TV Club: Vikings: “Born Again”
[I don’t usually throw up a SPOILER warning before a review—I mean, who reads a review without watching the episode first, really? But, yeah, SPOILERS ahead.]
When Siggy died a few episodes ago, I was taken aback because the character’s journey, as ancillary as it had become, seemed to have some storytelling life in it. But tonight, Athelstan’s death at Floki’s hand was a genuine shock, because the former monk, from the second episode on, has been our eyes into the Vikings’ world.
Granted, Athelstan has become a less central figure over time, his mixture of horror and fascination—which mirrored viewers’ own—receding as he, and we, became more acclimated to Norse ways that at first seemed so alien. But Athelstan’s struggle to reconcile his faith with the undeniable lure of new gods and new people was always present and, in George Blagden …