Review: Ragnarok Season 2 (2021)

The hit Norwegian series returns for a second series with all six episodes available to watch on Netflix Now.

SYNOPSIS

Ragnarok is a coming-of-age drama building on and contributing to a new and surprising angle on Norse mythology. The series is set in the small, fictitious town of Edda, situated in the grand, breathtaking Norwegian nature. The story revolves around the inhabitants of Edda, who are perhaps not all who they claim to be. With them, we experience a drastically changing world: melting poles, warm winters, violent downpours. Some might say we’re headed for yet another Ragnarok. Unless someone intervenes in time…

PLOT AND STORY

Season one left things on a huge cliffhanger and thankfully the second series picks things up exactly where we left them. I found the first series to be such a surprise hit by creating a fresh new take on Norse Mythology and I’m pleased that this developed so much more during the second series.

I like how this series educates the audience through captions or lessons from a teacher at school regarding who the Norse gods were and why they battled giants. The story cleverly finds a way of telling you ‘this person is portraying Loki’s powers’ without actually saying it. Through this clever writing and delivery the second series steps up the lore and brings not only Thor and Loki to the forefront of the series but other gods like Odin, Freya and Tyr. 

I find the way this whole show is told through the lives of teenagers to be unique and is largely why a modern, young audience will really enjoy Ragnarok. Shows like Vikings and Norsemen explore the more vulgar and violent history while Ragnarok explores the more political aspects in a modern world while respecting the history of Viking culture.

Whilst Magne’s journey to becoming Thor was a heavy focus during season 1, the second series pays more attention to his brother Laurits transformation into Loki. Made popular by the Marvel Cinematic Universe we all love the trickster Loki but this version takes a much darker tone and makes the show very inclusive by exploring sexuality and gender. The great thing about this is how it’s not forced into the show just because of some LBGT token gesture. The writers cleverly use real stories of Loki who had a history of presenting themself as both male and female at times giving Laurits journey a more authentic feel.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

Much like with season 1 the show continues to shoot entirely on location in a Norwegian town using natural light, real buildings and stunning scenery. All of this contributes to the overall realistic feeling to the show and helps craft it’s own, incomparable identity. 

Not quite what I would call this a slow burn but the series moves at a steady pace while never quite running away with itself. I do feel some episodes would have benefited with a little shove to get them going but overall the consistent pace of the show makes this an enjoyable viewing with plenty of suspense, drama and snippets of action. 

I’m not convinced some of the sub plots were required and perhaps could have dropped a few side characters to give more time to focus on the main characters as there is a lot of story to try and pack into six episodes. The six episode structure worked very well during season one but I feel this could have been pushed out to 8 episodes to complete the full journey for certain characters. 

This series again contains a great score to accompany some beautiful settings and blended with a modern indie soundtrack including hits from M83, Charlotte Gainsbourg and The Deportees. All of this contributes to the style of this show which makes it feel similar to the CW network based dramas but with better storytelling and production.

CAST

A full returning cast from season one of young, globally unknown Scandenavian actors who I’m sure will be knocking on Hollywood’s door soon. The main two characters David Stakston who plays Magne and his on screen brother Laurits played by Jonas Strand Gravli really stood out in this series as did the other on screen siblings Fjor and Saxa played by Herman Tommeraas and Theresa Frostad Eggesbo respectively.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Season one was a complete surprise to me back in 2020 and I have been eagerly anticipating the COVID-19 delayed season two. While the awe and magic of season one is still present here, season two didn’t quite have the same impact. That being said I still found the second season to be great fun and entertaining with a much better fleshed out story but the slow pace in some episodes lost some of the momentum. I absolutely hope there will be a third season to bring this story to a deserving conclusion. 

I watched this via my Netflix subscription and received no incentive to review this series. All images and artwork are courtesy of Netflix and their respective owners.

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