinople.
However, their most perilous trial is among them, as they need to somehow descend the falls and potentially face what’s beyond – the Pechenegs. They’ve risked enough waiting for a few days and Harald urges them all to get up and move. However, all the former slave women decide to wait behind, including our two resident fighters from the pits.
Love blossoms in unlikely places, as this seems to sprinkle over to Leif and Mariam too. The pair end up kissing out in the woods, which eventually leads to so much more. As for Harald, he decides to get rid of his precious furs, ditching them all in the water and deciding this is their best chance of survival. The others see this act of selflessness and all decide to help, chucking all of this overboard and preparing to navigate the falls.
Elsewhere, Harekr is desperate to find Freydis. It doesn’t take long for them to find her bloodied rags and wolf tracks heading away from the camp. However, down by the docks Jorundr is strung up in chains and readied for judgment to be cast upon him. His fate does not look good, given he was helping a prisoner.
Harekr returns and makes a big show of this trial, showing off the bloodied rag and Jorundr’s knife. In fact, he makes it out that Jorundr killed Freydis and then took her to the boneyard. Harekr believes they should be rid “of this evil” and casts judgment upon this man Unfortunately he’s found guilty and as such, the punishment’s is his necklace taken away, his hand cut off and, finally, exile.
Meanwhile, Emma continues to search for this fabled Bear, asking around for exactly who this person may be. Agnarr tries to get word from the ale-wife but she refuses unless she speaks directly to the Queen. Well, what do you know? Emma shows up and her face immediately drops.
This woman spills the beans and admits that Godwin was bitter and angry as he dealt with his father’s betrayal. Losing everything, Godwin soon found comfort and solace in the Bear, who was by his side all this time. It turns out this Bear character actually happens to be Godwin’s guardian, a man by the name of John Fletcher. He has a lot of affection for Godwin, and would do anything for him.
Naturally, Agnarr and Emma go looking for him but all they find is an old man dead, a Grand Ring by his side which certainly wouldn’t belong to a lowly farmer, confirming their suspicions that this man is the Bear.
When Emma heads back to London, she finds King Canute has returned. He questions Emma about what’s happened and learns that the Bear’s death doesn’t look like murder but it could well be Godwin’s foul play involved. Canute points out that the ring itself is no evidence of Godwin’s conspiring and is quick to point out her own torture-gone-wrong in Aelfwynn.
Canute immediately decides to quell any ill feelings in Godwin and puts word out that he’s going to wed… Princess Gytha.
Meanwhile, Freydis awakens and learns that she’s never going to be able to have children again. It’s a heartbreaking reveal and she’s understandably shocked. It also makes the mission to bring little Harald back that much more strenuous and desperate. Still, she’s recovered enough to get her sword back and prepare to fight for what’s hers.
Freydis shows up at the gates, shocking everyone, as she confronts Harekr and accuses him of stealing her child. Freydis decides to let the Gods decide and the pair end up fighting. Freydis is downed but eventually the people turn on Harekr, throwing stones at him and accusing the guy of stealing Freydis’ child. As a result, her son is returned, Harekr is killed and it seems everything has been resolved.
As for Jorundr, he’s put on a boat and taken out to the middle of the water, where he tells the other men they need to be careful. After Harekr’s betrayal, they could be next. Still, he’s let go from the Viking longboat, unaware of what’s happened back home, and left to fend for himself on a little rowing boat.
As the episode closes out, the group heading for Constantinople brace themselves for their toughest challenge yet – the waterfall. As they approach, everyone braces themselves and prepares for what’s about to take place, as the boat tips down like it’s a crazy log flume. Geronimo!
The Episode Review
So we finally get some resolution to our big narrative threads. Harekr is brought to justice and it comes at the hands of the women and the refugees, which is pretty powerful symbolism there, and perhaps obvious given what’s transpired.
The fate of Jorundr is still unknown at this point, while Emma’s search for the Bear eventually ends in surprising revelations that are bound to spill over to the final few episodes of this season.
Either way though, this second season hasn’t really been as enticing and action-packed as the first, with a lot more meandering subplots and a much slower pace. Hopefully the final few chapters pick up the pace a bit.
You can read our full season review for Vikings: Valhalla season 2 here!