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The Last Kingdom Discussion: Season 3, Episode 8 finally cuts some dead weight

Contributed by
Dec 11, 2018

Throughout the third season of The Last Kingdom, Uhtred has been plagued by a curse. Placed on him by the witch Skade, Uhtred has seen many terrible losses that have left him feeling helpless. If destiny is all, is it his destiny to lose everything? In the eighth episode of the season, Uhtred finally rids himself of Skade and the curse that comes along with her. As the end of the season draws near, we're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we are dedicated to recapping every betrayal and thirst trap.

The Death of a Witch

Alyssa: You know when you’re dating a real dirtbag and all of your friends keep telling you that they’re bad news but you just can’t see it? That’s really how things appear to be at the beginning of this episode. Uhtred and Skade are making out in the back of the boat while everyone else is rowing for their lives (deeply uncool, you horny monsters), Finan is giving them major side eye, it’s a mess. I have to admit, I was very, very annoyed.

Jessica: Look, Uhtred is used to getting some on the daily so the built-up tension is probably screwing with his ability to reason, which is already questionable at best, but even the most oblivious horndog in the world has to feel the shade being directed at him by all of his mates, and some complete strangers in his village. That level of side-eye action cannot go unnoticed.

Alyssa: Returning to Coccham was a bucket of cold water though, complete with an unwanted crucifix. Talk about the worst thing for Uhtred to return to (barring the death of his family and all that. We’re talking microaggressions.). However, even if he may not be the lord of his own home anymore, HILD IS BACK! I feel like it’s been a hundred years since we’ve seen that blonde angel. She is such a good influence on Uhtred, and their friendship is my favorite. Honestly, based on his rich female friendships, should we call Uhtred woke? At least for his time? He may be a (former) womanizer, but he definitely respects women better than the Average Aethel.

Jessica: I would not argue should people wish to describe him as such. He certainly respects the opinions and counsel of the women in his life. In fact, I think women, in general, have had a greater influence on Uhtred than the men he surrounds himself with. I can’t fault Uhtred for getting pissed about the abbots redecorating his home, especially with something as tacky as a wooden cross. Have some taste, you religious nuts! But these slights mean nothing because Hild is back and everything is right with the world again. I love that she immediately begins managing and mothering Uhtred in her own way. When she mocks Skade while insulting how thin Uhtred looks. I mean, the pettiness. The shade. I live for a snarky Hild.

Alyssa: Calling him thin, reminding him of his saintly dead wife. Hild did not pull any punches. I thought she was a little overly chill about the fact that Uhtred’s kids were in the hands of Alfred, considering Uhtred is an outlaw, but I guess there are only so many things you can stress about at once. Uhtred starts to set the pieces in motion to get his kids back and return to Wessex, sending most of the crew on the road already, seemingly to clear out the hall so he could get busy with Skade. However, I should have had more faith in our hero. Sexytimes very quickly turned to MURDERTIMES. Bye, Skade. I will not miss your mouthbreathing ways. I immediately felt like I needed to apologize to Uhtred for my lack of faith.

Jessica: Uhtred surely has shamed us all. I didn’t think he had it in him to kill Skade. Despite all evidence to the contrary, she is a woman and Uhtred does not believe in killing women, that much is clear. I’ve always seen Uhtred as a straightforward kind of bloke but I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to get the jump on Skade. And talk about gender reversal roles. Normally, in those times, I’d have to think a woman killed a man through seduction. Uhtred had no problem getting a bit of action before sending Skade to swim with the fishes. It clearly weighed on him, but it had to be done.

Alyssa: True, but he got the all-clear from Osferth. If the baby monk says it’s OK, it’s OK. Even though he isn’t really the lord of Coccham anymore, I think it was really good for Uhtred to return to the town. His roots are there, Gisela’s memory is all over the place, and it’s a good reminder of why he’s made the choices that he has this season. Now that he’s free of Skade and her curse, I think he’s back on track to regain his power.

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Return to Wessex

Jessica: But he doesn’t have power or the guarantee of safe passage just yet, which is why Uhtred sends Finan, Sihtric, and Hild ahead while he and baby monk hide in the back of a cart to enter the city. Again, the strategy behind Uhtred’s choices is making me proud. Season 1 Uhtred would’ve just burst through the gates, demanding his children and money and land and whatever else he felt owed to him. Now, he thinks before he acts, no small feat for a Viking. Unfortunately, I think our little boy band has earned a reputation for being close buds so no one’s really buying the idea that Finan and Sihtric would go anywhere without their leader.

