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"There is someone better suited to rule Mercia then I. Someone who cares for Mercia more than themselves. Someone who can be an equal ruler alongside our lord, King Edward. I propose the Lady Æthelflæd as ruler of Mercia."
Uhtred whilst abdicating the throne to Æthelflæd[src]

"Episode 34" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of The Last Kingdom. It aired on April 26, 2020.

SynopsisEdit

Uhtred reluctantly prepares to take power in Mercia but secretly formulates an alternate plan. Brida joins the Danes in attacking the Welsh.

PlotEdit

Llangadog, Wealas; Brida leads the Danes into Llangadog. They murder the Welsh villagers, steal their valuables, and burn their home. Brida watches as a villager runs up the hill, but doesn't bother to follow her.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Æthelflæd awakens in bed next to Ælfwynn. She sees Uhtred headed towards the monastery and expresses her displeasure with him accepting to be Lord of Mercia. She doesn’t believe he’s right for the role. Mercia needs someone more diplomatic, who can rebuild the kingdom and forge alliances. She fears that people will see him nothing more than a tyrant imposed by Wessex. However, Uhtred fears that the next Lord may banish Æthelflæd. If he’s ruler, Mercia will protect her.

Father Pyrlig comes to discuss Uhtred’s baptism. The Lord of Mercia must be Christian. Some of the Ealdormen wish to witness Uhtred’s baptism in person. Uhtred reluctantly agrees despite getting baptized by Father Beocca twice before.

Deheubarth, Wealas; Brida returns from Llangadog. When Sigtryggr asks where the women are, Brida claims they fought back. She proposes they invade Wessex and Mercia. Edward and Uhtred slaughtered their kin, and for that, Brida wants revenge. Brida explains that the Saxons are weak now after Tettenhall and vulnerable. However, Sigtryggr explains that his men won’t be willing to fight the Saxons when they already have all they need in Wealas. So, Brida leaves to enact her own revenge, taking five of Sigtryggr’s men with her.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Eadith watches over Ælfwynn and Æthelstan as they play on the swings. Æthelflæd arrives and apologizes for ever doubting Eadith. She delivered the message as she said she would. She also cared for Ælfwynn on the road. Æthelflæd questions why did Eadith reveal Eardwulf to be Æthelred’s killer. Eardwulf may be Eadith’s brother, but what he did was wrong. Eadith chooses to be loyal to Uhtred and Æthelflæd because she believes in what they are doing.

Young Uhtred is upset that his father is getting baptized as he doesn’t believe Uhtred to be sincere in accepting God into his heart. Pyrlig then calls Uhtred forward.

Deheubarth, Wealas; Before leaving Wales, Brida drags Rhodri out the pit and walks him around, asking the other Danes if any of them would like her dog. She shortens his chain and kicks him into the pit, hanging him in the process.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Uhtred is baptized by Father Pyrlig in front of the Edward, Ælswith, Aldhelm, Ludeca, Burgred, and the other Ealdormen. Ælswith explains that it’s not that she doubts Uhtred, but rather the fact that he held a blade to Alfred’s throat and threatened to kill him. Young Uhtred watches angrily before leaving. Pyrlig then calls Edward forward. Uhtred undresses and goes under water to be baptised.

Finan, Osferth, Sihtric, and Stiorra enter the tavern. They claim to be the new Lord of Mercia’s closest advisers and demand to be served ale. All except for Stiorra, who is under age. Upset that she's being secluded, she takes Finan’s ale and chugs it.

Ælswith informs Æthelflæd that Uhtred has been baptised and will become the Lord of Mercia. Ælswith recalls Alfred always seeing something in Uhtred that the rest of them were blind to. Still, Æthelflæd doesn’t believe Uhtred is the right man. Æthelflæd accuses Edward of simply doing what’s best for him as opposed to Mercia. Æthelflæd would prefer a lord selected by Wessex. Ælswith explains that these decisions and others like them are not made by them. Aldhelm then informs them that the gathering has started.

