Bringing Past Games to the Present
Previous Total War Three Kingdoms (Review)
Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore – and raid – the distant shores across the ocean.
Spoilers: This review contains major spoilers. You read this at your own risk.
Vikings Season 6 is a season that brings a magnificent end to the tumultuous series that started in 2013. It’s been eight years of epic conflicts, betrayals, and romance. Sex and Lust. Wars and Conflicts. Season 6 brings a triumphant end to that age of Vikings, the legacy that Ragnar created. All of it boils down to him raiding England, France, and Paris. Losing his brother, Rollo, who betrayed him and converted to the Christian God. Being a father to his children, who sooner or later, carved their legacies in this world. Let’s not forget Lagertha, who was crucial to expanding the Viking’s fame and was a fierce battle-maiden of her time. And Ivar the Boneless. I think he was the true protagonist all along. Not Ubbe, not Bjorn, not even Hitsverk. Ivar was the manifestation of Ragnar’s dark desires. I could be wrong in that aspect. The acting this season was brilliant. Excellent.
Perhaps Hitsverk found his true calling at this point in this season. Or maybe he didn’t. Whatever it is, I’ve enjoyed watching Season 6. It has an easy to follow pacing that doesn’t get viewers confused. Whether veteran or amateur. It is better than season 8 of GOT because that was all over the place. Season 6 of Vikings has a clear start and a clear ending. However, it also has plenty of flaws. The pacing of season 6 is all over the place just like Season 5.
There are many storylines introduced, and though those storylines do get a clear ending. They are not developed, nor built properly. Case in point: The Kattegat Story Arc with Queen Ingrid and her lover. I understood that Michael Hirst went for Eric the Red being this horrible person underneath. A man willing to betray his principles. Eric was blinded by Ingrid, as she takes power over Kattegat. That was one of the strengths of Ingrid’s arc. However, rushed scenes and some dalliances with slaves meant that in the end, there were two Queens ruling over Kattegat. That story didn’t end as satisfactorily as I wanted it to. It was building up to a good conclusion, but the pace was not well promised nor well delivered.
And that is the main problem with this series. It has so many interesting concepts that it wants to introduce, but one episode isn’t enough. For example, in season 5 we didn’t get enough of Bjorn exploring the Mediterranean and just one episode of some Byzantines. This season referenced Constantinople so much yet we didn’t go there. (A show on the Byzantine Empire would be very good for once). And this season suffers from the same problems. When Ivar is battling Alfred in England, we are no doubt seeing Ivar’s capable intelligence work wonders on the battlefield.
But where did he find those catapults? No one would bring catapults onto a battlefield unless they’d want to kill their own men. But if you read the annals of WW1, you’d realize there were a lot of stupid officers that had no idea of how the battles were being fought. So once the artillery started firing, they’d send their men over thinking that they had destroyed the enemy. When the artillery shells landed all over the place probably killing of more their men than they realized. That’s just a small analogy, but we also had the Russian arc with Ivar.
I think that was the best part of Season 5. But it all went downhill in this season. Prince Oleg was easily finished off making him out to be the Grand Villian when they introduced him as a complicated man. The actor did his best with what he had, which was admittedly, very little. I hated Prince Oleg and I was glad to see him gone. But we needed way more episodes for the Russian arc. Then the epic battle that they promised in trailers never came. It was showing epic formations and then all of it went to squat. Then there was Hitsverk. His character arc in season 5 and 6 transforms and we see a more mature character emerge. He makes love to a Viking Goddess, but then at the end of this series, he renounces his worship of the Old Gods. There wasn’t much pacing and nor much of a build-up in this regard.
Overall, we see many characters bid farewell through their deaths. Something Games of Thrones was unwilling to do. Gunnhild sacrificing herself after Bjorn dies. Harald dying in England (to be fair he truly was not satisfied with what he had until I think he died in the end). Ivar has a true sendoff being one of the most iconic characters of this series. Characters were introduced then removed, characters didn’t have enough screen time, etc. The best arc of this season was Ubbe and North America. He wasn’t compelled as Bjorn was to return back to his homeland when he was traveling in the Mediterranean.
The North American arc was the best. Oh! I almost forgot, we also saw an end to the mad-man of Greenland. You’ll eventually see that in the series. We finally saw Floki! He was in the finale, but I was disappointed we didn’t get enough scenes. This series was all over the place, and thus many brilliant moments were ruined by the pacing in my opinion. In the end, I would have wanted an ending where we see Ragnar with Lagertha, and the sons of Ragnar, dining in Valhalla like the Last Supper scene, with two empty chairs. One for Rollo and one for Hitsverk.
However, I enjoyed this series. Despite its flaws, it was clear and it had a good idea of what it wanted to show to the audience. It had brilliant character send offs, and since this was the final season, it was a great way to end the series. Much better than Game of Thrones! And it is right there, on Amazon Prime for you to binge-watch! It’s definitely worth checking out. This was one of the better seasons, and it’s a triumphant send-off. The next show, or the sequel which is Valhalla, will depict 100 years after this show, and there’ll be references throughout. It will be more epic from what I’ve read. So, Skål!