Eye for an Eye
Answers in Blood
The Lord’s Prayer
Picking up where it left off last year, the second season of Vikings delivers another excellent 10 episodes of entertainment. With more battles, an extra dose of treachery and a host of new and returning characters, Vikings builds on the foundation set last year and manages to excel in every area. There’s a much bigger emphasis on the supporting cast around lead character Ragnar this time too and the excellent writing in the show, weaving the various character subplots with the larger plot line, helps Vikings stands out as one of the best historical shows on the market right now.
The main plot line from last year spills over to the first episode before jumping forward 4 years and starting a new chapter in the Vikings’ lives. Most of this second season sees Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), King Horik (Donal Logue) and Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr) fighting with and against each other in a bloody, violent feud that sees its resolution during the climactic episode of the season. There’s a return to England too, this time to Wessex instead of Northumbria and once there, fighting inevitably breaks out. Another alliance in England sees Ragnar and his crew facing a foe stronger than any they’ve ever faced in a climactic, heart racing battle toward the end of the season. Despite the action packed season and numerous battles that stand out, its ultimately the way Vikings focuses on its characters that help make it such an endearing show.
The characters are ultimately what sets Vikings apart from other shows and there’s a great use of characterisation used to flesh out all the characters. The blurred lines between right and wrong makes it difficult to discern whether Ragnar and the other characters’ actions are heroic or villainous and because of this, Vikings is all the stronger for it. There are of course fabrications but on the whole, the historical accuracy for this time period is excellent. There are numerous juxtapositions shown here in a contrasting viewpoint between the English and the Norsemen. The attitude toward sex, wedding rituals and of course the Gods themselves are explored in more detail this year that help to really bring you into the world and believe you’ve living during that time period.
With more battles this year, the choreography and camera work is again outstanding. Thick chunks of mud fly through the air, blood soaked faces wince in pain and a great combination of long and quick cuts accentuate the action at every turn. The chaotic way these scenes are depicted are so well shot, in many ways they rival that of Game Of Thrones at times. Coupled with an adrenaline-fuelled soundtrack, its during these battles that Vikings really comes into its own.
The second season of Vikings improves in every area and delivers 10 excellent, bloody episodes of entertainment. With deeper characterisation, a returning methodical pace and numerous well shot battles throughout the season, Vikings is an excellent historical show that really comes into its own this year. There’s more emphasis put on the supporting cast too with well written subplots for each. There’s an interesting exploration into morality too and much of this season revolves around this making it difficult to discern whether Ragnar’s actions are good or bad, which helps Vikings stand out. Vikings is simply a very good show, improving in every area and delivering a continuation into the lives of the first Norsemen. If you enjoyed the first season, you really owe it to yourself to continue watching as Vikings could well be one of the best historical shows on TV today.
Verdict - 8.5/10