There is Still Hope -Vinland Saga S2 Ep 8 Review

Thorfinn discovers there may be more to life than just killing despite feeling so empty inside. The farmhands destroy wheat Thorfinn and Einar planted.

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8 was beautiful and honestly, it has to be my favorite from this season thus far.

Read Last Week’s Episode Review.

Farmhands Destroy Einar and Thorfinn’s Wheat

Jealous farmhands destroy Einar and Thorfinn's planted wheat on Ketil's farm
Jealous farmhands destroy Einar and Thorfinn’s planted wheat on Ketil’s farm

I loved the cinematography in this episode and its use of color to denote the mental and emotional states of our characters. I’m going to go a little out of order in this review, so let’s start with the bad before we get to the good.

The farmhands are jealous of Einar’s ability to grow wheat and his sheer love for farming. Feeling like Ketil has created an unequal balance of power relative to their Norse society standards, they take it upon themselves to “put the slaves in their place” so to speak.

Einar’s rage at not only the destruction of their wheat, but the fact that the farmhands meticulously dug out each and every single wheat sprout by hand so that it wouldn’t survive hurt him. To be completely honest, it hurt me as well.

I didn’t get much into this in my last review, but gardening, farming, and planting are all deeply spiritual things. I can’t really explain it well but being outside and working the land with your hands makes time fly by. Seeing your plants come up one by one, and fight for their survival is a marvelous thing to behold.

It’s like you have been given a front seat to the creator’s divine plan for all of us here on earth and beyond. So for somebody to intentionally snuff out the life, the spirit in those plants that was born and would have grown to be strong and hearty – is inherently evil.

Einar’s line about the farmhands having no respect even for their crops is true.

If you loved what you were planting you could never do such a thing. I’ve mentioned off and on for years now that I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life. It brought me so much joy last spring and summer to be outside each and every day in my backyard growing crops from seed and caring for them.

During the time I had planted my peas and green beans for the fall, somebody had thrown things they should not have in my yard. The object almost hit me in the head while I was trying to just vibe and be at peace one afternoon. In a fit of anger, I threw the object back over the fence and went inside.

That night, my green beans and peas that were almost ready for harvest were ripped out by their roots and scattered all across the bed they were in.

If it was a squirrel or animal, they would have gnawed at the roots or ripped it in half. Someone had come and pulled all of my plants up and left them for me to see. This continued on, as each day before it got cold, I went and checked on my remaining tomatoes on the branches.

One day just before they were ripe, somebody came again in the night and cut my tomato branches that bore the fruit off, and laid them neatly on the ground right in front of the plant.

Those were my babies, the first ever successful tomato plants that I grew from seed. They were almost as tall as me in their moderate pots – nearly 5 feet tall and strong.

I cut down branches from trees in my woodsy yard to make their trellises. I sang to the seeds and played lo-fi music while they grew. I sat with a fan and made sure they got air so that they would be strong against a rouge breeze. I went out in the rain, during heat waves, and during wind storms to protect, shelter, and monitor them.

I concocted all kinds of home remedies to alleviate their pest problems and talked to one plant in particular that wanted to die, but didn’t thanks to the attention I showed it.

From February until September I cared for those plants each and every day – just for somebody to chop it up in the middle of the night and trample the Okra growing alongside it in the ground.

There is seriously something wrong with “people” who would do such things to plants.

We have cameras now at my house, and all of my spring and summer seedlings are currently under dome lids and in water bottles in the room I’m typing in because I will not be deterred. I even planted doubles to account for possible tampering if this situation persists until the time of outdoor planting.

I didn’t mean to go on a long tangent with this story, but I just wanted to explain that I fully understand the sheer rage Einar must have felt in his heart after seeing his wheat destroyed.

At times planting seeds and caring for the nature that grows around you feels like an act of prayer.

Seeing my plants destroyed hurt me to my core – and it is something I will never forgive for as long as I live. I know Einar most likely will never forgive those farmhands, either.

The Dream Thorfinn Can’t Remember

“You Have No Enemies, Thorfinn.”          

Thorfinn keeps having a dream that he is falling down a chasm into a dark abyss.

Thorfinn sees the ghost of Askeladd amongst the trees - trying to remind him of something he's long forgotten
Thorfinn sees the ghost of Askeladd amongst the trees – trying to remind him of something he’s long forgotten

Now whether or not the dark abyss is called ‘revenge’ or the ‘life of a warrior’, is yet to be seen. I really liked that Einar now just quietly sits and watches Thorfinn have his nightmares, looking quite tired himself and drained from the experience.

Thorfinn opening up to Einar while they were fixing the roof of Sverkel’s home and realizing that he has no life skills other than warfare or killing almost hurt to see. The realization that he wasted years of his life following Askeladd in an attempt at revenge for a father whose words he can barely remember must be utterly devastating.

It probably hurt even more for Thorfinn to realize that he doesn’t even hate Askeladd anymore. Askeladd’s silhouette being in the forest trees as Thorfinn walks with Einar was a very nice touch. Almost as if the ghost of Askeladd’s presence is still influencing Thorfinn’s life even today – even if he does feel utterly empty.

Sverkel Tries to Give Thorfinn Hope

Did you guys know that the “teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime” quote isn’t even from the bible, but apparently is a Chinese proverb?

Sverkel teaches Thorfinn and Einar how to fish one nice day
Sverkel teaches Thorfinn and Einar how to fish one nice day

That blew my mind when I was looking it up to reference in this review earlier.

Anyway, Sverkel decides to take Einar and Thorfinn fishing to teach them a new life skill. It was pretty obvious the old man would be eavesdropping on a conversation the two were having on his portion of the farm – since Sverkel eavesdropping is how they came to work for him in the first place.

I liked how hopeful and full of color that scene was. That Sverkel’s instruction to Thorfinn about “throwing the net in a different place” while fishing had a dual meaning. That his words about needing to try to change your life also had a dual meaning.

It was very subtle, but powerful dialogue that I hope Thorfinn takes to heart.

I know eventually Thorfinn does get really into farming despite not reading the manga. It should be fun to see what type of person he becomes once he finally achieves peace.

I know I wouldn’t mind just being surrounded by trees and forest for as far as the eye could see.

A peaceful place where nobody was around for miles and I wouldn’t have to sit and watch my property continually be destroyed like I’ve had to do every single day for the past few years. It gets so tiring, you know?

Anyway, enough of me rambling – tell me your thoughts!

Even though things seem grim for Thorfinn right now and he feels empty, hope is always on the horizon
Even though things seem grim for Thorfinn right now and he feels empty, hope is always on the horizon

Do you think Thorfinn will use farming to fill the void hatred left inside his body?

Will Einar ever forgive the farmhands?


How will Einar deal with Arnheid never being able to receive her freedom?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode Reviews and Discussions!    


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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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