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Is Netflix's 'Ragnarok' Season 2 Equal To Or Worse Than Season 1?

Ragnarok David Stakston Magne Seier Jonas Strand Gravli Laurits Seier Netflix
Øystein Fyxe / Netflix

“Ragnarok” is back and a lot sooner than expected. Season 2 arrives only a year after the debut season hit Netflix in May 2020. After a stellar Season 1, one question readily came to mind while binge-watching the second installment. Is Season 2 equal to or worse than Season 1? The answer is complicated, if readily straightforward to provide.

Season 1 is a tough act to follow. The origin story of Magne (David Stakston) becoming Thor, while waging war with the realization that the Jutul family are a band of Giants (and therefore his archnemesis), was rich with story. However, early on in Season 2, it is evident that “Ragnarok” is clearing the board for something game-changing.

How Season 1 Begins

Vidar (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) and Magne both survive their Season 1 ending clash, and as expected, Laurits’ significance takes center stage in what ensues between them. Meanwhile, more Gods get ushered into the landscape. Unable to balance the shift, Vidar’s fellow giants: Ran (Synnøve Macody Lund), Saxa, and Fjor, get shifted to the background, and “Ragnarok” Season 2 suffers as a result.

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The sophomore season is always the toughest when it comes to television. It is the test few series manage to pass with flying colors. That said, “Ragnarok” struggling with it was not a twist this viewer saw coming, considering the strength it showed in its identity circa Season 1. I had expected the Nordic Netflix series to show Season 2 stamina akin to “Black Spot.”

Sadly, it does not quite come together for the Thor-centric series. This, despite the early payoff of Laurits’ escalating proximity to the series’ mythology, and Iman’s (Danu Sunth) heightened profile. In truth, the synergy of “Ragnarok” is shifted off of its axis during the halfway point of Season 2, and it never recovers. Add to that Magne not coming across as earnestly likable as he did in Season 1, and it all just feels…off.

Why Season 2 Falls Short

Perhaps, it was personal expectations being so high that led to the letdown. To that point, the first season of “Ragnarok” was a stunningly pleasant surprise. Something that it had going for it. To its credit, the cast, direction, and production values are on par with what they were in Season 1. In contrast, the depth of the character development is where it has soured me.

Saxa (Theresa Frostad Eggesbø) is nearly forgotten, while Ran’s transformation into full-blown villainy does not hit with loads of nuance. There seem to be some beats missing, including with Fjor’s journey. In Season 1, the Giants were as complicated as the Gods, only to have that depth missing in Season 2. Thank goodness for Henriette Steenstrup’s MVP turn as Magne and Laurits’ mother, Turid, lighting things up.

Another vital asset inexplicably missing in Season 2 is the music, which alters the series’ tone immensely. The absence of M83’s epic soundscape is felt on a level both evident and subtle while watching “Ragnarok.” As a result, its ability to conjure the grandest emotions from the audience gets lost, leaving monumental moments to fizzle instead of sizzle with allure.

In Closing

Plus, romance suffers by getting put out of sight and nearly mind. Gry’s blind devotion to Fjor (Herman Tømmeraas) falls short for this romantic. Both Laurits and Magne struggle to find lasting love connections. Magne’s love life is a series of hints and glimpses with hardly any follow-through before a significant moment jumps the gun. The good news in all of this: Laurits’ (Jonas Strand Gravli) evolution and Season 2’s hope-piquing ending.

The groundwork has gotten set for an intriguing third act. I hope “Ragnarok” can recover in time to realize it fully. In the meantime, I would recommend checking out “Curon” while waiting to learn if the series will return for a third season. Like Netflix’s “The Gift,” Season 2 felt like a halftime act for a third and final curtain. Time will tell if that is accurate.

I love the show and hope to see it reclaim its former glory if Season 3 gets confirmed. If any show can, it is “Ragnarok.” Season 1 and Season 2 of “Ragnarok” are currently streaming on Netflix, alongside a lot of great TV content you will want to check out.

Rating: 6.5/10

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