Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: An Empty Man

In the eighth episode of ‘Vinland Saga’ season 2 titled ‘An Empty Man,’ Thorfinn shares his spiritual and existential dilemma with Einar. Sverkel overhears their conversation and offers an interesting perspective on the problem that can help Thorfinn deal with his inner turmoil. When the slave duo later return to their crops, they are shocked to learn that wheat crops have been uprooted. This leads to a violent confrontation between the retainers, Thorfinn and Einar.

Sverkel Offers Thorfinn Important Advice

Thorfinn wakes up suddenly one morning because of his nightmares and finds Einar next to him. This time, Thorfinn does remember some parts of his dream. Later that day, Einar tells his friend that he was shouting Askeladd’s name in his sleep. Thorfinn finally tells Einar that Askeladd is actually his father’s killer and he has spent most of his life living with the desire to take revenge on him for the murder. But now that Askeladd is himself dead, Thorfinn feels empty and purposeless.

It seems that this purposelessness or lack of meaning in life has made him apathetic to most situations. Before they could discuss the problem anymore, Sverkel takes the duo to the beach for fishing. He teaches them how he catches fish and asks the duo to try as well. It turns out that he has overheard their conversation and feels obliged to share his perspective on the situation as well. While Thorfinn’s existential and spiritual crisis is naturally quite complicated, Sverkel feels that it also offers a lot of opportunity.

He thinks that someone who is empty also has the potential to be reborn since they can become anything or anyone. This flexibility is naturally not accessible for people who already have some purpose or meaning in life. Einar appears to agree with this perspective and when Thorfinn asks him, he reveals that he thinks that people do have the capacity to change if they want. This applies to Thorfinn as well, who has already changed a lot over the years and become quite pacifistic.

Why Do Einar and Thorfinn Fight With the Retainers?

When Einar and Thorfinn return to their crops one day, they are shocked to find that the wheat crops have been deliberately uprooted by someone. Einar mentions that wheat generally is a hardy crop and the culprits knew that too, that is why they went as far as going to the roots of the crop to ensure that the duo was left hopeless. It does not take Einar much time to realize that the retainers are probably behind all of this. He can barely control his anger and immediately stands up to exact revenge.

Thorfinn knows that Einar is furious and can do anything in his present state of mind, therefore he tries to calm him down. But Einar gets angry at his friend too as he feels that Thorfinn is not even mad about what just happened to them. He seems to be in a mood to kill the retainers but Thorfinn feels that it would not be an appropriate punishment for the crime. Thorfinn reminds Einar that he was the kind of man who would plunder and destroy when he was younger, so if the retainers deserve to die then he should be killed a hundred times over.

Eventually, the two of them approach Pater with the case, who patiently listens to their story. He assures them that he will investigate the case and asks the duo to leave the field to them since the culprits may have dropped some evidence there. Pater then explains that he too used to be a slave once and knows how hard it can be sometimes. It turns out that he has been discriminated against and bullied as well so he can empathize with Thorfinn and Einar’s pains.

Assured that they will get justice, Thorfinn and Einar are walking back for some rest when they accidentally cross paths with the retainers. Einar confronts them about the wheat crops case and one of them mocks the duo by claiming that the crops grown by slaves are not worthy of consumption. This just pushed Einar to the point that he tries to punch the man. But before he could do that, Thorfinn strikes and breaks the retainer’s jaw. A fight between the rest of the retainers and the slave duo soon breaks out that goes out of control.

Read More: Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 7 Recap and Ending, Explained