The Last Kingdom: Remaining Episodes of The Last Kingdom
November 25, 2015 11:49 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Uhtred son of Uhtred continues in the service of Alfred, King of Wessex, and finds himself at odds with the kingdom's Saxon and Christian customs, both which stand in the way of reclaiming his birthright. Meanwhile, the menace of the Danes looms beyond the horizon, along with the fate of England.

Due to the relatively low participation in the episodic posts, I've opted to wrap up the series here!
posted by Atreides (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, low activity in the episodic posts. Which is strange because this is such a good series! I'm not much of a discusser myself, but I like to read other peoples thoughts.
posted by Pendragon at 12:19 PM on November 25, 2015

I definitely agree!

There must not be much of a spill over among Mefites from Dr. Who to this show.

Anyhoots, if no one immediately chimes in, I'll write up a "our story so far" type of post to establish where we are in the show. Of course, general questions on any of the episodes so far are also welcome.
posted by Atreides at 12:35 PM on November 25, 2015

Any "story so far" write ups must be mentally narrated in Utrehd's weirdly over-dramatic pre-episode recap voice.

It's weird, I visit Fanfare every day and have been watching this from the beginning and didn't even know these posts were here. And Fanfare only gets less than half dozen posts a day sometimes. Weird.

Anyway I like this show. It lead me to read the Wikipedia page for Alfred the Great and it seems they're keeping it pretty accurate, unlike The Vikings. I appreciate that.

I enjoy thinking about this show as a prequel to Downton Abbey.

And finally, I hope we get an update on how that red head girl from episode 1 or 2 is doing, I'm worried about her.
posted by bleep at 3:17 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also does Alfred remind anyone else of Caesar Augustus - kind of weedy guy who wasn't the technical heir or the warrior type but got the job and was good at it because at a certain point admin skills are more valuable than just leading armies and knifing people off horses.
posted by bleep at 3:20 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was excited about this show at first, but I started losing interest because I find Uhtred's character really annoying. I'll probably give the next episode another try, though.
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on November 25, 2015

I kind of like him in that he seems like a really typical knuckle head young guy who thinks he knows everything and is invincible while everyone else is rolling their eyes at him. So while he is personally annoying I feel like I know that guy.
posted by bleep at 4:37 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love this show! I've read the first 3 books in the series and have been very happy with the translation to TV. I really hope they make more seasons.
posted by Requiax at 4:57 PM on November 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think Uthred is getting a clue about christianity after episode 7.
posted by Pendragon at 12:22 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Where can I watch this? I loved these books.... Didn't know about the tv series till this post... Thanks y'all!!
posted by pearlybob at 4:14 AM on November 26, 2015

It's on BBC America.

I like this show because the action moves along at a quick pace and I have no idea where it's going from episode to episode. Very little TV is truly unpredictable these days. Also I love to look at Uhtred.

How does the timeline match up with the books? Are we still in the first book?
posted by something something at 7:35 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is this a post in which we are allowed to talk for reals about books or not? i have so many book feelings.

(but to generally answer your question, by the end of this first season we will be at the end of book 2. which i also have many feelings about)
posted by poffin boffin at 9:13 AM on November 26, 2015

I just started reading the first book, but I'm fine with spoilers.
posted by Pendragon at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2015

You could always start a book thread about your feelings about the books.
posted by bleep at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just got around to watching episodes 1-5 last night and have been digging them. I read the books ages ago, and have been impressed with the adaptation so far.

Except for the tipis in the army's campground in the background of the shots in either episode 4 or 5— that threw me. Did anyone else spot them?
posted by culfinglin at 12:11 PM on November 28, 2015

Just watched the whole series over the last couple days. Really enjoyed it! It's a great companion to "Vikings" - both in being sort of the other side of the story, but also I think it's equally well made.

I feel like sometimes my view of shows like this can be warped in that at the first hint of Christian piousness, I get into my "Pagans Rule Christians Drool" mode. I mean, Alfred's obnoxious wife needs to die in a fire. And I'm not that much on Alfred's side either, for that reason.

Also I love to look at Uhtred.

You're not kidding. Back in episode one, the time jump when he goes into the water a little boy, but emerges as a gorgeous long haired young man kinda knocked the wind out of me. I seem to be pretty much alone among the gay men I know in actually liking long hair on men. Not always, mind you, but when it works it works.

So there's books of this, huh. Maybe I'll check them out if I ever finish "Infinite Jest".... :)
posted by dnash at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I get into my "Pagans Rule Christians Drool" mode

literally all i have done this entire season and throughout reading the entire series is cackle mightily at the various sufferings and failures of the christians, it's so fulfilling.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:46 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Am I wrong in thinking that Iseult had the least satisfying, most Manic Pixie Dream Girl story arc in history? All she did was show up, advance men's ambitions, and die so that the story could give Uhtred some motivation.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:55 AM on November 30, 2015

I'm permanently distracted by Uhtred's man bun. But that's about it for me. I do love the pommel of his sword, though.

