The latest episode of History's "Vikings" is creator Michael Hirst's favorite of the season.
In "Blood Eagle," premiering at 9 p.m. April 10, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and King Horik (Donal Logue) debate over what should happen to Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr), the man who has twice tried to spark war with Ragnar. In England, Northumbria King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) visits Wessex King Ecbert (Linus Roache) to discuss a new alliance against the invading Vikings.
And that's about all I'm going to tell you about the episode, because nearly everything is a spoiler. (My jaw dropped to the floor at one point as I watched through my fingers.)
"It's an extraordinary and important episode," Hirst told me earlier this week. "It's not just another episode ... I think that people who watch Episode 7 will probably agree that there's really never been anything like this on TV."
If you've seen the episode, read my post mortem with Hirst here. He answers some general questions about Season 2 below.
The series feels bigger and more tense this season. Did you feel a pressure to go bigger than you did the first season, or was it what you had planned?
I didn't feel any pressure. I just wanted to go there. The great thing is having established the major characters and feeling comfortable with them and just taking them up to the next level and it was great. It was enjoyable. And painting on the bigger canvas is, in TV terms, always enjoyable. That's what we can do these days. Once upon a time you could never have done it, but now you can ask production to give you miracles. It's fantastic.
Did you also feel that it was easier this season having known the cast for a season?
Absolutely. I think that when I started I thought that Lagertha was going to be a minor character. I wasn't sure about Athelstan. I didn't know who was going to shine ... The characters and the actors kind of put their imprint on it and so it liberated me to push the story into bigger spaces really.
If that hadn't worked out you would not have this separate Athelstan plot.
It's all connected. I guess in some devious, secret way I had all that in the back of my mind. I sort of knew where I would like to take Athelstan, but I didn't dare to think that I'd get the opportunity. Then you get amazing things, like we cast King Ecbert and that's a fantastic character and that's a fantastic place to bring Athelstan. So it gets bigger and it gets bolder. And one of the amazing things is in the early days you're begging people to be on your show and now we're turning people away. It's just fantastic.
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