The final season of Ragnarok fails to capitalize on its potential once again, providing a disappointing conclusion to the story and a frustrating send-off for the characters.
This review of the Netflix series Ragnarok Season 3 does not contain spoilers.
Season 2 was an improvement on the first, but similarly flawed, burdened by some perplexing character decisions and a non-ending that fans hoped would be rectified in this, the third and presumably final outing.
Those hoping to see a conclusion to the story will, on some level, be satisfied. But the last brisk batch of six episodes is arguably the weakest of the three, lacking the initial mystery of the first and the escalation of the second.
Ragnarok always felt like it had the potential to turn the YA fantasy-drama on its head at some point, whenever it finally leaned into its more outlandish elements instead of its torpid cliches. Ultimately, though, it settles into being the exact kind of show it previously seemed determined to eventually subvert.
Ragnarok Season 3 review and plot summary
As all mythological Norse stories necessarily must be, Ragnarok is about an age-old battle between Gods and Giants, with the former symbolized primarily by Magne, a dyslexic teenage stand-in for Thor, and his androgynous brother Laurits, who is Loki, and the latter being the various members of the Jutul family.
This conflict has always been an excuse for the usual coming-of-age shenanigans. How does a socially awkward young man deal with the fact he’s really the God of Thunder? What does it mean for one’s confusing sexual identity to be quietly integral to their very mythical being? What is power, and who should wield it?
Classic questions, then, the kind all pantheons and mythologies are built on because they’re compelling and essentially unanswerable. But Ragnarok Season 3 dedicates much of its runtime, and most of the shape of its core conflict, to Magne’s internal strife, as his personality morphs according to the extent of his newly discovered power.
This, then, is one of those very frustratingly written stories that hinge on established characters making woeful decisions. Magne’s behavior changes radically. He becomes ensorcelled by Saxa, one of the Jutuls, who manipulates him into sowing discord among his allies. The arc is predictable and contrived.
David Stakson, as Magne, handles the radical changes fairly well, but his performance efforts will be small consolation to the audience who find the script’s demands of his character deeply annoying. As ever, Jonas Strand Gravli as Laurits is the clear stand-out, still delivering the most complex and nuanced performance as a troubled young man trying to find his place.
What has always worked about Ragnarok on some level continues to work here. The six episodes are light and nippy, providing an easy binge, and the actors, young and old, are committed to getting the most out of their roles. It’s the script that burdens this final season with an overuse of cliches and frustratingly little payoff.
Is Ragnarok Season 3 good or bad?
Ragnarok Season 3 provides a lackluster conclusion to the series by confusing its mythological metaphors for ambiguous cop-outs and trying to build an overarching theme of peace and understanding that feels at odds with previous events and characterization.
The idea, I think, is to blur the line between heroes and villains, and to provide a hopeful climax to the show’s longstanding climate-crisis undertones, but it breaks some essential storytelling rules along the way and can’t help but feel hollow and toothless in its commentary.
Is Ragnarok Season 3 worth watching?
Those looking for a conclusion to the saga will find one here – however, the bigger question is whether they’ll be satisfied by it, and it’s very unlikely that they will.
Loki fans will feel especially disappointed by his arc, though it’s symptomatic of many wider problems that blight the whole thing.
It’s hard not to recommend this season as the conclusion to two prior seasons which people seemed to very much enjoy. But it’s easy to lament how it all shakes out, so mileage may very much vary.
What did you think of Ragnarok Season 3? Comment below.
You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.