TV: 'Vikings' Sets Sail, 'Bates Motel' Honeymoons


Vikings: Season 4. Episode 6 - What Might Have Been

 You can boil this entire episode down to a single scene towards the end as Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), high on drugs, looks out into the distance to see his old life literally staring back at him. It was a vision where departed loved ones and deceased relationships were alive again. As a reminder of everything that has changed for its leads since the show began, it was a deeply affecting scene, quiet and serene with a mystical gleam that caught the eye without blinding it.

It is often in these quiet moments that Fimmel does his finest work as Ragnar and here was no exception. Without saying a word, he said it all in a medley of expressions that veered from the joy at recognizing what was and the ache at knowing it would never be again. There have been many moving scenes throughout the course of “Vikings” 4 seasons and this was another top-drawer entry into the pantheon.

As for story developments, King Ecbert announced that a young Alfred would go on his first pilgrimage and Harbard returned to Kattegat as its denizens headed to Paris. During the course of their journey Floki participated in yet another killing as his radical extremism continued. When the Vikings arrived they experienced one heck of a blow as they came upon shore to find none of the settlers and a made-over Rollo (Clive Standen) standing in their place.

Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) ended the episode piercingly screaming “uncle” to the shoreline. This is the second settlement Ragnar has founded, only to have them slaughtered and it’s impossible to imagine he will show Rollo any mercy, should he get his hands on him. If what the show is hinting at comes to fruition, there is an epic showdown in the cards between the embattled brothers and only one will probably victor. Rating: 8.6/10

Bates Motel: Season 4. Episode 3 - Til Death Do You Part
Norma (Vera Farmiga) adjusted to life without Norman (Freddie Highmore) and with her new husband, the bashful Romero (Nestor Carbonell). For fans of the Nomero pairing this episode has been a long time coming. With romantic tension having built throughout the course of 4 seasons, it would have been understandable if their actually union failed to meet the elevated expectations.

As is the case for most “Bates Motel” plotlines, it did not disappoint. The newlyweds got off to a rocky start, as Norma’s reluctant disposition attempted to put a damper on things. Romero would not be dissuaded though and Norma finally gave in to her feelings. 

The chemistry between Carbonell and Farmiga was as palatable as ever, gliding seamlessly from playful to stormy, all within a single scene. Sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad and there was certainly concern that with the Nomero pairing in full swing and the teasing nature of “will they, won’t they” off the table (for the most part), it may not be everything fans had imagined it to be. However, this episode easily put those worries to rest. It’s going to be great having these characters in tighter quarters from here out.

Despite being closer than they have ever been, both are keeping deadly secrets from the other. While Norma imbibed in a bit of wedded bliss, the storm cloud of Norman’s accusations brewed. Convinced he had a moral obligation to put an end to his mother’s “killing spree”, he turned her in to his therapist.

Even in the throes of his psychosis Norman is trying to do the right thing in his own twisted way. How Norma is going to get out of the trap he’s put her in is anyone’s guess. One thing is certain. After the brutal confrontation between mother and son at the end of the episode, it's clear that Norman is not backing down.

In other Bates family news, Dylan’s (Max Thieriot) relationship with Emma (Olivia Cooke) continued to grow stronger. Heeding her father’s advice, he decided to dissolve his pot farm and go legit. It seems unlikely it will be that easy, especially with Chick (Ryan Hurst) already snooping around making ominous small talk.

At home, Dylan was unfazed and pleased by the news that Norman is finally getting mental help and he urged his mother to give his younger brother the space he needs to get treatment. It was another sound episode for the season that laid a lot of groundwork for what are sure to be a lot of interesting storylines to come. Rating: 9/10

[Featured Image by HISTORY]