Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 was released on Monday, March 20, 2023, bringing with it an incredibly exciting and tense installment that sets up future conflicts for the season. While Thorfinn and Einar are unfortunately absent for yet another episode, the series continues to be as engaging as ever.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 also gives fans an interesting look at Canute. While not particularly deep or revelatory, it sees a fresh side of the young King that fans haven’t witnessed before in the series. Equally interesting is the reappearance of a certain Nordic character whose journey has been pervasive in both seasons 1 and 2.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 bolsters Thorfinn-less episode with reappearance of Leif Ericson and more
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11: Canute trains his brains and his brawn
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 begins with a focus on Canute and Wulf sparring with one another, with the latter clearly having the upper hand. Canute’s sister Estrid is shocked to see her brother fighting, crying out at how brutal Wulf is being. However, Canute is able to dodge a key blow, giving himself a moment’s rest and impressing the crowd with his agility.
Estrid and the servant girl from the previous episode are watching, questioning if this can be considered practice with the use of real swords. The two are then joined by Gunnar, who points out that Wulf is skilled enough as a swordsman to hold back and not injure Canute. Estrid is in disbelief over this and is also shocked about her brother (who used to hate touching swords) sparring.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Gunnar call it a good thing since kings must be strong due to Norse men paying no mind to weaklings. Estrid comments on how Canute looks like he’s in a lot of pain, as the young King rests against a wall while panting heavily. Wulf points out how Canute retreating when he’s tired is a bad habit, and that it draws out the fight.
Wulf points out that both subjects and enemies alike will be focusing on Canute to see how he fights. He asserts that this is why Wulf started attacking more viciously. He gets Wulf to look over by pointing out how Estrid is talking to another man, taking advantage of the distraction to rush Wulf and force him to concede.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees the crowd applaud this tactic, revealing that it was Canute’s only win in 5 bouts, but he did so by making Wulf concede victory. As Canute undresses, Wulf lectures him about throwing his sword, prompting Gunnar to come over and tell Canute that the investigation he requested is complete.
In Canute’s room, Gunnar reports that there aren’t too many wealthy men and that they’d get about 3,000 pounds a year if they don’t raise taxes. Gunnar then sees Ketil’s name and recommends him, pointing out the large farm he owns. Canute, however, is more interested in the lack of familial military forces being listed.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Gunnar say it’s hard to find out about the same without visiting in person, prompting Canute to order him to look into these numbers. Gunnar agrees, before commenting on how raising taxes significantly may result in backlash from the people of Denmark, with Canute recently becoming king.
Canute counters that this too is a King’s responsibility, as the narrator explains that Canute faced a funding problem after becoming the king of England. Due to keeping Danish security forces stationed in England, Canute needed to pay them with the English taxes he gained access to upon conquering the land.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees the narrator explain that this created discontent amongst the English people. Likewise, if Canute couldn’t get funds from his Danish citizens, he would be forced to downsize his stationed army in England. Returning to the present, Gunnar asks Canute what the options he spoke of are, to which the latter suggests taking control of more land.
Gunnar points out that developing land would take time to yield a profit, but Canute says they will requisition land instead. He says that they need the money badly enough to be heavy-handed and that it’s better than sewing discontent by raising taxes. Gunnar counters that downsizing the army is an option, but Canute points to his outsider status as necessitating the army.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Canute compare kings to swords, questioning what a ruler without a military might accomplish as the episode plays its opening theme sequence. Upon returning, fans see Ketil arriving to discover that King Harald has passed away a week earlier, meaning that the King was dead by the time he left the farm.
Thorgil tells him this information, prompting Ketil to lament bringing the king a mountain of gifts. Ketil then realizes that if Thorgil came to meet him, it must mean that King Canute is here as well. He explains that he’s at the palace and is currently the acting king in the wake of Harald’s death.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11: An unexpected reappearance
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Ketil set to begin politicking, determined to build a good relationship with Canute as the next King of Denmark. Ketil asks Thorgil to arrange a meeting between the two, to which he laughs and says he will make something happen. Ketil then calls out to Olmar but discovers that he’s headed off into town alone.
Thorgil calms Ketil down, reminding him that Olmar is 20 years old and not a child anymore. However, Ketil comments that Olmar never grew up, saying that he’s surely gotten into a pointless fight by now. The episode then cuts to Olmar, who is doing exactly this and demanding an apology for being bumped into.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees a local citizen complaining about Olmar ruining some cloth he was going to trade, prompting the latter to laugh at the thought of being forced to buy it. The man tells him he expects to be compensated, prompting Olmar to call him a lazy swindler and say that this was his intention from the start.
The two seem set to begin fighting as they continue insulting each other, and as the first punch is set to be thrown, Olmar draws his sword. He continues goading the man into fighting, asking if he’s scared, prompting Olmar to speak bravely about how when men fight, it’s to death. He even says that walking around unarmed means the man isn’t a real Norseman.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 then sees Ketil, who just arrived on the scene, ask Olmar exactly who bought that sword for him. Ketil yells at Olmar for always getting into fights, punching him in the face, and giving the man due compensation for the cloth. The man is amazed at the amount before him and takes the money before trying to depart.
