Spring TV Watch List: Vikings

Vikings

Vikings
This was one of those shows I came into late through social media. Between people tweeting their love and pretty tumblr pictures it was hard to ignore for long. Pretty? That was unquestionable. Good though? The History Channel was putting it on so I was worried it was going to be some kind of history-ish half drama half teachy. Nope. It is an all out drama. Thank god.

What I like about Vikings is that it is an explorers narrative but also is a look at Viking culture. What it does that doesn’t always translate on tv well is depict a living religion from history in a way that it makes sense for the characters and the community. I think the only other show I’ve seen do similar is HBOs Rome. The scope of the show is both micro and macro in that it revolves around one family, but the context is within the framework of Viking expansion and growing influence as explorers. It also does a great job at showing early egalitarianism in Viking culture that shows the early seeds of a superior egalitarian society in the region today. Shield maidens FTW!

Side note: Everyone is starting to copy the braided hairstyles shown on Vikings. Newsflash: Current Vikings are still wearing that style. It never went away.

Next up…Orphan Black

Forbrydelsen III: SNAFU

Forbrydelsen
(warning: includes spoilers through series 3)

Forbrydelsen as a show has always played around with the idea of civic responsibility and personal honor. It was almost fitting that the series would come to an end with Sarah Lund once again faced with the impossible task of seeking justice in an indifferent world. A world where even the best of people would be tempted by their own self interest.

In the case of series three we got to meet a lot of people who were tested and ultimately failed at avoiding that temptation. Ironically it was the kidnapper in the active case that made the most sense to to Lund. He understood the weight of his own actions completely and while he strayed into violence he never thought higher of himself than others. He could empathize with the parents of his kidnapping victim, with Lund as she searched for justice in a world indifferent to it, and desperately wanted someone, anyone to empathize with his murdered daughter. A victim inconvenient to so many people. Empathy was his main weapon but no one but Lund was open to feeling it.

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
Flannery O’Connor

Choices
In previous seasons Lund was bruised, battered, and brought low by the end of the season. The case would fill her up, but when it was over she was once again empty. Her personal life was a disaster. She was the most alive while acting on behalf of justice. She would fall into obscurity between cases until society would call upon her one more time.

This season started with Lund receiving recognition of a long career. She was moving on to a desk job. She had attempted to start a garden at home even though she had no idea what she was doing and managed to kill all of the plants due to both inattention and trying to grow them in the wrong season. Timing in her personal life was always sadly off. She took in her son’s pregnant girlfriend. Pregnant with a half wanted and half unwanted child. The potential there was not yet realized. Like the plants it was out of season. She ran into her first real love from the academy, and after all those years he had grown into someone almost her equal. He spoke her language of justice and they connected. He was married to someone else though and had a family.

Timing. It was starting to feel like if she was ever going to have a chance at all it would have to be then. The little pieces of a real life were coming together even it was still a dysfunctional one. She could have a half dead garden, a dysfunctional family, and be a home wrecker. For her that was a happy ending and she fought even having that much despite clearly wanting it. She had a chance to live a full life or as close to one as she’d ever get. But she had one last case to get through.

By the end of the show we are at a very familiar situation. Lund knows who the killer in the old case is. The killer that the kidnapper wanted her to catch. The killer no one bothered with for years. The system wanted her to leave him alone though. The evidence was interfered with intentionally and there wasn’t enough left intact to bring him in.

The small bit of evidence she had finally found wasn’t enough to bring him in on it’s own, but it was enough she dared to call him out in private. He confirmed her worst instincts. He killed the girl. He killed girls before. He will kill them again. Continue reading