TV Club: In its second episode, Vikings refuses to learn from past mistakes

Unlike Ragnar Lothbrok, Vikings is making the same mistakes. In this near-disaster of a second episode, the fourth season stalls with a series of narrative decisions that stunt the stories we care about while repeating the same pattern of last season’s worst storyline. And, for good measure, revisiting and expanding that past story itself. Diffuse and scattered, “Kill The Queen” is a disheartening signal that creator (and episode writer) Michael Hirst has learned nothing.

When Ragnar first invaded Wessex, Vikings fairly vibrated with the excitement of the new. Ragnar’s first steps onto the beach saw the show authoritatively plant its flag as Vikings‘ convincingly portrayed its sense of place and time. The continued culture clashes (and actual clashes) that eventually carved out a Norse stronghold in England bristled with unpredictability and excitement. Linus Roache’s King Ecbert seemed a worthy foe, a sly charmer with light behind his …

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