[This is a review of The Last Kingdom season 1 finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
Over the course of its first season, The Last Kingdom has quickly matured from just another sword and shield spectacle, to a truly special show that stands on its own. Sure, comparisons to other television giants like Game of Thrones and Vikings will be made, but this is a series that deserves to be judged on its own well-qualified merits.
In only eight episodes, Uhtred of Bebbanburg has developed into a resounding hero we can all root for. Though he is far from perfect (especially when it comes to women), the fearless warrior never gives up, or succumbs to the odds when they are stacked against him. This week's outing should have broken Uhtred to his core, but instead of using his grief as a shield, he used it as a weapon to defeat Guthrum and his hordes.
David Dawson's strong performance as the newly crowned King of Wessex was another gem. Dawson has a look of a man that might be called "frail," yet the strength behind the actor's eyes reveal his true nature as a leader. Alfred is both cunning and strong, easily proving his worth as the battle commenced against the Danes. If The Last Kingdom is renewed for a much deserved second season, it will be interesting to see how much we will see of Dawson, since the plot will most likely focus on Uhtred's quest to reclaim his rightful land from his uncle Aelfric.
Sadly, a war is never without its casualties and this one was no exception. Chief among them was Uhtred's loyal friend Leofric. Their ever-strengthening bond was one of the many highlights from this season, and actor Adrian Brower will be missed. There was also the ghastly image of Queen Iseult's severed head on the battlefield. We didn't get a chance to know her for very long, but the lovely Charlie Murphy was a pleasure to watch on screen. Like all the women on The Last Kingdom, she was strong in the face of great adversity. Uhtred's former wife Mildreth said that he will surely have more sons, so who will be the next lover for our would-be ruler of Bebbanburg?
In terms of supporting cast members, young Harry McEntire who plays the fool Aethelwold displayed his true colors when he decided not to kill Alfred and fight on the side of his people. McEntire has been a comedic shinning light for the otherwise dark world that The Last Kingdom inhabits. It was good that he survived, and it appears that he will be traveling with Uhtred and Hild on their next adventure.
What happens to Brida and Ragnar the Younger still remains a mystery. As Uhtred's voice closes out the season finale with his slogan of "destiny is all," we learn that both Ragnar and Brida were used as bargaining chips to achieve peace. Hopefully they will stay in England and fight with Uhtred. The trio are far more interesting when they are allies. Also, Emily Cox (Brida) was missed anytime she wasn't on screen. Perhaps she is the one destined to hold Uhtreds heart? Only time will tell.
Hopefully this is not the last time we will see The Last Kingdom on the small screen. Do you think the series did enough to stand on its own in this already crowded television landscape?
Screen Rant will keep you posted with details on The Last Kingdom as they are made available.
Photos: Kata Vermes © Carnival Film & Television Ltd.