"Invasion" is the second episode of the second season of Vikings. It is the eleventh episode of the series overall. It first aired on March 6, 2014. It was written by creator Michael Hirst and directed by Ciarán Donnelly.
Four peaceful years have since passed with Ragnar as Earl. The time has come for an unlikely alliance to band together in pursuit of a common goal—a new raid on England. A storm pushes the Viking fleet to a new destination, and on the beaches of Wessex, Ragnar and his men may have met their match.
800 A.D. Four years after Aslaug settled into Kattegat, she has given birth to two sons for Ragnar, and is pregnant with another. At the mead hall, people are gathered, including Athelstan and Torstein who are discussing weapons and strategy. Floki arrives with Helga and is welcomed warmly, missed due to his being occupied building their boats. Floki calls Athelstan "priest", and he replies in Old Norse, amusing those around them.
They tell Ragnar to tell his people about his plans for the summer raids to the West, and that, since it has been years since his last raid, his people are beginning to see him like Earl Haraldson. Ragnar does just this, announcing that they will return to England with King Horik and Jarl Borg, possibly for an extended sojourn. Siggy witnessed his speech and returned home, only to find Rollo asleep outside in the snow. She awakens him with a bucket of half-frozen water.
Aslaug notices Ragnar take notice of the new servant, Hild. Displeased, Aslaug calls the girl back and warns her to be careful of whom she becomes familiar with. In their quarters, a drunk Ragnar tries to calm his wife and promises that he is not interested in sleeping with other women. Aslaug tells him that "women know these things," and she knows more because of her "gifts", claiming herself sort of a völva. To prove it, she tells him that she knows that their next child will be another boy, this time, bearing the image of the serpent Fafnir, the one her father slayed, in his eye. This catches Ragnar's attention...
... enough to make him consult the Seer. Ragnar asks him the fate of his sons. When he is told that his sons will enjoy fame, Ragnar initially seems threatened. Then he asks about Bjorn, wanting to know if he was alive and if he will ever see him again. The Seer tells him that it was Bjorn he was talking about earlier, but refuses to say anymore.
Elsewhere, Siggy tells Rollo that he is a disgrace, though she refuses to give up on him because she has lost too much: her two sons, her husband, and finally her daughter. She tells him of Ragnar's plans to go back West with King Horik for the summer's raid. She tells him that he should ask Ragnar to take him with him, as it would be something that would give him the drive to keep going. Otherwise, Siggy thinks that he should just end his own life and rot in Hel, handing him the blade she had stuck into the coals. Rollo takes it and instead, burns his hand.
They soon go to Ragnar's home, interrupting play time with their children. Ragnar tells everyone, including the reluctant Siggy, to leave, leaving him and Rollo alone. Rollo practically begs his brother to be brought back in his good graces. Ragnar brings up Rollo's betrayal. Rollo defends himself by saying brothers "hate and love each other all the time," and that he could not have killed Ragnar if it came down to it. He asks him another chance to prove himself trustworthy and to regain his respect, enough to fight beside him in battle once again. Ragnar reminds him that though he has suffered, several others suffered because of him. Despite this, he tells Rollo that he will think on it.
Warriors, both men and women, are training and sparring, one pair being Ragnar and Athelstan. During the intense exercise, Ragnar asks him if he misses England. Athelstan admits that he does, slightly, and Ragnar tells him to join him in their next raid. Athelstan happily agrees, even after Ragnar teased that they need his "God". Athelstan attacks Ragnar, to no avail, and Ragnar, having Athelstan at his throat, tells him to kill when he needs to and to not hesitate.
King Horik and his party arrive at Kattegat early, and by horse, concerning Ragnar. The king explained that he was ecstatic about their trip. He is then brought to face Jarl Borg who arrived before him, and both are not happy to see each other. Even four years since their scuffle, and King Horik is still not pleased with their terms. Rollo arrives, and King Horik, recognizing him as the traitor, is even less thrilled. Ragnar tells him that his decision was that he now acknowledges him as his brother again, though he forbade him from joining their raid. Rollo reluctantly accepts the judgment.
A feast welcoming their guests is held at the dining hall. Ragnar chats up King Horik's son Ari and is saddened when Ari mentioned his son, who would have been around the same age as him. King Horik compliments Aslaug and soon turns away to tell Ragnar that he does not want Jarl Borg to raid with them as he does not fully trust him, just as Ragnar cannot bring himself to let Rollo join them. He leaves the task of telling the Jarl to Ragnar, much to his frustrations. Siggy then catches the eye of the king.
Soon enough, King Horik's fleet arrives. Ragnar and Floki watch, and Floki is not intimidated, knowing his ships were better. Ragnar then breaks from the group to tell an eager Jarl Borg that he will not be joining them. The Jarl is obviously angry that their agreement was broken.
Meanwhile, Siggy is offering King Horik knowledge about Ragnar, saying knowing an ally's strengths and weaknesses will work in his favor. King Horik contemplates her trustworthiness, and she tries to prove her loyalty by sleeping with him. The king is pleased.
