Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6: Recap & Ending explained

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6: Last week, we saw Canute’s bloody path to the throne of England alongside his retainers. In this episode, we return to the story of Thorfinn and Einar, which has decidedly lower stakes but is meaningful nonetheless. The relationship between family members and the impact of wealth are also seen, with both grounded in the reality of the farm setting.

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6 Recap:

Episode 6: “I Want a Horse”

The episode begins with Thorfinn and Einar hard at work trying to clear the forest as per the deal with Ketil, the farm’s owner, and their master, as they are his slaves. The two are trying to clear a tree stump, having felled the tree, with Einar pulling at it and Thorfinn trying to remove it by using a long stick as a makeshift lever. To make their task easier, Thorfinn stops Einar so that they can dig around the stump and cut its roots, thus loosening it up further.

However, the stump refuses to budge, though they eventually remove it at the cost of total exhaustion. While catching his breath, Einar asks why they are lent a horse to move the fallen trees (to be used as lumber) but not to uproot them. Thorfinn clarifies that they weren’t lent a horse in the first place and that the farmhands had forced their own work onto them. He then asks Einar if he would like to cut down more trees first or carry on uprooting them. Einar decides to ask for a horse again, though he realizes its futility.

As he expected, the farmhand in charge of the stables refuses to lend them even a single horse, claiming that they are all being used for other work, despite Einar claiming that they have Pater’s permission. Pater is a former slave who bought his freedom from his master Ketil, much like Einar and Thorfinn are aiming to do.

Another farmhand arrives and is greeted politely by Thorfinn but ignored by Einar, leading to this farmhand comparing the slaves to livestock. He dislikes that they have been given a plot of land to clear, then farm and ultimately buy their own freedom, calling it insolence. He then leaves with other farmhands, taking a horse with them, but not before telling the two to do the work themselves.

Einar and Thorfinn start heading back to the forest, with the former saying he will have to talk to their master Ketil to borrow a horse, but Thorfinn says that the farmhands’ bullying will only get worse if they do. Einar replies that it could be years before they start farming at that rate, but Thorfinn seems indifferent, saying it is impossible to clear the land and start farming. Einar lightly pushes him and asks why he is so unmotivated when their freedom is on the line. Thorfinn finds it strange that someone like Einar, who eats poorly, has so much energy, while Einar finds it strange that Thorfinn has so little. Einar then repeats that they need a horse.

At that point, an old man working the field who overheard their conversation calls them closer and offers to lend them a horse to use for their purposes. He also asks their names. After being taken aback for a moment, Einar joyfully accepts before realizing he doesn’t know who the old man is and asks for his name.

The old man doesn’t answer and instead sets them to work. They help him clear his field of rocks, and he introduces himself as Sverkel. Sverkel tells them that they will keep working till all the rocks have been cleared from the field. The work, which requires them to remain bent over a lot, causes them back pain. Einar tries to ask Sverkel about the horse, but he simply tells them to follow him.

Thorfinn and Einar are then seen chopping his firewood, following which they are told to draw some water for him. Einar and Thorfinn, both of whom are unfamiliar with Sverkel, wonder about Sverkel. Einar asks if they are being exploited and if they will really get a horse to help them, to which Thorfinn points out that it is a regular occurrence for them as slaves. In turn, Einar points out that they are their master’s slaves, not Sverkels.

Sverkel, having overheard them again, this time from his window, says that this is a contract and that their circumstances are irrelevant. He will lend them a horse in exchange for them helping out with his chores.

The scene then shifts back to the forest, with Einar and Thorfinn clearing away the trees at a much faster rate with the help of a horse to uproot the stump. After some time passes, the small area they were working on is cleared of both trees and stumps, and Einar, in particular, expresses joy.

En route to Sverkel’s house to return his horse, Einar happily expresses that if things move at the same speed, they should be ready for sowing in the fall season. He muses if Sverkel will lend them a plow, wanting one with wheels. Thorfinn asks which seeds are planted in the fall, the answer to which is basic knowledge, so Einar is confused but responds with wheat. Thorfinn is in awe to learn that, and Einar asks if he has ever worked on a farm before.

Thorfinn responds he hasn’t, as no one in his home country had fields, and he was living the life of a warrior since he was a child, so he could never learn. Einar finds it difficult to imagine, saying that his mother and younger sister would be baffled too. He smiles fondly at the memory of them. He then tells Thorfinn that he can leave the farming to him as he’s done it before.

As they pass a field, the two retainers from before see them and ask where they got the horse from. Einar reveals that Sverkel lent them the horse, but the two don’t know who Sverkel is and brand Einar, a liar. The farmhand in charge of the stables says they don’t have a horse like the one before them, and Einar once again states that they borrowed it from Sverkel.

Sverkel is then described visually by Einar as a bald, old man. The two farmhands then realize he is the old master of the farm and that he is a cranky old man who couldn’t possibly have lent the horse to them. Sverkel is, in actuality Ketil’s father and still the most important man on the farm.

We then shift to Einar and Thorfinn, plowing the field with two horses. Noting the overcast weather, Einar says it will rain soon, so they should stop. Suddenly, he shouts at Thorfinn to stop, as the plow is stuck in the roots that survived despite them clearing the stumps. Einar realizes that they can’t dig too deep as they don’t want to ruin the borrowed plow. Thorfinn is in awe of the farm that they have created.

The two then go to return the plow and horses, the former of which is, according to Einar, an indication of Ketil’s being very rich. He further explains that eight families had to share one plow in his village. Thorfinn asks if tilling by hand instead of horse plowing is more difficult, something that Einar attests to himself. Thorfinn is in awe again, this time of the plow, as he believes it is an amazing invention and that it was created by a farmer who understood firsthand how hard the work was.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode Recap Ending Explained (2)

Einar then jokes that Thorfinn is like a big baby, with his almost complete lack of knowledge and how everything seems to be new to him. It then begins to rain.

