Amazon Prime TV review: Vikings Season 1, Episode 5 (Raid)
Ivan Radford | On 08, Sep 2013
First Trial, now Raid: the shorter Vikings’ episode titles are, the better the show seems to be. It continues its direct approach with Earl Haraldson assaulting Ragnar’s home: a swift, loud reaction to his acquittal for the death of Earl’s friend, Knut, and a chance for some serious violence.
Oh yes, there’s violence. There’s even a little nudity too, as full-frontal humans feel the full brunt of the Earl’s weapons. As Vikings enters the second half of its first season, you get the sense that it’s fully matured – something that’s reinforced by the episode’s confidence to sit still for most of its runtime.
The injured Ragnar recovers from the attack in hiding at Floki’s house, pausing any further action as director Ciaran Donnelly builds up the tension. Impressively, it works: rather than follow our hero, Raid devotes time to Gabriel Byrne’s nasty mastermind and his cruel political plotting. Spying on his enemy, the Earl receives a visit from Rollo, who appears to have swapped sides since the Earl tried to bribe him.
Michael Hirst’s script, though, is never afraid to do some double-crossing. Where all the back-stabbing ends up is a shocking and horrible place. Just as we reel from Donnelly’s unrestrained climax – his approach has less nuance but more punch than previous director Johan Renck – Hirst brings out the big guns, building up to the next episode. With three episodes left to go, you get the impression that Vikings is about to start spilling blood before it runs out of time. And it’s not a moment too soon. This is gripping stuff.
Vikings is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.