The fifth episode of Vinland Saga season 2 sees Lord Canute defeating his rivals and working his way up to the throne of England. The episode is now streaming on Netflix.
Askeladd corners King Sweyn. He claims that Sweyn deserves to die for insulting his family and his people. Askeladd reveals his real name, ‘Lucius Artorius Castus’, and calls himself the rightful king who was supposed to rule over Britannia before beheading Sweyn.
With the death of King Sweyn in 1014, the state of affairs changed drastically. Denmark and England go to war. Canute succeeds his father’s supremacy.
Ethelred II then returns from exile to restore power in England. With Canute and Ethelred as the two kings, the war became brutal.
An older Canute and his advisor Gunnar walk around Mercia. They acknowledge that things here in Mercia are worse than they imagined.
Canute learns that his soldiers are now pillaging and picking out girls they can sell. Canute remembers forbidding them from doing this. Upon realizing this custom has not stopped, he orders Gunnar to behead these soldiers and display them on the streets.
Canute meets Floki, who respects Canute for taking his time out. Canute is here to meet Earl Eadric. Canute’s conversation with Floki gets interrupted by an angry Thorkell, who is disappointed because Canute has ordered them to cease fire.
Thorkell likes to think that the war can only end once they kill their enemy’s leader. Canute asks Thorkell to look at the bigger picture. Killing Eadric won’t do them any good; he is just a lord of rural territory.
Before leaving, Thorkell reminds Canute that he can never avoid war. According to him, Canute can only carve his path through iron and blood.
In the evening, Canute meets Eadric and his son. Eadric offers him 4,000 pounds in silver, and if Canute pulls out his troops from Mercia, he is willing to give him 4,000 pounds more.
Canute rejects Eadric’s offer, and as a king, he tells him that he didn’t come all the way here for wealth; he came here to end a rebellion. Canute wonders if Ethelred knows that Eadric is carrying this deal out.
It turns out that Ethelred doesn’t. Canute tells Eadric that the country has suffered because of two kings. One of them must die for the order to be restored.
Canute calls Ethelred a coward for going into exile during the previous war. He says putting the future of England into the hands of someone like Ethelred is foolish.
Eadric figures out that Canute is attempting to convince him to betray Ethelred. Canute promises Eadric that he will let him keep Mercia if he agrees to assist him in getting rid of Ethelred.
Eadric then clarifies that Canute can’t strip off his loyalty. He would rather fight Canute than take this deal. Canute agrees that Eadric is not spineless after all. Floki wonders if they should test it.
Canute brings Eadric and his son out and orders his soldiers to light up a bonfire structure. In a matter of moments, Eadric and his son notice bonfires all around them in the distance.
Canute explains that this is what happens when you go to war with him. Canute asks him to imagine Mercia in this state right now. Eadric falls down on his knees. Canute once again offers him peace in exchange for Ethelred’s head.
In April of 1016, Ethelred died of sickness. His son, Edmund, succeeds him. Edmund ends up giving Canute’s army a tough battle, but he too dies of an illness seven months later.
A shot of Edmund watching a drink suggests that both father and son were poisoned. A year later, in 1018, Canute takes over as the only king of England.
- The show shifts the narrative to Canute’s story. The viewers meet a slightly older version of this character that hasn’t changed much and is quite a driving force.
- Canute stands out as a strong leader. He sticks to his morals. At times, he is cruel too, but viewers end up appreciating the tactics that he is using to assert his dominance over the others.
- The atmosphere that the show has created for the war between Denmark and England is brilliant. The politics might be simple, but they have been done right.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 5
Also Read: Vinland Saga season 2 episode 4 recap & review: Awakening