One of the big advantage of cable shows (other than the lack of FCC regulation) is the shorten season. When you only have eight to thirteen episodes a year to fill than the network standard of twenty-two, you storyline can be more concise and can easily trim the fat. But for some reason, occasionally cable channels expand their shows episode number (okay, that reason is obviously money). The worst in memory was when Rescue Me went from thirteen to twenty-two one season and the show cratered creatively. It quickly went down to ten the next season.
So I am a little worried to hear History has boosted the number of Vikings episodes this season from ten to twenty. Okay, they did have a seven month break between episode ten and eleven. The voice over for the intro even says, “Last season on Vikings,” even though it is still technically still season four. But no matter how you cut it, there will be twenty episodes of the show that air over twelve months.
There was a very specific break in between blocks this season as the first half ended with Ragnor being humiliated in Paris only to desert his land. A teaser at the end of the last episode jumped ahead about a decade with a returning Ragnor placing his sword in the ground that as surrounded by a crows and shouted, “Who wants to be king?” Welcome back Ragnor.
The new half of the season starts with the same question that ended the last. Sorry to anyone hoping to learn what happed between Paris and the return, no flashbacks in the premiere? Instead we get reintroduced to Ragnor’s grown sons including Gimpy who has grown into a son that only Donald Trump could love. Seriously, that kid is all sorts of horrible even though he cannot use either of his legs but still manages to crawl everywhere to watch people have sex.
As you can expect from a half season that starts with a dude striking the ground with his sword, there is plenty of conflict this season. Ragnor wants to go back to England while in his absence, Bjorn has found a map of the Mediterranean with plenty of Roman outposts to plunder. Granted this path goes through France which means permission from Uncle Rollo. And while the guys are away, the women back home will play, and not nice as Lagertha seems to want her throne back. Here is hoping this is enough storyline to keep the show from dragging on now that it has doubled its yearly episode output.
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on History.