With the fifth season of Vikings being the show’s first without lead actor Travis Fimmel, who played Ragnar Lothbrok, the stakes were high as that considerable hole needed to be filled. While season five started off pretty well, especially the exhilarating siege of York, the show has floundered in recent weeks. So here are 6 ways in which Vikings can save its fifth season.
1. Make Ivar more than a monster
If anyone could take Ragnar’s place as Vikings lead, and it does need a lead, it could be his son: Ivar the Boneless. Season five has chronicled Ivar’s rise to the top of his society as his expertise in battle, and fearsome demeanour causing a few English soldiers to wet themselves, Ivar’s story is the most compelling. Except Ivar has become something God-like. He has the upper hand in nearly every situation he’s in, and Alex Hoch is mostly stuck with chewing the scenery. This makes his un-strategic fumble in the war against Lagertha, Bjorn, and Ubbe jarring rather than interesting.
2. Decide what the point of Heahmund is
The warrior Bishop, played by Jonathan Rys Meyers has been an interesting addition to the show, but more could have been made of the relationship between him and Ivar. Instead we got a diet version of Ragnar and Athelstan’s story, with the differences between that past relationship, and this one not being utilised. Sure, they are both fighters, when Ragnar and Athelstan were thinkers, but there’s nowhere near the same nuance for Heahmund and Ivar. It doesn’t help that Heahmund’s death has been prolonged yet again by Lagertha for vague reasons.
3. Kill Harald
Harald’s dream of becoming King of Norway has been one of Vikings’ biggest dead ends for a couple of seasons now. It only took his brother Haldan one episode away from Harald to become interesting, the same has never been true for Harald. When the show has boasted complex villains like King Eggbert, or Borg, or even Rollo, Harald is pretty thin in comparison.
4. Kill Margrethe
This is no criticism of Ida Marie Nielsen, she does the best with the crap that she’s given, but Margrethe has to go. Her role as Ubbe’s Lady Macbeth is so dull that I’m surprised Lagertha hasn’t just killed her.
5. Give Lagertha some love
Not love in the Astrid sense, although the treatment of Astrid this season has been deplorable. Lagertha hasn’t been given a great story this season, with her actions involving Harald’s escape being downright stupid. Except Lagertha isn’t stupid, she isn’t reckless, but the script needed her to be so. There is a bigger problem here, that Lagertha is a symptom of: Vikings doesn’t have great female characters anymore. Michael Hirst isn’t putting as much effort into his female characters as he has in previous seasons.
6. Make Bjorn’s travels mean something
Twice Bjorn has travelled to far away places, and twice it’s been completely unsatisfying. As Ragnar’s oldest son, Bjorn has travelled further than his father ever did, but except for the odd spot of raiding, he has gained nothing from these travels. Except Halfdan, which is something.