A Strange Twist Of Fate
Episode 8 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts with Uhtred mourning Brida’s death. He promises to see her in Valhalla before following Stiorra. She’s unhappy with Uhtred’s loyalty to Brida and trying to save her, especially given Sigtryggr wasn’t given the same treatment. Stiorra believes he’s turned away from his family. so naturally she decides to do the same, leaving with the Danes most loyal to her.
In Bebbanburg, Aethelhelm is visited by Alfweard who has been brought by Father Benedict, just as promised. Aethelhelm spins the idea of war into “confrontation”, believing that Edward will buckle under seeing Aethelhelm and Constantin’s army. Benedict speaks up though when Aethelhelm mentions killing Edward and how he’s tyrannical, pointing out the slaughter of Danes he was responsible for.
With word of Alfweard’s whereabouts reaching Edward, Benedict rides out to warn of what’s coming. With Alfwynn captured by Aethelhelm, Aelswith demands that Edward take action. However, the King opts for a more cautious approach, not wanting to rush into battle. The thing is, Aethlehelm has grand plans, which include Alfwynn marrying Constantin. She promises to throw herself out the window when she hears his plan… but Aethelhelm welcomes it. Scoffing, he claims it would be one less thing for him to deal with.
Uhtred returns to Finan and Sihtric, reflecting on what’s happened so far. Uhtred wants to go back home to Runcorn but too much has happened and the others refuse to join him unless he commands it. Having lost Stiorra, Uhtred wants a comforting place to call home and believes this could be it. Finan urges him not to do this and gently broaches whether there’s another way.
Benedict appears back in town and accepts any punishments coming his way. He warns Uhtred of what Aethelhelm has planned, goin on to reveal that he’s actually held up in Bebbanburg. This obvious piques the interest of Uhtred when he finds out. Pyrlig sees this as a strange twist of fate but Uhtred sees it as the Gods taunting him.
Pyrlig suggests Uhtred take Bebbanburg back and that the Christian God walks by his side. Uhtred smiles, claiming that the “Gods” are not by his side but thanks the priest for his kind words nonetheless.
Uhtred takes this idea to Edward, suggesting they fortify Bebbanburg. Edward realizes this is a big threat and decides to come up with a more peaceful solution to prevent war. In exchange for Constantin marrying Aelfwynn and isolating Aethelhelm away from them, he suggests splitting the region of Northumbria in two, creating a fortified area around the Scottish border. This would also mean Bebbanburg would be lost. Uhtred calls him out for martyrdom and believes Edward is doing this because he’s afraid. Aldhelm refuses to sacrifice Aelfwynn like Edwards wants to either – and he stands with the Mercian army… and Uhtred. Everyone else in the council have the same mindset, even his own son Aethelstan.
Edward has heard enough. He decides to shut the gates, threatening death on anyone who tries to leave. Uhtred and the others shrug off the threat and promise to leave regardless of what he says. As everything is left hanging in the balance, we’re left with one big question – will Edward engage in war or not?
The Episode Review
So The Last Kingdom returns and bows out its latest episode with an intriguing glimpse at the upcoming fight that’s likely to consume the final two episodes of this series. With Constantin’s threat growing and Aethelhelm pulling the strings in this conflict, it remains to be seen whether he’ll actually get his comeuppance in the wake of what’s happened.
With Brida dead and that side of the conflict resolved, this chapter essentially serves as a proverbial deep breath before plunging further into the fate of England. With two episodes left, there’s plenty to play for, with the show left hanging on a precarious knife edge.