Season three of The Last Kingdom packed an actual sense of finality. It felt very very like the closing chapter of a trilogy, ending the tales of a number of characters together with King Alfred himself, whose sophisticated relationship with Uhtred of Bebbanburg had been an enormous a part of this sequence from the start. Because of this, season four was poised to be a make or break second for The Last Kingdom however happily the present sticks the touchdown – with one small wobble.
In a way fairly becoming for its protagonist, The Last Kingdom marches fearlessly into this daunting new period with a fast-paced first act. In the end, Uhtred decides to return to Bebbanburg, the land that’s his birthright, after listening to it has been weakened by persistent assaults from the Scots. However when issues don’t go precisely to plan, he finds himself drawn again into the bloody battle between Saxons and Danes, because the destiny of England hangs within the stability.
There’s an abundance of swinging swords and severed heads on this opening salvo, which ends with a brutal and impressive battle within the fourth episode. Though lower than 10 minutes in size, the sequence is undeniably spectacular in its scope and battle choreography, with gripping stress and significant penalties felt all through the remainder of the season. However within the aftermath of this climactic skirmish, the sequence feels rather less positive of itself because it plots the place to go subsequent.
The Last Kingdom has all the time functioned with a number of antagonists per season, however the transition between them has beforehand been loads smoother than what we see right here. As an alternative, there’s a slight delay in establishing the subsequent large menace as focus shifts to political squabbling, which begins to pull as sure characters conflict repeatedly on the identical concern. Luckily, the sequence can journey out this tough patch on the power of its characters, earlier than pulling collectively for a powerful finale.
Alexander Dreymon stays endlessly watchable as Uhtred of Bebbanburg, whereas his charming band of rogues additionally deserve reward because the present’s unsung heroes. There’s a camaraderie between Finan (Mark Rowley), Sihtric (Arnas Fedaravičius) and Osferth (Ewan Mitchell) that feels utterly real and is utilised completely in welcome moments of comedian aid. Their ragtag gang is so likeable that you just really feel like holding your breath every time they’re put in peril, particularly given The Last Kingdom’s status for killing off characters.
Over in Wessex, season four offers sure characters the prospect to step out of Alfred’s shadow. The newly topped King Edward (Timothy Innes) faces the problem of residing as much as his father’s legacy, however his fragile ego regularly results in petulant outbursts at those that look after him most. Following up on David Dawson’s stellar efficiency as Alfred isn’t any small process however Innes largely succeeds, albeit as a really totally different type of ruler. Edward doesn’t stroll the road between hero and villain fairly as gracefully as his father did, usually touchdown fairly firmly on the latter facet.
In the meantime, Woman Aelswith struggles to return to phrases with shedding her affect within the palace, forcing her to confront the questionable choices she as soon as made. Eliza Butterworth offers one other sturdy efficiency within the function, displaying a extra sympathetic facet that basically resonates.
Definitely, the character that feels most radically modified within the time bounce between seasons three and four is Brida (Emily Cox). Whereas she has all the time had a lust for battle and a distaste for Saxons, she is noticeably extra merciless and bloodthirsty than earlier than, maybe resulting from her continued relationship with the vicious warrior, Cnut. It’s a pure development for the character, nevertheless it’s unhappy to see Brida transfer away from being an antihero with perspective in favour of changing into an outright villain.
The Last Kingdom introduces a variety of new solid members in season four, however Uhtred’s youngsters have been by far and away an important to get proper. Now of their teenage years, Younger Uhtred (Finn Elliot) and Stiorra (Ruby Hartley) are wonderful additions to the rising lore of the sequence, difficult their father in distinct methods with their polar reverse paths in life. In the meantime, Stefanie Martini and Jamie Blackley play scheming siblings trying to claw their manner again to noble life by exploiting Aethelred’s ego. Initially, this subplot feels a tad misplaced, however each of them discover their footing as they turn out to be extra central to the unfolding story.
If season three felt like a attainable ending for The Last Kingdom, season four ushers in a brand new period for the sequence that readies it for a lot of extra tales. Because of this, the tempo generally feels much less pressing as new characters are launched and put in place, however relaxation assured that there are a lot extra surprising moments to maintain you hooked all through. Future is all!
The Last Kingdom season four is streaming now on Netflix – check out our checklist of the most effective TV sequence on Netflix, or take a look at what else is on with our TV Information