'Vikings' Profits and Loses in "The Profit and The Loss" 

In Season 4 episode 7, Ragnar has a costly battle, the writing steps up on Rollo, and Wessex scheming still exists, for some reason.

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 7, “The Profit and The Loss.”

This week in Ragnar Sass

Ragnar’s sass is at half-mast this week, sad and dispirited after his crushing defeat on the battlefield. Still, when he yells at Rollo from his boat “this is how you repay me?” voice filled with anguish, eyes at maximum crazy, he still manages to convey sass in his dismissive arm-gesture.

This week in ass-kicking

Unfortunately, this week the Vikings are the ones who get their asses kicked. The battle sequence isn’t quite as grand as last year’s spectacular Paris raid, but a standout moment is Ragnar’s rescue of Floki. The show has suffered from their splintered relationship, and it will be good to see them more cordial going forward.


This week’s most interesting choice

Rollo’s characterization has always been problematic on a writing level. He changes alliances on the whims of the plot rather than any credible inner life, and many of his past actions have been conveniently swept under the rug (remember when he used to rape on their raids? No? Remember when he was in love with Lagertha?)

But for once, the writing does indeed remember. In an unexpectedly moving sequence, upon spotting Lagertha, he tells the Frankish soldiers to hold their fire. Later still, as he walks the battlefield with his new wife, she’s clearly jealous as he lets his admiration for Lagertha show. Rollo has practically felt like a new character from season to season; from episode to episode, and it’s only thanks to Clive Standon’s efforts that he has some semblance of personhood. But for the first time here, there’s consistency in his characterization going all the way back to Season 1. Progress!

Worst person of the week

Harbard is proving to be a Manson-like charlatan, drawing the women of Kattegat in as his groupies. This will surely end well!

This week in “oh no”

When Vikings has a misstep, it’s usually one of two things: the writers inability to realize that Wessex and Mercia are not interesting to the audience, or their bizarre treatment of sex. This episode packs a double-whammy: The Wessex segment detracts from the urgency of the Paris battle, and Floki’s battlefield sex hallucination with Aslag is simultaneously jarringly weird and irrelevant to the plot. It feels like it’s there for the purpose of being odd and shocking rather than actually saying anything meaningful.

Stray Loot

  • Is it just me, or does Ragnar add more head tattoos with each passing episode?
  • Floki: “The space between life and death…that’s where we’re most alive.”
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