Ariana St. Pierre – Arts Editor
Season two of the hit History Channel show “Vikings” is back, better and bloodier than ever. The season’s premiere episode entitled, “Brother’s War,” dives directly into the conflicts that concluded the season one finale. It packs so many character shifts and drags the viewer on an emotional roller coaster.
The premiere opens with a bloody battle between brothers Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and Rollo (Clive Standen). Lives are lost and when it comes time for Rollo to attack his younger brother Ragnar, he cannot bring himself to do so and lays down his axe.
This opening scene was meant to be a big showdown between the brothers. We certainly got some action with beautifully choreographed battle sequences that didn’t rely heavily on CGI. The scene of course was bloody displaying a one-eyed Viking being scoured and lifted in the air on a spear by Rollo. It was an incredible cruel act that gave the viewer a glimpse into Rollo’s mind. He is bloodthirsty, jealous, and regretful.
However Rollo’s quick submission to Ragnar felt abrupt. There was a lot of tension building to this battle and it didn’t feel like a full out war but rather an over done sibling quarrel. In the end Ragnar brings his brother home in shackles where he pays off the Law Maker to release him. It was fairly easy and quickly resolved which made it a tad unbelievable.
There were several individual moments in the premiere that were touching, like Ragnar’s beautiful moment of grief when he sits by the sea and mourns his daughter’s death but even this scene felt a little hasty. It needed to be addressed but didn’t dive too deeply into the grief of what it’s like to lose a child. It was touching but not too intricate, taking away some sentimental value.
In the season one finale Ragnar’s son Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) informed his mother, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), of her husband’s indiscretions with Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), resulting in her pregnancy. After Ragnar insults Lagertha with the notion of a double marriage she decides it is time for her to move on. According to the history books Ragnar did marry Aslaug so of course the season needed to go there.
It was admirable of Lagertha to stand up for herself and leave. Ragnar’s goodbye was moving and heartbreaking as his eldest son chose his mother over him. One would think that because of the importance he places on family that Ragnar would have fought a little harder for his family instead of watching them ride away.
“Brother’s War” sped through some of last season’s biggest conflicts but it certainly set up a new season of fresh and intriguing storylines. It will be worth seeing how Langertha will handle being on her own and how Bjorn will develop. Of course the future raids on England are something to look forward to. The shows greatest strength is its ability to give the viewers a glimpse into what the Viking world may have looked like. Season two will be bolder and bloodier for viewers and absolutely worth the watch. “Vikings” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.