Britannia Season 2: still crazy after all these years

I had to remind myself how much I’d enjoyed the first season of this bonkers historical drama to persuade myself to (figuratively) tune in. Were NowTV smart to drop the whole series at once for a binge watch rather than putting it out weekly? There’s always the danger that you might forget between episodes how much you were enjoying it. Some kind of druid mojo at work, no doubt.

Mackenzie Crook is so good in this that they gave him a second part to play. By Season 3 he might be playing all the parts.

It’s a couple of years on from the Roman invasion of A.D. 43. The Romans are still living in tents, for the most part, complaining about what a shithole country Britain is, but some permanent structures are being built, even if the emperor encourages a certain exaggeration of details. And David Morrissey’s Aulus Plautius is up to something; something he’s so determined to see through that he’ll go to any lengths to ensure he does.

Meanwhile Nikolaj Lie Kaas, the Outcast, is still half-competently vision questing away with Cait, the girl from the prophecy, who suffers indignities (such as trying to fly off a cliff or having fish guts smeared on her face) but sticks around because of the thin shreds of evidence that the Outcast knows what he’s doing.

There are lots of meanwhiles. Too many. The druids are all over the place, there are hallucinogens being slipped into everyone’s water, and even the Emperor Claudius shows up, complaining about his piles. Then there’s the Roman legionary who seems to have stepped out of the pages of Lloyd C Douglas’ The Robe, and even a visit from someone who can only be Joseph of Arimathea. There are already plenty of talking and flying heads, so the Fisher King might be somewhere in there. And if you squint a little bit there’s a wizard and someone who gets turned into a fish and you might be watching a fucked up Sword in the Stone.

Everything is here. It’s crazy, hilarious, brutal, with a killer soundtrack and enough face paint for a dozen village fêtes. And apples. There’s still no sense of geography. Are we in Colchester? Wales? King’s Landing? Honestly, it’s too much fun for me to care.


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