Jarl Borg laments over Ragnar's injustices and Rollo's fall, seemingly blaming him for both their problems. He offers him another chance to leave Ragnar for good. Rollo refuses, saying he wants to stay and find himself (after his previous realization that he was no one when not under Ragnar's shadow). Jarl Borg mocks him, and Rollo punches him. The jarl calls him a fool, and Rollo sarcastically replies he hopes to be wise.
In preparation for their long journey, Ragnar bids his family farewell. He says good-bye to his sons lovingly, and does so as well to his wife and his unborn son. Aslaug says they will make a sacrifice to Thor. Though concerned, she is also confident that they will cross the sea safely.
The warriors then set sail; a woeful Rollo watches them sail away and feeling dejected, throws an axe in their direction. Meanwhile, Ragnar looks on proudly as the crew gets further into the waters. They soon realize that they should have been near land by then, though there is none in sight. Torstein releases a bird to scout ahead and they wait.
Night has fallen, and the raiders are met with a storm, which they blame on the angry Aesir gods. Ragnar watches as the men try to control the boat against the waves, laughing at Horik's reaction. However, a sail rips and a huge rock blocks their path, now worrying Ragnar.
Back in Kattegat, Aslaug summons Siggy, saying they should be friends, since Ragnar has forgiven Rollo and they are now as good as family. When Siggy agrees, Aslaug states that she knows Siggy would like her status back. Aslaug claims that she does not blame her for wanting that and states that they should at least not be enemies. They agree that women should stick together and rule, and they seem to try and ease into a friendship.
Ragnar's ship had gone off course. Ragnar is more concerned that it seems their numbers have dwindled; he was right: they now only had five ships in their fleet. The mood shifts though when they see land.
The Vikings are watched by soldiers of the land as they disembark their ships and head up the shore. Ragnar looks at their new looting target and is pleased at what his sees. They make their way deeper into the land, and an armored soldier rushes off on horseback. Trekking through the woods, Ragnar decides to make camp when they reach a clearing abundant with fish. The warriors rest and chat and do chores, while they are unwittingly being watched by soldiers, waiting for the right time to strike.
Arrows begin to fly, King Horik's son Ari being the first target. Several men are felled by arrows before their shield formation is made and then they become practically invincible. They realize that they are surrounded and possibly outnumbered. King Horik rallies the warriors, telling them to fight well and meet their attackers head on, to consider the fact that it is already determined if they will be dining with the gods at Valhalla soon. With the battle cry "Odin!", the armored men of the land charge, and the raiders fight back fiercely, even Athelstan who is fairly new and inexperienced. Athelstan sees that Horik is in trouble and moves away from the shield wall to help him. While Athelstan assists Horik in the fight, Ragnar follows to help him, tasking Floki with helping Horik instead. Floki takes Torstein with him and moves to Horik's shield wall to help them. They turn the battle tide in their favor by surrounding the soldiers, trapping them. Later, Ragnar pins down a guard and was almost struck by an enemy, saved by Athelstan who proceeds to make his first kill. Ragnar grins in pride, and the Northmen cheer their victory.
In the silence and recovery that followed the battle, King Horik and Erlendur tend to the injured Ari, and Ragnar praises a quiet Athelstan for not hesitating. He gives him his arm ring, which Athelstan accepts and wears proudly. Ragnar, holding onto a dismembered head of a soldier, takes Athelstan to interrogate two survivors. Athelstan asks them, in a mutual language, where they are from. Through the soldiers, they learn that they are in Wessex, and their king is King Ecbert, whose reputation is known to Athelstan. When Ragnar asks about the king, Athelstan tells him that they are similar, and Ragnar finds himself amused.
Elsewhere, a soldier tells a bathing King Ecbert of the Northmen's arrival and the defeat of a large force of their men. King Ecbert dismisses the soldier, evidently displeased.
Four years after where we last left off, Ragnar is now father to two sons with Aslaug and are expecting another. Upon Floki's completion of their ships, the Northmen prepare to set sail to the west once again, this time, with King Horik and Jarl Borg, though the latter is turned away due to distrust from King Horik's side. Rollo wants back Ragnar's trust, and though he outwardly achieves this, he is not yet allowed to raid with them. Siggy sleeps with the visiting king to get in his good graces, though whether she is doing this for her or Rollo's sake is unknown. Soon after, the raiders set sail and, though their numbers were brought down by the storm, land at Wessex, land of the notorious King Ecbert.
- Travis Fimmel as Earl Ragnar
- Clive Standen as Rollo
- Jessalyn Gilsig as Siggy
- Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki
- George Blagden as Athelstan
- Alyssa Sutherland as Princess Aslaug
- Donal Logue as King Horik
- Linus Roache as King Ecbert
Additional Cast (in order of appearance)
- Anna Aström as Hild
- Cormac Melia as Ubbe
- Maude Hirst as Helga
- Jefferson Hall as Torstein
- Cathal O'Hallin as Hvitserk
- Jay Duffy as Ari
- Edvin Endre as Prince Erlendur
- Robert Fawsitt as Saxon 1
- Conor Marren as Saxon 2
- James Browne as Messenger
- Katheryn Winnick and Alexander Ludwig are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- This episode marks the first appearance of King Ecbert.
- There was a four-year time jump between this episode and the one before it, Brother's War.
- The powerful English kingdom of Wessex is encountered for the first time.