Welcome to the Recap and Ending Explained for Vinland Saga: Season 2, Episode 19, titled “War at Ketil’s Farm.” The episode serves as the climax to the conflict that was initiated some time ago. A conflict that involved Ketil, the tender slave master, and Canute, the ruthless king. Canute wants to seize Ketil’s lands, so he can afford to have two armies deployed simultaneously; one in England and another in Denmark. Of course, Ketil doesn’t take the news well and now gets ready to fight against the king and his soldiers.
The episode also keeps up to date with what is happening with Thorfinn, Einar, and Arnheid. The incident with Gardar, Arnheid’s husband, is over, but the consequences were severe. Something broke inside Ketil when he learned that Arnheid had tried to escape with her husband. Feeling betrayed, Ketil punished Arnheid by hitting her repeatedly with a heavy wooden stick. Not even Arnheid, revealing that she was pregnant with his son, stopped Ketil from hitting her. Snake arrived to stop Ketil’s hand, but it was already too late, and the woman could die any minute.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Vinland Saga: Season 2, Episode 19. Read at your own risk.
How Is Ketil Preparing For War Against King Canute?
The episode begins with a gathering. When Thorgil arrived, he ordered all the members of the farm to reunite and get ready to battle an incoming enemy. Now, we are witnesses to the gathering, and it is a big one. Ketil has managed to gather more than 350 men to battle, and he has just announced that the enemy is none other than King Canute. Snake is present at the gathering and talks with one of his men. His subordinate asks if Snake is sure about this, and Snake only replies that if the master wants to do it, he will do it.
Snake talks about how it was intelligent to reveal the nature of the enemy when everyone was gathered and not before. By being together, people often believe that they are stronger than they are. The gathering has given courage to most of the men, who are only farmers. There are really just about 100 men who know how to fight. Later that day, we witness Leif and Thorfinn’s reunion, which was somewhat sabotaged by everything that had been happening with Arnheid in the past couple of episodes.
Leif notes just how different Thorfinn is. He points out that he looks so much better than before and that he is happy that things can be different now. Thorfinn thanks Leif, as he acknowledges that one cannot often have a person who wants to keep an eye on you. Leif has proven to be a loyal friend, and because of it, he has decided that he will help Thorfinn, Einar, and Arnheid escape the farm. Pater is not sure if Anrheid can take a trip in her current state, but there is no way that they would leave her behind. If they leave her, she is going to die anyway.
Meanwhile, Snake’s men are giving the farmers a crash course in the arts of warfare and practicing some archery on the beach. However, they don’t notice that Canute’s fleet has already arrived and that they are already engaging in combat. Arrows start falling from the sky, and the farmers eat them up. The attack ends up killing several farmers while the Canute’s forces make landfall and take control of this part of the coast. Canute steps on the land and declares it beautiful, he wouldn’t like to see this land covered in blood.
What Happens In The Battle Between Ketil’s And Canute’s Forces?
Canute wants to end this thing in the most peaceful possible way. He doesn’t want to destroy the farm; he actually wants to take it and keep it going. That is the only way he would make money out of this. So, he sends an envoy with a surrender offer. He declares that the rest will be spared if Ketil and his family leave. Also, Ketil’s family would only be exiled for 10 years. Canute gives Ketil a day to come up with his answer. Ketil is pissed-off, and there, in front of his men, he offers the reward of their liking for the person who brings him Canute’s head.
Snake and his men get ready for battle. They first do a bit of recon and find out something terrible. Canute might have only 100 men against Ketil’s 350, but those 100 men are elite warriors, consisting of Canute’s royal guard, of which Thorgil was a member, and another impressive unit called the Jomsvikings. They are terribly powerful. Snake knows they are going to lose if they go to battle. 350 farmers cannot measure up against 100 elite warriors. Snake says these warriors live in war every single second of every day. They are war incarnate.
As he dressed up for battle, Snake tells his men that they can go. Canute is allowing people to leave the farm and save their lives. He also reveals the reason why he is there. When he was a soldier at the age of 15, he met Iron Fist Ketil, and they became quite close. Snake even says he thought of Ketil as an older brother. So when Snake fell in disgrace and had nowhere to go, he thought Ketil would receive him. He marched, following the rumors that Ketil had started a farm. To his surprise, when Snake arrived, Ketil was another person. Snake reveals that the Ketil we know is not the famous Iron Fist Ketil. They just have the same name.
However, Snake has been fed and lived a nice life at the farm all these years for free, and he believes it is now time to pay for all of that. His men follow Snake into battle. Before the battle starts, Snake warns Ketil one last time. If they go to war, they will lose. But Ketil won’t listen, and the bloodshed starts. In the meantime, Thorfinn wishes good luck to Pater, who is fighting. He was always good to them. He escapes with Einar, Leif, the other Thorfinn, and Arnheid on a stolen wagon. This is the best time, as no one is paying attention to them.
On the way. Anrheid has a dream where she has both her children in her hands. They travel alongside Gardar, who tells her it is time to go. It is time for them to be a family again. He gives Arnheid the time to say goodbye to everyone who has taken care of her. Anrheid wakes up to say goodbye to her friends. As the episode ends, we see Olmar coming out of the water, regretting the fact that he cannot be like his brother. Then, we see Thorgil coming out of the water as well, getting ready to attack an unprotected Canute from behind. The episode ends as Thorgil unsheathes his sword. Will he be able to kill Canute?