Vinland Saga Season 2, Episode 2: Beasts wearing human skin

In Vinland Saga Season 2, Episode 2, Einar and Thorfinn are assigned the same job. Clear the forest to create a future wheat farm. Ketil will let them “borrow,” the land as they work it. That just like a more politically correct way of saying I own you but I won’t police you. He goes on to say he’ll buy the wheat off of them for a “fair price.” When they reach the amount that they cost to purchase then they may buy themselves their own freedom. It’s a good motivation tool but two people clearing a forest would take a life time right? Of course, Thorfinn is strong but even he’s not likely to clear the forest quickly. However, Pater is introduced as a former slave who freed himself after paying off his debt.

As the previous episode mentioned, slaves don’t have any place to call home. It’s part of the coercion that keeps them from escaping. Pater’s continuing presence after freedom suggests that he only earned a slightly better life for himself. This assumes he’s telling the truth. Ketil seems genuine but I don’t trust him yet. Einar is excited to get to work. His freedom is all he wants. Thorfinn seems depressed. He constantly looks downwards, barely changes his facial expression, and almost never speaks.

Everything on this side of the river

Thorfinn explains the amount of work he and Einar are expect to do it really does feel like an impossible task. It doesn’t help that Einar doesn’t know how to use an axe properly. Thorfinn explains that they cut the trees perpendicular to the river so they can roll them down and when they’re hungry the retainers will bring them food. The retainers or “freemen” as they call themselves are assholes. They bring a small amount of half eaten bread and what looks like cheese for Einar and Thorfinn to share. Furthermore, one of them demands Einar “thank them,” for bringing the food.

Einar’s newfound joy is quickly squashed. Thorfinn steps in to prevent any violence and the retainers leave to take a nap. Einar doesn’t think Thorfinn should be so “obedient.” The two of them push the tree with the help of only one horse. The process it incredible painstaking. With little food in their stomachs and having to do backbreaking work all day, Einar in furious the retainers pushed their work onto them. Thorfinn warns him not to say anything or things will get worst. When Master Ketil arrives Einar’s about to tell him when he becomes distracted by a beautiful woman.

Olmar the incompetent warrior

The next day we see that Master Ketil works along side the slaves. His son, Olmar tries to help, but becomes frustrated when his father corrects his technique. Olmar is rude and ungrateful. A stark contrast between Ketil and the slaves. Olmar is free to disrespect his father and does so. He says he doesn’t want to become a “boring, old man,” working in the fields. He wants to become a warrior but he can’t even pull his sword out. Olmar dreams of joining Prince Canute’s army and “achieve greatness.” The woman in bed claims she’s “worried about,” him and wants him to take over the farm.

Creepily her father and mother are listen outside hoping that their family will “be secured,” by this relationship. However, Olmar busts out of the room a accuses the family of doing what they planned, joining the Ketil’s family. Olmar maybe an incompetent swordsmen but he’s not stupid. In the barn, Einar thinks Olmar should just take over the farm. He’s no warrior. To Einar warriors are all monsters as he recalls his tragic childhood.

What do you think? Can Master Ketil be trusted? Should Einar tell him about the retainers? Will Olmar get some skill with a sword?

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