‘Vikings’ Season 5: Episode 16 Recap, “The Buddha”

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 16, The Buddha, Ubbe, Bjorn Ironside, Gunnhild, Torvi

[Image via Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

Strap yourself in because tragedy has not spared this episode of Vikings!

Here’s what went down in Episode 16, entitled “The Buddha,” of History Channel’s Vikings Season 5.

Lagertha Is Still Missing And Bjorn Continues To Be A Manwhore

Episode 16 of Vikings Season 5 gives viewers a tantalising hint at Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) fate it is only to show her as she looks at Heahmund’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) body on the battlefield. The rest of her story is delivered in her son’s feeble attempt to work out what happened to her during the battle for Wessex.

Of course, he gets distracted because Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars) slaps him and that is hot AF as far as Bjorn is concerned.

However, he does manage to stop thinking with his lower deck head for long enough to decide the Vikings he is currently hanging around with are too Christian for his tastes and decides to join with King Harald (Peter Franzen). Although, there is a reason for this. He has decided that he wants to reclaim Kattegat from Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen). However, when Harald sees that Bjorn has already stolen the merchandise he was planning to pillage now that Olavsson (Tomi May) is dead, I think Bjorn’s life may be in even more danger than he realises.

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 16, The Buddha, King Alfred

[Image via Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

King Alfred Gets Sick And That Screws Everything Up

King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has finally stopped moving the bar when it comes to giving the Vikings their land originally promised to Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel). He publically gives Bjorn’s group the lands of East Anglia and they get to pay their new kingdom a visit.

He also has all of the traitors hanged.

But not Aethelred (Darren Cahill) because he saved Alfred on the battlefield and that is enough for him.

But, not for his mother, Judith (Jennie Jacques). Oh no, she wants to question Aethelred about his involvement. Aethelred insists that he had ample opportunity to off King Alfred in the recent plot against him.

While in East Anglia, Alfred falls ill and has to be rushed home.

This causes even more grief than you would imagine because Judith and Alfred have already had a heated discussion about what to do with Aethelred regarding the small case of treason he was mixed up in. Now, the Church is complaining that a sick king is a weak king and Aethelred is the only one that can calm them down.

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 14, The Lost Moment, Judith, King Alfred, and Aethelred

[Image via Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

Judith Does The Unspeakable

This makes Judith so nervous that she oversteps the mark and poisons Aethelred rather than allow him to control the Church in the way that he does.

I’ll give you a moment while you digest that information.

Yes, Judith poisons her own son rather than have the possibility of Aethelred being a liar and risking precious Alfred’s life. Because apparently being a shit parent like Ecbert (Linus Roache) was to Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford) is something Judith thinks is a good idea.

Judith monologues as Aethelred dies, about how Alfred is the best for England and that she doesn’t believe Aethelred has ever accepted Alfred as the king and that is why she has poisoned him.

She cries but, seriously, she can go the fuck to hell. Judith is dead to me now.

Really, she should have poisoned Aethelred’s wife, Ethelfled (Ann Skelly), because she is the one that truly isn’t Team Alfred.

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 16, The Buddha, Hvitserk

[Image via Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

Ivar Continues To Be An Arrogant Prick And Hvitserk Gets A New Religion

In Kattegat, Ivar has decided that he wants to go to England now so that he can gloat to Harald about how much Harald needs his help.

Hvitserk (Marco Ilso) is finding a new religion. This time, the religion is Buddhism after he discovers a man selling statues of the Buddha in the marketplace. Within what feels like no time at all, Hvitserk is spouting to Ivar about his new philosophy. Ivar responds by reminding Hvitserk about Margrethe (Ida Marie Nielsen) and what happens to crazy people in Kattegat.

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 16, The Buddha, Floki, Aud

[Image via Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

Things Get Worse In Iceland

Finally, in Iceland, the weather is worse than ever. While Floki’s (Gustaf Skarsgard) group is sitting down to a delicious meal of rotten fish, a knock on the door interrupts them.

They find Helgi ( (Jack McEvoy) outside and when he is brought inside, they discover that sickness has descended on all of Eyvind’s (Kris Holden-Reid) group except for Helgi. Lucky there was someone left to make the journey back to Floki’s group and ask for help…

While Floki isn’t convinced at first, Ketill (Adam “Edge” Copeland) convinces him to help the group.


Because this storyline hasn’t already been done to death in Season 5 of Vikings. *rolls eyes*


Vikings returns on Wednesday, January 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. History Channel provides the following synopsis for Episode 17 (titled “The Most Terrible Thing”).

“An unexpected turn amongst the settlers leaves Floki powerless. King Alfred confronts Judith. In York, Bjorn must strike a deal with Harald. Wessex is once again threatened by a Viking force, but who will lead the Saxon army to defend the Realm?”

You can purchase episodes of Season 5 of Vikings here. Season 4, Volume 2 (Episodes 11-20) of History Channel’s Vikings is now available for purchase here. Volume 1 (Episodes 1-10) is available here. (These are affiliate links.)

Also, if you have watched tonight’s episode and are missing the old tales of Lagertha and Ragnar, why not check out my current series, Vikings Secrets. This is a fictional retelling of the classic Viking sagas surrounding Ragnar and the women who loved him.

You can find out more about this exciting series here.

[Featured Image by Jonathan Hession / History Channel]

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