The Last Kingdom is as strong as ever in this ominous season premier.
Yes, I know I am a few months late to covering the fifth and final season of The Last Kingdom. Real life has been terribly busy these past couple of years, hence the general lack of blog activity. Also, truthfully, I did lose some of my love of blogging amidst all the stress of living through a pandemic. House of the Dragon woke whatever it was within me that compelled me to start blogging in the first place, so here I am, back on the saddle and hopeful that I will be able to complete recapping all ten episodes of the fifth season. We still have the movie Seven Kings Must Die to look forward to so this season is by no means goodbye. As a fan, I would have wanted The Last Kingdom to go on for a far longer period, but I also appreciate the incredibly high quality storytelling it has given us these past years. So, without further ado, here we go.
The peace between the Saxons and the Danes had held for years. Uhtred and his men were stationed in Runcorn, a border city between Mercia and Northumbria. There, Finan and Sihtric lived with their wives and children, whilst Osferth caused brawls between women he bedded. Athelstan, the firstborn son of King Edward, had grown up used to the ways of the Danes whilst fully aware of his royal lineage. Apart from a Danish raider named Rognvaldr (Sigtryggr's brother) who had been causing some trouble amongst travelers in his pursuit of coin, this was, for the most part, a peaceful time for Uhtred. Yet, he remained troubled. 'The air has changed,' he told Finan, though at this time he could not have known that his childhood friend and bitter enemy Brida had returned.
The last time we saw Brida, she was heavily pregnant and so filled with anger toward Uhtred. Brida was a deep believer in the gods and ways of the Danes, though she, herself, was not born a Dane, and her passionate certainty could very well earn her followers. It did. Many years later, as Uhtred hoped she had found peace and at the same time dreaded her return, Brida raised a daughter and grew her army. These were not just raiders out for coin, Brida had transformed them into her image, true believers. 'The time has come to save our people!' she declared to them, and they crossed the open sea for and with her.
At the feast of the Blood Moon, through a fog filled forest where a ritual hunt was happening, Aethelhelm's hired goons tried to kill Athelstan. The boy killed two of his assailants and only the leader got away. With the King's relationship with his wife Aelflaed remaining frosty, and his refusal to name his son by her as the aetheling, Athelstan remained a threat. The boy, however, was dismissive of any threat and simply wanted to test his skills as a warrior and fight raiders. Uhtred absolutely refused to allow him.
With the Blood Moon came the arrival of familiar faces and some new ones. Eadith arrived by boat after having learned healing in Frankia. The Lady of Mercia, Aethelflaed, arrived with her mother Lady Aelswith (still one of the most entertaining characters in The Last Kingdom), her daughter Aelfwynn (who immediately took to one of Uhtred's men, Cynlaef), her loyal man Aldhelm, and a priest with a gambling problem, Father Benedict. It was Aldhelm who told Uhtred of a new threat, men with white marks on their faces who were not just after silver, they kill to avenge their gods.
In York, Sigtryggr still ruled with Stiorra at his side. He was a mostly tolerant ruler who even permitted King Edward's preachers in his town square, even when they convert some of his people to the Christian faith. Stiorra was immediately suspicious of Rognvaldr when he arrived; Sigtryggr, however, appeared to have a blind spot toward him. He would pay for this dearly with the blood of his men. Rognvaldr, it turned out, had been converted into Brida's vengeance, and Brida's shout of 'Valhalla' when Sigtryggr demanded to know where his men was was chilling. Brida and his men, with his daughter who appeared to be a seer, took over York and immediately searched for Stiorra. Brida may couch this zeal with unfailing faith in the gods and devotion to the Danes and their ways, but this is a personal crusade against Uhtred and his line. Back in Runcorn, as Father Benedict erected a cross and preached for the first time, Young Uhtred arrived bloodied; he had been gelded, and he named the culprit as Brida.
⚔️ Season five opened with an Uhtred voiceover and Brida in Iceland, with her daughter choosing the human sacrifice before they sailed to Wessex.
⚔️ Birds just dropping out of the sky was such an ominous visual.
⚔️ I felt like they were kinda setting up an Uhtred-Eadith romance, after they made it very clear that Finan was happily married.
⚔️ Aethelflaed looked lovely but ill.
⚔️ Lady Aelswith's peasant allergy is just so funny to me, and of course it's not right but Eliza Butterworth and the writers just sell it so well.
Director: Andy Hay
Writer: Martha Hillier
Original Air Date: March 9, 2022