Coming to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the series that has fans coming back for more with “Vikings: Season 4 Volume 2.”
Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) wastes no time upon his return to Kattegat challenging his sons if one of them wants to be King. The one to step forward is Ubbe (Jordan Smith) but for a completely different challenge. Wanting his sons to return to England with him, he is surprised when Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) tells Ragnar that he has his own plans with Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), Harald (Peter Franzen) and Hvitserk (Marco Llso) to take the Mediterranean.
Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) also has no intention of going to England with Ragnar even after he apologizes to her for everything that has happened. Thinking that his time might be up in this world, the ravens have other plans for Ragnar. When he returns to Kattegat it is to ask Ivar (Alex Hogh) to go to England. Before anyone leaves, Ragnar wants Bjorn to find peace with Rollo while Lagertha refuses to find peace with Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland).
Before he leaves, Aslaug reveals a vision she’s had but Ragnar and Ivar won’t be stopped from going to England. When a storm capsizes the boat, Ragnar and Ivar get to shore and King Ecbert (Linus Roache) is told. Trying to find peace with Rollo (Clive Standen), Bjorn ends up in jail with his companions but safe passage isn’t far away.
Lagertha decides it’s time to reclaim what is hers and takes Ubbe and Sigurd captive with every intent on removing Aslaug from the throne. Proclaiming herself queen, Lagertha hears from Aslaug that she will tell her sons not to fight back if she can leave free. Of course the new queen has a plan of her own with Astrid keeping Ubbe and Sigurd in check.
In Aethelwulf, Ecbert promises that nothing will happen to either Ragnar or Ivar and introduces them to Magnus. Ragnar makes a claim about Kwenthrith and Ecbert admits a few truths of his own. After a few drinks the two reminisce about Athelstan and Ecbert is surprised when Ragnar asks him for death. Refusing to take part in it, he instead agrees to take Ragnar to King Aelle so that Ivar can go home. In the same agreement, he tells Ecbert that Wessex will not be the focus of his son’s revenge.
Before returning home, Ivar learns from Ragnar of his plan and when Ivar lashes out promising revenge before he is taken to a ship going home. Ragnar sees Alfred and gives him a gift of his father before a journey where he has time to rethink all that has happened. Ecbert cannot stay away and when the time comes, he knows that he has lost a friend.
Ivar returns to Kattegat to find Lagertha on the throne and his mother gone. When he challenges the new Queen she ignores it and focuses on building Kattegat’s backup. But a longship brings a mysterious stranger and more challenges begin. Bjorn reaches the Mediterranean and along with Rollo they attack Algeciras. Coming in contact with praying men in the mosque, Floki wants their lives spared. The news of what has happened to Ragnar reaches Spain and Bjorn and Lagertha is told by a mystic that a son of Ragnar is planning to take her down.
A return to England is on the minds of Ubbe, Sigurd and Ivar as a way to revenge Ragnar. Help is also on the way when Earl Jorgensen brings his ships to help the Lothbroks. Floki knows that Ivar will stop at nothing to go to war and so he builds him a chariot and now he had the ability to be a true leader of the troops.
Ivar wants total leadership of the armies but Bjorn has something to say about it. As the Viking troops advance, Athelwulf knows he needs more help and turns to Ecbert and in Northumbria, King Aelle is taken and his fate is sealed.
A surprise attack on Kattegat brings the capture of Egil who lets it be known that it is King Harald that ordered the attack. The Viking army is still on the move and Prince Aethelwulf tries everything to stop them. When he is forced back to Wessex, he tells Ecbert to retreat which he will not do. Instead, turning his crown over to his son, Bjorn then allows him to decide his own fate.
As the brothers decide where they will go next, it is Ivar that stands out with an action that brings even Bjorn into shock.
Fimmel as Ragnar has taken this character to depths that are absolutely amazing. He is not a vocal character by any means but when he does speak, the clan better listen. As Ragnar has grown season by season, it is clear that both the good and bad choices of his life are coming to a decision that had the viewing audiences’ jaws dropping. I can not think of one actor that could have done what Fimmel has for the role of Ragnar.
Winnick as Lagertha has also gone to hell and back as a woman in a world where wielding a weapon and shield is equally as important as having a family. Lagertha has also made good and bad choices but is solid and strong even when she is wrong. I have to give props to a bad ass chick who can give a look that says ‘yea, I was wrong – what about it?’ Winnick is powerful and she’s back on the throne!
Ludwig as Bjorn has grown out of his father’s shadow. Wanting to get back to the sea and do what Vikings do is now his motivation. Making a name and life for himself, Bjorn also begins to understand Ragnar more and more. Standen as Rollo grabs onto the creed of ‘once a Viking always a Viking’ and it’s good to see him back with the ax of nightmares.
Andersen as Ivar is one crazy individual who doesn’t have a problem being without legs. His mind is sharp and his decisions are sharper. Being the son of both Ragnar and Aslaug means he isn’t someone to be toyed with as he can mix plotting, war and revenge in a wine cup and swallow in one breath. Sutherland as Aslaug doesn’t fair as well with Lagertha this time around as her own plotting just doesn’t have the umph that hers does.
Roache as King Ecbert has played the game with Ragnar to the point that they are both played out.
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“Vikings: Season 4 Volume 2” also contains the special features of “The Queen and the Shield Maiden,” “Vikings – Valhalla and the Legacy of Ragnar Lothbrok,” “Creator’s Audio Commentary with Michael Hirst and Linus Roache on Selected Episodes,” “The Journeys of Bjorn Ironside” and “Deleted Scenes.” There are ten unrated episodes with extended and deleted scenes not shown on television.
The episodes include: “The Outsider,” “The Vision,” “Two Journeys,” “In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning,” “All His Angels,” “Crossings,” “The Great Army,” “Revenge,” “On the Eve” and “The Reckoning.”
The History Channel has brought a magnificent series to television and it just gets better and better. Yes, I hate when the show loses characters but I know that means more room for the story to go in another direction as it should. There is so much more to come and I, for one, will be there when it happens.
Of course if you have ever been to San Diego Comic-Con International you know that fans wait in ridiculously long lines to see the actors from the series. They want to know as much as can possibly be shared and share their own costumes of proud “Vikings.” Of course, I have my own drinking horn that is always used when watching “Vikings.”
If you are looking for action, adventure, intrigue, fantastic costuming, intense storylines and all wrapped up with actors who have made “Vikings” a smash, then this is the show for you. Catch up on all the prior season of “Vikings” and look for “Vikings Season 4 Volume 2” on Blu-ray!
In the end – heavy is the head that wears the Viking crown!