It’s always the way with these marauding hordes of battle-drunk warriors and ocean-cruising explorers of legend. They get us all lathered up into a frenzy worthy of the bravest axe-toters in Valhalla, foaming at the mouths in anticipation of adventures to come... then season four ends.
It’s enough to make you want to throw Vikings creator Michael Hirst into a pit of snakes like the dearly departed Ragnar Lothbrok. While we pour out a horn of mead for that fallen hero, here are some questions we need answered when season five arrives on December 6...
How will the sons of Ragnar react to Sigurd’s death?
Ivar may have shocked himself when he finally bit the bolt and buried an axe in his brother’s chest. Will he play it cool, be racked with regret or some combination? And will the other boys see it as unforgiveable or part of the price of doing Viking business?
Who will fill the power vacuum?
We’ve already seen how the boys carry on their father’s legacy across the North Sea, but now Ecbert’s dead as well and it doesn’t look like the Viking invaders are planning to settle down as farmers. Can Aethelwulf handle the crown? British history has a few clues, but this show has never been afraid to merge eras and stories for its own narrative purposes.
Who’s this bishop and what’s his caper?
In the dying moments of season four, Jonathan Rhys Meyers joined the cast as Bishop Heahmund, a Christian leader who doesn’t take vows of chastity as seriously as some. Showing him preside over a funeral then keep the widow occupied on more carnal things is a great introduction – will he be a compelling adversary for the invaders? Can Rhys Meyers replace Travis Fimmel as the show’s simmering, subtle centre?
Where will Floki go now?
Devastated by the loss of Helga, Floki is a self-described man without a rudder (and yet, he has taken to the sea). Where will he pop up again? Will he pop up again? Surely this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the mad bastard.
What’s in store for Lagertha?
She’s always been the toughest character in the show, kicking arse and taking names wherever she goes, and brooking no insult from friend, family or foe. As the older generation of characters die around her, Lagertha continues to look to the future. OK, this one’s less of a question and more of a threat: Lagertha better not bloody die next season or there’ll be consequences.
Vikings returns with season five on Wednesday 6 December at 9:30pm on SBS.