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Seasons 1 through 5A can be streamed or downloaded from Showmax right here if you need catch up, but you’d better hurry because the warring is going into overdrive!
The episode 10 mid-season finale saw brother turn on brother in the bloody battle for the viking city Kattegat and the bloodshed is being amplified as the show returns.
“The war is not over,” utters viking prophet The Seer (John Kavanagh) in what sounds like his dying breath in episode 11. “We are all going to go into the dark!”
With Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) conquering Kattegat, a dark new age is ushered in and it’s something the war-loving Vikings haven’t experienced yet because Ivar is an unstoppable monster.
“With Ivar having defeated his brothers and gained the viking stronghold, some of the heroes end up in Wessex seeking safety. This season is very much Ivar in ascent,” teases series creator Michael Hirst. Sharpen those swords, gather the battle shields and get ready to spill blood – here’s a taste of the mayhem on the way…
Gods of gods
Always mocked for his crippling birth defect, Ivar screams out on the battlefield, “People of Kattegat, I am Ivar the Boneless. All hail your new king!”
Power is a deadly thing that consumes you from the inside and that’s something Ivar’s followers quickly learn.
“Hang your enemies and let their bodies be shown to the people as a warning. Hatred must never take the place of love,” Ivar tell his men in episode 11.
“His reign is going to be extremely proactive,” warns Michael of what lies ahead. “Ivar will almost instigate a reign of terror. It’s proactive reign, it’s unhappy for the people of Kattegat and it doesn’t end happily.”
Alex agrees, saying that “I love the idea of ‘let’s make this guy who can’t control himself control an entire city’, and it means only death and destruction. With this whole gaining-power story, Ivar embraces a crazy god-like persona that strikes fear in the hearts of everyone, regardless of whether they’re friend, family or foe.”
Being shunned by women all his life for his impotency, it seems that Ivar is finally going to love too. While he will be a ruthless king, he will also show his softer side to one person – Freydis (Alicia Agneson), the slave girl he turns into the new queen of Kattegat.
But don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Freydis enters Ivar’s life just as he rises to power. She’s just as manipulative and cruel, making them a match made in hell.
“Anyone who shows Ivar what he thinks is real affection, even perhaps love, he’s going to be at their mercy,” says Michael. “It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t personally do terrible things, but you can understand the syndrome that he has. So she sets in motion, in a way, some of the greater cruelties that happen in Kattegat. And yes, he’s vulnerable, he’s vulnerable to that manipulation. She manipulates the situation to give him what he seems to want, but it’s clearly also to her advantage to do so.”
Watch closely in episode 11: you may just spot her cradling her belly as if she’s pregnant. Could it be that impotent Ivar has a bundle of joy on the way? And what implications will that have? Let’s just say that he won’t win Father of the Year award if it’s true…
The Lost Queen
Ivar’s older brother Björn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) and ex Kattegat queen mom Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) flee to Wessex with their tails between their legs for the first time in five seasons. But it’s not the end for them – it’s just time to recoup and rethink their plan.
Michael adds, “Lagertha really comes to question who she is and what she’s been doing and this will lead her to confront some hard truths.”
One of these will be the return of her former brother-in-law Rollo (Clive Standen) in the dying moments of episode 10.
“He’s come back (from Paris) to deal with things that were never dealt with in the past. We’re going back to Season 1 here, where there were huge questions about his relationship and Ragnar’s (Travis Fimmel) relationship with Lagertha and what actually happened between them all – and frankly, whose son Bjorn is,” teases Clive.
And between all this bloodshed, Lagertha finds love again too. She gives herself another chance to fall for war-loving Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).
“You would have thought by this stage that men were pretty much off the menu,” jokes Michael. The courtship could be sticky when they arrive in Wessex because he’ll have to reconcile his relationship with a pagan with his devotion to the church – especially if he has any intention to reclaim his position of power.
The young warriors
Ivar’s brothers aren’t finished with their infighting either. Ragnar’s second son Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) betrayed his brother Ubbe (Cormac Melia) at the end of episode 10 and sided with Ivar and that will play out in 5B.
“The consequences of that decision and the consequences of having to put up with Ivar’s tyranny are terrible and he beats himself up and will actually continue to beat himself up and to go to some pretty dark places because of that decision, but he knows deep down that there must have been a reason for him to jump ship,” Michael explains. “Did the gods make him jump ship and if so, what did the gods have in store for him? Was he meant to kill Ivar? That is going to be an interesting thing to look out for.”
Ragnar’s eccentric best friend and now self-proclaimed prophet Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) left Kattegat in episode 6 with his followers to establish a colony on a volcanic island in Iceland, which he believes to be Asgard – the land of the gods.
“It has been nothing but hardship for him and his followers,” says Gustaf. At the end of episode 10, he was prepared to sacrifice himself to the gods to save his colony of worshippers.
“This whole Icelandic adventure becomes rather grim,” reveals Michael, “and ultimately extremely tragic in ways that even now you can’t quite anticipate. His journey will come to a harrowing conclusion.”
There is still a story to tell before Floki can join Ragnar in Valhalla though.
And despite all the doom and gloom, there is a bit of sunshine… if you can call it that. In the next 10 episodes, fans will be introduced to Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky as a fierce Viking raider named Oleg the Prophet, a 10th-Century Viking prince who’s sailed the rivers of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. This role should sit comfortably with Danila, who also starred in the Russian film Vikings (2016) as Vladimir The Great.
Let’s set sail – it seems the adventure in Vikings is only just beginning!
Stream Seasons 1-5 and 5b exclusively and first on Showmax right here.
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