Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 released on Monday, June 5, 2023, bringing with it the incredibly exciting continuation of Thorfinn's trial to see Canute. Likewise, fans do see the two reunite by the installment's end, with a new and dangerous conflict arising in the final moments just as it seemed Thorfinn was in the clear.
What is truly excellent about Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 is how well it serves as a culmination of everywhere the series has been and everything it's said up to this point. Through Thorfinn's evolution as a character, which is expertly demonstrated via his conversation with Canute, fans realize that this truly is the climactic moment of the series thus far.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 serves as climactic moment of the entire series so far
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22: A trial completed
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 begins with Drott landing his sixteenth punch on Thorfinn, immediately following up with the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth. The crowd cheers louder with each blow, seemingly commending Thorfinn's toughness despite his short stature.
Drott is shown to be panting by this point, as onlookers goad him into finishing the job already. Drott, meanwhile, is concerned with how there's essentially no resistance when he hits Thorfinn. Wulf comments on how Thorfinn is clearly used to taking a beating, explaining how Thorfinn twists his neck and hips just before the blow to disperse the impact away from the core of his body.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 then sees Wulf comment on how Thorfinn's subtleness has allowed no one to recognize this aversion from direct blows yet. However, Wulf adds that Drott is a strong man, and Thorfinn won't last long at this rate. Einar is shown to be watching in horror as the beating continues, remembering his friend's words that violence should be a last resort and that he wants to find the first method.
Einar questions if this is what he meant by the “first method,” simply enduring an attack rather than retaliating. Einar questions if this is how Thorfinn will live from now on, as Snake and Olmar are seen arriving at the camp in the midst of Thorfinn's trial. Approaching the crowd, Snake realizes that Thorfinn is enduring a beating, yelling for everyone to stop since Thorfinn has nothing to do with Ketil's farm.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 shows Thorfinn getting momentarily distracted by this, resulting in him taking the full force of Drott's impact. Even Drott comments on how he finally got a solid hit in, revealing that this latest hit was the 32nd. Snake and Einar rush to Thorfinn's side, as Snake questions what they're doing here and how this happened.
Einar explains the deal Thorfinn made as Olmar also approaches, with Snake calling it ridiculous that Thorfinn is doing this for the farm. He rolls Thorfinn over, telling him to stop this and saying that the decision has been made for the farm to be surrendered. Snake calls him a softhearted idiot, adding that if talking could fix this, they'd have done that already.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 then shows Thorfinn asking Snake if he's sure he put in the effort to resolve the matter through conversation, rising to his feet as he says this. Thorfinn adds that once Canute's men drew their swords, they answered with their own blades without a second thought.
This is when Drott and the others realize that Thorfinn has stood back up, as he spits out two of his teeth. Thorfinn then points to Drott, calling him "middle-part," and asks why he's just standing there. He adds that Drott's fists hurt less than being bitten by a bug, telling him to hurry up and get the 68 remaining punches over with since he's a busy man and people are waiting for him.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees the crowd go silent in shock, with even Drott clearly unsure of how to proceed. Snake tells Thorfinn to stop, but Einar holds him back, prompting Snake to point out that if Thorfinn keeps this up, he will die. Einar says nothing, only grabbing Snake's hand even tighter to communicate his message.
The crowd is then shown to be completely silent as the sound of Drott's fist hitting Thorfinn rings out in succession, with Drott clearly exhausted by this point. As Thorfinn takes his 98th punch, Olmar is shown to be crying, with Thorfinn then taking the 99th as his vision becomes blurry. Drott weakly punches Thorfinn's chest for the 100th and final time before collapsing to the ground.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees the crowd silently stunned at Thorfinn's momentous achievement, with even Drott apologizing for having doubted Thorfinn, calling him a true warrior. Drott then addresses Wulf, explaining that Thorfinn once served the same role for Canute that they now do, asking if he can let Thorfinn have an audience with Canute.
Wulf walks up to the two, calling Thorfinn small but well-trained and asking why he didn't strike back. Wulf adds that beating Drott would have proven that he was a former guard, but Thorfinn asks what kind of question that is. He adds that he can't hit someone while negotiating for peace, adding that they all just met, know nothing about each other, and have no reason to hit each other.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Thorfinn point out that it's just Canute and Ketil feuding with each other, adding that they could just as easily settle this over a game of hnefatafl. Thorfinn adds that there's no need to gather all these men and shed all this blood, saying that they just met today and they are not his enemies. He also mentions that he has no enemies.
This seems to particularly resonate with Olmar, while Wulf comments on the boldness of rejecting war while surrounded by so many soldiers. Wulf laughs at Thorfinn's suggestion of resolving the matter, adding that he should suggest it to Canute himself. Wulf elaborates that Canute doesn't go to war because he wants to and that once Thorfinn sees and hears Canute out, he will realize what's in the king's heart.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 then shows Wulf giving Thorfinn permission to meet with Canute, telling the soldiers to clear the way. Thorfinn tells Einar to join him, saying that they're going to see the man who starts wars, and asks Einar if he also has some things he wants to say. Einar says he has a whole mountain of things, following Thorfinn as the two are led by Wulf.
