Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 was released on Monday, May 29, 2023, bringing with it an exciting and emotional setup for the series' final episodes. With several storylines throughout the season set to converge in an exciting and climactic manner, truly anything is possible as the series heads into the final 3 episodes of season 2.
Likewise, Thorfinn seems set to reunite with one of his greatest frenemies in the entire series up to this point in the home stretch, adding further suspense and intrigue to coming events. Needless to say, Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 marks one of the most suspenseful moments in the entire season thus far.
Horrors of war and Thorfinn's kindness highlighted in Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21: The dead and the injured
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 begins with a focus on Canute, who is staring out at the dead his men killed during the fight with Canute. The last body is being piled up as the episode opens, with Wulf commenting that Ketil's forces likely have no will left to fight. He says he will send a messenger recommending surrender as Floki approaches Canute, asking for permission to requisition homes on the farm for his men.
However, Canute forbids not just this, but all forces entering the farm in order to avoid pillaging. Floki counters that pillaging is the victor's right, but Canute points out that the point of this fight is to requisition the entire farm, not pillage it. He promises to reward the Jomsvikings adequately, but Floki seems displeased with this despite accepting Canute's orders.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 then sees the spirit of Canute's father, King Sweyn, begin talking to him again. He laughs at Canute suddenly showing his enemies mercy, saying that this is what a King does. Sweyn asserts that kings must spare those who should live and slay those they must kill, adding that the masses could never bear such a responsibility.
As Sweyn's disembodied head begins floating up into the sky, he warns Canute that the world he lives in is still far from paradise, even calling it hell. Likewise, hell has its own laws, which Canute took advantage of by killing his father and brother. Sweyn tells Canute to keep killing until his "corpse-lined road" reaches paradise.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 then cuts to Einar, who is still kneeling in front of Arnheid's grave and mourning her loss. As sunlight illuminates her headstone, Einar thinks back to her final words from the previous episode. Returning to the present, Einar turns away from Arnheid's grave and notices something in the distance which seemingly worries him.
The episode then shifts focus to Olmar, who is making his way back to the mercenary camp with a horrified expression on his face. This only worsens as he sees the plethora of gruesome injuries before him, eventually being greeted by the woman he was sleeping with at the beginning of the season. She says her father's hands are gone, prompting him to beg Olmar to look after his daughter and his family.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees a horrified Olmar back away, seemingly bumping into someone who says he can't even cut a pig. It's revealed to be the soldier he killed during his trip with Ketil, and likewise a figment of his own imagination. He begins throwing up, prompting the girl to come to his side and ask if he's injured as well.
Olmar doesn't respond, prompting her to say he should lie down. He then begins sobbing as she comforts him, with the scene then shifting to Snake discussing strategy with Sverkel, Thorgin, and Ketil's wife. Snake is explaining the consequences of surrendering, adding that they'll still be punished for outlawry and need to decide soon.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Ketil's wife begin getting worried, accusing Snake of being a spineless coward and getting them in this mess. She throws a bucket of water at his head while calling him a freeloader, which prompts Fox to call her a hag. Snake tells Fox to stop, while Thorgil asks Snake what he will do if they keep fighting.
Snake says he will fight alongside them, prompting Thorgil to laugh and say that's what he wanted to hear. He tells his mother he will take care of it, asserting that 20 men are enough to take Canute's head. Thorgil adds that defeating a larger force with just a handful of men is a glorious way to die, prompting Sverkel to point out that it's not his decision to make.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Thorgil assert it has to be him since Ketil is unconscious, asking if Sverkel wants to make the decision. Sverkel counters that Ketil's successor has already been named, as Olmar is then seen in the house as the others look to him for guidance.
The nervous Olmar looks at his brother nervously before saying they will surrender, prompting a surprised look from Thorgil and hurtful words from his mother. Snake and Sverkel remain silent, as Olmar says that it may be embarrassing, but he's scared of people dying and that he might die. He says he will take banishment or whatever other punishment awaits him and all he wanted is for this to be over.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21: Courage
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Thorgil remind Olmar that he is the one who wanted to fight so badly and started this war as a result. Olmar accepts that it's his fault and that he was mocked for messing up and tried showing off after getting mad. He apologizes to his mother and everyone else, adding that because he started this war, he wants to be the one to end it.
Thorgil then says he misspoke, explaining that Canute wanted this farm from the start. Olmar counters that he gave them the excuse to start the war, to which Thorgil says people will always find a reason to fight, and it would've been via himself or Ketil if not Olmar. He reminds his younger brother that he defended his honor in the moment, telling Olmar he did well and that his honor is more important than his life.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Thorgil urge his brother to show the courage of a Norse warrior one more time, but Olmar angrily rejects this with tears in his eyes. He says it's not courage, explaining that he messed up in front of the king and is an incompetent man who deserves to be mocked. However, he didn't have the courage to silently accept their mockery, now sobbing as he says this.
