[Warning: The following contains spoiler's from Thursday's finale of Vikings. Read at your own risk.]
There were so many twists in the Vikings finale it was almost hard to keep track.
It turns out, Floki's (Gustaf Skarsgard) allegiance with Horik (Donal Logue) was all an elaborate ruse to catch the King off guard. (That's good news for Torstein, whose death was merely faked to win Horik's trust.) Horik was then forced to walk across the great hall while Ragnar's supporters each took a turn at the fallen king until Ragnar brutally finished him off — using just his head!
So, Horik's dead, Floki's back to being a good guy (so much so that he even helped heal Rollo) and Ragnar is the king. Gustaf Skarsgard and Donal Logue spoke to TVGuide.com to share their thoughts on Floki's double-cross, Horik's death and more.
Was any of Floki's frustration with Ragnar real?
Gustaf Skarsgard: Definitely. I totally think Floki used whatever he did feel and exaggerated that to play his part. And also I think that Floki is so devout. He's a method actor in this whole ruse thing. He involves Helga in this thing, planting seeds with her about his disloyalty to Ragnar and everything. I think there are grains of truth and layers, but he totally exaggerated that to get close to Horik.
Why does Floki remain so loyal to Ragnar? Is he worried about how being king will affect him?
Skarsgard: For me, Floki's loyalty to Ragnar is so crucial to who he is. I think he really believes in Bjorn as well. Already from the beginning, he saw something in Bjorn's eyes. I think Floki sees that the gods have great plans for both Ragnar and Bjorn ... I think Floki is always keeping his eye on Ragnar, making sure that he stays true to the gods. I don't think that Floki trusts Ragnar 100 percent to do his best in terms of the gods will.
Horik's death scene was intense! What was going through your character's head during those final moments?
Donal Logue: To go to Valhalla, he had to prove he wasn't afraid. He threw down his shield. He's like, "I know what's going to go down, but I'm going to go down swinging. I'm going to show you that I'm not defending myself the way I could."
Skarsgard: [Floki's] sad he betrayed this man that he kind of liked ... So, that's how I played it. Like, "I'm sorry dude. You fu--ed with the posse." I wasn't sure until we got close to that scene how I was going to play it because I could have played it like, "Haha, how do you like them apples?"But when we got there it felt right to be like, "Man, I'm sorry. That's the way it has to be."
I don't know if I've ever seen someone be head-butted to death before. It was pretty awesome, but also scary to see that side of Ragnar.
Logue: Ragnar takes out a lot of rage on King Horik. It's particularly brutal. So if you're going to go out, you go out.
Skarsgard: It was definitely a very brutal and epic death. But it's also good because I like the ambiguity. Like, "God, is Ragnar losing his mind? He's going crazy over this? Why is he so aggressive? Did we root for the wrong guy?"
What do you think lead to Horik's downfall?
Logue: I think he was just playing the game with someone who was better at it than he thought. He couldn't be controlled. Ragnar was too powerful, and that he really miscalculated. His greed overtook him and it clouded his judgment. He's flawed, and it turns out those are fatal flaws for him.
Skarsgard: The ambition level of Ragnar. I don't think anyone could stop him from becoming a king eventually. He does definitely thirst for power. So, I'm not sure what [Horik] could have done differently. Like, of course he could have killed Ragnar when he had the chance, but it was just a matter of time. Ragnar would claim the throne anyways.
Do you think Ragnar was justified in slaughtering Horik's entire family?
Logue: Yes, because if he didn't, he would have problems forever. That was the way it was done. And that was certainly the reason Horik was going to kill his family and anyone close to him. He got what he deserved.
Skarsgard: How could you ever justify killing children? I don't think you can, you know? But we have to remember that this was the reality of this time. We can't tell the story with the morals of our times so fans are going to like this guy. You have to stay true to the times, and this was what people were doing: killing each other's children to make sure that bloodline died. It was pragmatic. It wasn't sadistic or anything. It was politics back then.
I really thought Rollo was a goner for a second. What exactly did Floki feed Rollo if it wasn't poison?
Skarsgard: Floki's very in touch with nature and the different plants and mushroom and stuff that grows in nature. What I think he did was give Rollo something that would heal him and make him better because he knew that Rollo was a force to be reckoned with and he needed him. Like, we need him for this final battle with Horik and his men. So the way I see it, he's kind of forgiving him there. Like, 'I could kill you now but I've decided to help you instead and give you something to make you better.'
What did you think of the Vikings finale? Catch up on previous episodes here.