Vikings is a show filled with epic battles, sly Ragnar moments, quiet character beats, and copious ass-kicking. Each week, we’ll break down the epic, the weird, and the unintentionally goofy. Let’s dive into Season 4 Episode 9, “Death All ‘Round.”

This week in Ragnar sass

Ragnar was shunted to the side this week, with barely any screen time (more on that in a bit) but his drug-addled mutterings at the end — complete with rolling crazy eyes, weird mouth twitches, and whisper-snarls about murder (“I must kill you”) — prove once and for all that Suicide Squad got their Joker casting wrong. Forget Jared Leto; Travis Fimmel should have been the Joker.

This week in ass-kicking

Vikings is really stepping up its milquetoast female characters. Last week, Judith kicked some surprising ass and stabbed Kwenthrith; this week, Torvi is the formerly bland character who rises to the occasion. When she pivots to shoot Erlendur instead of Bjorn, it’s not exactly surprising, but it sure is satisfying.

This weeks most interesting choice

Ragnar was barely in this episode, which seems to fuel the theory that this season aims to kill him off. Either that, or the show is baiting us into thinking he’s weak and he’ll make a comeback. If it’s the former, that’s terrible news. Yes, Ragnar might not have much more story to tell, but Fimmell’s absence would be a death toll for the show. Not in an edgy Game of Thrones or Black Sails “no one is safe!” way, but in a “the show is really nothing without him” way. If it’s the latter, it would be a rinse-and-repeat of Season 3’s Paris plotline. Either way, Ragnar’s diminished presence is concerning for Vikings. It would be less concerning if Bjorn were more interesting, or if Lagertha and Floki had more to do; but so far, the show isn’t going there.

Worst person of the week

Aslag is not only having a temper tantrum; she now lashes out at her own children (telling Ivar, “You’re only alive because of me”) and smiling creepily at the news of Siggy’s death.

This week in “oh no”

Count Odo might be dead, but we spoke too soon — or perhaps were too hopeful — to think the show was done with French court sexual shenanigans between characters nobody cares about for reasons that contribute nothing to the plot. This week, plot twist: The emperor is gay! This changes everything! (It changes nothing).

Stray loot

  • Did anyone else think Lagertha might not have really been pregnant? Guess that was wrong.
  • Ecbert continued to gloriously preen and enjoy his new power this week
  • Weird as it sounds, watching Tattoo-Face and his brother kill those French villagers was kind of…nostalgic. Remember when Ragnar, Rollo, and their friends who are mostly now dead used to do that, back in the first few seasons? Remember when Vikings used to be a show that had something to say?
  • Bjorn’s daughter can join Yidu on the list of “characters where it’s unclear why we even had to bother learning their names.”