Vinland Saga : United Front

Episode 19

Kyōtō” (共闘)

Finally we got what we kind of really wanted last week and didn’t get.

I will admit that I still don’t truly get last weeks episode. OK I know that it was the breaking of the faith of Canute so that he can now be the Prince he should have been to begin with and this episode he basically decides he is going on a suicide mission to duel his father but I just felt like last weeks episode was too much talking and not enough sense in the words.

This week we go back to good old fashioned Viking stuff.

We finally get to see a bit of the duel between Thorfinn and Thorkell but not before we learn that Thorkell is Thorfinn’s Great Uncle (the brother of Helga’s father) and just how much he adored Thors. It was a nice bit of character building that kind of brought the world a little closer together, in some ways I guess it might feel a little cheap that Thorkell and Thorfinn ended up related but I kind of like it.

It was the moments between Thorfinn and Askeladd that I really liked. Me and Anna have been talking a lot about how we feel there is some weird Father/Son dynamic going on with the two of them and in this weeks episode they finally have to come together and it just felt natural. Sure Thorfinn wants Askeladd alive so he can kill him but at the same time the urgency he had to get Askeladd away from Thorkell wasn’t all about just wanting to kill him at some other time. I really think this is one of the best stories going for the series and I honestly just want to see Askeladd be honest with Thorfinn over WHY he killed Thors, maybe Thorkell will find out, maybe this is when all the heart to hearts happen but I just want that to be a thing.

After a disappointing and confusing episode I really liked that it went back to basics.

There was still a lot of talking in this one but it wasn’t all wishy-washy talking about feelings and metaphors and all other things. Thorkell isn’t into all that and even when he decided he would follow Canute he kept it easy to follow. He always regretted not following Thors who he kind of looked up to so after seeing the same determination in Canute’s eyes he decided he would take the path he didn’t take when he was younger. It was a beautiful moment for Thorkell that explained his actions whilst also gave you a look into his character and world without having to go all poetic.

As these are Vikings not Greeks.

Another nice touch was showing that Thorkell has a weak spot and it kind of comes off as being semi obvious.

His head.

He’s so tall no one is ever going to attack him that high up so it ends up being a weakness for him, maybe just the side of his head though as I’m sure I’ve seen him headbutt people fine before but it now is something that everyone knows of which makes him a little less scary I guess. There is a way to bring the giant down if you can get to it. I also thought it was great showing that unlike Askeladd who is lead by greed Thorkell is lead by morals.

Now that isn’t surprising of course seeing that he killed all the deserters because they had turned their backs on their captain and he didn’t need people who would do that on his side, but when his men pretty much did the same thing in his duel with Thorfinn as Bjorn did in Askeladd’s duel with Thors he literally lost his shit and would have killed his men if he hadn’t been calmed down.

To see him get so angry that his name would be dragged through the mud by his underlings not respecting his duel and the rules to it was a breath of fresh air.

There are many things you can call Thorkell. He is a wild one, he’s fun to spend time with to the point that he was just causally strolling behind Canute with Askeladd and asking to be friends saying that him killing all his men could be like water under the bridge for them now.

What I guess they’ve made most important about him though is his pride and his moral code which sounds weird for a Viking but which is actually pretty important.

It also makes him and Askeladd vastly different people which is needed.

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