Is the siege successful?
Episode 10 of The Last Kingdom Season 5 starts with a stray arrow fired in Aethelstan’s direction. That symbolizes an emphatic “no” to surrender. Aethelhelm decides they should play for time, wanting to get the marriage underway while Edward attacks. Constantin is a fighter though and refuses to bend to Aethelhelm’s will.
Wihtgar’s plan to use Aelfwynn as bait to lure the army and King in is immediately thwarted by Uhtred who shows and attacks Wihtgar, urging Aelfwynn to run away. He soon reunites with Finan and Sihtric en-route to the main chamber, who have broken out in their own way. They also find out about Haesten’s death too, although it seems he’s going to Valhalla, which is at least something.
The siege begins and with Edward watching on from afar, the battering ram hammers into the front gate. Hot oil stops the Saxons in their tracks. On the horizon, Constantin’s army approaches. As they do, Uhtred overhears Aethelhelm and Constantin, with the latter deciding against a siege given it’s “for turds” and comes up with a plan to trick Edward into thinking they’re surrendering.
Does Edward fall for Constantin’s trap? Who dies in the battle?
The thing is, Constantin intends to attack from two fronts, inside the fortress and behind Edward’s army, hence the soldiers approaching from the rear. Uhtred tries to urge the King not to progress forward but he’s met with a volley of arrows when he pokes his head above the ramparts. Everything is lost, with Edward and his men pushed ever-nearer to the sea thanks to Constantin joining the fight.
Among the deceased, Aldhelm is crushed after trying to fight back while numerous soldiers start to drop off the cliff-edge. While this is going on, Uhtred and Finan notice Stiorra on the outskirts of battle and rides out to urge her to help. She believes they’re too late but Uhtred instead makes a promise. He wants Danes and Saxons to live in peace and to do this for their forebears. It’s a rousing speech and enough to convince them to join in.
Why does Aethelhelm kill himself?
With the battle turning and the combined forces of Edward and Uhtred working together, Constantin decides to burn the fortress to the ground. In the wake of all this though, Edward is wounded in battle while Uhtred notices Wihtgar up on the ramparts and hurries inside the courtyard to chase him. Aethelstan appears too and finds Aethelhelm, demanding he tell the truth about the queen in front of his grandson.
Aethelhelm eventually admits the truth to Alfweard, who’s shocked to hear of his betrayal. He throws down his sword and walks away. Aethelstan won’t kill the old man but instead, he commits suicide, claiming he’s a “man of honour.”
Meanwhile, Uhtred goes hunting for Wihtgar and eventually kills him, throwing him off a balcony and allowing him to be pierced in the heart on the way down. The trouble is, while all this is going on the soldiers manage to burn the fortress. Uhtred decides to stay as his destiny lies with dying in Bebbanburg…until it starts raining. It seems the Gods have other plans for Uhtred, and this rain helps to put out the flames.
How does Uhtred broker peace between Scotland and England?
Off the back of this, Uhtred bargains with Constantin for the release of his commander for the men he’s taken hostage. He wants Uhtred to swear fealty to Scotland but he refuses. Instead, he has other ideas. The land will remain as Northumbria and not part of England as Edward wants. Instead, Uhtred will hold the land and tells Edward later on that he’s not the King to lead England forward and unite them as one.
That’s to come later on, as it’s written in history to be Aethelstan, who’s the great Anglo-Saxon king of our time. Despite his anger, and with the battle won, Edward agrees to let the Danes live in peace.
How does The Last Kingdom Season 5 end?
As the episode closes out, Uhtred continues to train with Aethelstan who actually bests him in a swordfight while training. This is a lovely bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come from him. As Uhtred looks out at the horizon, uttering “Destiny is all”, tears well up as he reflects on the grand journey leading to this moment.
The Episode Review
What a great finale and a fitting ending to one of the best period dramas on TV. While I’;;m glad all these episodes released at once, there’s also a part of me that wishes they were spread out a bit so more people could experience what an amazing show this is.
The final episode is bittersweet, with a tear-jerking montage to show how far Uhtred has come. The threat of Constantin is obviously not over and those who know their history will know that Aethelstan’s rise captures the next step in English history.
Overall though, Last Kingdom has been utterly enthralling and easily one of the best period dramas this year. The show has been just as action-packed as before, along with a cleverly woven, politically intriguing story that this show has been well-known for over the years. Although this episode does leave everything resolved properly, there’s also enough of a plot left behind for possible spin-offs after the upcoming movie that’s coming. A fitting end for an excellent show, The Last Kingdom bows out on a high, could this be one of the best shows this year so far?