As they walk past the pile of corpses of the men who fought for Ketil, Einar is in disbelief that they're all casualties of this battle. Thorfinn tells his friend not to look, as Einar questions if Pater is among them. Thorfinn reminds Einar that if he does find Pater among the dead, he won't be able to remain calm during their upcoming meeting with Canute.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 then shows Einar and Canute waiting as Wulf speaks to Canute, explaining the situation. Thorfinn remembers the last time he saw Canute when Askeladd was killed, as Canute tells Wulf he will meet with Thorfinn out of respect for the feelings of Wulf and his men.
Einar and Thorfinn then approach Canute and Wulf, who are flanked by dozens of armed soldiers. Canute and Thorfinn silently stare at each other initially, as Canute comments on how Thorfinn is still alive after all this time. He says that Thorfinn must hate him for making him a slave and for what happened to Askeladd, but Thorfinn says he's still alive after drawing a blade against Danish royalty, appreciating such consideration.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22: A fated reunion
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 then sees Thorfinn apologize for the facial scar he gave Canute, as Wulf shockingly realizes that Thorfinn is Thorfinn Karlsefni. He adds that Thorfinn was said to have been an even match for Thorkell in combat, adding that he didn't realize he was so small and young.
Einar questions if Thorfinn really drew his blade against the king, as Canute says it's impossible to tell who Thorfinn is with his face as it is, but he's nevertheless sure that it is indeed him. He adds that Thorfinn has surely come to say some commendable things, as he comments on how it's already been four years since they last met.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Canute assert that this is enough time for a person to change, as Thorfinn asks him to leave the farm. Canute says he can't do that, adding that Ketil's son Olmar started this dispute by killing one of his men. Thorfinn says he understands but that the point has been made, adding that over 100 workers are dead and this alone may have damned the region.
Canute responds by saying he advised surrender and that it's Ketil's fault for fighting. Canute asserts that the battle can't end until Ketil's clan has been dealt with, prompting Einar to point out that he truly means it won't end until the farm is captured. Einar says that Canute may call himself a king, but he's really just a thief, asking how he's any different from the average Viking chief.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Einar say that if Canute wants a farm that badly, he should start it himself and do all the work. That way, he will understand what a terrible thing it is to take someone else's farm and hard work away from them. Thorfinn reminds Canute that he once told him that he'd build a paradise and utopia for those who suffer in this world, asking if he still believes that.
Canute smirks and laughs before ignoring Thorfinn's question and addressing Einar's comparison. Canute calls himself the chief of Viking chiefs, calling himself the sovereign king and the most powerful Viking in the Northern Sea. He continues rattling off the forces he commands and the territory he owns, claiming that his power exceeds human understanding and can make the impossible possible.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Canute gesture to the sea, saying with his power he can even command the waves to stop. Speaking to the waves directly, he commands them to stop, which they do not. However, Canute seemingly expected this, commenting that even he is powerless to stop the approaching waves.
He asks if they know who drives those waves, saying that God does and that building a paradise on Earth means defying God's logic. He likens it to an act of rebellion against God, asserting that humanity can't find happiness under God's rule. Canute tells Thorfinn to look at the Vikings, saying they're responsible for the chaos and destruction as fearsome raiders.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Canute ask if they deserve to live in paradise, adding that this is what humans do: they commit sins as they wander lost. Likewise, unless he saves these people abandoned by God, he can never build a true paradise. Einar asks in disbelief if Canute's intention is to save the Vikings, which Canute confirms.
Canute says that he's the only one capable of conquering, ruling, unifying, and guiding the Vikings, adding that he will unify the strength of all humankind to fight against God. Thorfinn thinks to himself that Canute is an incredible man, adding that it never even occurred to him to save the Vikings.
An infuriated Einar promises to put Canute in his place, adding that he can pursue whatever goals he wants, but questions who will save all the people Canute kills today for his goals. Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees Einar continue by asking if Canute will allow the Vikings to live since they're useful, but kill and steal from those who aren't useful to him.
Einar laughs at Canute's claims that he's building a paradise, adding that King Ethelred burnt down his village and that King Sweyn killed his family. He adds that he doesn't care what their ideals were, adding that he's had enough and refuses to suffer anymore because of Canute. The King calmly responds that Einar can hate him if he wants and that he won't seek forgiveness.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 sees the truly rageful Einar try to rush Canute, but Thorfinn thankfully stops him from making such a mistake. Thorfinn then asks once more if Canute truly has no intention of leaving this farm, which he confirms, adding that he needs Ketil's wealth for his undertaking.
Canute then asks Thorfinn what he will do, more specifically questioning if he will kill him here and adding that Thorfinn can't stop him without taking such action. Canute's soldiers walk forward as he says this, surrounding the duo and separating them from Canute. The episode ends as the two old friends stare each other down.
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22: In summation
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 22 is truly one of the most exciting episodes in the entire sequel season, feeling like a culmination of the events that came before it. Everything from Thors' words to Thorfinn in the first episodes to Einar and Thorfinn's journey as friends comes together in an incredibly neat package in this latest installment.
The episode also adapts one of the most highly-anticipated scenes in the anime's production thus far, showing that Thorfinn now truly believes that he has no enemies whatsoever. Even when Canute, the man responsible for making his life what it is now, stands before him, Thorfinn seemingly remains as calm and devoted to his new lifestyle as ever.