This was an enjoyable episode, but aside from Leif and Harald starting their trip to Constantinople, it didn’t feel like very much happened. I didn’t even realize that nothing had happened in Kattegat until I was re-reading the recap I wrote the other day.
Novgorod was the main focus of any real movement in the episode. Leif saw his first book and an astrolabe, learned that Mariam is ill and wants to go to the doctors in Constantinople, and arranged not only for her to travel, but for her to tutor him in reading and mathmatics on the way. I like how they’re showing him gaining the skills to eventually be able to travel to North America.
Harald is, of course, being Harald. He’s a very brash man, filled with more confidence than sense at times. When Gestr, the slaver, asks if he can provide fighters, Harald boasts he has “the best” – when all he has at the time is Leif. As Yaroslav observes, its quite a motley assortment he ends up putting together – “A prince, a slaver, a blind Pecheneg, a woman scholar, two con men and a noble, on a boat on a sled. What could go wrong?” I suspect we’ll be finding out shortly.
London is still feeling a bit like an afterthought, though learning that Aelfwynn’s brother was the assassian is interesting. I hope something significant happens in this story soon, as I find myself feeling a bit of dread when the setting moves there.
Freydis is settling into her life in Jomsborg, but all isn’t necessarily going well. Gudrid was clearly upset when Freydis invited her to step into the temple, and Jorundr did not approve of her encouragement of Hrafna to participate in the training. Later, when Hrafna went missing, his lack of concern for the girl was unsettling.
Not every episode can be action-packed or full of significant events, so even though this one felt a bit slow, it’s not a drag on the series as a whole.