Alyssa: Yeah, they’re definitely in their No Strings Attached era, so they’re a team. At least Beocca is onto Aethelwold. He may not know how to manage him yet, but he knows that cutting out an eye wasn’t enough to stop him from sowing poison wherever he goes. Every time we get a little glimpse into Beocca’s home life, I’m reminded how delicate Thyra is. That poor woman has gone through so much, and while she has certainly healed as well as could be expected, I feel an immediate need to protect her whenever she’s onscreen.

Jessica: She is the definition of fragile, it’s true, but she’s still got some fight in her. She’s a Dane after all. I for one appreciate the sass in Beocca. I’m filing his insult to Aethelwold away for a time when I can really use it to its greatest effect. Beocca has been a frustrating character over these three seasons but he’s often the voice of reason between Alfred and Uhtred, two men so staunchly opposed in their views that there’s no way they’d come to any sort of agreement if left to their own devices. What I don’t appreciate about Beocca is the way he belittles Thyra’s culture when he discovers she’s helping Uhtred in his quest to save Ragnar. First of all, no one asked you, Beocca. Second of all, you should be praising God on the reg for giving you a woman like Thyra. You married up, dude. If she wants to do a tiny ritual every now and then for a good cause, you shut up, smile, and say “Yes dear. Of course dear. Whatever you want dear.”

Alyssa: Agreed. The second Uhtred showed up asking for Thyra’s blood, I knew that Beocca was going to have a bad reaction. Winning me over telling Aethelwold to clench his buttocks one minute, losing me after being supremely unchill with Thyra’s attempts to save Ragnar. It’s RAGNAR, Beocca! Be cool for one second in your life.

Aethelwold's Schemes

Jessica: Speaking of Aethelwold, the dude did not take Beocca’s advice to heart. He’s still talking out of his ass, causing all kinds of problems for Uhtred. I’m worried that he seems to have set his sights on Beocca and, by extension, Thyra. It’s apparent that the villagers already fear her — she’s carrying a knife around and answering doors like she’s going into battle — and I don’t think it would take much to convince his band of cowardly men to harm her in some way. I hope not, because Thyra has suffered enough. Do you hear me, writers?! ENOUGH!

Alyssa: This is also my fear. The Last Kingdom has broken my heart more than once, so I am worried about the last two episodes for sure. Aethelwold’s bitterness towards just about everyone at this point is a cancer, and because of Alfred’s inability to do what needed to be done, I feel like something bad is on the way. Plus, the Red Wedding has made me very suspicious of any medieval nuptial festivities. Revelers start filling a hall and I start to panic and check the exits. Those creeps that hassled Finan and sweet-talked their way into the hall? NO GOOD CAN COME FROM THAT.

Jessica: Oh, red flags were popping up left and right this episode with all of the wedding prep. Wedding were death traps in medieval times and too many of our favorites are gathering for this particular celebration than I’m comfortable with. Also, is it just me or is anyone else surprised that Aethelwold hasn't died from some kind of eye infection by now? That wound is looking all kinds of rotten and deadly. Can’t the writers throw us a bone and have him die of sepsis or something?

Alyssa: Right? I get that cleanliness isn’t exactly next to godliness at this point, but that wound is foul. I almost feel like his refusal to cover it up and wear a patch is just another tactic to unnerve everyone around him. But yeah, I do not anticipate this wedding going off without a hitch or a stabbing. Aethelwold has that young lord who hates Edward full in his thrall at this point, so here’s hoping the priest doesn’t ask if anyone objects to the union. Either that or Alfred is just going to drop dead during the ceremony. Not before he talks to Uhtred, though. Beocca was useful and set up one last meeting between these two because as foolish as Alfred occasionally is, he’s smart enough to see that Edward needs Uhtred on his side if he’s going to succeed as king. Edward is still very much a boy, and there is always a power struggle when a king dies, so Edward needs the kingmaker. Alfred better be ready to do some begging.

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Looking Ahead

Jessica: Alfred admit he was wrong and ask for forgiveness? Not likely. And the way he was standing behind Uhtred, hiding in the shadows like some B-movie horror villain didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies about their reunion. But I do think Alfred knows the value of Uhtred when it comes to Edward’s kingly aspirations so I’m sure he’ll find some clever way to insult and damn the kingmaker while also recruiting him to fight for his son’s throne. That is Alfred’s way after all.

Alyssa: Oh, I 100% anticipate that their reunion will be tense as hell — Alfred had Uhtred’s children baptized and raised Christian in his absence after all, just to start — but I really am hoping for some sort of reconciliation. This is probably me being way too optimistic after how fractured they’ve been all season, but I want Uhtred to get his land back and his family back. He deserves something good to happen. That being said, everyone I want to live will die and everyone I want to die will live, because that often seems to be the way of things on The Last Kingdom. We shall see!

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