Vikings is back for its second season this year and after spending a considerable amount of time last week watching season 1 of Vikings I am now steam rolling through season 2. The first episode of the season is called Brother’s War and continues upon the the plot that was left unfinished at the end of the first season. It’s a much more slower episode that I thought it would be and really focuses on the internal relationships and quarrels in Ragnar’s Vikings world.
Caution: Spoiler’s in the episode discussion below
The episode starts off quite well with a very menacing scene of Rollo riding a horse and leading Jarl Borg’s (Thorbjørn Harr) army to go and meet and defeat Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and King Horik’s (Donal Logue) forces. The episode is titled mainly due to this scene “Brother’s War” because that is essentially what has occurred. Rollo (Clive Standon) if you remember from last season betrayed Ragnar and sided with Jarl Borg’s forces with the hope of taking over and becoming great.
The battle scene in the opening of this episode is actually quite good and I spent the majority of the time hoping that most of the characters I do like survive this battle (especially Floki) as there isn’t such a large main cast so I was glad nobody really important or major was killed off. But in first viewing I was worried that it would be the end of Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård).Some of the leaping moments had people like Rollo jumping up super high and swinging his axe at everyone which was great to watch.The style of the fight scenes is also something I’ve enjoyed since season 1 with a a very realistic feel and look to them. I’m glad the show has done this as removing quite a lot of the CGI that’s so common nowadays has really led to the increase in realism in everything in this show.
After the initial battle is over the war is then over. The battle is a good season opener for Vikings but it isn’t really what the episode is about. The episode is more about the Vikings needing a reason to focus externally rather than internally and providing a reason for Ragnar to be able to convince everyone to go back west and raid more of England. This will give the Vikings more land that they can farm and hopefully stop in fighting like what has been happening with King Horik and Jarl Borg.
After the battle Ragnar and everyone go home. but we are greeted by another surprise for Rangar in his life with the return of Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) who is now pregnant with his child. This causes all types of issues for Ragnar and his family, Lagertha is not happy at all. Some of the scenes with Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) really made this episode great to watch and seeing her leave in the end would likely leave many viewers emotional. Will Lagertha be returning to the show? Or is this the end of her character? What’s her life with Bjorn going to be like? Either way, Ragnar chose to be with princess Aslaug and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon especially since she will likely give him more sons.
Where I think the episode could have done a little better was with the passing of Ragnar’s daughter Gyda (Ruby O’Leary). But it didn’t really show anything about how Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole) was reacting to the passing of his sister and the show didn’t show much tension or really much conversations between Ragnar and Lagertha about the passing of their daughter. I thought with all that was going on for the family that they would have spoken about this much more than the appearance of Princess Aslaug. There was a good scene with Ragnar mourning Gyda’s death but not much more than that, a shame really.
Overall this episode of Vikings was a good one with a lot of action at the start which is good to have, but then slowing right down as the episode went on and dealt with a lot of personal issues that Ragnar was having with his family and his new woman. It was a quite good episode but as a season premiere it wasn’t the most impactful. Although the premiere episode did resolve quite a lot of the storylines left unfinished in season one so in that case it leaves the rest of the episodes to progress a lot further from this point.