Llangadog, Wealas; King Hywel arrives In Llangadog to discover that the villagers have been slaughtered and the village itself nearly burned to the ground. He hears a baby crying and goes to investigate. He sees a young girl holding the child. She reveals to them that they were attacked by Danes.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Uhtred and Pyrlig arrive for the Witan, where Edward, Aldhelm, Burgred, Ludeca, and the other Ealdormen await. Æthelflæd and Ælswith watch from above. Ludeca takes lead. They must choose a leader to defend. One who will stand shoulder to shoulder with their allies in Wessex. Edward assures them that Wessex has no desire to influence Witan. He only wants to maintain the bond. Ludeca explains that Uhtred has both defended Wessex and Mercia. He also only holds the position until a younger Ealdormen can come of age and Lady Ælfwynn is old enough to marry. There are no objections from the Witan and Uhtred is crowned king. Despite the Witan accepting him as their Lord, Uhtred believes there to be someone better suited to rule. As his first act as Lord of Mercia, Uhtred relinquishes the throne in flavor of Æthelflæd. Edward and the Ealdormen argue that Æthelflæd can’t rule because she is a woman. However, Ludeca explains that it was never a rule that women can’t take the throne. King Offa’s widow ruled for years. Æthelflæd proposes a solution. She will swear an oath that as long as she is Lady of Mercia, she will remain chaste. Still, Edward is very much against his sister ruling. With Witan’s support, Æthelflæd takes the throne.

Finan, Osferth, Sihtric, and Stiorra exit the tavern to what appears to be the guards of Wessex seizing Aegelesburg, led by Cenric. Finan orders Stiorra to hide.

Aldhelm tells Uhtred that while his reign was brief, he served Mercia well and they now have the ruler they need in Æthelflæd. Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric enter the monastery to inform Uhtred and Aldhelm that King Edward’s guards have taken control of Aegelesburg. Æthelflæd reminds them all that Mercia and Wessex are allied. She would like to speak to her brother, but Pyrlig explains that Edward is at prayer and doesn’t want to be disturbed.

Uhtred questions the whereabouts of the Mercian Guard. Ludeca explains that they are leaderless without Eardwulf and the fyrd is disheartened and scattered. Æthelflæd tells Uhtred and Aldhelm to restrain themselves until after she’s had a conversation with Edward. Uhtred and Aldhelm agree that Æthelflæd is not safe and should flee Aegelesburg, but she refuses. Uhtred orders Finan to stay with Æthelflæd and guard her quarters. He then tells Sihtric and Osferth to follow him. They mean to ensure that Æthelflæd won’t have to rely on Edward’s goodwill for her survival.

Wealas; Eardwulf finds himself cornered by Brida and the Danes. He heard there were Danes in Wealas and was coming to speak to them. He claims to have something of value to share with them, but before he can reveal what he has to say, he is knocked unconscious.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Young Uhtred asks Pyrlig about his father relinquishing the throne to Æthelflæd. Perhaps he should be angry at his father for mocking God, but he isn’t. Pyrlig explains that Uhtred is driven by his passions, but he does not act with bad intent. Young Uhtred is grateful to his father for it. It’s a test to his faith, and each time it grows stronger. However, it’s become clear to young Uhtred that he must follow his calling and serve God and God alone.

Edward asks Ælswith if it is wise to bring the child there. Ælswith invites Edward to join her and Æthelstan, and so he does. Æthelstan gives Edward a king he crafted. Æthelstan claims that he’s a good king, like Edward. Edward reveals to Ælswith that he intends to hold Aegelesburg until Mercia is in the charge of someone he trusts. Ælswith would like to thank Uhtred for his actions. Because of him, their family now sits on the throne of Wessex and Mercia.

Wealas; King Hywel and his men return to Wealas for the Battle of Dinefwr. Their plan to sneak attack the Danes fails as Sigtryggr predicts their arrival. He stands with his men at the other end of the field. As the Welsh charge towards them, Sigtryggr signals his men to fire arrows, which in turns sets the field ablaze, forcing the Welsh to retreat as Sigtryggr and his men fire more arrows, killing many of the Welsh. However, as they attempt to flee, the Danes trap them within the flames, allowing Sigtryggr and his men to finish off what’s left of the Welsh.

