Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 Episode 4 Recap – why does Queen Emma torture Aelfwynn?

By Daniel Hart
Published: January 12, 2023 (Last updated: January 18, 2023)
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Season 2 Episode 4 marks an entertaining halfway point as our characters have plenty of struggles to process, including betrayal and heartbreak.

We recap the Netflix series Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 Episode 4, “The Thaw,” which will contain significant spoilers. 

This is an enticing halfway point for Vikings: Valhalla Season 2. There’s paranoia, heartbreak, logistical complications, and a test of faith. There are plenty of stories to focus on, but it feels balanced still. The writers have done an incredible job sequencing all the stories together.

Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

Season 2 Episode 4 opens with Harald and his travelers en route to deliver the cargo to Constantinople. A low rumbling noise can be heard in the distance. The ice is cracking, and then it stops. Kurya tells them they do not have time to escape the ice thawing. He thinks they should move off the river until the thawing passes, but Harald knows they are only a day away from completing their journey and insists they keep going.

As they continue to sled on the ice with the boat, they become stuck in the ice. Harald tells everyone to lighten the load to help move the boat. However, the horses need a rest, and Leif insists they take a break. Afterward, the travelers keep pushing the boat, which takes a lot of effort. They manage to get it moving again.

However, the thawing starts to catch up to the boat. The ice dam has broken. The travelers free the horses, and everyone has to go on board. Lord Vitomir does not make it. The icy cold water kills him.

Queen Emma of Normandy tells Godwin that she knows of his relationship with Aelfwynn. Godwin tells Emma that he was waiting for her husband’s blessing of marriage, which he has received. Emma presses him with more questions and mentions Aelfwynn’s brother. She believes Godwin is behind the plot to assassinate her. Godwin is dismayed by her accusation, but Emma reveals that Aelfwynn has been imprisoned in her quarters. Godwin insists that Aelfwynn is innocent and wants time to prove it.

Godwin speaks to Aelfwynn about their situation. He tells her that Emma wants to prove that he was behind the assassination attempt. Godwin tells her to lie and tell the Queen that he is behind the plot.

Afterward, Aelfwynn is tied up by chains, and Emma confronts her. Aelfwynn insists she has told her the truth. The Queen continues to press her with questions and asks about “Bear.” One of Emma’s men chops off one of Aelfwynn’s fingers. Aelfwynn insists that she knows nothing as she continues to be tortured and mutilated. The Queen’s paranoia does not wane.

In Kattegat, Olaf learns of Harald’s recent location and that Freydis was not with him. Olaf asks his men to prepare the ships. He believes Harald is raising an army against Kattegat. Queen Aelfgifu tells Olaf that she’s going to miss him. They’ve developed a romance with each other.

Ending Explained

Aelfwynn is weak from the torture, and Emma gently asks her more questions. Aelfwynn tells Emma that she and Godwin talked about “love, the future, and children, and for one of them to be on the throne.” Aelfwynn dies from the horrific torture.

Queen Emma tells Godwin that Aelfwynn is dead. Godwin tells Emma that she has taken everything from him, and he will never forgive her. It’s a painful moment for Godwin, who wanted everything with Aelfwynn. Princess Gytha returns a ring to Godwin and tells him that Aelfwynn wanted him to have it. Gytha explains to Godwin that Aelfwynn was the happiest she had ever been because of him. What a heartbreaking moment.

More refugees arrive at Jomsborg. The ships were divided at sea. Harekr and his fleet did not return. Freydis announces that they should offer a sacrifice for their safe return. She asks the God of Seas at the old temple in the woods to allow their friends to return safely. She asks everyone to worship together as she slices the neck of a goat.

Harekr returns and learns of the refugees worshipping in the forest. He is angry and asks where Jorundr is. Harekr finds him and accuses Jorundr of betraying him by allowing the refugees to mix with the superior people.

Harekr’s men massacre the refugees, and Freydis is captured. Freydis is furious. Harekr tells his men to take Freydis to the temple and lock her up.

Season 2 Episode 4 marks an entertaining halfway point as our characters have plenty of struggles to process, including betrayal and heartbreak.

Additional plot points

  • In Jomsborg, Gudrid is worried that Freydis is spending time with the refugees, but Jorundr implies there is time for a change.
  • One of Lord Vitomir’s daughters is on the boat, distraught that her father is dead. Harald promises to deliver her father’s treasure.

What did you think of Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 Episode 4? Comment below.

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