• History’s ‘Vikings:’ Brave and satisfying

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    Karen Kunawicz

    While my fan girl heart has broken a little over my divorce from The Walking Dead in 2016, it has bounced back after wrapping up the first ten episodes of Vikings season 4.

    Vikings has done what The Walking Dead has failed to do—tread its new territories with boldness without looking back. I love the choices Michael Hirst has been making for the story, the series and its characters. He has taken several big risks for the show and so far, they have paid off.

    Whereas TWD has been suffering from predictability-and-a rinse-repeat formula, Vikings has been moving the saga forward, resolving storylines and subplots and introducing a new generation of characters.

    One of the many transitions made was the shift of focus from Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) to his sons. At first, of course, there was just Bjorn but now little Ubbe, Sigurd, Hvitserk and Ivar have grown up. It seems like a lot to take in but you get to see how each one is different.

    The standout, not just for his inability to use his legs, is Ivar—later known in Viking lore as “Ivar the Boneless,” though ruthless would also be fitting word for his name. While pity might be an initial reaction to the character as he was born crippled, this soon gives way to both fear and fascination. New cast member Alex Hogh is a revelation as Ivar.

    Even though the show has lost very important and beloved key cast members and has made us wonder if we’ll ever see some of them again, it only signals new territory, new plotlines. By the beginning of Season 5, followers of the show can look back and see how far everyone has come! The time leaps have been really significant.

    Torches are passed in ‘Vikings’ PHOTO COURTESY OF HISTORY ASIA

    Unfortunately, in TWD, they’re still all moving around in circles. And to see how far a character has come, it’s probably a matter of facial hair. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating. There’s always Carol but where has she gone since her Season 3 transformation?

    I do have one issue with the time leaps on Vikings, they made Ragnar age horribly—several decades over the last few seasons—while his wife, the fierce Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), still looks hot and fierce. Rollo’s (Clive Standen) actually never looked better.

    Gustav Skarsgard continues to do an amazing job as Floki—brilliant, unpredictable and constantly trying to please and hear the voice of his Viking gods.

    I leave you with this quote from writer and show runner Michael Hirst, “You can’t cheat the story. If you cheat the story, the whole show falls apart. You have to be authentic.” Good advice for shows that pull stunts like faking out deaths and trying to serve the marketing gods versus the story gods.

    ‘Vikings’ will return for a 20-episode 5th season on History (Sky Cable Ch 67, HD Ch 165 / Destiny Cable Ch 57, Ch 67 / Cignal HD Ch 125 / CablelinkCh 43 / Dream Ch 30).

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