Olmar continues that he can't be like Thorigl, and he doesn't care about the honor of Norse warriors. Likewise, he plans on surrendering and tells his family they can mock him. Thorgil seems angry but says nothing, as Sverkel breaks the silence by reaffirming that the acting head of the family has made his decision, and should go tell King Canute.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Snake say he will accompany Olmar, adding that he won't mock him as he stands by his side. Thorgil sneers and says he does not have time for this, pushing Olmar aside as he leaves. Snake asks where he's going, but he refuses to answer, calling them all cowards as he departs.
The episode then shifts back inside to Sverkel, who is speaking to Ketil and asserting that many have been supported by his strength. However, he says he knows Ketil has seen how those possessed by wealth and power end up as well. Sverkel then asserts that Ketil hasn't lost all of this for nothing, adding that in exchange for his farm, Olmar has become a man.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 then sees Einar running towards something, presumably what he saw in the distance. A flashback then starts, which sees Einar ask Leif Ericson why he let Thorfinn go to see Canute despite having been looking for him all this time. Leif explains that, while the oath he made kept him going all this time despite the failures, Thorfinn is being moved by something "bigger" now.
Likewise, Thorfinn promised he would come back, and Leif says he trusts what he saw in his eyes. Einar is then shown to be running towards Canute's camp, where it's revealed that Thorfinn has arrived and is being surrounded by soldiers. Thorfinn introduces himself as a retainer on the farm, adding that he comes representing Ketil and asking to see Canute.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees the soldier he's talking to tease him for obviously being a slave, adding that slaves always stink like livestock which gives them away. The other soldiers laugh, while the one Thorfinn is dealing with tells him he's not good enough, and that they will keep fighting until someone from Ketil's clan shows up.
Thorfinn responds by saying that he knows Canute and that the King should remember him once he hears his name. The guard questions this claim, prompting Thorfinn to explain the history the two share. The soldier Thorfinn is talking to laughs and then punches him, saying he's never seen someone as small and stinky as him.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Thorfinn calmly apologize if he offended the soldier, but asserts that it's true and once again requests him to tell Canute his name. The soldier, whose name is revealed to be Drott, is too stunned to speak. As the other soldiers begin saying his punch was too weak, an infuriated Drott begins threatening Thorfinn while preparing to punch him once more.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21: Son of Thors
Canute and Floki are hearing the commotion from afar, as Wulf returns to them with a report that a messenger has come representing Ketil. Canute begins walking away while asking for the messenger's name, which Wulf gives him. Canute clearly and instantly recognizes it, asking Wulf about Thorfinn's features, which Wulf confirms.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Canute touch his scar as Wulf asks him what he'd like to do. Canute says he doesn't need to see Thorfinn before walking away, as Floki laughs about how there's no way it's truly the son of Thors. Thorfinn is then shown to be dodging Drott's attacks, with Drott now winded from swinging wildly.
Thorfinn realizes he needs to change the situation, as Drott lands a punch while he's distracted by the crowd. Wulf is shown to be watching from the sidelines as Einar pushes through the crowd to reach Thorfinn, asking if he's okay. Thorfinn asks why he's here, but Einar says he obviously came here to stop him, adding that they're leaving soon and that there's no point in talking to them.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 then sees the two notice that bets are being paid out, which Thorfinn finds out is based on how many punches it will take to get him to leave or knock him out or even die. After hearing the range of the bets, Thorfinn says he'd like to get in on the bet too, saying he will bet on himself.
However, instead of money, he wants an audience with Canute if he wins. Wulf is shocked at this, while the other soldiers cheer on hearing Thorfinn's proposal. The deal is set with Thorfinn needing to withstand 100 blows to win, but if he loses, they take his life. Thorfinn accepts this, which Einar protests by questioning if he needs to risk that much for Ketil in a war like this.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 sees Thorfinn say he's glad he ended up on this farm, saying he only knew war, but that Sverkel, Ketil, and Pater were all kind to him. He adds that he's happy he met Einar as well. He asks Einar if he understands that, questioning if he's okay with not returning the kindness they received. After reassuring Einar, he says there is a trick to getting hit. He says he's used to getting hit as he prepares to fight and the episode ends.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21: In summation
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 21 is a remarkable episode to set up what will likely be the emotional climax of the season thus far. With all the currently unresolved storylines converging at Thorfinn and Canute's shared position, fans are waiting with bated breath to see if the two will meet after all, or if Thorfinn's journey ends here.
Also exciting is the fact that all the season's storylines seem to be wrapping up in a unified finale. While this also means that some disastrous events could take place over the next few episodes, it'll at least make for can't-miss television, which should be some of the best this season has offered.