5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss The ‘Vikings’ Season 2 Premiere

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Vikings returns to History tonight, Thursday, February 27th at 10pm, and the season two premiere is a breathtaking mix of bone-crushing battle scenes and family turmoil. If you gave up on the series during its freshman year, then tonight is the night to check back in. Vikings is sharper, fiercer and more emotionally rich than ever before. Below I have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons why the season two premiere, “Brother’s War,” is an absolute must watch.

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1. The Opening Scene

The first 10 minutes of season one consists of nothing more than a Shield War, and it is one of the most impressive battle scenes I have ever watched. If it contains any CGI trickery, then it is well hidden because all that appears onscreen is men engaging in brutal combat. It is bloody, adrenaline-fueled epicness. The long sequence sets the tone for the rest of the episode and beyond.

It is first and foremost a war between brothers, with Rollo determined to answer Ragnar “with blood.” The lengths that Rollo goes to are horrifying, but looking away will not be an option for battle scene junkies.

2. Ragnar Saying Goodbye to Gyda

As good as the battle scene was, the standout moment of the episode and possibly of the series thus far comes in the form of a monologue given by Ragnar as he says goodbye to his dead daughter Gyda. Gyda died at the end of last season, and her loss hangs over “The Brother’s War” even when her name isn’t mentioned. However, when Ragnar does say his goodbye it is a moment full of pain and grace with dialogue so good you will be reaching for the tissues.

The scene demonstrates how far Vikings has come in terms of balancing the fun, historical aspects of the culture with the universal humanity of the characters. Where the opening scene feeds viewers’ love of action, Ragnar’s monologue is a reminder Vikings isn’t all about the raiding.

3. The Love Triangle

Love triangles tend to be groan-worthy affairs, but when Princess Aslaug shows up with a surprise for Ragnar things get deliciously awkward. As serious as the situation is for Ragnar, Aslaug and Lagertha, I dare you not to giggle when Ragnar makes what he assumes is an innocent proposition at the dinner table. Mind you he is cuddling a goat at the time in what can only be an ill-advised attempt to highlight his cuteness.

In all seriousness, the love triangle plays out in a heartbreaking fashion that leaves several new avenues of storytelling open for the series as it moves forward. It’s also a situation where, when we view it with non-21st Century eyes, has no bad guy. All three parties have a valid point giving the drama real weight.

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4. Bjorn

“Brother’s War” is the last time Nathan O’Toole will play Bjorn before the role is taken over by Alexander Ludwig. The young actor’s swan song is poignant and highlights the wise beyond his years quality he brought to the role of Ragnar and Lagertha’s son. His final moments should not be missed. Bjorn has been the voice of reason in his family, a calm soul produced by two volatile parents and while Ludwig will be an excellent addition to the cast, the young Bjorn’s presence will be missed.

5. Ragnar and Rollo

Why can’t they just get along?

I hate to keep emphasizing this, but this episode is so emotional. I want to break out a “My emotions!” gif, but I am restraining myself. The aftermath of the brother’s clash is…actually, I don’t want to spoil it in any way, so you are just going to have to trust me. Their relationship goes on an unexpected journey, and once again it opens so many doors for the future which brings me to the bonus reason you should watch…

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Bonus Reason: “Brother’s War” Is The Opening Chapter Of A Much Bigger Story

I had a love/hate relationship with Vikings last season, but the season two opener feels like a fresh start. The story from last season closes and new stories spiral out in all different directions. There is a sense that the world is expanding with new characters, places and journeys just over the horizon. There is adventure, there is quality family drama and so much possibility. If Vikings season two lives up to the premiere we are all in for a fantastic season of television.

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