Vikings Valhalla: Season 2, Episode 1 Recap

Welcome to my first recap and review of Vikings Valhalla Season 2! Given how much I enjoyed the first season, I’ve been looking foreword to this for a while. There are 8 episodes this season, and Netflix has released all of them. I’ll be spacing out my recaps and reviews a bit, however, so people have time to see the shows first, as there will be spoilers in these recaps.

This recap begins after the jump. The review will be in a separate post.

Recap
The episode opens in the middle of some action. A group of Heathen Vikings are running from a group of Christian Vikings who are trying to kill them. We know the runners are Heathens because as they reach the edge of a cliff, Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) begins shooting at the Christians from a slight distance with his bow, giving the Heathens the chance to escape.

Johannes Johannesson as Olaf Haraldson
Leif then goes to an encampment where he asks a dying man “Where is he!” and is told that “he” has been taken. It turns out that this is the camp of King Olaf of Norway (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), and the King is being taken by King Sweyn Forkbeard (Søren Pilmark) to Kattegat.

Freydis (Frida Gustavsson) is hunting a deer, and takes it down with a single shot, but as she approaches the deer, she sees two arrows in its side. Harald (Leo Suter) appears, claiming he shot the deer first, so she’s cooking dinner. Freydis points out her arrow was the fatal blow, so Harald’s cooking and carrying the deer back.

Leo Suter as Harald Sigurdsson
They are living in a small cabin in the wilderness. Harald says it’s time for him to go back to Kattegat and press his claim to the throne of Norway with Forkbeard. Freydis wants to stay like they are, asking what’s wrong with living someplace they can raise their children in peace. Harald angrily replies that his children are meant to be kings. Freydis is not thrilled with his response.

As Leif walks to Kattegat to find out what is happening with Olaf, he begins speaking to someone we cannot see initially. Then we get a quick glimpse of Liv, (Lujza Richter) who died during the first season, before she vanishes again and Leif is still alone.

In Kattegat, we see King Canute’s (Bradley Freegard) wife, Queen Ælfgifu (Pollyanna McIntosh) who is clearly unhappy to be there. Nearby, there is a large crowd outside the main hall where several men are hanging a noose while other torment King Olaf as he crouches, naked, in a nearby cage.

In London, Queen Emma (Linda Berlin) is consulting with Earl Godwin (David Oakes) when a messenger arrives with news from King Canute in Denmark, noting that the King is concerned about her safety. She assures the messenger all is well and that he can tell Canute that when he leaves the next morning. Godwin seems skeptical about the Queen’s safety, but she dismisses his concerns as alehouse talk. Later, Godwin talks to his mistress Aelfwynn (Maria Guiver) about his fears and dreams, including the dream that one day, his eldest son (once he has one) will be king.

A drawing featuring 3 parallel lines with six angled lines crossing over the middle vertical line between the two outer vertical lines.
The Web of Fate
Back in wilderness, Freydis is washing at a river when she hears the flapping of bird wings and the Seer (John Kavanagh) appears. He speaks to her of destiny and that she needs to look for and pay attention to the signs. As he speaks, he draws a design of two straight lines with several lines crossing through the middle. He tells her the symbol is the Web of Fate. As she looks at it, she hears bird wings flapping again, and the Seer is gone. The symbol that he draws is an actual old Heathen symbol. Within the pattern created by the lines can be found all 24 of the Elder Futhark (similar to alphabet) runes. As such, it contains within it the power of all the runes, believed to be able to foretell – and perhaps even change – one’s fate.

Freydis returns to the cabin and tells Harald she will go to Kattegat with him.

In Kattegat, Leif sits, watching the building of the gallows, when a young man introduces himself as Jorundr (Stanislav Callas) and seems to be looking for Freydis.

Olaf is thrown into a cell, where King Forkbeard tells him that he doesn’t plan to kill Olaf. Instead, Forkbeard is making his grandson Svein (Charlie O’Conner) King of Norway, and tells Olaf he will be Svein’s protector. When Olaf refuses as expected, Forkbeard bring Olaf’s son Magnus (Set Sjöstrand) into the cell and informs Olaf that if he keeps Svein alive, Forkbeard will do the same with Magnus. Olaf agrees.

