Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: Thorfinn and Einar's exceptional progress comes with a lesson on the pursuit of riches

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: Thorfinn and Einar
Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: Thorfinn and Einar's exceptional progress comes with a lesson on the pursuit of riches (Image via MAPPA Studios)

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 was released on Monday, February 13, 2023, bringing with it the incredibly exciting return of Thorfinn and Einar to the series’ spotlight. While less action-packed and dramatic than the chronicle of Canute’s rise to the English throne, the installment is still incredibly engaging and makes for can’t-miss television.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 is especially intriguing due to the themes of wealth and familial relationships it seemingly sets up in the latter half of the episode. Equally attention-grabbing is the progress Einar and Thorfinn make on their land-clearing in the episode, thanks to the unexpected aid of a certain crotchety old man.

Follow along as this article fully recaps the highlights of Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 introduces Sverkel, explains why Ketil’s farm is so successful, and more

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: Anything for a horse

VInland Saga season 2 episode 6 begins with scenes of a snake preying on an unsuspecting bird before Einar’s screams while unrooting a tree stump scare it away. Einar is seen pulling on the stump while Thorfinn tries to pry it up out of the ground from behind. Suddenly, Thorfinn tells him to stop so they can dig the stump out further and cut the roots, making it easier to remove.

However, the stump still won’t budge after this, resulting in a brief montage of them continuously digging up the dirt around the stump and cutting the roots. Eventually, they’re able to get it out of the ground, as an exhausted Einar says they need a horse for this work. He questions why they’re given a horse to move the lumber, but not given one to prepare the soil.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Thorfinn remind Einar that they weren’t lent a horse, but the retainers instead made the two do their jobs for them. Thorfinn then asks Einar what he wants to do between preparing the fields or chopping more trees down first. However, Einar responds that he’ll instead try talking to “them” again though, even though it might be a waste of time.

As he suspected, Einar is told that they can’t have a horse, even if they have Pater’s permission to use one. The retainer explains that all the horses are being used for other work, and none can be spared for their endeavors. The two are told to quit slacking off and head back to the woods, with Thorfinn greeting a recently-arrived retainer with a “hello.”

Einar is silent, prompting the retainer to approach him and call him as rude as ever. Others then arrive to claim and take a horse, prompting the second retainer to call the slaves no different from livestock. He says that borrowing a plot of land and running a farm is insolent enough, telling the two to use their own bodies to do the work.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Thorfinn and Einar depart, with Einar saying he’ll have to talk to Ketil to borrow a horse. Thorfinn retorts that even if Ketil gives them permission to use a horse, they’d just be upsetting the retainers and earning their ire further. Einar points out that it could be years before they start farming at this rate, but Thorfinn seems unconcerned with so much more land to clear still.

Thorfinn also comments that it’s impossible for them to both level the land and start growing crops, prompting Einar to push Thorfinn and ask him why he’s so unmotivated. He asks Thorfinn if he wants to be free, explaining that they need a horse to keep up their deal with Ketil. The two comment on each other’s energy, when a man working nearby field comments on their situation.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees an old man telling them to come closer so they can have a conversation. The man asks them their names and offers them a horse to use. After a brief moment of confusion, Einar happily says yes and thanks the old man before asking him who he is.

Before getting an answer, Einar and Thorfinn are seen helping the old man with his own fieldwork. The man introduces himself as Sverkel, and Einar asks him how long they have to keep picking rocks out. Sverkel responds that they have to keep going until all the rocks are gone, telling Einar to get back to work.

Einar and Thorfinn are seen in pain after the backbreaking work, with Einar trying to ask Sverkel about the horse. However, he tells Einar to carry the basket and follow him, before Einar and Thorfinn are seen chopping firewood for the old man. Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees him tell them to draw up water when they’re done with the firewood.

Einar wonders what Sverkel’s deal is, with Thorfinn responding that he’s never seen Sverkel before either. Einar questions if he’s really going to lend them a horse or if they’re working for free. Thorfinn responds that, as slaves, this is a typical day for them regardless. Einar counters that they’re the master’s slaves, with a hidden Sverkel commenting on how their circumstances are irrelevant, and that this is their deal.

