Following the death of Ragnar Lothbrok his sons attempt to forge a new era of Viking dominance but competing ambitions get in the way and soon they find themselves at odds hurtling towards one epic battle.
Mr O and I were huge fans of Vikings but at some point, I think when Little O was quite small, we stopped watching it. I think it was possibly too complicated for the sleepless parents of a small human to follow. Recently we were looking for something exciting but familiar to watch so we decided to pick up where we had left off. This turned out to be halfway through season four. It seemed a bit weird to review a season where I couldn’t remember the first part in much detail so I have decided to start with volume one of season five. For those who don’t know, Vikings delivers its seasons in two ten episode parts so this is part one of season five.
With Ragnar nothing more than a legend, remaining five sons must decide their new course. Their revenge on East Anglia is complete, which leaves them with divided loyalties and different ideas on what to do next. Ivar (Alex Høgh), Ragnar’s disabled, youngest son craves power and has a ruthless ambition to rule. What he lacks in physical strength he makes up for with his wits, which makes him a strategic force to be reckoned with. Eldest, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) shares his father’s wanderlust and takes off on an adventure with Halfdan, the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen) that will take the Kattegat Vikings further than they have ever been. Seccond son, Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) finds it hard to decide if he should align with Bjorn or Ivar. And Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) doesn’t know which side is up.
If that wasn’t enough, Lagertha’s (Kathryn Winnick) Kattegat is under threat from King Harald Finehair (Peter Franzén), who isn’t above some wife stealing. The English are ready to take back what was stolen from them with the help of some rather bonkers warrior knights. And if anyone was wondering where Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) had gone… well he’s off discovering Iceland.
I love Vikings because it has everything… epic battles, mysticism, romance, sex, politics, inner turmoil, intrigue. It’s just a super exciting show that gives you an insight into what may have happened in the past that shaped the world we live in… because the Vikings really did get around. I worried that the death of Ragnar would leave a void but for the most part the sons are great at filling the gap. Ivar, in particular is such an interesting character. I enjoyed watching Lagertha trying to keep hold of the power she had finally won for herself and seeing Bjorn finally escape from under his father’s shadow. The final episode of the half is one of the most creative big battle scenes I have ever watched (Game of Thrones could have learned some lessons here) and I was left intrigued to find out what would follow this epic clash between brothers.
It’s not perfect though. John Rhys-Myers’ Bishop Heahmund was just painful. The man cannot act his way out of a paper bag and he always ruins every scene he is in. I find it very strange how the female characters don’t seem to physically age at all. Lagertha looks younger than Bjorn and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) looks about sixteen despite having a teenaged son herself. We can handle women ageing onscreen. Stop it. While Floki’s step to mystic prophet after the traumatic death of Helga seemed absolutely plausible and logical, I found the scenes from his new world really boring and I could have done without them.
I can’t wait to see what happens in the second half of the season and I am particularly looking forward to seeing young King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) come into his own.