Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Last Kingdom: Episode 5

The Last Kingdom
Episode 5
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Average)

In A Nutshell

In a plot development that sums up this show, the voice over introduction this week "by Uhtred" says that he doesn't trust his servant who runs his land for him. NEWS FLASH! Sure, he thought he was a dope, but he never showed any clear hint of not trusting him, or the servant being anything other than a mindless idiot. But this week we're told he doesn't trust him, so it comes as little surprise when minutes later, the servant is helping Mildreth leave with young Odda and gives a menacing expression when they leave. I can sort of see this coming in the servant's plot development but to have it so forced in our faces shows just how daftly this show seems to throw plot changes at us when it feels they better serve the story. Although that's questionable in itself ...

Remember Uhtred lighting that beacon on the hill as the fleet was arriving at the end of last episode? That nice calm water and lovely looking sea? Well, this week all hell must have broken loose, because it's raining like it's the end of the world. Seems it's so bad that Guthrum's fleet is largely destroyed without any attack beginning. Shame King Alfred didn't know that, as he divides his army; one for Guthrum. The other for Ubba. The latter camp out on a hill, which seems strategically ideal, but they didn't bring much food. Hard to know whether to laugh or cry at this point. Anyhow, after a rather Jeremy Kyle like exchange between Ubba and Uhtred as the two sides "negotiate", Uhtred comes up with a plan to sneak into Ubba's camp and set the ships on fire. It'll distract them enough so Odda Senior can lead an attack. There's some plotting by Odda Junior to use the distraction to flee and some rather weak attempts to convince us viewers that Odda Senior would even contemplate that after giving Uhtred his word he'd attack.

Uhtred indeed sneaks in, lights the ships all rather easily. But on way out, he's caught. Seems stupid, given he got in, had plenty of time to set ships on fire but stumbles into a guard on way out. This sets up a fight with Ubba who is livid with Uhtred. Showing just how dumb he is, Ubba has the fight, and is not playing any attention to the fact that the ships on fire might be a distraction, or that a 1 on 1 fight is a distraction in itself. It's neck and neck, until Uhtred gains upper hand, slices Ubba's legs and chest, before delivering the final blow. Seemed rather easy for someone whom Uhtred described as "the greatest warrior he's ever seen." Seconds later, in true convenient fashion, Odda and his men arrive and deal with the rest of the vikings.

Feeling good about his heroic acts, Uhtred leaves the dying Odda Senior, injured from battle, to go see Mildreth and his son, who he decides to sneak up upon in the woods, for some reason. Another convenient chance that she's alone in middle of nowhere at that time. They have a very happy conversation about all the good stuff coming their way from his great help at the battle to defeat Ubba. Yeah, you know this isn't going to go well. Sure enough, as they ride into Winchester, there's a big prayer service going on and Odda Junior has taken all the credit for the battle. Furious, Uhtred storms the church where King Alfred and all senior people are praying and rants at them like a banshee. That goes down like a lead brick, but a lenient Alfred decides against sentencing him to death, but instead to do penance. This means dressing up like a girl, and crawling through the street up until the king to beg for mercy. Joining him though is Aethelwold, who has been up to his usual drinking and sex mad exploits. Aethelwold's crazy but funny speech to the king about his love of tits saves Uhtred from making any mercy speech, but he's still not happy about it all. Why he agreed to the penance, and then storm off at how stupid it was, is slightly odd. He and Wife however return to their land, where upon they ride in as the servant is moving the remains of a tree to be sold. Not willing to accept such stupidity from the fool, Uhtred serves his own justice on him with his sword.

What I liked

Usual top production values, and great background music.

A very welcomed return for the waste-of-space but nevertheless amusing Aethelwold. Great speech about breasts.

Ubba versus Uhtred; long overdue. Deadly battle but shorter than anyone would have liked. And maybe too easy.

What I Didn't Like

Leofric, as one of the decent characters at least, is hard to really work out, as he's loyal one moment, jesting with Uhtred the next, and then plotting against the King's ways.

The rather sudden introduction of the servant being untrustworthy. It was never really mentioned in such a way before, although he was an ass.

Odda is an obvious power hungry idiot, that it's at least very easy to read how things are likely to go with his storyline.

I know the weather is rubbish in UK, but it doesn't go from calm seas to absolute havoc of a storm that quickly.

The attempt by the writers to have us even think that Odda Senior would not keep his word.


The original M5

England; the only place in world that can go from calm seas to storms in seconds.

Sure he took out the guard, but no one else saw him throwing fire about?

And Finally

Not a lot to go on this week. We see little of any battles, but plenty of stupidity from Uhtred, and from the writers in several areas. Logic is not really par for this show, which long ago felt like they'd stretched it out at least 6 more episodes than they really had story for. There are very few characters that make any sense. Some classic idiotic characters, and the rest just really making things up as they go along it seems.

Rating: 5 out of 10 (Average)

No comments:

Post a Comment