Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16

Arnheid and Gardar’s Second Chance

Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16 was a great episode. It had a bit of everything. There was drama, development, and action all in one. Now, that doesn’t mean I think it was the best episode of the series. But, you can’t ask for much more.

So, at the start of the episode, we focus on Arnheid. Apparently, she did cut the ropes binding Gardar in Episode 15. I didn’t think that was the case. I assumed Arnheid froze in fear and didn’t help him. But, it turns out that she did help him.

This is important for 2 reasons. First, it means that she still cares about him and isn’t necessarily afraid of him. And she tells Einar and Thorfinn as much later on. While she admits that he’s not the same person who left for war, she says she wishes they could have a new life together.

Arnheid crying from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16
Arnheid crying

The second reason this is important is that it means Arnheid is partly to blame for a few deaths. After releasing Gardar, he proceeded to kill multiple of Snake’s men. And it seemed pretty clear that Arnheid blames herself for that. She doesn’t want anyone to die.

But, as she explained, the reason she released Gardar was that she feared for their lives. She feared Snake’s men would kill both of them. So, with that in mind, I wouldn’t say Arnheid is at fault here. Gardar is the one who chose to kill those men, not her.

Now, will we see Arnheid’s dream come true? Will she be able to raise her baby with Gardar? Even considering the next episode preview, I’m betting the answer is no. I still think Gardar is going to die. And when he does, Einar is going to raise that child.

Snake Is Running from War

As I’ve been saying for a few weeks now, Snake is in the process of converting to Christianity. With Episode 16, we now know why that is. He’s in a similar situation to Thorfinn. Both men are coming to terms with their violent pasts.

But, there are still some major differences between the two of them. For starters, Snake hasn’t completely given up violence as Thorfinn has. He still works as a bodyguard and carries a sword. However, we’ve now seen that Snake’s future could be much closer to Thorfinn’s.

Sverkel is very observant. He’s been around the block a few times. He’s seen things. And he knows when a man is running from his past. That’s exactly what he believes Snake is doing — and he calls Snake out on this. Sverkel points out Snake’s sword isn’t from the area.

Snake reacting to Sverkel offering his farm from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16
Snake reacting to Sverkel offering his farm

So, why does where Snake’s sword come from matter? The implication here is that Snake was originally a soldier from a different country. And if that’s the case, why is he now working as a bodyguard on a peaceful farm? Because he wanted to get away from war.

Picking up on this, Sverkel offers Snake a deal. In exchange for Snake laying down his sword, Sverkel will give Snake his farm. He can’t work the farm anymore and he’s going to die soon anyway. So, he’s choosing to give Snake the farm, and with it an opportunity for a peaceful life.

Of course, Snake doesn’t take Sverkel up on this offer. But, we saw that he actually thought about it for a moment. He was taken aback when Sverkel told him to lay down his sword. And although he reacted negatively, it’s clear he considered Sverkel’s proposition.

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Thorfinn’s Great Purpose

At the end of the episode, Thorfinn seems to have found his titular “Great Purpose.” Yes, Thorfinn already vowed to be a pacifist from now on. But, he’s now realizing that there are times when you need to fight. And one of those times is when you’re protecting someone else.

However, just to be clear, that doesn’t mean Thorfinn is ever going to kill someone again. Fighting doesn’t equate to killing. Sure, he’s going to fight Snake in the next episode. But, he has no intention of killing Snake. All he wants to do is stop Snake from killing Gardar.

How is this going to affect Snake, though? Will Thorfinn be able to stop him? Will he be able to save Snake from the burden of taking another life? I don’t have the answers. And I’m curious to find out how this is all going to go down.

Thorfinn preparing to fight Snake from the anime series Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16
Thorfinn preparing to fight Snake

One of the things I’ve said I like about Vinland Saga is how each character has a unique story. They’ve all been affected by war in different ways. But, do the similarities between Thorfinn’s and Snake’s situations go against that? Hasn’t war affected them in the same way?

Not quite. They’re already different because of their current situations. Snake appears to have fled from war while Thorfinn became indifferent — which is why he’s now a slave. Additionally, we need to think about where their character arcs are going to go from here.

We know Thorfinn wants to devote his life to saving people and promoting peace. Snake is going to take a different path. He might take over Sverkel’s farm or he might kill Gardar and lose himself in despair. I could see either happening. But, even if he becomes a farmer, Canute is coming.


What do you think of Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16? Did you expect that Arnheid freed Gardar? Where do you think Snake is originally from? And, how do you see his character arc ending? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 17 is available now.

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2 Replies to “Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 16”

  1. Yes, I did suspect that Arnheid freed Gardar. There was no way Gardar could have killed 5 men while restrained.

    I have no idea where Snake is from.

    As for Snake’s arc, I can see him laying down his sword like Sverkel proposed to him if Thorfinn can stop the invasion through non-violent means, like challenging Thorkell to a duel and using the land to defeat him. I don’t know whether that’s how things will go, but alternatively, Thorfinn could challenge Canute as well, someone he’d definitely win against, but that would kill all the tension, so I’m leaning towards Thorfinn challenging Thorkell to a duel and actually winning for once due to using what he learned from farming.

    1. I assumed Gardar cut his own restraints using the weapon of the first soldier who attacked him. At the time, it didn’t look to me like Arnheid wanted to free him.

      Also, I feel like the soldier we see in the OP cutting down enemies is supposed to be Snake. So, I’m hoping that before his arc is up, we get an episode dedicated to his backstory. I want to know who he was before and why he decided to leave and become a guard on a quiet farm.

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