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.”
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂 )
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.
Netflix has released all 8 episodes for the second season of Vikings Valhalla, something I have very much been looking forward to. Before I start writing reviews of the episodes, however, I thought I would offer some thoughts on the show and its predecessor, Vikings, along with comments on the show’s portrayal of the characters’ faith and the clash between the Heathen Norse and the Christian English. There are no spoilers for the new season of Valhalla in this article, though I will write openly about events from the first season and from the original Vikings series.
One thing that’s important to remember when watching shows like this is that they are dramas first and foremost and are not intended to be seen as historically accurate – which is kind of ironic since the first series aired on the History Channel. It’s best to assume that, while some things are based on actual history, most of it is fictional.
Five days until season two of Vikings Valhalla, and it looks to be as much fun as the first! Be sure to tune in and see what Harald, Freydis, Leif, Queen Emma, Olaf, and the rest are up to on January 12th. I plan to review each episode, so check back once you’ve seen one and let me know what you think about it!
This is the first trailer I’ve seen for Wheel of Time season 2. It’s hard to say how good it looks as it’s more of a teaser than anything else, but it’s nice to know that their working on the 2nd season and that it’ll be here sooner rather than later!