The role of Christianity so far (I haven't seen Saturday's episode, yet), or better yet, piousness and self-righteousness, have rarely been played as anything other than comical or rage inducing. Alfred's offer to provide a kinder alternative on St. Denis' Day might be one of the few exceptions, but no true positive attributes have found their way into the show's workings. Coincidentally, Vikings kind of did this much better with the character of Athelstan, who exhibited certain positive traits...and I think, by casting him as a fallen monk, allowed for the separation of his spirituality from trope adherence to the more negative aspects of Medieval Christian expectations of behavior. That make any sense?

This show definitely wants or feels as if it's undermining Medieval Christianity for the viewer, and I don't say this in a "War against Christianity" type of allegation. In the second to most recent episode, Alfred's son is apparently healed by a pagan ritual, to the horrors of his mother, and somewhat aghast reaction to our favorite priest on the show (who brilliantly spins its success to the hundreds of prayers for the boy across Wessex). Our POV character, Uhtred, has received nothing from the religion, but constant barriers - be it burdens of taxes to the church or public humiliation. Pious belief in God's acts are almost always ridiculed, such as the martyrdom of Edmund to the monk's refutation of God as his savior when the Danes sacked Winchester.

A lot of it, I attribute, is a desire to identify human reactions to the world they live in. Nuns generally should be peaceful, forgive those who trespass against them, but in the second to last episode, the nun who was being raped, immediately grabs a dagger from a character and repeatedly stabs her rapist. Is that an attack on her faith? I don't think so, not in the least, and nor is the monk's refutation, when he realizes he can save his life by saying what his would be killer asks him to say. I do think Beocca has been the intended paragon of Medieval Christian clergy, though, likewise, I'm not sure if he's really been given much of a role other than trying to tell Uhtred some important tip or advice on how not to tick off Alfred, only to be ignored.
posted by Atreides at 10:14 AM on November 30, 2015

I think one of the things that's great about the show and the books it stems from is its view of medieval Christianity, because we're seeing it from Uhtred's pagan point of view. To the pagan Danes, yeah, a lot of Christian beliefs would have seemed utterly comical (the St. Sebastian arrow scene springs to mind).
posted by culfinglin at 1:38 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

In the opposite direction, I feel like the Danish religious beliefs and practice have been pretty undersold. The closest we have is the guy foretelling the future, whom even the Danes find kind of full of bullarky. I'd like to see more into their world.
posted by Atreides at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2015

Wow what a finish! I didn't see that coming. Unlike the burnt bread.
posted by unliteral at 5:03 PM on November 30, 2015

Uhtred sure doesn't have much long-term luck with the ladies.
posted by something something at 7:28 AM on December 1, 2015


posted by poffin boffin at 7:42 PM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Whoa. I went into the episode not realizing it was the last episode, though that still doesn't forgive the director for the freeze frame of Alfred rushing into battle.

I found Guthrum's conversion a bit too neat. The death of Iseult seemed kind of cheap and pretty much for the purpose of only instigating Uhtred to do his berserker attack on the Danes, breaking their shield wall in the process. This could have happened from a variety of other ways, such as, at the worse, having father Beocca be killed - since he was engaged in the actual battle. Leofric's death felt more honest, if upsetting. It's battle, he was in the front line, and a random axe caught him on the jugular. Did he deserve a better death? Sure. But it happens.

I also appreciated that Alfred's nephew came around in the end. He finally grew up.
posted by Atreides at 8:10 AM on December 2, 2015

I found Guthrum's conversion a bit too neat.

Doesn't that have a historical precedent ?
posted by Pendragon at 9:22 AM on December 2, 2015

It does, but the show portrayed it as a logical conclusion that Guthrum wanted to become a Christian, whereas, I think historically, it was just a term of settlement between Guthrum and Alfred. As much as I argued just above about the show really slamming medieval Christianity, the way Guthrum was presented at the end was almost, "Pagan becomes a Christian, victory!" I think the show protrayed the character as intrigued by Christianity, but in the second to last episode, his purposeful interjection of himself as God to the monk, implied a much more dismissive and disdainful opinion of Christian faith.
posted by Atreides at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2015

Yeah, I think the pacing of 8 episodes to 2 books of ~250 pages each made a lot of the events seem way more abrupt and even a little nonsensical but what're you gonna do I GUESS EVERYONE SHOULD READ THE BOOKS MAYBE
posted by poffin boffin at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

First my dad, now you. Yeesh, get off my back! Seriously, I probably should read these.
posted by Atreides at 1:03 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also highly recommend listening to Richard Armitage read the third book, The Lords of the North. In my head, that's Uthred's voice.

In the opposite direction, I feel like the Danish religious beliefs and practice have been pretty undersold. The closest we have is the guy foretelling the future, whom even the Danes find kind of full of bullarky. I'd like to see more into their world.

Well, we do see some seidhr trance work (the "mushroom ale" and subsequent visions); we see the jackdaw legs to signal battle… it's there, but they're sure not making much of it, you're right.
posted by culfinglin at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

oh my god is that a thing that exists, i can have dickie arms read it to me in his glorious filth wizard voice

how is this legal
posted by poffin boffin at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wish Armitage had read ALL the books. Alas, only the third.
posted by culfinglin at 8:29 PM on December 2, 2015

Hey, I have a question for anyone who's seen the whole season, before I commit to watching it any further. I've seen about half of the first episode and was baffled by the lack of female characters. Is this something that will improve later on?
posted by sively at 3:40 AM on January 13, 2017

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