The Last Kingdom: Season 5 review

Map of the British island during the Last Kingdom. As seen, there are numerous kingdoms on the island.

[Spoiler warning]

“The Last Kingdom” (2015–2022) has some fundamental plot points throughout the show. Will Uthred (Alexander Dreymon) be able to reclaim Bebbanburg? Will Edward (Timothy Innes) be able to fulfill his father’s dream of a united England? Will the Danes and the Saxons find a path to peace, or will they be locked in perpetual conflict?

The final season, which aired on Netflix last March, provides answers to all these questions in spectacular fashion and wraps up several of the show’s recurring plot points. In addition to the aforementioned issues, many relationships between characters are reconciled or reshaped in the final season.

Another fascinating thing about the season is that familiar characters serve as leaders. Aethelflead is leading Mercia, Uhtred is the lord of Rumcofa and Edward continues his leadership in Wessex. It’s said that the character of people can be learned by the way they operate as leaders. This is certainly the case in this show. The decisions that characters make are shaped by who they are at their core.

The conflict between the Danes and the Saxons also becomes more complex. While they had initially been purely in conflict, at this point in the show’s chronology they have now coexisted for years, and a path to peace seems visible. Nonetheless, there is an opportunistic desire for conflict, and there are characters who try to prevent that. This also provides a window into the nature of the characters.

On that theme, character development is perhaps one of the best strengths of the season. Over the previous seasons, there have been many trying times which have greatly influenced the characters. Season five shows what those changes have been and provides a picture into what the characters have become.

Edward is mature and cautious in his role as king. Brida continues to hold great resentment toward the Saxon population while simultaneously reckoning with her relationship with Uthred. Uthred continues to battle his crisis of identity while trying to get his hometown of Bebbanburg back. Having watched the season for four seasons, it’s nice to see characters who have been shaped by that time.

The main flaw of this season is that we don’t see the creation of England. For the entire show, there were many hints that the finale would be that. It would have fit perfectly to have that be the finale. However, the show finished decades before that and it made the storyline feel a little bit incomplete. It would have been better if they at least included a final scene regarding the beginning of England.

Overall, season five is a great finish to a great show. The plots are interesting, the nature of the characters is intriguing and pressing questions from throughout the show are answered.

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