In exchange for borrowing the horse, the two are to do chores at Sverkel’s house when they pick up the horse and when they drop it off. Einar and Thorfinn are then seen clearing stumps at an extremely rapid pace, with Einar happily calling Sverkel a good guy.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees the two continue to do their chores in exchange for the horse, as well as using the horse to pull stumps.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: A worthwhile trade

Eventually, the immediate area they were working in is fully cleared of stumps, with Einar and Thorfinn happily looking at their work thus far. As they head back to Sverkel’s with the horse, Einar happily laughs about how they might be ready for a sowing season in the fall at their current pace. He even wonders if Sverkel will lend them a plow, fantasizing about which one he would like.

Thorfinn, meanwhile, asks Einar what they will plant in the fall, to which a confused Einar responds with “wheat, obviously.” This seems to amaze Thorfinn, with Einar realizing that Thorfinn has never worked on a farm before. Thorfinn then explains that no one in his homeland farmed, and since he was raised on the battlefield, he never had the opportunity to learn.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Einar comment on how wondrous a land without farms is, adding that his mom and sister wouldn’t be shocked to hear it at all. Einar then happily exclaims that Thorfinn can leave the farming stuff to him, a professional when the retainers suddenly call out to them and ask where they got the horse.

Einar explains that Sverkel gave them permission to use it, but the retainers seem to not know who he is. They call Einar a liar, saying that there’s no one named Sverkel around here. However, one of them comments on how their farm doesn’t have a horse like this, with Einar once again saying they borrowed it from a man named Sverkel.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Einar describe him as a short bald old man, whom the retainers then recognize as “the old master.” The retainers then say they have to be lying, saying that the crabby old man Sverkel couldn’t have possibly lent them a horse. It’s then revealed that Sverkel is Ketil’s father, with the retainers calling him “the most important man on this farm.”

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Einar and Thorfinn plowing a field with a pair of horses. Einar comments on how it looks like rain will come soon, telling Thorfinn they should stop for the day once they finish their current row. Thorfinn agrees when Einar suddenly yells out for them to stop, saying that there are still roots despite their pulling out the stumps.

Einar comments on how they don’t have a choice but to till shallowly since they don’t want to break the plow they borrowed by overdoing it. Thorfinn expresses his amazement at seeing the wasteland transformed into a legitimate farm in just one day. The two are then seen returning the horses and plow, with Einar commenting on how Ketil’s many heavy plows are indicative of his unbelievable wealth.

Einar explains that in his village, eight families shared a single plow, before expressing his joy that Sverkel had a plow that he let them borrow. Thorfinn comments on how much of a difference it makes versus hand-tilling the fields, which Einar confirms. Thorfinn wondrously calls the plow an amazing invention, adding that whoever made it must have been a farmer who knew how difficult the work was.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Einar playfully tease Thorfinn for being like an overgrown baby with how little he knows and how everything is new to him. The rain then begins pouring down, prompting Einar to tell Thorfinn they should hurry up. The scene then shifts to Sverkel’s house, where Ketil is speaking with his father.

Sverkel asks Ketil if he has prepared for the rain, but Ketil counters that he shouldn’t change the subject. Ketil says he’s worried about his father’s health, pointing out that Sverkel got lucky when he collapsed on the farm the other day because Snake was around. Sverkel counters that it’s his wish to die on the farm, but Ketil says he’s already being ridiculous enough by living on his own at this age.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Ketil say Sverkel isn’t capable of physical labor, but he counters that he’s managing just fine and that Ketil should mind his own business. Sverkel comments on how he and his son think too differently, saying that if they lived together, they would just end up arguing again.

Thorfinn and Einar are shown to be waiting outside for an appropriate time to enter when Ketil suddenly comes out. He asks the two what they’re doing here, seemingly explaining the situation to him based on Ketil’s subsequent words to his father that Thorfinn and Einar are his slaves. He adds that Sverkel can’t do what he wants before departing on horseback.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6: The pursuit of wealth

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Sverkel tell the two to enter and wash their clothes since they’re wet. Einar comments on how Ketil and Sverkel must not get along before wondering where the bathtub is. Einar then comments on how Snake is here, with Thorfinn confusing Einar’s words to mean a legitimate snake.