Wealas woods; Eardwulf awakens tied to a tree. He remembers Brida from the battle of Tettenhall and how she was humiliated. However, Eardwulf knows how to defeat Edward. All he asks that Brida listen to what he has to say.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Stiorra tells Finan and Æthelflæd to come to the front gate as Uhtred, Osferth, and Sihtric return with a fyrd. Æthelflæd now has enough men to fight Edward. She tells them to remain calm as she will not sacrifice a single Mercian life unless it’s necessary. The fyrd will remain outside, but she has no doubt that Aegelesburg will soon be in Mercian control once again. She then orders Edward and Cenric to open the gates for Uhtred as there’s no need for conflict.

Stiorra catches young Uhtred as he prepares to leave for Wessex. Their father does not yet know. Stiorra questions why he’s leaving. He informs her of how Father Beocca gave his life to save young Uhtred, and the only way to honor his sacrifice is by serving God. Stiorra wants to come with him to Wessex so that she can do what she wishes. She simply wants to live, but he can’t take her with him. He gives her a hug goodbye and leaves.

Edward tells Æthelflæd that he will let the fyrd into town as he can tell she has the people of Mercia on her side. As ruler, Edward tells her that she’ll have impossible decisions to make. As long as Æthelflæd is ruler, she promises Edward he will have her support. He admits that he was blind to see that she wasn’t the right person to lead Mercia and apologizes. Edward then tells Æthelflæd how East Anglia was conquered by Æthelred, but has gone lawless since his death. Edward proposes they send an army from both kingdoms to maintain control. After that, they can push into Northumbria Daneland. Æthelflæd hopes that together they can achieve their father’s dreams.

Pyrlig informs Uhtred that his son has left for Wessex to return to his church. Uhtred asks if this is because of the baptism. Pyrlig explains that God simply called him away. Uhtred wonders if he’ll return.

Uhtred tells Æthelflæd that he’ll be leaving for Coccham. Seeing her in Aegelesburg everyday and not being able to be with her would be too painful. She starts to cry and tells Uhtred she will miss him, giving him one last kiss goodbye. He tells Æthelflæd that he will always answer Mercia’s call with her on the throne.

Ælswith wishes to talk to Edward about Æthelstan. She tells Edward that the boy can’t come with him to Winchester. There are people there who may wish him ill. Ælswith would like to take charge of Æthelstan and take him to Bedwyn and raise him there, as she raised Edward. Edward tells her to make the arrangements and he will ask Uhtred to accompany them.

Æthelflæd finds Eadith playing with Ælfwynn and Æthelstan. Æthelflæd has come to make good on her claim to reward Eadith for delivering the message to Uhtred. She pays Eadith in silver. Though Eadith has been loyal to Ælfwynn, Æthelflæd is the Queen now, and Eadith was her husband’s mistress, who her brother killed. To allow Eadith to remain in Aegelesburg would make her look weak, and so Æthelflæd has arranged a place for Eadith at the nunnery, where she can live and be safe. Eadith would prefer to find her own way and says goodbye to Ælfwynn and Æthelstan.

Deheubarth, Wealas; Brida returns to Wealas with Eardwulf and tells Sigtryggr that he will help them take Winchester without a single drop of Danish blood spilled.

Aegelesburg, Mercia; Uhtred, Finan, Stiorra, Osferth, and Sihtric gather at the tavern, unsure of their next move. Eadith pays for their next jug of ale in exchange for them allowing her to travel with them when they leave Aegelesburg.

Deheubarth, Wealas; Eardwulf reveals to Brida, Sigtryggr, and the Danes that after Tettenhall, Edward believes the Danes no longer hold a threat. He’s taken his army to Aegelesburg, leaving Winchester undefended. Only a handful of soldiers remain there. Brida assures Sigtryggr that an attack on Winchester is worth the risk. And so, the Danes plan to leave for Winchester as soon as possible.

AppearancesEdit

FirstEdit

DeathsEdit

  • Rhodri - Lynched with a chain by Brida.
  • King Hywel - Shot with arrows by Dane soldiers. (Assumed)
  • Several unnamed Welsh villagers - Killed by Dane soldiers.
  • 50+ unnamed Welsh soldiers - Shot with arrows and executed by Dane soldiers.

CastEdit

StarringEdit

Guest StarringEdit

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