TV Rundown: Week of Feb 14 | 'Vikings' Returns, 'Pretty Little Liars' Confuses & 'Blacklist' Paints it Red

Vikings returned with a vengeance...literally. Picking up right where it left off at the end of season 3; Ragnar, Lagertha and Rollo were all put in a position to exact revenge in "A Good Treason" and how each chose to respond was rather shocking. Let’s back up a little bit though and address the premiere’s other developments. The episode opened with a bedridden Ragnar dreaming of Valhalla, which he was mightily excited to cross over to before awakening in the land of the living.


Despite the ominous nature of his dream, Rags appeared to be on the road to making a full recovery. Not so thrilled by this development was Aslaug, who Rags’ has grown mightily suspicious of. Whether its paranoia or she really wants the thrown of Kattegat for herself remains to be seen. She was certainly frosty to her husband and after her fling with the supernatural stranger last season; one could conclude her loyalties to Ragnar are tenuous at best.

One pair’s loyalty not nearly as in question is Lagertha and Kalf's, whose bond grew even stronger over the course of the hour when he moved to make Lagertha his co-ruler. This expectedly ruffled the feathers of those who made his ascension possible and Kalf put their rebellion down in a bloody reprisal wherein Lagertha joined in taking a personal and over-the-top retribution against her enemy.

Back in Kattegat, Bjorn (acting in his role as temporary ruler) had Floki arrested for Athelstan’s murder. A decision that put Ragnar in the unforeseen and undesired position of having to make his vengeance a public matter, as opposed to the privately dispensed justice he had in mind for his ex-friend. Bjorn’s decision drove a wedge between father and son and by episode’s end the younger Lothbrok had decided to rough it in the wilderness throughout the winter to prove his worthiness as his father's heir.

Over in Paris, Rollo wed the highly resistive Gisla. Despite acting against her protestations when it came to their nuptials, he respected her desire not to consummate the marriage. But if you thought we were seeing a more civil side of Rollo, he certainly dispelled that notion by the time the episode ended; as he led a brutal retaliation against the Viking settlers who’d announced their concerns about his leadership and loyalties to the Franks.

Rollo’s behavior was similar to that of his brother and what made his decision particularly shocking was how out of character it was. For the past 3 seasons, Rollo has been portrayed only acting out in violence when he’s gone berserk or been high on shrooms. He’s not someone who methodically carries out a plot. So his capacity for cold blooded calculation was startling to see.

Loyalty and revenge were the main themes of the hour and the premiere supplied a lot of action for the rest of the season to wade through. How will Ragnar deal with Rollo? Was Ragnar’s dream a huge anvil hinting at his imminent demise? Is Porunn gone for good? Will Bjorn survive winter and finally earn his father’s trust? And perhaps the grimmest question of all, what exactly does Ragnar have in store for Floki? Given this is who carried out the grotesque "blood eagle", does anyone really want to know the answer? Thank goodness for the fast forward button.
Pretty Little Liars had its most convoluted episode in a long time with “Where Somebody Waits for Me”. Apparently that awaiting someone wasn't common sense. There’s nonsensical decision making and then there’s plain absurdity. Either way you cut it, none of the Liars were making any sense in this episode. Let’s start with Spencer, who learned that her mother may be sick again from the info Caleb hacked from Yvonne’s phone. It turns out the rival campaign knows about Mrs. Hastings’ health issues and are planning to drop the potentially bid-ending info when it will do the most damage. 

There are two things that are very confusing about this plot point. Firstly, when Spencer read the medical report it said that her mother’s tests had come back “normal” so why is she convinced she’s relapsed? Has Mrs. Hastings' cancer returned or was she concerned it had and it turned out to be a false alarm? Or had she relapsed and is already in remission? This is very hard to pin point.

Secondly, why did Spencer decide against giving her mother the heads up on what her opponent’s camp knows? It makes no sense. Why does she want her mother to invest more in the fantasy she has a shot when it is going to be pulled out from under her and Spencer could’ve cushioned the blow? The confusing level of her logic was downright headache inducing.

Next we have Emily, who's convinced her eggs were stolen by new ‘A’ (B?), despite the nurse at the clinic making no mention that her donation had gone missing. In fact, the nurse indicated the exact opposite that all of the samples were accounted for and determined to have been destroyed. Either Emily has very little faith in the clinic and doesn’t believe they’d notice if her eggs went missing or she’s completely losing it. Right now, it’s looking like the latter.

Then there’s Hanna and Aria. Hanna’s close moment with Caleb ended up inducing a flashback that gave viewers a glimpse into what drove the lovebirds apart. Apparently, an alienated Caleb wanted to spend more time outside feeding cats and Hanna wasn’t as open to that so he accused her of losing herself in the image obsessed fashion world and walked off. In all seriousness, Caleb felt ignored by Hanna at her business event, resulting in a tiff that made him walk away. Whether this was the sole impetus for their breakup is unclear. What was clear is that explaining what drove them apart is rather contrived because it makes no sense they would’ve broken up in the first place.

As for Aria, she continued to be fidgety whenever there was a mention of her parents’ plans to remarry. Seriously, what is up with her strange reaction to her parents’ reunion? She has no reason to object and her response has been like that of someone who has become aware that an abusive relationship has resumed, which it hasn’t. Ezra’s big secret turned out to be his knowledge of the Montgomery’s covert reunion and when he divulged this to her, Aria looked like she was going to be sick…again. Maybe she was upset by all of the night’s frustrating plot developments.

As exasperating as this episode was it did boast a silver lining with another appearance by Mona. She’s been on two weeks in a row (thank goodness) and it turns out she might’ve been acting as Spencer’s guardian angel, not that Miss Hastings will ever believe her. Mona has a good side. She’s demonstrated it in previous seasons and it’s nice to see the show finally exploring it again. 
The Blacklist resolved Liz’s baby dilemma as she overturned her decision to put the baby up for adoption following Tom’s brush with death. It’s great to have this part of the storyline dealt with. It was not doing Liz’s character any favors. The way she’d ignored Tom’s feelings over the past few episodes was making her come off uncharacteristically self-centered. As predicted, the Tom vs. Red rivalry played a very small role in the episode. That’s not to say there weren't any pivotal developments between them. 

Red ended up coming through in a major way, covering for Tom’s heist by having the jewelry store owner claim he was working for them undercover. It was a clever resolution made all the more surprising by Red's involvement. Liz’s contempt for her maybe-dad rapidly faded after she learned that. What Liz failed to do in the course of their argument beforehand was really stand up for Tom. Every time Red bashes him, she doesn’t ask him what more Tom can do to prove himself or why he is still holding this grudge. Tom’s risked his life to save hers many times and he went above and beyond to clear her name. What else does Red want or need to finally let him off the hook? 

Over on the procedural side of things was a villain heavily reminiscent of “General Hospital’s” Franco: a lethal and deranged artist on a rampage. Red dealt with him rather swiftly and in the process, uncovered a spooky painting of Liz at a grave, which was the apparent motive behind him naming this particular Blacklister. Making the painting even creepier was that Liz’s mother might’ve commissioned it. All in all, “Drexel (No. 113)” was an eventful episode which continued the momentum “The Blacklist” has been experiencing throughout the season and it kept a vital character alive - a veritable win, win.

Photo Credit: "Vikings"/History Channel, "Pretty Little Liars"/Freeform/ABC Family, "The Blacklist"/NBC

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