Very sex-filled spoilers are coming up in this Vikings Season 6 article. Don’t tempt your fate written by the gods by reading if you haven’t caught the episodes yet.
It’s been a few days since Amazon brought Season 6B of Vikings into our homes. Per usual, the series Michael Hirst created was full of violence, deaths both noble and bitter, family drama, some doomed romantic partnerships, and, in one case, a scene that seemed straight out of 50 Shades of Grey--and had a Fifty Shades connection to boot.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on Vikings since Season 6 of the hit show started, you may already know the History and Amazon series added Eric Johnson to play Erik Thorvaldsson, an ally of Bjorn’s during the show’s final season. That is, at least until Bjorn says his final goodbyes on the series, which comes early during Season 6B.
After that, Erik gets a little bit more power hungry on the series. Not helping matters is the return of King Harold, who decides to take Ingrid as a wife, as well as to journey to England and fight with Ivar. This means he leaves Ingrid with Erik, and Erik clearly doesn’t have a lot of experience with a woman like Ingrid. Plus, Harold seemingly sets Erik up for success by putting him in charge of decisions, but ultimately this simply means Ingrid is champing at the bit to get him out of the way.
Anyway, you may not recognize Eric Johnson for some of his other roles, because he’s sporting long hair, braids and a wholly impressive beard on Vikings. I really wouldn’t blame ya if you didn’t recognize that he’s the same guy who plays the jealous Jack Hyde in 50 Shades of Grey--a point worth noting while we talk about the intricacies of this Ingrid/Erik “relationship.”
Perhaps my favorite moment in Season 6B comes when Ingrid decides to enact a plan to take over power in Kattegat. She does so using her sexual prowess, and this leads to a scene where she and Erik have a talk. She ultimately tells him she “wants to see the marks,” turns him around, and then whips his back as some foreplay before they have sex. It’s not my favorite because I’m mostly looking forward to Vikings' bedroom scenes, but because it looks like some pretty familiar Red Room scenes...
Having not spoken to CinemaBlend about this moment in particular, I have no idea if Michael Hirst thought the BDSM was a good moment to nod to Eric Johnson’s prominent work in 50 Shades of Grey or if the tie-in happened by chance. However, it’s literally all I could think of as Ingrid took a whip and went to town before the two characters ultimately took one another in the bedroom. You can say a lot about the dom/sub relationship in Fifty Shades of Grey, but those movies are heavily about Anastasia Steele navigating her way though Christian Grey’s world and preferences.
In the case of Vikings, one of the cool themes of the show is women who take on power and how they wield it. In this case, Ingrid just takes what she wants in the bedroom scene and Erik looks to navigate the moment and cede power in order to obtain pleasure. He ends up being blinded and ultimately killed for this decision, but it’s him navigating her world and her rules during the major Vikings episode. If the Erik and Ingrid scene is meant to be a contrast to 50 Shades of Grey I really dig it. And if it’s a coincidence, I still can’t get enough of how neatly the scenes tie together while showing contrasting viewpoints.
There’s ultimately something very satisfying about seeing an actor like Eric Johnson jump from a major franchise to a totally different sort of period drama. In an interview at Escapist Mag a while back, he talked about shooting a battle scene early on with 300 people on camera and 600 people on set to make the scene work. It’s a totally different ballgame to film a historical drama with deep action over something with a smaller universe like Fifty Shades of Grey.
That he -- amidst boat scenes, battle scenes and one final moment with a pitchfork -- was still able to pull off a scene that would be very in keeping with the 50 Shades universe is extremely satisfying as someone who has engaged with both properties. Though, to be fair, 50 Shades is less into the witchcraft than Vikings’ final episodes. And actually it’s that witchcraft bit that ends up being Erik’s downfall in Vikings Season 6.
You can stream Season 6B of Vikings anytime you want to with Amazon Prime. Or catch the final episodes when they eventually air on the History channel this year.