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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands Season One, Episode Elven
And it's war! Unfortunately this episode is absolutely anticlimactic but at this point, I don't expect better from Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. Abrecan is surrounded by the people of Bregan and of course his Wolfling allies and plots the best way to attack Herot. Already there are frays in the alliance about what is the best way to approach Herot. Rheda, having escaped her brother is back in Herot and her first action is to question Slean about his role in the uprisings. A guilty Slean cannot look into his mother's eyes and she demands Hrothgar's sword be taken from him and then demands his arrest.
Thanks to Slean's betrayal, Herot's closest allies are too far away to be of any real aid. Compounding the issue, they don't have enough Huscarla to defeat Abrecan's army. Under Slean's direction, the people of Herot have been training but they are absolutely the last line of defense and certainly no match for a Wolfling army. It's Beowulf who suggests reaching out to the Varni but Rheda is convinced that any messenger from her will immediately be murdered because she threw the Varni out of the alliance of clans. Varr to the rescue. As Varni, Varr believes that he can get Rate to listen to Rheda's pleas.
Elvina heads to visit Slean in jail and assures him that because he didn't judge her, she won't judge him. Elvina then takes off to the woods and finds the mudborn who she has been feeding and warns it away because war is coming. Razzak has been waiting for her and declares that while he doesn't want to be enemies, he wants to know why it is that Elvina seems to have taken sides with the humans against her own kind. Elvina being Elvina, does her peacenik routine.
Varr and Beowulf arrive at the Varni land only to find that Hane is already there. Seeing as how both sides want the Varni, Rate says that his people are happy to let Herot and Bregan fight it out and then swear loyalty which ever side wins. Rate's supposed neutrality is actually a death sentence to Herot and he's astute enough to know that. Varr then demands his right to be heard as a member of a Varni which means he has to right Rate's champion. Unfortunately, the fight is way too short but Varr emerges victorious. Instead of asking Rate to send Varni warriors to defend Herot, he simply asks Rate to read Rheda's letter. Rate reads Rheda's entreaty but it doesn't sway him. Beowulf decides to head back to Herot to see what he can do to help, thankful that at least they still have Varr, It's time for Beowulf to look confused because it seems that now that Varr has killed the Varni champion, he is responsible for supporting the man's family and cannot leave. With a sad smile, Varr hopes that he will find living with the Varni better the second time around.
Arla heads to see Slean, interrupting his bought of self pity. With everything that he has done, Slean was actually wallowing in his daddy issues. Arla wants to help and is quick to follow Slean's suggestion that she find a way to get Argat to come and see him. Arla manages to track down Argat, but with everything going down, he doesn't have time to talk to a pubescent girl, until she invokes her position. Arla argues that despite what he has done, Slean really cares about the Huscarla and has proven it with his washing of a Huscarla's body. Argat goes to see Slean and actually frees him so that Slean can fight with his men. A gloating Arla sees Rheda and informs her that Slean has been set free. Rheda is not the least bit impressed but Arla argues that Slean deserves the right to die in battle and cleanse his honour.
The Huscarla with Vishka in tow head to the bridge to confront Abrecan. Slean swaggers onto the bridge and calls out his uncle. Slean tells his uncle to ether take his men and go home or join in the defense of Herot because once the Wolflings have what they want, they will set him aside. All Abrecan can see is power and is unwilling to give up having come this far. The two men have a small fight but because Abrecan is wounded, he is no match for Slean. Abrecan slinks back to his warriors, as Slean gives his men the Friday night lights speech. The Huscarla manage to fight off the first round of volleys and then Argat promptly knocks Slean unconscious, demanding Slean be taken back to Heort because he will be their future leader. Argat also orders Vishka be taken back as well and she is not in the least bit impressed but given how Vishka has reacted anytime real violence threatens her, he probably saved a few Huscarla with this decision. Draven, being the youngest Huscrala is ordered to accompany Slean and Vishka.
I know that I was supposed to feel tension about the upcoming battle but for that to happen, I would have had to care about any of these characters. At times, episode eleven was absolutely incomprehensible. What exactly was the point of sending Varr to the Varni without having him actively enlist Rate's help? What was the point of having Elvina visit Slean? What was the point of Arla gloating that Slean had been freed to probably die, given that her death would follow shortly after the moment Herot got over run? What was with the confused look which seemed to live on Beowulf's face this entire episode? What was the point of Slean calling out his uncle in a battle he couldn't hope to win? Finally what the ever loving fuck was the the point of any of it?