[This is a review of the Vikings season 2 finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
The Vikings season 2 finale, entitled 'The Lord's Prayer,' is all about trust. When you're the "alpha dog" in a world where everyone is trying to climb the political ladder, who can you turn to when the axes begin to fly?
For Earl Ragnar, it seems that his friends have his back (for now), as Floki weaves an intricate tapestry of deception to fool King Horik into believing he would betray his long time friend. If history has taught us anything, it's that friendship and loyalty are fickle, ebbing and flowing with the passing of time. Who will still be at Ragnar's side when season 3 premieres next year?
To help us better understand this dilemma, we must look at the "players" involved in King Horik's demise. Interestingly enough, Siggy (not Floki) was the wildcard no one could figure out. Her desire for power is unquenchable, but why? Is it simply to regain what was lost when her husband (Earl Haraldson) died, or is she grasping for something larger? She does appear to have some feelings for Rollo, yet in the end, Siggy will most likely do what is best for her. Perhaps Siggy had enough of Horik's games, or was angered by the fact that he prostituted her to his own son? We may never now, but it was a welcomed site to see her standing by Ragnar at the end. It would be unwise to believe her content; however, as next season may grant her another opportunity to rise again. What do you think?
Floki will most likely be perceived as the hero, but he's a difficult character to understand. His absolute devotion to the old gods makes him a little monochromatic in how he deals with friends and those who betray him. He will never truly forgive Rollo for his crimes against Ragnar, and watching him hold his child for the first time was a bit unnerving. This is not meant to criticize Gustaf Skarsgard's performance (which is stellar), yet as Floki, his chaotic and sometimes unorthodox approach to life puts him in the category of menace, more than hero. In the end, however, our tall and lanky Viking stood by Rangar's side in a brilliant scheme that would impress the god Loki himself.
Ragnar, who is sometimes too smart for his own good was a silent observer throughout most of the finale. You could see in his deep blue mischievous eyes that he had everything under control. His guise at being intoxicated during the festivities was well-played, as King Horik believed him incapacitated for the coming slaughter. Besides avoiding a horrific death, the most significant act Ragnar performed was saying 'The Lord's Prayer' with Athelstan. This was a wonderfully shot scene, as Ragnar comes to grips with praying to a god he is still unfamiliar with. His reluctance to finish the prayer with an "amen" was priceless. It was as if he feared the finality of praying to the Christian god. "Forever and ever" is a long time after all. Looking back at Floki, would he still protect Raganr if he knew about this prayer? Ragnar may not have the same support he possesses now when season 3 begins.
As good of an edition to the series as Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) has been, the story of his romance with the newly freed slave Porunn, is perhaps the weakest. There is nothing wrong with the blossoming of young love, but actress Gaia Weiss (The Legend of Hercules) leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, their fling won't take center-stage next year when Vikings returns. Creator/executive producer Michael Hirst may be molding her in Lagertha's image, but she has a long way to go to convince viewers she demands the same kind of admiration. There is always hope, as Ms. Weiss could prove this reviewer wrong in 2015.
Donal Logue (King Horik) will be missed, but fortunately, we'll be able to watch him on Fox's new DC Comics-based drama, Gotham, as he plays famed detective Harvey Bullock. With the chessboard seemingly clear of enemies for Ragnar to contend with, where will he set his gaze on next? Lagertha wishes to raid new lands, while others may choose to head back to Wessex in order to farm. There is still the question of the ever-ambitious King Ecbert and Princess Kwentrith, as they look to take the crown of the Kingdom of Mercia. Will these two be Ragnar's new adversaries, or will a greater danger emerge from within his own house?
'The Lord's Prayer,' though well scripted, was not the strongest episode of the season, but it did clear a path for what should be another thrilling chapter in the Vikings saga. What are your thoughts on the finale, and what are you looking forward to seeing when the series returns next year?
Vikings will continue with season 3 in 2015.