Last year Vikings was a surprise hit from History. Now it is returning with the "newness" removed and a time slot on Thursday nights. This time slot may prove more fearsome than any enemy these Norsemen might face. Luckily History believes in airing shows over and over each week.
The first episode takes up just where the last episode ended. Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is involved in a battle against his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) and Rollo's ally Jarl Borg (Thorbjorn Harr). Ragnar has King Horik (Donal Logue) on his side so the two armies are fairly well matched. This battle will affect events that occur throughout the season.
During this new season there will be a leap in time of four years. The main effect of this jump will be the chance to see Ragnar's son Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) go from being a young teenager to a much older one. All of the other characters miraculously look the same age after the time leap.
Ragnar is certainly the central character in the show but there is a trio of strong women who influence his life in many ways. First there is his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick). She is a warrior herself and can stand beside Ragnar in battle as an equal. Then there is Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), a woman Ragnar impregnated when off on one of his travels. Finally there is Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), the wife of one of Ragnar's enemies who is now deceased. She has managed to imbed herself in Ragnar's home and is one who could be his undoing.
There are other characters too numerous to mention who inhabit Ragnar's world. They all add something to the plot and make an impression from time to time. It takes some study on the part of the viewer to keep them all defined. Some are more easily identified than others.
Still it is Fimmel's Ragnar who dominates the show. He is not your average hero as he can be kind in one moment and vicious in the next. These are barbarians after all and they are ruthless in battle. Still because of Fimmel's innate likeability viewers are inclined to forgive Ragnar his trespasses.
The texture of the show is once again impressive as the landscape projects the look of Scandinavia where the story is set. It also helps that this is a new world in a sense as these times and people have not been the setting or source for other shows in the past.
Vikings is a raw look at a specific period of time and a definite group of people. It is all believable and exciting week after week. This may make it a bit too much for casual viewers who do not like the violence this series projects, but for those willing to absorb the blows this is a TV series unlike anything else you will see at this time.
Vikings airs Thursday nights at 10 on the History.
Jackie K Cooper, www.jackiekcooper.com