War Is Coming
Episode 9 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts in York with Uhtred and the others preparing to leave by sunrise. With Edward’s men still barring the gates, Eadgifu and Aelswith confront Edward and urge him to follow Uhtred. Aelswith realizes that he’s fearful of trying to live up to Alfred’s memory, but she urges her son to push through that, believing he’s a good and true man.
“This is your destiny, seize the moment.” She urges, leaving Edward to relinquish and allow Uhtred and the others to ride out… only to be faced with Edward’s army. He’s chosen to fight for Northumbria after all, with battle coming to Bebbanburg, the place where it all began. How poetic!
Aethelhelm is held up in Bebbanburg, awaiting Constantin’s army arriving. The King shows up from the sea front with his convoy while Constantin’s army march down to meet them. Constantin does not want to wait to attack though and even tells Alfweard not to trust any advisor, mischievously grinning. Aelfwynn meanwhile, contemplates whether to jump to her doom or not.
Constantin appears to see his bride-to-be and she’s not exactly warm toward him. The thing is, Constantin isn’t happy about it either but he’s made a pact and must honour it. He can sense that she’s taken with another, but then so too is Constantin. They agree to be married but without love, just by arrangement, Both of them will be free to do as they please but keep up pretenses all the same.
News of Constantin’s arrival reaches Edward and the army who misjudge his timing, believing they had longer than they did. Edward is impulsive (just as Aethelhelm predicted) but Uhtred is there to stop him, deciding on an alternate plan to victory rather than marching and attacking Bebbanburg head-on. After convincing Edward to stay put for now, Uhtred enlists the help of Haesten for this upcoming mission, which includes taking Aelfwynn by having Haesten distract the household guard. He understands this will be difficult and time consuming (not to mention expensive) but Haesten eventually agrees when his terms are met. The thing is, Edward is restless and it would appear that he’s going to strike without waiting for Uhtred.
While Uhtred and his men do a bit of rock climbing, sneaking in from the back, Haesten puts his plan into action. He distracts the guards by claiming that his precious cargo has washed up. Salt and relics is what he carries, at least that’s what he tells the soldiers anyway! Constantin allows them to help but warns them of a potential plot against them.
Unfortunately, Haesten is brought into the throne room to help warm up. Once here, he finds himself face to face with Aethelhelm. He remembers Haesten from being locked in Alfred’s tomb and as a result, is stuck in a precarious position. He’s eventually stabbed in the gut and killed when he refuses to give up Uhtred.
Kept inside and with nowhere to go, Uhtred and his men sneak in through a weakened area in the walls and immediately don outfits to blend in. Uhtred notices Wihtgar nearby and tries to get the jump on him but it all goes awry, with Finan captured while Uhtred just about manages to avoid suspicion.
With all hope lost, Aelswith appears and tries to gain Stiorra’s favour to help. Unfortunately, Uhtred’s plan seems lost when Edward rocks up outside with his vast army, surrounding the fortress. As Aethelstan rides to the gates, he promises to attack and leave no one alive should they choose not to comply.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode of Thee Last Kingdom leaves everything wide open for where this one may go in the finale, with all roads leading to war.
This fifth season has been excellent so far, with plenty of action, drama and bloodshed. Numerous characters have met an untimely demise and the show’s politics work well alongside the action and drama to give this a real air of intrigue and danger.
The ending hints that we’re going to get on final spectacular battle to round out this season, and with Netflix releasing all episodes at once, we thankfully don’t have to wait too long to watch that. Roll on the finale!