The scene shifts to Sverkel’s home, where he is in the midst of an argument with his son Ketil. Ketil is worried about his father’s health as he had recently collapsed in the fields. It was a lucky escape as Snake, the leader of the mercenaries hired to guard the vast farmlands, was close by to help. Sverkel states that he would be quite happy to have died on the farm, to which Ketil counters that he is being foolish enough to live alone at his advanced age. Ketil further argues that his father can’t work in the fields anymore. Sverkel believes that he manages well enough and that his son shouldn’t interfere. He then points out their different thought processes, saying that they would argue too much if they were to live under the same roof.

Einar and Thorfinn are awkwardly standing outside the hut, and Ketil is surprised to see them there as he leaves. He gathers that Sverkel has been using them for something and reminds his father that they are his slaves and that he can’t use them as he pleases, and he can’t always do as he pleases. Sverkel then tells the two of them to enter and wash their clothes as they are soaked.

Einar wonders if Sverkel and Ketil don’t get along, and he then notices Snake. Thorfinn initially misunderstands him to mean a literal snake but then sees Snake, the mercenary, sprawled out fast asleep on a bed. He slept through the argument between father and son but shoots awake when he catches a whiff of Sverkel’s cooking. He notices the two near his bed and jokingly asks if they came to sleep in his bed with him.

At the dining table, Sverkell asks Snake if he isn’t ashamed to be eating so freely when all he does is sleep around during the day. Snake responds by revealing that thieves come at night and that him and his men keep the farm safe by patrolling. Because of that, he has no problem eating so brazenly. Sverkel then comments that they can’t possibly guard anything when they sneak into the homes of women around the farm, and Snake justifies this by saying that they are guarding the women in question from thieves. Sverkel says that Snake always has a cheeky comeback, and Snake says that Sverkel always has something to complain about.

Snake then invites Einar and Thorfinn, who have been quietly standing in the corner, to come and join them in eating. Sverkel agrees, saying that those who work deserve to eat. Einar interjects in the conversation and asks if thieves really come to this farm, which is affirmed by Snake, who says that the thieves are also armed. He continues that he and his mercenaries do genuinely work on the farm by keeping them safe, but Sverkel says that the amount that they pay them is approximately the same as what they would stand to lose to the thieves.

Sverkel then declares that as Nordic men, they need no protection, as they know how to fight with weapons, and the scene then cuts to weapons mounted on the wall. However, Snake asks the old man if he can actually fight at his age, also adding that the farm’s defenses in terms of fighters are too small for its large size. His thirteen men are constantly occupied by chasing away thieves, and he then says that fifty or sixty men could easily overrun the farm.

Turning to Thorfinn, Snake then asks him the same, seeking his affirmation, to which Thorfinn slowly replies that he wouldn’t know. Sverkel states that nothing more dangerous than thieves ever come to the farm, but Snake says one can never be too careful, and it would be too late to do anything if something did come. Sverkel says that he will never ask Snake or his mercenaries for help, no matter what comes to the farm.

Intrigued, Einar asks them why nothing stronger than thieves ever comes to the farm, and Sverkel reveals that Ketil sends tribute to King Harald twice a year, which grants Ketil and the farm his protection. Sverkel believes that peace bought with money is foolish, wondering why a farmer needs so much land that he can’t defend it himself. Snake, in turn, points out that practically it would take Harald’s army several days to arrive here, and he and his men are the ones who actually keep the farm safe.

Ignoring Snake, Sverkel carries on that nothing good comes off too much money, as the more you have, the more you are afraid of losing it. To calm their fears, those with money spend their money so that they can keep making more money. His son Ketil, whom he calls an idiot, hasn’t yet realized how fruitless it is. This leads Snake to comment that old men love lecturing people, and he notes that it has stopped raining. Snake then decides to go on patrol, and Sverkel tells him never to return to his home. Snake laughingly says that Sverkel would miss him if he didn’t come back, and Sverkels tells him to leave again.

Einar and Thorfinn are then walking back to the barn where they sleep, and both agree that Sverkel and Snake seem to get along better than Sverkel and Ketil, his actual son. Thorfinn says he learnt a lot on that day, with Einar jokingly congratulating him and calling him a big baby again. Thorfinn looks at farmland and the horizon, contemplating Sverkel’s warning about excessive wealth.

The duo is then seen working on the farm that they created, spreading the seeds. Einar tells Thorfinn to spread them more liberally as he was being too judicious, but Thorfinn reminds him that these seeds are all they have. Einar then asks him to trust him as they are friends, causing Thorfinn to pause for a moment, which surprises Einar, and he asks him if they are indeed friends. Thorfinn resumes spreading the seeds and declares that they are friends.

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6 Ending, Explained:

The previous episode was an action-packed and plot-heavy one with many noteworthy events. This episode, however, slows things down by returning to the farm with Einar and Thorfinn. In keeping with its character-heavy moments and arcs, we see some philosophy on wealth and what too much of it can do to a person. This is sure to be something our protagonists remember, Thorfinn in particular.

In more concrete terms, the relationships between Sverkel, Snake, and Ketil are important, as they might play a part at some point in this storyline. Similarly, the antagonistic relationship between Einar and the farmhands will also come to a head at some stage. Lastly, the friendly relationship between Einar and Thorfinn will likely continue to grow, and that might help Thorfinn completely regain his will to live.

Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6 Links – IMDb
Vinland Saga (Season 2), Episode 6 Cast – Yûto Uemura, Naoya Uchida, Mike Haimoto
Where to watch Vinland Saga

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