The first season of "Vikings: Valhalla" was eye-popping and amazing with the blood, gore, and action. We saw 4 different people, all from various groups, band together to accomplish one goal. Season 2 does the opposite of that. It pulls all of them apart and sends them on their individual journeys. Harald (Leo Suter) wants to take back Norway, Leif (Sam Corlett) is trying to recover after Liv's death, Olaf is torn between saving his son and hunting down his brother, while Freydis (Frida Gustavsson) finds herself on the road to becoming a spiritual symbol.
The drama picks up immediately after the end of the first season which ended with Kattegat's fall. However, unlike the first season which was well-paced, season 2 does demand initial patience from its audience as it takes its own sweet time establishing the conflicts. Various characters wander around, going from place to place, and meeting one person and the next, for episodes on end before anything substantial happens. But this allows the show to develop the relationships between characters further. I must give a shoutout to Olaf because he was the only character who held together the show when it was meandering around trying to set up the plot points coming later on in the season.
Speaking of plot points, viewers will also be surprised at some of the developments this season. New characters introduced will deepen the political intrigue as well as set up future character arcs. Now let us get to the fights. When the action gets going, it really becomes a grand show to watch. The fantastic battle set pieces from the beginning of the season to the last fight of the season are beautifully set up. They are gorey, filled with battle cries and grunts that make it immensely realistic and a pleasure to watch. And that's exactly what I expected with Jeb Stuart (co-screenwriter of Die Hard) at the helm of the show.
While many will find the grey and brown muted aesthetic an eyesore, it actually fits largely well with the landscape, costumes, and other setups. The visuals of the show are crisp and will help viewers stay glued to the screen. But the one thing that stands out in this show head and shoulders above the rest is the acting. All the actors bring their best to the table and try their best to imitate Scandinavian accents. But it's Frida Gustavsson and Bradley James as Freydis and Lord Harekr who steal the season. Their individual storylines are intriguing and also they are surrounded by a great supporting cast.
The ending of the season hints at multiple things to come, especially for Harald. It remains to be seen how successfully Vikings: Valhalla continues building on top of it now that they have also thrown Constantinople into the mix. Overall, if you loved season 1, you are going to love season 2 as well. However, be prepared to trudge through some initial episodes before the action actually starts flowing and the encounters become interesting.
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