Vikings Valhalla Season 2 Episode 3 Review

This was an enjoyable episode, but aside from Leif and Harald starting their trip to Constantinople, it didn’t feel like very much happened. I didn’t even realize that nothing had happened in Kattegat until I was re-reading the recap I wrote the other day.

Novgorod was the main focus of any real movement in the episode. Leif saw his first book and an astrolabe, learned that Mariam is ill and wants to go to the doctors in Constantinople, and arranged not only for her to travel, but for her to tutor him in reading and mathmatics on the way. I like how they’re showing him gaining the skills to eventually be able to travel to North America.

Harald is, of course, being Harald. He’s a very brash man, filled with more confidence than sense at times. When Gestr, the slaver, asks if he can provide fighters, Harald boasts he has “the best” – when all he has at the time is Leif. As Yaroslav observes, its quite a motley assortment he ends up putting together – “A prince, a slaver, a blind Pecheneg, a woman scholar, two con men and a noble, on a boat on a sled. What could go wrong?” I suspect we’ll be finding out shortly.

London is still feeling a bit like an afterthought, though learning that Aelfwynn’s brother was the assassian is interesting. I hope something significant happens in this story soon, as I find myself feeling a bit of dread when the setting moves there.

Freydis is settling into her life in Jomsborg, but all isn’t necessarily going well. Gudrid was clearly upset when Freydis invited her to step into the temple, and Jorundr did not approve of her encouragement of Hrafna to participate in the training. Later, when Hrafna went missing, his lack of concern for the girl was unsettling.

Not every episode can be action-packed or full of significant events, so even though this one felt a bit slow, it’s not a drag on the series as a whole.

Vikings Valhalla Season 2, Episode 2 “Towers of Faith” Recap


The second episode opens with a series of brief scenes, catching us up with our key players. Olaf and Svein have chased down some Heathens, questioning one about the Jomsvikings, before Olaf tells Svein that to be King, he must bloody his sword. Svein kills the man.

Freydis arrives in Jomsborg where she is recognized by several people there and introduced to Harekr and Gudrid, a married couple who are the leaders of Jomsborg.

Leif and Harald arrive in Novgorod. Leif learns about opium and Harald finds his uncle Yaroslav. When Yaroslav’s guards won’t let Harald speak to him, Harald jumps into the fighting arena, and yells that the fight needs “a Viking named Prince Harald Sigurdsson, great-grandson of Harald Finehair and blood relative of Yaroslav the Wise.”

And in London, Earl Godwin is torturing a man who tried to assassinate Emma to find out who else was behind the plot. When the man says he knows nothing more, Godwin has them burn out his eye as the man says he heard someone call his contact “Bear.”

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Murder Or Banish? Decisions Abound On The Traitors (Review)


In my recent review on “Pressure Cooker” I mentioned how I disliked it during the early seasons of skilled competition shows when people made decisions based on “game strategy” rather than on merit. It may surprise you, then, to learn that I absolutely loved Peacock’s “The Traitors.” On “The Traitors” “game strategy” is the whole point.

The show is set in Scotland, ostensibly at the castle of our host, Alan Cumming, who was born to play this role. He has invited 20 people – 10 who have been on other reality shows (most of them from Peacock’s corporate sister, Bravo, but a few others as well) and 10, well, normal people to join him at his castle for a little game. Not being a big watcher of reality shows, I didn’t really know who anyone was, and in all honesty, it didn’t make a difference as far as enjoying the program went. There are some references to their previous stints, but nothing you can’t follow just by the dialog on this show.

Traitors players Michael Davidson, Anjelica Conti, Cirie Fields, Brandi Glanville, Rachel Reilly, Kate Chastain, Robert “Bam” Nieves, Ryan Lochte, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Christian de la Torre, Cody, Calafiore, Kyle Cook, Amanada Clark, Azra Valani, Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick, Reza Farahan, Geraldine Moreno, and Quentin Jiles (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

Each day, the contestants engage in a mission of some sort. One day, they may be trying to blow up wood frame Scottish beasts, another, they’re struggling to roll barrels through the castle grounds. The point of the missions is for them to collectively earn money toward the prize pot of up to $250,000.

The contenders have been divided into two groups, but not everyone knows who’s in which group. Some have been selected by Cumming to serve as the titular Traitors, who’s job is to get rid of as many of the other players as possible without getting caught. The rest are known as the Faithful.

The Traitors all learn who’s on which team because each night, they don heavy cloaks, sneak through the castle carrying a lantern and meet in a creepy castle turret to decide who they’re going to murder. Once the victim is picked, their judgement is delivered to the victim, who is now out of the game.

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No Host? No Judges? No Problem. Everything Else…? “Pressure Cooker” Review

I love skilled competition shows. By that, I mean I enjoy competitions that focus on a specific vocation, such as cooking/baking, fashion design, forging, pottery making, glassblowing, applying make-up and so forth. Most of them use the same formula: You have celebrity or semi-celebrity hosts and judges, 10–12 contestants, and there are one or two rounds. On programs with two rounds, the winner of the initial round gets an advantage in the second, or the loser of the first round receives a penalty, while the second round determines who’s going home.

“Pressure Cooker” is one of the first shows I’ve seen really tinker with this formula. There are no hosts and no guest judges. The challengers all live in a large loft with a huge professional kitchen. There’s one challenge per episode that is judged either by the contestants themselves or by former participants, with a couple of exceptions. One brings in the contestant’s family members to rate the food, and one uses professional critics. Challenges are sent to the kitchen via a ticket printer, such as is used in a restaurant, to let the cooks know what dishes are on order.


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Vikings Valhalla, Season 2, Episode 1 Review

After about a year’s wait, it’s finally time to get caught up again with our trio of intrepid Vikings, Harald Sigurdsson – who believes he’s the rightful King of Norway; Leif Eriksson – a Greenlander looking to make his own name outside the shadow of his infamous father, Eric the Red; and Leif’s sister, Freydis Eriksdotter – another Greenlander seeking her place in the world. Over the course of the first season, the three became fast friends and war partners, and Freydis and Harald became lovers.

So, how was the first episode of this new season? Did it stand up to the story told in the first season? Well, read on if you’d like my opinion on that (and I certainly hope you do! 🙂 )


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