Episode 4 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 begins to Rognvaldr taking his 9 steps. Dropping the hot bar, his hands are singed after completing his task. As he calls out in pain, Sigtryggr gives him 3 days to heal up – or it’ll become clear that the Gods have left him to die.
Uhtred rides up to see Aethelflaed who’s at least healthy enough to get dressed and tend to her obligations. Uhtred joins her but Aethelflaed’s sudden burst of energy is only indicative of how little time she has left.
She visits one of the Ealdormen, paying them off with land and urging them to help protect Mercia no matter what. Uhtred is concerned about Aelfwynn taking the throne in his lover’s absence but agrees to keep Aethelflaed’s promise to help watch over her. Holding Aethelflaed’s hand, the pair head out to the wilderness and talk.
Off in the Yorkshire wilds, Brida continues to torture Father Pyrlig, tying him up to a tree and promising that his death will not be quick. Numerous cuts cover his body as he’s told to pray. Pray for Vibeke being brought back.
Pyrlig instead prays for Brida’s life, she suddenly drops to her knees and begins sobbing, pointing out that she’s alone. Pyrlig gently reassures her that she’s not.
In Winchester, news of Edward and Eadgifu’s relations begin to spread, including to his wife, Aelflaed. Aalys encourages her to leave and as such, they ride together.
Edward has already gone though, and he arrives to see his sister. Once there, he runs into Aelfwynn who worries about the Ealdormen scheming. Edward promises to do his best to thwart this, as Uhtred returns holding Aethelflaed’s body. She’s passed away and as he somberly walks with her, a slickly shot montage cuts in with scenes of Brida also mourning the loss of Vibeke. Father Pyrlig prays for her passing.
Meanwhile, Rognvaldr’s wounds start to heal but for Sigtryggr, he’s struggling to forgive his brother for betraying them. Still, the Gods have forgiven him and as such, it seems like they’re on the way forward.
Funnily enough, Aethelstan happens to be here too and he’s reunited with his father. It’s an icy meeting, to say the least, but for now Edward decides against reunions given more pressing issues are at hand. Those issues stem from mourning the loss of Aethelflaed and sorting out Mercia for her successor.
Aelfwynn decides to follow her mother’s wishes but of course Aethelhelm’s appearance is not a good sign. He wants the bells rung immediately to signify the the passing of ascension. Edward delays but does eventually ring them.
While they’re all gathered together in Aethelflaed’s chambers, soldiers show up outside, which immediately puts Aethelstan on high alert. Thankfully Uhtred and the others See this coming and Aethelhelm is stopped.
Edward kills the corrupt Ealdormen working with Aethelhelm and decides not to put Aelfwynn on the throne. Instead, he’s going to become King of the Angles and the Saxons, uniting the two lands himself. This is something Alfred dreamed of too, which Uhtred reflects on as Aethelflaed’s body taken away.
The Episode Review
So England’s history continues to advance forward, with the attention now turning toward the Anglo-Saxon rule and what’s to pass in our history. This is another good episode to showcase that, with The Last Kingdom starting to really lean into the drama and influence brought forward by Edward.
At the same time, Brida finds herself lost and grief-stricken following the loss of her child. Quite what will happen to her remains a mystery.
Uhtred continues to play his part in all of this, while Aethelhelm’s scheming appears to be squashed for now. Following Edward mercilessly killing all of his scheming Ealdormen, it certainly leaves things open for where this could go next.
With England preparing for a bold step forward in history, who will be left behind?