Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 11: Vinland Saga continues its strong form by setting up impending conflicts between Canute and Ketil whilst also proving once again that the show doesn’t necessarily need Thorfinn and Einar for a good episode.

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 11 Recap:

At the start of the episode, Canute and Wulf engage in a sparring session, where Wulf dominates over Canute. Estrid, Canute’s sister, is taken aback to witness her brother in a fight and at Wulf’s harshness. Despite this, Canute manages to evade a crucial attack, granting himself a brief respite and astounding the audience with his nimbleness.

Estrid and a servant woman wonder whether it can be called practice if real swords are used. Gunnar joins them and assures them that Wulf is proficient enough to exercise restraint and avoid causing harm to Canute. This revelation surprises Estrid, who is also astonished by her brother’s sudden willingness to engage in swordplay despite his past aversion to it. Given the Norsemen’s disregard for weakness, Gunnar justifies the importance of kings being strong. Estrid expresses a concern as she observes Canute leaning against a wall, gasping for breath, and displaying signs of pain.

Wulf notes that Canute’s fighting will be scrutinized by both his subjects and foes, to which Canute responds that he is fighting harder because Estrid is watching their bout. By directing Wulf’s attention toward Estrid, supposedly conversing with a man, Canute seizes the opportunity to charge at Wulf and overpower him, earning applause from the audience. This maneuver marks Canute’s sole triumph in five rounds of combat against Wulf, achieved through Wulf’s concession. Later, as Canute removes his armor, Gunnar informs him that the requested investigation has been concluded.

Later, during their meeting in Canute’s quarters, Gunnar informs him that there are not many affluent individuals and suggests that they could earn around 3,000 pounds annually without increasing taxes. Gunnar notices Ketil’s name on the list and recommends him, citing his vast farmland. However, Canute expresses greater interest in not mentioning familial military forces, telling Gunnar to investigate the same.

Gunnar concurs with Canute’s command, cautioning that excessive taxation may trigger a negative response from the Danish populace, given that Canute is still a new king. Canute counters that it is a monarch’s responsibility to address such issues, as the narrator reveals that Canute faced a funding crisis upon ascending to the English throne. Canute had to pay the Danish security forces stationed in England with the taxes he collected from the English after conquering the land. This led to unrest among the English people, and if Canute failed to secure funds from his Danish subjects, he would have to reduce the size of his stationed army in England.

When asked by Gunnar about his proposed solutions, Canute suggests expanding their territory. Gunnar notes that developing new land would require significant time to generate profits. However, Canute suggests requisitioning land instead, stating that the need for money is pressing enough to warrant strong-arm tactics, which is better than risking unrest by raising taxes. Gunnar suggests reducing the army as an alternative, but Canute counters that his status as an outsider necessitates the need for military strength. Canute analogizes kings to swords, questioning the potential achievements of a ruler without a military force.

Meanwhile, Ketil and Olmar arrive in town, only to discover that King Harald has passed away, and he requests his elder son Thorgil to arrange for an audience with King Canute instead.

Olmar has wandered off and gotten into a silly fight with a man, just as Ketil predicted, and draws his sword as the argument grows more heated. Ketil arrives in time to diffuse the situation by punching Olmar and giving the man compensation for the goods Olmar damaged. The man, who has obviously received more money than the goods were worth, tries to leave quickly, but he is stopped by his father, Leif Ericson.

Leif explains that the man, also named Thorfinn, is his adopted son and that he is also looking for someone named Thorfinn, whom he describes to Ketil. Ketil confirms that such a man is currently a slave on his farm. Leif tells them his story, as the scene shifts to Leif and Bug Eyes (Thorfinn’s nickname) talking to their ship captain, who refuses to take them to Ketil’s farm citing the delay it would cause in returning to Iceland.

Later, Ketil and his family are called to meet Canute in the throne room. Canute inquired about the origin of all the crops Ketil had provided as gifts, and Ketil confirmed that they were grown on his land. Ketil also mentioned that Harald was satisfied with the quality of the products. Canute makes it clear that he had no plans to change the ways of Harald and Sweyn, indicating that Ketil’s safety was not in jeopardy.

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 11 Ending, Explained:

At this point, Olmar interrupted the conversation by expressing his desire to join Canute’s army and serve as a thegn. Olmar drew his sword to showcase his skills, but Ketil tackled him, calling him foolish for behaving recklessly in front of the king. Despite this, Canute remained unfazed and allowed Olmar to demonstrate his abilities with the sword. To provide a demonstration for Olmar, Ketil’s youngest son was tasked with carving a roasted pig as if it were a human being. Olmar puts on a show by screaming and drawing attention to himself but fails to achieve anything, much to the embarrassment of Ketil and Thorgil, and Canute leaves soon after.

In private, Wulf comments on the commonality of men like Olmar, who is full of ego but lacks the skill, noting that they often die quickly on the battlefield. Canute acknowledges Wulf’s perspective as a captain but asks for another point of view without specifying what that might be. Nevertheless, both Canute and Wulf agree that Olmar could prove valuable if utilized correctly. Gunnar suggests proceeding with their plan, and Canute emphasizes that they cannot miss this opportunity.

Canute explains that requisitioning Ketil’s farm is necessary to maintain peace, even if it comes at a cost to some people. He expresses sympathy for their plight but maintains that it is a necessary sacrifice. The episode concludes with Canute revealing that Ketil’s farm will be the first to be requisitioned.

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Vinland Saga TV Series (2019- ) Links: IMDb
Vinland Saga TV Series (2019- ) Cast: Yûto Uemura, Naoya Uchida, Mike Haimoto
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