In the fourth episode of The Last Kingdom’s final season, the scene opens with Rognvaldr, played by Micki Stoltt (Surrogate, A Horse Named Allan), taking his nine slow and excruciating steps. Unfortunately, he drops the scalding bar, but he successfully completes the task at hand. Rognvaldr is granted three days to heal – any more than this, and the Gods will have willed him to die.
Uhtred, played by Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story: Coven), goes to visit Aethelflaed, played by Mille Brady (The Queen’s Gambit, Surface), who, despite her impending death, is doing well enough to mill around just a little bit. Aethelflaed goes to visit one of the Ealdormen, paying them with land and begging them to help Mercia once she passes. Uhtred is worried about Aelfwynn taking the throne but keeps his word to Aethelflaed, agreeing to watch over her.
While all of this is going on, Brida, played by Emily Cox (The Fatherless, The Silent Mountain) continues her rampage across the lands. In the lands of Yorkshire, she tortures Father Pyrlig, played by Cavan Clerkin (The Capture, Muscle), tying him to a tree and gorily slicing his body to bits as he prays for mercy. This imagery is truly haunting and keeps in line with The Last Kingdom’s love of violence and graphic imagery. Despite being attacked by Brida, Father decides to pray for her, resulting in a chilling moment between the two. Once again, she breaks down and begins to sob, realizing that with all of the bloodlust she acts on, she’s still simply alone in the world.
Returning to the activities of Uhtred and Aethelflaed, Uhtred runs into Aelfwynn and Edward, played by Timothy Innes (The Favourite, The Sense of an Ending), holding Aethelflaed’s dead body in his arms. This death montage is combined with Brida mourning the loss of her daughter, creating a haunting parallel and demonstrating more sympathy for the show’s current “villain.”
Meanwhile, Rognvaldr’s wounds are luckily healing, but he’s still struggling with moving forward in life, which is understandable. He finds himself questioning what the Gods have in store for him with the rest of his life.
The biggest issue at the end of episode four is what is to become of Mercia. A successor must be named. Of course Aelfwynn has already agreed to lead, but others are not as supportive of her doing so. There is, as to be expected, more bloodshed and bodies buried as there are people out to get Aelfwynn. Edward ultimately decides that perhaps Aelfwynn shouldn’t be sitting on the throne, but he will instead be named King of the Anglos and the Saxons, uniting the lands.
This episode of The Last Kingdom definitely advances historical situations and veers into the world of Anglo-Saxon rule. With all of Brida’s emotional breakdowns this episode, it will be interesting to see how her mental strength fares for the rest of the season.