April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Vikings: Valhalla “The Web Of Fate”

Season Two, Episode One

Hey, the Netflix sequel-series to Vikings came back.  I kinda dug it before.  Will I enjoy season two as much?

Maybe.  I don’t know.  Only one way to find out!

So, a quick review:  the original Vikings was a show that gradually grew on me, but I think it ran too long.  It obviously didn’t have a huge budget but made due with what it had, and it made up for it with charismatic actors in the various roles.  But as those original actors’ characters were killed off since the series’s timeline covered a few decades and they all were growing older and the plots always seemed a little too stretched out when what had been ten episode seasons were forced to cover twenty, well, it probably ran too long.  The newer one from Netflix, set long after the end of the previous series, has an obviously bigger budget, more nuanced characters–I’m actually interested in the characters living in England for the first time!–and a more intriguing plot.  The only thing it doesn’t have is the sort of interesting characters that I liked so much before.

Still, I was more than pleased to see more episodes are back as Netflix apparently has committed to a full three season run.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I saw this show.  What’s happening since Kattegat fell, like, twice in the final episode, once to blatant bad guy Olaf and then to the invading Forkbeard?

Well, Olaf isn’t dead.  He’s, well, maybe wishing he was.  Forkbeard captured him and, rather than kill him, essentially took Olaf’s own son hostage to force Olaf to protect Forkbeard’s grandson Svein Knutsson, the teenager Forkbeard just installed as the regent of Kattegat.  Queen Ælfgifu is there too, and she has problems with the whole thing since part of this was Olaf’s idea and it bombed.

But if Olaf is good at one thing, it’s that he can find scapegoats to solve his own political problems.  His half-brother Harald, he who thinks he is the rightful king of Norway, he’s on the run with his lover Freydis.  All Olaf has to do it just go out, say Harald is raising an army of pagans to murder all the Christians, and he can put a bounty on both their heads.  Lief, Freydis’s brother, is hanging around town, looking for an opening to take out Olaf himself, and since that ain’t coming, he can instead head out on his own and warn Freydis and Harald.

Freydis, meanwhile, is not only pregnant, but she’s seeing visions of the Eyeless Seer Dude, the only character from the original series still hanging around, but he’s basically a ghost, so that’s OK.

That actually helps out when Lief finds them as does this guy from town, Jorundr.  Jorundr could be a fan like he say, or he could be lying.  He isn’t lying.  Freydis saw his tattoo during her conversation with the Eyeless Seer Dude.  He’s a traditionalist helping pagan refugees flee Olaf, and when Olaf’s people find the party on the beach with a bunch of unarmed civilians, well…it’s good to have seafaring pirates with fireball-chucking catapults on their ships.  These are Freydis’s kinda people, so she’ll go with them.

Harald and Lief, meanwhile, are going to see if Harald’s uncle will help him gain his rightful throne.

Yeah, none of these characters are really grabbing me, but the story sure works.

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