The man’s father then approaches, telling his son to give Ketil the proper change before expressing disappointment in his son for how he handled the fight. The man is revealed to be Leif Ericson. The foursome then gets lunch, where Leif explains that the young man is essentially his adopted son.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees the young man introduce himself as Thorfinn, asking to be called Bug Eyes since that’s what everyone calls him. Ketil then reveals that one of his own people is called Thorfinn, calling his Thorfinn quiet and hardworking. He questions if he should’ve named Olmar Thorfinn instead, prompting Leif to laugh and call Olmar a spirited boy.
Leif then asks if Thorfinn is a slave, apologizing for needing to ask such a question. Ketil confirms this, sharing that he’s surprised that Leif figured it out. Leif then asks if Ketil’s Thorfinn is a Nord with blond hair and brown eyes, about the same age as Bug Eyes. Ketil confirms this with shock, saying that the only difference is that his Thorfinn is shorter.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Leif ask Ketil if his Thorfinn is from Iceland and is a former warrior, which prompts Ketil to try and recall exactly what Thorfinn said on the matter. Ketil recalls seeing numerous scars clearly left by blades all over his body, prompting Bug Eyes to warn Leif not to get his hopes up.
Leif confirms that he’s being cautiously optimistic, prompting Ketil to ask what the interest in Thorfinn is. Leif reveals that he’s been looking for Thorfinn, as he’s the son of his friend who was enslaved. He begins sharing the story with Ketil as the scene changes to Leif and Bug Eyes telling their ship captain that they will be detouring to Ketil’s farm after departing.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 reveals that the group will even be following Ketil back on the five-day journey. Leif promises that he really thinks it’s Thorfinn this time, but the ship captain says he simply can’t go along. A shocked Leif seemingly accepts this, as the episode shifts perspectives back to Ketil, who is now meeting with Canute.
Ketil and his family are called in to meet with Canute. Ketil warns Olmar to be polite before they go in, where Canute is sitting on his throne waiting for them.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11: Tribute, shame, and secret plans
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Canute formally accept Ketil’s gifts, asking if all of the crops provided were grown on his land. Ketil confirms this, adding that Harald was also pleased with his family’s products. Canute counters that he has no intention of changing the way Harald and Sweyn did things, essentially confirming that Ketil’s safety is still secure.
However, Olmar then stands up, prompting Gunnar to command him to kneel. Ketil begins apologizing, but Olmar interrupts by requesting to join the King’s forces. He specifically requests to serve alongside Thorgil as Canute’s guard, drawing his sword to showcase his skills. Ketil then tackles Olmar, calling him an idiot for drawing a sword in front of a king.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Canute tell Ketil that it’s alright and that they should see how Olmar handles a sword. Ketil's youngest son is then tasked with cleaving a roasted pig by imagining it is a man. Olmar puts on a big show at first for a warmup, screaming and drawing the attention of others in the courtyard.
Inside, however, he’s simply cutting the pig rather than swinging and hacking at it. Canute says that he has seen enough, as Thorgil and Ketil look utterly embarrassed at Olmar’s performance. Canute, however, says he will consult with his captain and notify Olmar of his decision the next day. Thorgil tells him that Olmar messed up so much that he will be teased by his colleagues for this for a while.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Olmar crying over the embarrassment, as Thorgil says that what’s done is done and warns Olmar not to do anything to embarrass their family further. Meanwhile, Wulf comments on how men with all pride and no skill like Olmar are common, saying that they’re the first to die on the battlefield.
Canute recognizes Wulf’s thoughts as Captain of the Guard but asks for his thoughts from “another perspective,” which isn’t specified. However, both Canute and Wulf agree that Olmar could be incredibly useful to them if used correctly. Gunnar then suggests continuing with “the plan,” prompting Canute to say that they shouldn’t let this “opportunity” pass by.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 sees Canute say that this is so the people can live in peace and that while he feels bad for them, they must pay the price. Canute then reveals that Ketil’s farm will be the first one that they requisition as the episode comes to an end.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11: In summation
Despite featuring no sign of Thorfinn or Einar, Vinland Saga season 2 episode 11 is an exciting and engaging one that seemingly sets up the next big conflict of the season. With Canute clearly planning to use Olmar to seize control of Ketil’s farm, fans are left with a mysterious and incredibly intriguing cliffhanger regarding Canute’s specific plans.
What is also exciting about the episode is the reappearance of Leif Ericson, who is now simply a boat ride away from finally locating Thorfinn. The concurrent events of this and Canute’s plan seem set to culminate in a massive mid-season climax, likely showing Thorfinn and Einar’s escape from Ketil’s farm as Canute seizes control.