Last year, Ragnarok was one of the bigger teen dramas of the year; a surprising 6 episode offering that repackaged Norse mythology in an interesting but oftentimes under-utilized manner.
With teasing glimpses of action and a bombastic finale, the stage was set for an explosive follow-up to ensue. With a similar run-time but a heavier emphasis on teen drama and environmental issues, Ragnarok completely miss-fires in this second season.
Picking up where we left off, Ragnarok begins with Vidar promising revenge after surviving a vicious lightning strike from our God-in-training Magne. Yes, our teenager has now mastered how to use his powers and now he’s off to try and stop this impending war between Gods and giants from coming to fruition.
This comes in the form of wielding Mjolnir and assembling a team to go up against the mighty giants. Only, the show sidelines this coming war for a much heavier emphasis on teen drama and ensuing political scheming.
Specifically, the show centers on two bubbling conflicts that grow and evolve across the season. One is certainly more endearing than the other, revolving around Magnes’ brother Laurits and his eventual evolution into the trickster god Loki. This also sees a pretty prolific part of Norse mythology rear its reptilian head late on, but for spoiler purposes, we won’t divulge that here.
Elsewhere, a power struggle among Vidar and his family ensues. Fjor is disillusioned with life as a Giant and decides to make a go of it with Gry. Saxa too is tired of feeling like an outsider and begins to learn the ropes at Jutul Industries. However, environmentalist Morten promises to make that easier said than done, especially as it becomes clear that Vidar’s recklessness has led to serious water pollution.
Around these two main plot lines lie a pot of lukewarm subplots that are never really explored in that much detail. There’s some teasing glimpses of romance and potential action yet nothing ever really materializes. In fact, the show does include one major twist toward the midway point of the show, but it’s one that actually undermines the entire series and leaves a big hole that’s difficult to fill.
Magne’s journey this year is much more wishy-washy, with him struggling with the trials and tribulations of being a hero. This eventually culminates in him having second thoughts about his role… until he doesn’t. Added on top of that is a quest for Mjolnir, used as a macguffin to serve as the deciding factor in this battle against the Giants. After 6 episodes, there’s still no sign of this war arriving.
Yes, just like season 1, Ragnarok teases a bigger conflict to come but never pulls the trigger. Unlike American Gods, which relies on its hedonistic visuals and unpredictable story, Ragnarok instead stagnates into tired teen tropes that lack substance. It’s such a shame too because the show has glimmers of brilliance but these are fleeting at best.
And that is ultimately the biggest problem with Ragnarok. All the problems inherent with the first season are here too, accentuated through a couple of uninteresting subplots about corporation scheming and a half-baked war that’s no closer to coming to fruition. In fact, the show unironically ends with a similar scene to the first, with Magne thumping the heavens as a lightning bolt descends down. It’s one step forward and two steps back for this show.
Instead of capitalizing on a promising end to the first season, Ragnarok instead squanders its potential. It drags its feet through 6 episodes of uninteresting teen drama wrapped up in a glossy façade of Norse mythology that’s never fully realized outside of a few interesting characters.
Instead of bellowing to the heavens with an almighty Odin-like roar, Ragnarok instead whimpers and peters out with indifference, teasing for a third season that may or may not arrive.
Verdict - 4/10