It's not often that TV shocks you. Like truly, and deeply shocks you. But that's exactly what theVikingsfinale did, and more than once.
[Warning: The following contains major spoilers. Read on at your own risk!]
After he insisted on being baptized last week, the idea that Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) might die first entered our minds, but we quickly brushed it off. "No way would the show kill off its lead character!" Because clearly Game of Thrones has taught us nothing.
So when the camera panned to Ragnar's chillingly still body in a Viking coffin, we couldn't believe it. And yet, Vikings has never shied away from taking risks and slaughtering the ones we love (R.I.P. Athelstan!), so at the same time, Ragnar's death felt inevitable.
But nothing could have prepared us for watching those closest to him come to say goodbye one by one. Ragnar's death was particularly unbearable for Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), who might not have been reunited with her ex-husband in this life, but was clearly holding out hope for Valhalla. That is, until he announced his plans to join Athelstan in heaven.
"I think Odin will ride like the wind and rescue you and take you to Valhalla, where you belong, my own sweet Ragnar," she mournfully whispered to his coffin. "And there, there we shall meet again and fight and drink and love one another."
Rollo's (Clive Standen) speech was much less heartfelt and pretty much exactly what you'd imagine from the man who's never been able to forgive his brother's success. "I'm sorry you're dead, but it happens to all of us sooner or later," Rollo mused. "It's just funny that the gods took you first. I always thought they favored you. You thought so too. It seems we were both mistaken."
When Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) came to say goodbye, we weren't sure what to expect. Ragnar's once loyal follower has seemingly evolved into his most-bitter enemy. And only now that his friend was dead did Floki open up about what's been tormenting him all season. "I loved you more than anyone. I loved you more than that priest ever loved you, but it made no difference," Floki spat. "I hate you, Ragnar Lothbrok. And I love you with all my heart."
"Why do you tear me away from myself?" he tearfully added.
Despite being a Viking King, Ragnar insisted on a traditional Christian funeral (all the more better to get into heaven and see Athelstan again). However, just as the proceedings began, Ragnar burst from his coffin, pulled out his sword, stopped all our hearts and declared, "I win," as he backed out of the church holding Princess Gisla hostage.
Ragnar made it as far as the gates where he lets his people in to raid, only to collapse in Bjorn's (Alexander Ludwig) arms. And oh, the looks on Lagertha's, Rollo's and Floki's faces, as they realized what Ragnar had set up without their knowledge. Never have any three people been so nonplussed to realize a loved one is alive!
In the end, though Ragnar's health remains questionable, the Vikings decide to set siege upon Paris again the spring and that Rollo will remain with a handful of warriors to maintain their presence.
As if to prove that history really does repeat itself, Rollo once again found himself offered a proposition to turn against his brother - this time in exchange for the hand of Princess Gisla. And, despite her very strongly worded speech against him, Rollo seemingly accepts.
It will be interesting to see how Rollo handles real power - and a real spitfire bride - next season, especially when/if Ragnar returns to Paris. And speaking of the scheming King, don't think that Floki's teary coffin confession earned him any points in Ragnar's eyes. The finale ended with the three words Floki probably hoped Ragnar would never say: "You killed Athelstan."
Yeah, things are about to go down. Watch a sneak peek of Season 4 below.