Pollyanna McIntosh
Forkbeard comes out to the crowd and announces the new arrangements. The crowd isn’t happy about Svein being the new King or Ælfgifu as queen regent, and really seems displeased when he announces Jarl Olaf will not be executed, but will serve as King Svein’s protector. Olaf lies to the crowd, telling them that Harald and “the Heathen witch” Freydis are gathering a huge Pagan army to come attack Kattegat because Harald believes he is the rightful King of Norway. He offers three chests of gold to the man or family who can bring him their heads. The news cheers the crowd up quite a bit and people begin to search for the pair.

As Freydis and Harald make their trek back to Kattegat, they come across a group of peasants getting into some rickety looking boats. They explain they are Pagans and have been driven from their homes by the Christians who won’t let them rebuild. They are headed to an “Uppsala across the sea” called Jomsborg. A little girl says she recognized Freydis, the one they call the “Keeper of the Faith,” but Freydis tells the girl she is mistaken.

David Oakes as Earl Godwin
Back in London, Queen Emma is about to receive communion from the Bishop. We see his assistant put a few drops of something on the communion wafer. Earl Godwin looks at the assistant suspiciously and stops Emma from taking the wafer just as the Bishop is about to give it to her. Godwin chases the poisoner out of the chapel and into the streets, where he tries to give Godwin the slip, even changing clothes when he gets a chance. Godwin is a step ahead of him, however, and captures him, sending him to the cells.

In Norway, some of the bounty hunters catch up with Harald and Freydis, but before they can kill them, Leif begins to shoot them with his arrows. Alerted to the danger, but not having seen Leif yet, Feydis and Harald begin shooting the strangers as well. When the fighting is done, Leif fills them in on the bounty Olaf has placed on them, and Harald decides they will go to Novgorod, with the Rus. Harald’s uncle rules there, and he’s certain his uncle will support his cause.

Stanislav Callas as Jorundr
After the ambush, Jorundr – who had spoken to Leif earlier in the tent – catches up to them. Leif knocks him down, holding a knife to his throat, as Jorundr explains he is a Jomsviking, and that they are taking Heathens to Jomsborg where the old faith is still allowed. Freydis notices the Web of Fate tattooed on his forearm and decides she will go with him. The four head to the foggy beach, where several groups of refugees are waiting for the boats to come get them.

As they wait, they hide among some nearby rocks. Freydis takes time to talk to her brother. She tells Leif she’s seen him talking to someone, and asks if it is Liv. He says it is. Freydis wonders why Liv is with Leif and not in Valhalla. Leif says it’s because as she was dying, she asked him to promise her he would meet her in Valhalla, but she couldn’t because he no longer believes. Freydis asks if he’s sure that it’s Liv who can’t let go of him, or is maybe he needs to let Liv go. She then tells him that she is pregnant, but makes him swear not to tell Harald because she does not want her child to end up the king of a Christian nation.

Freydis (Frida Gustavsson) and Harald (Leo Suter) talk
Freydis then goes to speak to Harald. She assures him that his destiny is to be the King of Norway, but it is not her destiny. Harald tells her he knows, his voice breaking as they embrace. They get word the bounty hunters have found them, and quickly start herding the refugees hiding with them back out onto the foggy beach. Olaf sees Harald, Leif and Freydis and orders his men to kill everyone there. As the hunters begin to move toward them, giant balls of fire come out of the fog overhead and crashing onto the beach between the hunters and the refugees, causing the beach to burn. The bounty hunters cannot cross the fire, and Leif, Freydis, Harald and the refugees escape as the boats arrive to take them to a warship waiting just a bit further out to sea.

Freydis gets aboard the boat heading for Jomsborg, telling her brother he will always be close to her heart. Leif and Harald say goodbye to her and are left alone on the small boat. Leif tells Harald he’s not going to row to Novgorod all by himself. Harald retorts that he thought Greenlanders could travel over any sea. Leif says they can, but they prefer company. Harald take the 2nd oar and the two begin to row.

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