Vikings follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok the greatest hero of his era. The series says the sagas of Ragnar's gang of Viking brothers and the family, as he rises being King from the Viking tribes. In addition to being a courageous warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion towards the gods, legend has it he was a direct descendant of Odin, the god of war and warriors.
Farmer, family man and rebel Ragnar Lothbrok is determined to sail west to find out new lands and riches regardless of an intimidating warning from his village's tyrannical leader, Lord Haraldson, who causes it to be clear in no unknown terms that doing this could result in severe consequences.
What is most unexpected regarding pilot episode “Rites of Passage” is that, despite its taste for blood and full-bodied thirst for mud-of the shit-proliferate variety-it’s a screwing tough bore. Unfortunate given the show’s pedigree; created by The Tudors showrunner Michael Hirst, he of super-sexy historical fiction, and directed by Johan Renck, who once designed a Knife video, Vikings buttons in the stupid libido-first initiative which steered The Tudors and sets its sights for some thing respectable. But what was perhaps usually apparent concerning the Tudors is now writ in elaborately shit-splattered, giant runes by Vikings: that beneath everything weird sociopathic fucking by gorgeous aristocrats would be a dumb puritanical bent along with a real small plot.
However probably you’re straight into silly haircuts. In that case, Vikings is a lot more chock-full of half-shaved skulls, mullets, asymmetrical mops, and Willie Nelson braids compared to smokers’ circle huddled in the cold outside a Williamsburg dive bar.
Vikings is of the identical loins as Spartacus: Blood and Sand for the reason that it attempts to pass its slow-mo hyper-stylized grittiness as some unflinching, in-thy-face realism-but at least Spartacus had a far better sense of humor by what it was really peddling. Vikings has nobler aims. It tries to separate the traditional art of hero-building from the violence and fornication of the beasts shitting in the mud that covers the majority of the characters’ foreheads. More than once a character is called a “great warrior” but not a great man, driving a moralistic wedge between what could stand as perhaps an anachronism from the society the show’s portraying and the brutality built into that society’s every day. It’s a fine enough idea, that the real heroes of Vikings are those who discover a way beyond the demand for violence, but it’s also pretty dull when the only thing remotely exciting that happens in its first hour is really a messy skirmish-right at the beginning of the episode-that leads to one sweet-ass spear killing. Just one. Never enough spear killings, is my number 1 rule.
The guy who throws the spear is Ragnar Lodbrok (Travis Fimmel), a Scandinavian warrior whose formidable spear-throwing acumen is only matched by his love for his family, wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and son Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole), who Ragnar insists, as the series opens, join him in his semi-annual sojourn to Kattegat, where Bjorn will go through the titular rites of passage to become a man—which basically includes licking a sword and then mouth-kissing the local Lord’s wife—and where Ragnar will learn where he and his fellow Vikings will go to rape and pillage next. Lagertha of course thinks that Bjorn is too young, but Ragnar knows that his son is ready to join the fellowship of grown rapers and pillagers. Bjorn, for his part, greets his parents’ argument as he does most of what happens throughout the series, with a mixture of confusion and concern:
It needs to be known that in that screencap he’s telling his uncle that his parents are having sex. What he doesn’t know is that his uncle Rollo (Clive Standen) includes a secret jones for his mom, that will undoubtedly make for some familial tension later on episodes, but for now simply seems yucky, because most likely poor people kid just unsuspectingly made a deposit in the uncle’s spank bank.
In Kattegan we meet up with Earl Heraldson (Gabriel Byrne), local Viking chief and steward, in addition to his odd, ugly henchman, who are released like Dick Tracy villains. There’s Ole Rumbleface:
it’s no spear, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Byrne doesn’t attempt way too hard to play Heraldson like a warped and crinkled autocrat to satisfy his own unique ambitions, specifically dispatching a clansman to the chopping block after which publicly forbidding the headless schmuck’s soul to become listed on the gods in Valhalla. It’s an offend Ragnar obviously isn’t too interested in, realizing Heraldson just had the man put to death to be able to claim his lands. After which Heraldson goes and announces that Ragnar and the Viking pals continues to set on raids in the east, rather than venturing into the unknown lands of the West, that is where Ragnar really wants to go. Ragnar seethes with bitterness, which looks a bit like this:
Imagine, Ragnar includes a plan to eventually plunder the heretofore unplundered riches of future England and Ireland, having grasped the sly some futuristic devices from some shadowy characters that will help him navigate in to the unknown West. Ragnar rebuffs Heraldson’s insistence ongoing East before all of Heraldson’s men…which is how that above-referenced knife intimidation comes in. Because Heraldson’s real pissed, and thus orders that Ragnar’s followed. Dude must be up to something.
And that he is: with help from insane forest denizen and mystical shipbuilder Floki, Ragnar and Rollo enter into the having a brand new type of longship, one capable of easily going over the western waters and showing the stress of a potentially trying expedition. Behind Heraldson’s back, the 2 successfully test their state-of-the-art craft; bursting with pride, Floki then finally lets his hair down and discloses his true personality: Keith Richards, Time-Traveling Immortal.
In the mean time, Ragnar is aware he’s undertaking what he’s said to be doing while he retains getting weird visions of Odin, wreathed in ravens, which appear to be omens to me, however i guess aren’t. Exactly what do I'm sure. Heraldson is also affected by visions, however his are viscous nightmares of wherin he discovers a mass grave. At the bottom are his sons, their corpses naked and greening beneath an enormous tree similar to Yggdrasil, glowing prodigiously amidst a sheen of ectoplasm.
It’s a really stunning, as well as fairly awful, picture, and also efficiently starts to dig in to the psyche of Ragnar’s probable foil, but like the rest of the episode’s striking and epic visuals, it’s a distraction from the simple ideas available. In fact, Vikings’ incessant pinging of mythological buzzwords and cultural touchpoints merely emphasizes how ordinary it's at its heart, that it’s little more than a hero’s journey numbed to the marrow by the discipline required to keep as far away from sexy indulgence as possible.
Nevertheless, this is only the pilot, so that as Ragnar and Rollo and Keith prepare to defy Haraldson to forge a courageous path in to the wonderful, western yonder, we all know that when-because they will-get there, they’ll pillage and rape the area into the stone age. And what does which means that for Lagertha, who has been recently attacked when while Ragnar was away, in a position to drive the attackers away but nonetheless a potential victim just like the many people Ragnar sets to similarly victimize? It’s a tall order for Vikings to pull off, to in some way develop a legend from that. But that’s been the problem with super-sexy historical fiction anyway: that it appears to have not one other option.