Warning: Spoilers for the latest episode of Vikings Season 5, entitled "Baldur," are discussed below.
Vikings finally welcomed Lagertha back to the story, with "Baldur" marking the character's return after a multi-episode absence from the series. As could be surmised from her brief moments in the trailer, Lagertha was not doing so well when Vikings caught back up with her. Explaining Lagertha's breakdown, Vikings creator Michael Hirst said:
We've always seen how incredibly strong she is and how she's gone through so many trials. . . . She was betrayed by Ragnar, she was abused by her next husband, she had to kill her best friend. But throughout all this, she seems not untouched by it, but not unchanged by it. She's always remained strong and resilient and she's always kind of bounced back and I felt, and I think Katheryn felt too, that these things eventually took their toll.
Throughout Vikings' run, Lagertha has always seemed to keep moving in the face of everything, pivoting from one task or venture to the next. All of which left her with little time to actually experience the built-up wave of inevitable grief. Losing Kattegat to Ivar, along with suffering the loss of her beloved Heahmund, proved to be the tipping point for Lagertha's fractured mindframe
Continuing his insight on what led to Lagertha's current state, Michael Hirst said:
She didn't have that kind of independence she usually has or the power that she often has. She was the mercy of Heahmund and the situation...I think something snapped. I think something finally broke inside her. And it's been coming. You can't suffer what she's suffered as a human being without cracking.
With Judith discovering her and bringing her to the Royal Willa to recuperate, Lagertha is in a precarious situation on Vikings. In her absence, Bjorn had given up on looking for her ,and is currently waging his own battle to get Kattegat back from Ivar. Lagertha's other allies, including Ragnar's son Ubbe and his wife Torvi, are currently away on a mission.
All of this has left an already emotionally fragile Lagertha with no shield and no close allies. Vikings has paved the way to explore an intriguing story with Lagertha in this position. Who is Lagertha without her shield? How will she move forward and in what fashion? As of Vikings' latest episode, she is sort of starting from scratch. Judith is arguably the closest thing she has to an ally, and she is someone that cannot be trusted.
Fans have seen Lagertha forge various incarnations of herself. Hence, it will be exciting to see where the end of Season 5 leaves her story. She has learned a lot along her painful journey, and that knowledge could be a useful asset to King Alfred. While it is hard to imagine her voluntarily aiding him, Lagertha has undergone a massive change, so anything seems possible.
Vikings set the stage for Lagertha's story to resume once more by having her acknowledge the worst of her past, as in Ragnar's death. Their marriage may have ended long ago, but their relationship continued for many years after, making their bond integral to the show. Their marriage ended so abruptly, Vikings barely had time to reconcile the bitter twist before skipping forward in time, so it was nice to see that recognized in such a way.
There are still a lot of questions regarding where Lagertha has been and why the healer did not want Judith to take her. Maybe viewers will learn those answers soon, at least if they are indeed pertinent to Lagertha's story moving forward.
Find out how Lagertha will prevail when Season 5 continues airing on History on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET. Vikings is among many shows that will continue airing new episodes during the early midseason.