The Last Kingdom bows out on a tremendous high in a poignant, stirring finale.
This recap of The Last Kingdom season 5, episode 10 contains spoilers, including for The Last Kingdom Season 5’s ending.
Picking up where we left off, Wihtgar isn’t willing to play ball with Edward. Aethelhelm is adamant that they should allow him to attack since the fortress can withstand the siege, but Constantin doesn’t like the idea of sitting and waiting and wants to speak with Edward should he approach the gate. Either way, everyone decides that Aelfwynn should be kept safe, so Wihtgar proposes securing her in a fortified upper room. Instead, he takes her to the castle ramparts and presents her to the Saxons with a knife to her throat. Edward isn’t willing to give any ground, so Wihtgar suggests they toss her from the castle, but Uhtred intervenes. He saves Aelfwynn and tells her to run, fights briefly with Wihtgar, and flees, managing to reunite with Finan and Sihtric, who have been able to free themselves.
The Last Kingdom season 5, episode 10 recap
As Edward watches his men be boiled in pitch and set alight, Constantin comes up with a plan. Rather than endure a siege — which is for turds, he claims — he decides to give Edward the impression that Babbenburg is being abandoned, coaxing him into a frontal assault. Those in the castle will meet him head-on, while the remainder of the Scottish forces, only a mile or two down the road, will attack from the rear. It’ll be catastrophic for the Saxons. In the meantime, Uhtred tasks Hild with taking Aelfwynn out of the castle and to the beach, to rendezvous with Father Pyrlig — on the way, she’s forced to use a sword she hoped she’d never hold again to capably slash up some guard who tries to stop them.
Of course, Edward walks right into the trap. As he personally marches his men to the gates of Bebbanburg, the Scots emerge from the forest behind them and attack their rear. As they’re turned around to defend, Constantin and his men storm out of the gates. The Saxons are quickly overwhelmed and begin to be directed swiftly towards the cliffs. Many men fall. Aldhelm is trampled. But luckily, Uhtred spotted Stiorra in the forest from the Bebbanburg ramparts and rode out to meet her. For once embracing his dual nature as both Saxon and Dane, he promises that, in victory, he will personally ensure that all Danes have homes and lands here, that they can live in peace and create a homeland for themselves. They agree, and suddenly the Scots find themselves in the middle.
Taking the advantage, Edward and his men push away from the cliffs, and many Scots begin to fall. Constantin, fearing the battle may be lost, orders his men to burn Bebbangurg, but Wihtgar and Yahya snipe at the torchbearers with arrows. In the midst of the carnage, Edward himself is grievously injured, and Uhtred heads into the fortress to confront Wihtgar, with Aethelstan close behind.
Naturally, Wihtgar won’t fight fair, so Uhtred has to cleave through several of his men to reach him. Meanwhile, Aethelstan finds Aethelhelm cowering, and forces him to confess to Aelfweard the extent of his meddling, including how his own mother’s blood stains his grandfather’s hands. (Note: Aethelstan is easily the coolest, least-annoying teenager in any show in recent memory.) Aethelhelm confesses, and Aelfweard tells Aethelstan to do whatever with him. He wants to let him live to face the agony he has caused, but Aethelhelm, true to form, takes his own life.
Uhtred kills Wihtgar, skewering him on the candelabra on his own dining table, but when he heads back outside he finds Bebbanburg in flames. Athelstan tries to convince him to leave, but he won’t abandon his birthright, his ancestral home, to the flames. He believes it is his destiny to die in Bebbanburg, and he’s prepared to. But suddenly a peal of thunder ripples across the sky, and the heavens open, and it rains. The flames are extinguished, and Uhtred falls to his knees in the mud and blood, sobbing.
In the aftermath of the battle, Uhtred and Constantin negotiate for peace, though we don’t quite get to hear Uhtred’s terms. As Constantin leaves, Edward staggers inside, and while Aelswith tries to give him credit for the victory, Edward for once does the right thing and thanks Uhtred and the Danes for turning the tide of the battle. He congratulates Uhtred on restoring his birthright and ensures the Danes they can settle the lands in peace.
But the good news doesn’t last for Edward. Despite his prattling around shaking hands and bumping cups, he’s thrown for a bit of a loop when he learns why Constantin has rescinded his claims to the lands of Northumbria — because Uhtred promised that he wouldn’t give them to Edward, either. Northumbria will remain between England and Scotland, a buffer to ensure peace. Eventually, all the lands will be united under a king who everyone can stand behind, but as Uhtred tells Edward — to his face! — he isn’t that man. Uhtred raises his cup to the crowd and shouts, “To Bebbanburg,” and his people chant his name in unison.
The Last Kingdom ends with Uhtred as Lord of Northumbria, looking out from the walls of Bebbanburg, reflecting on all he has been through. A phenomenal, poignant ending indeed.
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