The two then approach the still-sleeping Snake, who seemingly slept through Ketil and Sverkel’s argument. Snake then wakes up after smelling the food Sverkel is making, seemingly upsetting the old man as a result. Snake then acknowledges Einar and Thorfinn, asking them if they came to sleep in his bed.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Sverkel call Snake a hopeless man, asking if he isn’t embarrassed for eating so brazenly when he doesn’t even work. Snake then counters that the thieves come at night, and they keep the farm safe by going on patrol every night. He says that this is why he has no problem eating, with Sverkel countering that they can’t be guarding anything at all when they sneak into young women’s homes.

Snake counters that they’re guarding the women so they don’t get stolen, with the two each commenting on how the other always has a comeback. Snake then turns his attention to Einar and Thorfinn, inviting them to eat since they haven’t done so yet. Sverkel reaffirms this, saying that if they worked today, then they’ve earned the right to eat.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Einar question if thieves really come to the farm, which Snake confirms by sharing what their targets are and the fact that they’re armed. He adds that he and his mercenaries really do work on the farm, with Sverkel commenting that what they’d lose to thieves is equal to what they pay his group.

This starts a back-and-forth between the two, with Sverkel asserting that they can chase off thieves without Snake’s help as Nordic men. Snake, however, counters by asking Sverkel if he thinks he can really fight in his old age. Snake then shares concern for Sverkel’s old age, before seriously commenting on how the farm’s fighting force is too small for its scale.

He shares that his 13 men have their hands full chasing down thieves, before adding that the farm could easily be taken over by 50 to 60 men. Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Snake ask Thorfinn for confirmation on this matter, seemingly aware of his history based on their previous interactions. However, Thorfinn sheepishly says he’s not sure in response.

Sverkel says that nothing tougher than thieves ever comes to the farm, with Snake countering that he doesn’t know that, and it would be too late once it starts happening. Sverkel counters that he won’t ever come crying to Snake’s lot no matter what happens, prompting Einar to ask why nothing tougher than thieves ever comes to the farm.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Sverkel reveal that twice a year, Ketil sends “an absurd amount of tribute” to King Harald, which earns Ketil and his farm protection in exchange. Sverkel, however, calls buying peace with money foolishness, questioning what need is there for a farmer to hold so much land that he can’t defend it by himself.

Snake counters that it would take several days for Harald’s forces to arrive, saying that he and his group are the ones actually defending the farm. Sverkel, ignoring Snake, continues that too much wealth brings about misfortune since increasing one’s wealth creates a fear of losing it. This pushes those with wealth to spend money to assuage fears just so they have to earn more.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 sees Sverkel comment on how his “idiot son hasn’t realized yet how pointless it is.” Snake then comments on being sick of hearing Sverkel's lecture, before commenting on how the rain has stopped. Snake then announces that it’s time to go out on patrol again, with Sverkel telling him not to come back here.

Snake then says teasingly that Sverkel misses him when he doesn’t come back, with Sverkel angrily responding that he should get out of here. Einar and Thorfinn are then seen walking home, commenting on how Snake and Sverkel weirdly seem to get along better than Svekrel and Ketil do.

Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 then sees Thorfinn say he learned a lot today, with Einar congratulating and calling him an overgrown baby. Thorfinn looks out over the farm and nearby fields, pondering Sverkel’s words about too much wealth before catching up with Einar. The two are then seen back to work the next day, spreading seed over the recently-tilled land.

Einar tells Thorfinn to spread more seeds, but Thorfinn comments on how what they have on hand is everything they have. Einar tells him it’s fine, telling Thorfinn to trust him since they are friends. Thorfinn comments on this, seemingly upsetting Einar at Thorfinn questioning this. However, Thorfinn says that they are friends as he spreads a bigger handful of seeds and the episode ends.

In summation

Following the action-packed look at Canute's ascension to the English throne last episode, Vinland Saga season 2 episode 6 is a welcome return to form for the Slave arc. The character-driven narrative of the episode also deals with many new themes that will likely be dealt with throughout the rest of the season.

The introduction of Sverkel and the juxtaposition of his relationship with Snake versus that of his actual son Ketil is also intriguing. While speculative, this could possibly be setting up a foil situation between Sverkel, Ketil, and Snake, and Ketil, his own son Olmar, and a third individual, likely either Thorfinn or Einar.

Be sure to keep up with all Vinland Saga anime and manga news, as well as general anime, manga, film, and live-action news as 2023 progresses.