Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 returns with a story worth following, even when it feels more somber than its debut, for the story here is carefully crafted to examine character journeys in a world that forces too much out of human beings. In this regard, the story’s pacing takes precedence because every quiet moment matters as much as a brutal brawl. And frankly, they matter far more because this is a season about understanding and growth—it’s about finding one’s own path despite the harrowing circumstances.
In more ways than one, the show’s second season stands out because of the performances again. The cast continues to do something special as they thread together a story that will be simple to follow despite the weight carried in every episode.
Anyone who knows me knows I started the show because of Leo Suter, and while Harald’s arc is gripping from the start, it’s Leif Erikson and, by extension, Sam Corlett’s performance that will stay with me after Vikings: Valhalla Season 2. There’s no way to talk about his arc without spoiling, but what’s imperative to note is how Leif comes to his own through an incredibly believable journey that’s so achingly heartbreaking at times—it’s the performances that make watching brilliant.
The same can also be said for Freydís Eiríksdóttir and what it means for her to find the pieces of herself that will matter most in the long run. Vikings: Valhalla has been renewed for a third season ahead of its sophomore release, but with track records lately, it’s a little hard to trust that we’ll actually get it until it’s here. Still, where this season lands is at a perfect middle for the kind of third season that can be utterly brilliant.
Further, while it seems like the gore is a bit more tamed now than before, it’s still relatively heavy as the battles themselves, though smaller in scale, are much bigger where the stakes are concerned. And that’s the thing; we’re entering into a lull with quiet moments and high stakes that make the character journeys that much more riveting. This is a season that screams with breathtaking performances that make the quiet moments scream louder than the guttural screams. And on all counts, Frida Gustavsson proves what a riveting performer she is by diving in and embodying emotions that showcase growth without words doing all the heavy lifting.
While these are the three characters who’ve often had the greatest grip on me, newcomers and those we’re familiar with also set themselves on large scales where big decisions are necessary and imperative for the story. Plot points here are significant to destructions and rebuildings, but Vikings: Valhalla gives every character something enormously taxing to battle with, bringing their strengths front and center to reveal where it could all go later.
Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 is slightly more somber than its debut season as it propels characters towards separations and journeys of self-discovery, but every storytelling beat feels earned and meticulously crafted. We’re headed somewhere where everything that happens here will matter significantly, and despite the overarching sadder tone, there’s a hopeful ease the season leaves us with by the end of the last episode.
Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 will premiere exclusively on Netflix on January 12.