Brida Is Back
Episode 1 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts years after the events of last season. Brida has been forgotten by most, with her daughter now older and an army starting to grow by her side. Uhtred hasn’t forgotten her though and knows that she’ll return one day.
With a blindfold on her child, Brida tells the silent crowd that the girl is a seer and is going to choose one among them. And that person is sacrificed to the Gods for a safe voyage off the island – and for battle.
In Runcorn, the border between Mercia and Northumbria, Uhtred senses that something has changed, claiming the air is rotten. Aethelstan is a bit older now too, and with Blood Month upon them he intends to slay a beast to show his worth.
Uhtred approves it and off he goes, cheering into the woods. Instead of a beast though, Aethelstan finds assassins lying in wait trying to kill him. After besting two of them, the third flees into the woods.
When Aethelstan heads back to the alehouse to celebrate his victory, Uhtred sees birds drop out of the sky in a really ominous sign.
Off the back of this, Uhtred has his concerns and when an unidentified ship is spotted, turning into the riverbed, the army is prepared. Some believe it’s Rognvaldr, but he’s up in York with Stiorra and Sigtryggr, drunk and convinced that the Gods have saved him, mumbling that he’s changed. And as he speaks Icelandic and paints his face white, I think we know just how he’s changed – he’s in lieu with Brida.
Anyway, the ship down in Runcorn belongs to Eadith, who wants to trade. She shows up and for now at least Uhtred is at peace. After paying her respect to Alfred, Aethelflaed shows up. It’s all smiles from Cynlaef though, as he marvels at Lady Aelfwynn’s beauty. Uhtred does the same for Aethelflaed. However, she’s also there with a new priest, Father Benedict. Rumour has it that he lost his riches in Rome. He heads outside and gives a sermon but something stirs.
Rumours are abound of Danes attacking along the coast. Raiders have been spotted with white markings and when Uhtred learns of this, he realizes this spells trouble. And it doesn’t take long for that to surface. Uhted’s son has been stabbed and as he stumbles up to Uhtred, he blurts out that Brida is responsible.
In Winchester, Wessex, the assassins trying to kill Aethelstan were actually hired by Aethelhelm, who remains determined to put his easily influenced grandson, Aelfweard, on the throne. For now, the lone assassin is tasked with standing down as Edward continues to rule. His political scheming is still prevalent though.
That scheming comes from Rognvaldr inviting Brida and her men into York, where they begin slaughtering the peaceful Christians. Stiorra is urged to hide in her chamber by her maid, as Brida remains determined to try and find her.
The Episode Review
Brida is back and back with a vengeance. Some years have passed since the last season and Brida’s daughter is now older and by her side.
There’s still political scheming in Wessex, thanks to Aethelhelm’s influence but the accurate depiction of Aethelstan as a competent and worthy fighter is good to see, given he goes on to become one of the best Anglo-Saxon Kings in history.
The story has been decent so far, easing back into an introduction for our characters while introducing new players to this conflict as well.
War is coming and this promises to be quite the vicious battle given Brida’s blood-lusting and determination to hit back against all those who have wronged her. Is this one battle too many for Uhtred? We’ll have to wait and see!