Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20 Recap – “Pain”

By Nubia Brice
Published: May 22, 2023 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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Crunchyroll and Netflix anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20 Recap


In one of the best episodes of Vinland Saga thus far, tragedy once again forces Thorfinn to make life-altering decisions that will push the series in unexpected but exciting directions.

We recap the Crunchyroll and Netflix anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20, “Pain,” which contains spoilers.

Despite having the advantage in numbers, Ketil’s (Hideaki Tezuka) men struggled greatly against Canute’s (voiced by Kensho Ono) more experienced army. Luckily for Thorfinn (Yuto Uemura), he managed to escape with Leif (Yoji Ueda), Einar (Shunsuke Takeuchi), and even Arnheid (Mayumi Sako) without having to engage in battle.

There’s no telling how long this battle between Canute and Ketil will last, but hopefully, Thorfinn and his friends will be long gone by that point.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20 Recap

The episode opens with Ketil and Canute’s men battling it out. As Fox begins to realize how outmatched they are, he finds himself growing more terrified. When he freezes instead of saving Badger, Snake steps in, killing Canute’s soldier and instructing Fox to flee with Badger while he calls for his army to retreat.

Does Ketil die in the war?

When it appears that one of Canute’s men has beheaded Ketil, Wulf goes to check for confirmation. However, Snake finds Ketil barely alive on the battlefield when Canute’s men begin to fall back to aid him.

Does Thorgil kill Canute?

Although Thorgil manages to ambush Canute, he does not get the chance to kill Canute. Instead, Canute can save himself in time to be rescued by Wulf.

Despite being caught off guard, Thorgil is not killed in battle. After being injured by Wulf, he manages to escape back to the sea to swim away. Even after attempting to kill him, Canute declares that he would like Thorgil to come to work for him again.

READ: Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 19 Recap

Who wins the war between Canute and Ketil?

In the end, it is Canute who wins the war against Ketil.

Even after waking up and speaking, Arnheid is clearly too weak to go on. Despite Thorfinn’s attempt to use CPR to save her life, she dies from her injuries.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20 Ending Explained

When Einar sees Snake carrying Ketil from the battlefield, his first reaction is to try and kill him as revenge for Arnheid. However, Thorfinn stops him by begging him not to follow the same path he did.

After burying Arnheid, Thorfinn speaks to Canute to end the ceaseless death and violence. Although Leif begs him to return to Iceland, Thorfinn promises to return alive.

Whoever titled this episode “Pain” truly meant it. This was simultaneously the most thrilling episode of the season and the most heartwrenching one as well. The contrast between the brutal deaths of the men on the battlefield against Arnheid’s slow, sentimental one really struck a chord as I watched it all play out.

It all solidified Thorfinn’s right about the uselessness of all the violence this season.

At any point this season, a conversation between Canute and Thorfinn would’ve been epic, but seeing the events that finally led to this moment, only makes the anticipation for next week’s episode much greater.

I didn’t think the storytelling in Vinland Saga could improve, but like most fans, I find myself on the edge of my seat each week, floored by how good it is. With only a few episodes left, I’m curious to see how they carry this momentum to the end.

What did you think of the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 20? Comment below.

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