Rachel Bellwoar reviews series three of Britannia…
Girl gets declared the Chosen One. Girl denies her destiny. Girl changes her mind and prepares to go on a quest. If series three of Britannia sounds a lot like the Lord of the Rings, that’s because it is — especially after episode three, when Cait (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) assembles her own fellowship to look for the Spear of the Silver Dawn.
Unlike the One Ring, though, Cait isn’t supposed to destroy the spear. She’s supposed to wield it and unite the tribes against Aulus (David Morrissey), the Roman general who’s been trying to kill her since he learned there was a prophesy that says she’ll be his downfall.
In many ways it’s business as usual for Britannia, and while Cait starts out the season by herself, the series luckily realizes that it’s much more fun to see her paired up with someone than to have her traveling solo.
All of the main players are back. Even a few characters you might not have expected to see again show up (which is only tricky because it’s been a minute since series two). Their faces are familiar but sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what happened to them. They’re the reason this show is so entertaining, though. That and the stoner vibe, because there is a sense that not a lot happens this season. Characters bide their time and end up being all talk, no action, but that’s ok because they’re so much fun to be around. It doesn’t matter if they don’t accomplish anything, or that the show shamelessly uses “magic” as an explanation for anything that doesn’t make sense
It’s not for nothing that the druids are always on drug trips and the soundtrack uses songs from the 60’s and 70’s (with T-Rex’s “Children of the Revolution” replacing Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” as the theme song this season). The whole attitude of the show is laidback. The most outrageous things happen, and characters go. “Yep, that makes sense” and move on. Sometimes they curse (Britannia and Deadwood have that in common), but otherwise there’s a lot of rolling with things like Divis (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) having to say, “Big Pebble,” and keep a straight face. Julian Rhind-Tutt, who plays Phelan, might be the best at this, as his character has totally accepted his lot in life and all of the degradations that come with it. Nothing phases him.
The one big change this season is the addition of Sophie Okonedo to the cast as Hemple, a cannibal witch who has ties to Aulus. Between her and Zoë Wanamaker (whose character, Antedia, comes back in a big way in episode two) it’s a joy getting to see these powerhouse actresses be given such fiery roles to play.
Britannia Series III is available on DVD from Acorn in the UK.