Season 1 Episode 3
Brida was mostly in the background, a companion to Uhtred, an annoyance to the Saxons, but she was the beating heart of this episode. If Uhtred felt the pull of his Saxon roots as strongly as his Danish upbringing, Brida was a Dane through and through. She dreamt of sailing with Young Ragnar even as she and Uhtred continued sleeping together. When Young Ragnar finally showed up, a man who knew there was no way Uhtred could have killed their family, Brida joined him, though it meant leaving Ragnar for at least a year. For, in his quest to retake Bebbanburg, Uhtred pledged his service to Alfred.
Was it the death of their child that pushed Brida to leave Uhtred? Though Uhtred insisted that Brida be present even on a council with the King, it always seemed as though Brida felt for Uhtred more than he did for her. Uhtred's eyes were on wealth and Bebbanburg. Brida's were on him, at least, until she decided to leave. She had already dug up Earl Ragnar's treasure even before she knew that Young Ragnar was in Wessex; Young Ragnar's arrival only meant that Brida need not search for him.
In Young Ragnar's embrace of Uhtred, there was Earl Ragnar's (and his family's) generosity of spirit, an acceptance of Uhtred's word. Alfred, for all his piety, was a shrewd ruler who seek to bind Uhtred to him, to ensure the young warrior's loyalty. Alfred had discussed with Odda the Elder the possibility of Uhtred marrying his goddaughter Mildrith. When young Uhtred was a servant to Earl Ragnar, his move to protect Thyra was enough to earn him the Earl's affection for a son. Seeing Uhtred was enough to dispel any clouds of doubt on Young Ragnar's mind brought about by the lies spread by Kjartan and his ilk. The barbarity of the Danes ran in concert with their sense of community, with this willingness to accept one from a different background as their own. Brida could not hope to find such acceptance amongst the Saxons.
With the information Uhtred provided, Alfred and Aethelred defeated the Danes (led by Guthrum, Ubba was not part of the assault), but at a cost. Aethelred died of his wounds, and Alfred became King. Aethelwold tried to seize power, with the help of Odda the Younger, to no avail. He was sent to study with the monks.
Alfred wanted Uhtred to train his soldiers, not necessarily to teach them to fight but to show them that the Danes were human. If he soldiers ceased fearing the Danes, then they could more effectively fight them. Alfred knew the peace he managed to negotiate with Ubba and Guthrum was tenuous at best. War would soon break out once more. For one year, Uhtred would be in his service to prepare for that.
With Brida's departure, Uhtred was now left alone with the Saxons, with the warrior Leofric at his side and Father Beocca consistently advocating for him. Kjartan was a lord now, with three times as many men as Young Ragnar. When the time came, Uhtred promised his brother, they could exact revenge for their family.
■ Uhtred taught the Saxons how to do a proper shield wall.
■ Guthrum wanted to be King of Wessex.
■ Uhtred gave Alfred good advice before the latter negotiated with the Danes.
■With Alfred insisting that everything be recorded, he seemed particularly concerned on how he would be remembered.
■ Leofric could see what Uhtred could or would not, that Brida was terribly lonely.