The Lady Of Mercia Fades
Episode 3 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts with Stiorra presenting herself to Brida. Ignoring the pleas of her people, she promises Brida that God will not forget and demands she fight her one on one. Unfortunately, Stiorra’s closest maid is killed in front of her as a warning.
Just before they fight, Uhtred heads in with his men through the tunnels, getting the jump on the soldiers patrolling the perimeter. However, they notice the fight outside and prepare to strike. With their forces set up, Stiorra looks set to meet her death from a vastly overpowered Brida… until Uhtred strikes.
As the two forces trade blows, Brida and Uhtred face one another. Vibeke wanders into the middle of the battlefield though, prompting Bride to take her aside and tell her to hide until after the fighting is done.
Unfortunately Vibeke ends up on the roof and as Uhtred urges her to take his hand so as not to fall, Brida encourages her to jump into her arms. Vibeke jumps, hits the edge of the roof hard and collapses on the ground, dead. Brida is devastated as she realizes her daughter has passed.
Aethelflaed’s forces show up to help tip the scales of this fight, with Uhtred’s men opening the gates. Brida’s army retreats while those left behind meet a grisly fate. Rognvaldr is spared from death though, while Uhtred’s decision to keep Brida alive leaves a trail of dead bodies in the woods, leading away from the town.
For now Brida is gone, but it’s clear this is far from over. Sigtryggr blames himself for letting them in but also Edward too. Given the Christians haven’t arrived to help him fight this battle, Sigtryggr believes Edward doesn’t fully support his cause.
Stiorra suggests they form a bond together, with Uhtred pledging his allegiance to Sigtryggr and helping him. Uhtred refuses, pointing out his home and loyalty lies with Runcorn.
Meanwhile, Father Benedict joins Aethelflaed in her camp in Aegelesburg. The thing is, he’s been feeding information to Aethelhelm, given his earlier debt he needs to replay.
Edward however, is still close to Eadgifu, who stays the night but reminds him she needs to leave before anyone spots them. After all, if his wife sees them then that could be problematic.
When she leaves in the morning, Aethelhelm appears and reveals to Edward that Aethelflaed is dying and won’t see the spring. So naturally, he decides to go to her and ride out to Aegelesburg.
In the morning, Uhtred intends to set out and track Brida down but Finan speaks up and decides to tell him about Aethelflaed after all. Uhtred encourages Stiorra to join him as he rides to her but she refuses, pointing out that her place is with Sigtryggr.
Aethelflaed’s health continues to deteriorate and she’s moved to Aylesbury, in the Kingdom of Mercia.
With Aethelflaed fading, Aelfwynn is brought before her and urged to become the Lady of Mercia. Aethelflaed wants her to take up this position to keep things politically stable, as well as remaining vigilant over any enemies that could come their way.
Lord Aldhelm is also tasked with being Aelfwynn’s guide, urged to do right by Mercia given they need him. Unfortunately, news of this spreads and as such, so too does the political scheming from Aethelhelm and the Ealdormen who wish to upset the balance of power.
Aethelhelm is preparing a coup to place Aelfweard on the throne as Lord of Mercia within the week. However, his scheming is overheard by Eadgifu, as he promises a Witan will take place when Aethelflaed dies. Edward is immediately informed, realizing that he must have bribed the Mercia ealdormen.
Meanwhile, Rognvaldr is to be tested by the Gods, forcing to hold a burning bar and take 9 steps. If he’s successful then Odin will spare him. If not, then he’s cursed. As he holds the bar, the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With Aethelflaed’s health fading and the future of Mercia left hanging in the balance, Aethelhelm has found the perfect opportunity to scheme and try to hit back against Edward, seizing the throne for himself. However, Edward clearly has a plan of his own but quite what, is still left hidden for now.
The Last Kingdom continues to deliver a heady mix of political drama and action though, with Brida’s forces pushed back and her daughter now dead, her rage is likely to swell and grow ever-more volatile over time.
This leaves the entire show hanging precariously in the balance as the fate of the Kingdom is still unknown. Who will come out on top?