What I liked:
- The speech Ragnar made to his daughter. It was beautiful and it was crushing. “Dear child, Gyda, you are not gone because you are always in my heart. They say that a man must love his sons more, but a man can be jealous of his sons, and his daughter can always be the light in his life.” – So beautiful and crushing.
- I loved seeing how the priest had settled into life in the Scandinavian country, and how he had earned some respect from the locals. He was fierce in battle, a totally different man from the timid mouse that Ragnar had snatched in Northumbria. Also, him joining the raiding parties – what a change!
- Rollo’s fall from grace was a total collapse, no grace there whatsoever.
- How Athelstan and Floki actually have a lot in common, though they are polar opposites. The discord growing between them is getting pretty heavy.
- The battle sequences and action scenes have greatly improved over season one, definitely a bigger budget to work with.
- Athelstan’s crisis of faith – beautifully summed up in his lines “In the gentle fall of rain from heaven, I hear my God. But in the thunder, I still hear Thor. That is my agony.”
- The plots and politics. While not ridiculously intense like Hannibal or anything like that, they are still fascinating, well-constructed and presented, wily and smart, and come together well.
- The way none of them actually fear death, and even if you are the enemy and are defeated, the honourable death was still provided. I thought the way Jarl Borg’s Blood Eagle scene was shot was heavy, beautiful and chilling, all at the same time.
- Lagertha and Bjorn returning. Bjorn was far less annoying for me as a young man (not that Nathan O’Toole portrayed Bjorn badly as a child, it is just that he was a kid, and did not contribute too much to the show for me). It is evident that Ragnar is still in love with her, and holds her in the highest esteem. He loves Aslaug, but definitely not the way he loves Lagertha. The reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn was beautiful, and the relationship that built from there was incredibly satisfying.
- The fact that Athelstan was presented with a choice to return to Scandinavia, and he did, because the Norsemen are his family now.
- Floki’s plans. Whoa, those were some crazy ones, but I loved it!
What I didn’t like:
- That Ragnar actually allowed his family to leave in favour of Princess Aslaug. I don’t care that he feels the gods provided her to bear his sons as the prophecy foretold, he lost the love of his life and his son who adored him.
- The new family arrangements of Ragnar. They just didn’t sit well with me at all.
- Aslaug is such a drama queen, and it got old, fast. She is so shallow, too, and ungrateful. Yes, obviously I am very pro-Lagertha. But really. This character just… no.
- The way Floki was going darkside. It was not really properly introduced, and before you knew what was happening he was King Horik’s worm.
- Earl Sigvard, Lagertha’s new husband. What a darn tool! I was no fan, and I didn’t like the way that Lagertha was his bitch basically, though goodness knows she took her power back and exacted vengeance.
- Porunn. She had such a chip on her shoulder, which I can understand (I mean she was a slave), but when she got her freedom, she was pretty messed up to Bjorn, who honestly loved her. She was pretty wearing and annoying.
- I didn’t like the way Aslaug ripped apart Lagertha’s marriage, yet has the audacity to treat Lagertha like she is the homewrecker (!!!), but I am glad that they somehow found even footing.
Again, what a winner! I am really, really not a fan of Lagertha having left Ragnar, but I don’t blame her one iota. Only problem? I am not a fan of Aslaug, she is in no way Lagertha’s equal. She was whiny and annoying and just meh… it took me a while to get back into this season due to her usurping the place of Lagertha. Then there was Athelstan’s intense turmoil over his Christian God and the Norsemen gods was really great to watch, and to see Ragnar’s fascination with the Christian way of things was cool, too. The two have developed into far more than captor and slave, having moved beyond that into the realm of friends, family. It is little wonder to see how close they have gotten. Things have changed a lot in this season from the last. While it took two or three episodes to get on with how things have changed a lot, it was not a bad thing. There were things that I missed from the first season (such as Ragnar being lower on the totem pole and fighting up and his marriage to Lagertha), but there were also things that were exceptionally interesting (such as Athelstan joining the Northmen, King Ecbert and his similarities with Ragnar). I was a big fan of the development the creators took with Floki. It was all over the show and it was dark. Something I thought was absolutely stunning was seeing the savage wedding between Floki and Helga, so to speak. I was so enthralled by the beauty and significance of it. Rollo is definitely down in the dumps and knocked clean off of his game since his fall from grace, what a traitor. There was some politics to this one again, also great to follow. King Horik was such a big character, coming in and changing the ballgame altogether. The way the vikings perceived death and the afterlife is just so amazing, and the way that an honourable death was meted out whenever possible was intense, too. The Seer was back in action in this one in a few places, making some crazy absurd and ambiguous predictions, all that make immense amounts of sense when things come to pass. I must say that even through all of this, I am no fan of Aslaug, though you start to warm towards her a little by the end of the season. Or maybe I need to warm more, it might just be me and my other half that are not fans of her. The reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn was well worth the watch, and I appreciated the way that Vikings does not stagnate, but moves the story along, both in years and with the characters. I do, however, think that Bjorn chose the most annoying woman to spend his time and affections on. Gustaf Skarsgård is still a scene stealer whenever he makes it onto the screen, and the tension between him and Ragnar is something else to witness altogether. Vikings delivers another solid season with a great score, character developments, story arcs and camera work, and it is still something I would highly recommend.