A Devastating Battle
Episode 6 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts with Stiorra and Sigtryggr marching on Edward and his army, intending to attack from the high hills. Edward meanwhile, is aware of what the Danes are planning and intends to sacrifice around 300 men to circle around and take out their vanguard.
It’s a risky plan, and it would mean losing those men to their deaths. But in return, it could also turn the tide of this war in their favour. Uhtred and Finan though race up to try and stop this from happening, desperate to reveal what Aethelhelm has done.
Down in Buxton, Aelfwynn and Aelswith catch wind that war is coming, and with that the latter remains determined to bring her granddaughter to safety. She means to keep her shielded but Aelfwynn hits back, venomously spitting that she’s been a terrible mother to Aethelflaed.
Uhtred arrives just in time, letting Edward know what Aethelhelm has done with his men. He brings up the queen’s death too and demands that Osferth’s death be avenged. With this, Edward turns his attention to the villainous Aethelhelm and stopping him no matter what.
Of course, the Danes haven’t received this message yet and they continue to march on Edward and the others. Rognvaldr suggests a perilous crossing across a frozen lake to reach them faster. He’s found a passage too, and the Danes are in agreement to get the jump on Aethelhelm’s camp by crossing late at night.
Uhtred learns from one of Edward’s scouts where the camp is and races to get there before bloodshed marks the morning. However, he’s too late as the soldiers cross the lake and strike. It’s utter chaos as bloodshed grips the camp. Stiorra happens to be on the periphery of this, watching helplessly from afar while Uhtred is quick to inform her of the truth around Aethelhelm’s scheming.
In the heat of battle Uhtred heads in and dodges the soldiers, trying to find Aethelhelm who has cowardly shielded himself in the middle of a shield wall. Aethelstan is here fighting though and he more than proves himself to be a competent fighter in the wake of battle. Given Uhtred didn’t want to take him out raiding, he more than proves himself here and gains respect from the soldiers.
On the horizon, Edward storms into Aethelhelm’s camp to tackle the Danes head-on. It’s absolute carnage as fog blankets the camp from the fires that have been started. Aethelhelm predictably runs away while Uhtred tries to find Sigtryggr to tell him what’s happening.
Foreshadowed earlier on with the soldiers creeping across the lake at dawn, those who retreat and run back find themselves falling in the water as the ice cracks.
Eventually when Edward and Sigtryggr come face to face, Uhtred speaks up and manages to stop this bloodshed. Uhtred speaks up on behalf of Stiorra and manages to spare her life, given she had no part of this fighting.
Sigtryggr’s fate though is less certain. Uhtred believes Edward should strike up a partnership with him. After all, both working together could unite all the clans as one and reclaim the shattered peace that’s been broken for so long.
Edward agrees but his terms include renouncing their god and being baptized. Rognvaldr immediately caves but his brother is not so easily swayed. Unfortunately that seals his fate. Sigtryggr is sentenced to death – and death by Uhtred’s blade too no less. As he plunges his sword into his gut, Sigtryggr is killed.
Speaking of blades, Brida makes her choice on the road and despite trusting Pyrlig this far, she changes her mind and stabs him in the stomach, taking off alone. As she flees into the wilderness, the devastating battle has one positive outcome – Aethelstan is looked at as more of a leader now than he was before. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of Stiorra’s faith in her father.
As the episode closes, Aethelhelm turns his attention toward the King of Scotia, Constantin. He intends to strike up an allegiance with him going forward. he also intends to bring Aelfwynn into this too, for reasons unknown at this point. Up in Scotia though, Whitgar of Bebbanburg swears his loyalty to Constantin too.
The Episode Review
The Last Kingdom returns with a devastating battle that plunges both sides into conflict and with ugly consequences for both the Danes and the Saxons. With Edward forced to take a difficult stance on what’s happened, Sigtryggr is unfortunately killed.
Not only that, Stiorra is back with her father but clearly not happy with Uhtred for what’s befallen them. However, this episode marks a turning point of sorts, as the conflict turns further afield, with Aethelhelm doing his utmost to get his grandson on the throne and thwart Edward no matter what. The thing is, the more he pushes, the more likely it is that England will stand united against his threat.
Still, the ending leaves the door wide open for the rest of this season, which has been really solid so far, with excellent costuming, production design and a gripping musical score too. Bring on the next episode!