TV Club: Vikings: “Paris”

Even as Ragnar Lothbrok’s plan to raid Paris proceeds with characteristic dispatch, the episode “Paris” sees Vikings losing its mission. Worryingly for a series whose singular storytelling focus has always been one of its mains strengths, the episode continues to dilute the narrative by introducing even more ancillary, non-Viking characters, and then getting lost, meandering through side-stories set in European courts whose intrigues seem wan and stale next to Vikings‘ regulars.

Honestly, “Paris” makes it seem like creator Michael Hirst is looking back—not to the evocative time and culture of the Norsemen, but to his previous shows. Apart from the appearance here of Lothaire Bluteau (as Emperor Charles of France, a.k.a. Charles the Bald), late of Hirst’s The Tudors, fully half of the episode is taken up with palace drama, both in Paris and back in Wessex. Even if these sequences were more compelling than …

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