Although slower than the first episode, the change of pace allows time for viewers to really process the fresh setting and understand the new characters while still progressing the story enough to keep things entertaining.
We recap the Netflix and Crunchyroll anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 2, “Ketil’s Farm,” which contains spoilers.
Episode 1 of Vinland Saga Season 2 hit fans with a surprise, as a new character named Einar (Shunsuke Takeuchi) brought us back to Thorfinn (Yuto Uemura). If Einar is a slave bought from Traders, we can only wonder what Thorfinn’s position and purpose on Ketil’s farm is. Remembering how season one ended, this could be his punishment for attacking Canute, or it could be a different arrangement entirely. Surely we’ll get those answers and more this episode as viewers get a better look at what Thorfinn has been up to.
Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 2 Recap
The episode opens with Ketil introducing Einar and Thorfinn. He explains that he will lend them a plot of land to work and buy wheat from them at a fair rate until they can buy themselves free. This surprises Einar, who promises to work as hard as possible. If he has any questions, he can ask Pater, a former slave, or watch how Thorfinn works. Several times, Einar asks Thorfinn about Ketil or the arrangement to no avail. It isn’t until he reveals he is from England that Thorfinn at least shares that he is from Iceland.
Although he has chopped down quite a few trees already, Thorfinn reveals it is their job to clear out the entire forest on their side of the river, leaving a lot of work to do before they can even start planting crops. Despite being told to take a day to relax and observe, Einar immediately gets to work. It’s clear he doesn’t know the best way to go about chopping down trees, so Thorfinn offers him some advice.
When he becomes hungry, Einar asks Thorfinn how lunch works and is shocked to find out it will be delivered to him. He lines up eagerly to receive his food, only to find a scrap of bread and cheese for both Thorfinn and him. His attempts to complain are met with digs from the delivery men, who tell him he’s lucky to eat, and that he should be grateful they brought him anything at all. Einar refuses, ready for an altercation, but Thorfinn quickly steps in, thanking the men to de-escalate the situation. This frustrates Einar, who later tells Thorfinn he shouldn’t take this just because he is a slave, but Thorfinn ignores him. The two continue to work chopping and moving trees until the evening.
By the end of their first shift, Einar has grown even more upset about the farmhands stealing their lunch. When he insists on telling Ketil, Thorfinn tells him to drop it. Einar attempts to do it any way but ends up too distracted by a beautiful blonde woman traveling with Ketil to say anything.
At work the next day, Einar is once again surprised to see that even Ketil helps to harvest the wheat. He watches in awe as Ketil yells at his son Olmar, who refuses to cut wheat properly. As they argue over Olmar inheriting the farm someday, he grows frustrated, claiming he doesn’t want it because he is going to become a swordsman one day. However, when he goes to unsheath the sword on his back, he is unable to do so and rides away in embarrassment.
Later that night, Olmar vents his frustrations to one of the tenant farmer’s daughters but leaves when he realizes she is only trying to sleep with him to become a part of his family. On his way home, he runs into two drunk farmhands who request his company and force him to continue hanging out with them.
In his cabin, Einar lies awake unable to understand why Olmar would choose to go to war. He concludes that Olmar must not know the real consequences of battle, only wanting to fight because it seems cool. He tells Thorfinn about his village and how it was attacked by soldiers twice, killing his father. When Thorfinn doesn’t respond, Einar wonders if he is asleep. He does not realize Thorfiinn is wide awake, remembering his own village in flames.
Even without action, Vinland Saga’s storytelling keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Seeing what Einar would do or say about the food injustice was just as suspenseful as any battle because the series does a good job of playing up serious moments with music and framing to evoke strong emotions.
Seeing Thorfinn play a more docile role wasn’t necessarily surprising, but it was a definite contrast from the bold, young kid viewers are accustomed to. Just as we’re getting to know Einar, so is Thorfinn, but he seems to be precisely what the Viking needs to light a fire under him again. Either way, this is a welcomed relationship, and while it won’t replace the dynamic of Thorfinn and Canute from season one, it is clear Thorfinn needs someone on his side.
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