Basically, we will watch anything our homegirl, Cosmo, recommends. Her latest obsession, The Last Kingdom, is a fabulously entertaining historical drama series and needs to be at the tip-top of your MUSTWATCH list. Read on for Cosmo’s series review!
I used to feel like a professional fangirl.
There. I’ve admitted it. It’s out in the open.
But lately, it’s been hard to find something that I absolutely adore so much that I can’t stop watching or reading or tweeting about it. Also, the world is a dumpster fire, and it’s hard to escape the impending sense of doom we’re all feeling, and just escape reality for a little while.
Well, that all changed last week.
I’m not gonna lie. 2018 was hard in the fangirl department. Stranger Things and Game of Thrones were nowhere to be found, and as a result, I often found myself spending more time looking for something to watch than actually watching something.
That all changed a couple of weeks ago.
I was home in bed with the flu, and The Last Kingdom came up on my recommendations because of my interest in British TV. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I watched it immediately. Though, I must admit, the picture of a hot, half-naked man making out with a woman was pretty convincing. So convincing, in fact, that I kept going back to it as I endlessly scrolled, looking for something to occupy my time. So, I decided to watch.
And holy hell, I was so glad I did.
The Last Kingdom starts out in Northern England in the year 872. Most of England has fallen to the invading Danes, and this is where we meet Uhtred, the son of a Saxon nobleman. A lot happens in the first episode, but importantly, Uhtred is named the heir and baptized by Beocca, a priest, into the Christian faith. He watches as his father is killed by the Danes, and then he is captured and raised among them as one of their own, alongside another Saxon girl, Brida. The family, headed by Ragnar Ragnarson, loves him and treats him as a son, and Uhtred assumes and embraces the Dane way of life.
Tragically, his family is killed in a fire by other Danes – all, save his sister Thyra, who is taken hostage by them to be used as a sex slave, and Ragnar the young who is away when the attack happens. Uhtred and Brida witness all of this, as they were not in the house because Uhtred was with Brida in the forest claiming her as his own at the urging of his father, Ragnar. Exiled now, because the men who killed his family spread word among the Danes that it was Uhtred who killed them, he vows to seek revenge against the men and avenge the honor of his family. However, in doing this, he must choose between the country of his birth and the Danes. And the line he has to walk forces him to play both sides, often making decisions so questionable you will wonder what side he’s really on.
And this is where Uhtred’s story really takes off.
Because, honestly, Uhtred is certainly why we’re all here. At least, he’s why I’m here.
Look at him.
Alexander Dreymon, who plays Uhtred, is genuinely the hottest man I have ever seen. The hottest. I’m not kidding. I don’t even know what it is about him, but I have this visceral sexual attraction to him that I cannot explain. I mean, I don’t have to. You can see for yourself. But Jesus. He needs to take it down a notch. I can’t keep thinking about him all the time. I have a job.
Now, I can’t lie. Straight up – Uhtred is an asshole. And I spent about 75% of season one being pissed as all fuck at him. But he’s an asshole with a good heart, who really wants to do the right thing. As long as the right thing aligns with his own goal of reclaiming his birthright as the heir of his ancestral home, Bebbanburg.
This leads him to Wessex, where Alfred is about to be king. Now, this – this – is the beginning of one of the most important relationships in the show, if not the most important relationship in the show.
Y’all, David Dawson, who plays Alfred, is outstanding. He plays Alfred so convincingly as a man who believes in his idea of what England should truly be. He loves and believes in God, even as he struggles to be the man he thinks God wants him to be. And early on, he realizes that in order to achieve his goals, he will need Uhtred as his sword man to lead his army.
Their scenes together are actual magic.
Every single one.
The whole show is centered around the dynamic of their relationship – the push and pull that each man feels for the other. It’s fascinating, really. They both possess what the other doesn’t. And I was captivated by the development of the characters as the show went on. Uhtred’s resentment of the oath he’d given contrasted by his arrogant desire for glory, and the satisfaction of being needed by a king. Alfred’s resentment of needing him contrasted by the quiet – often unspoken – gratitude for what Uhtred helps him achieve.
Now, I can’t properly flail about this show without mentioning the women, most of whom are more amazing than any of the men. I struggled at times with the way some of the women were treated, often as plot devices meant to push the development of Uhtred’s story. (Mildreth deserved better.) But the stand-outs really freaking stand out.
Hild: a nun turned warrior in her service of God and friendship to Uhtred. And her relationship with Uhtred is one of the most satisfying elements of the show, including one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and rewarding scenes ever.
Let me be clear, I would die for Hild. Though, I probably wouldn’t have to. She is badass and pure. She can take care of herself, and I am 100% here for her story.
Hilda grounds Uhtred in a way that no other character on the show does, and for that reason, she wins everything.
Brida: What can I say about Brida? She’s a constant presence in Uhtred’s life and heart. She’s got bigger balls than any man on the show, and she is fearless in a way that is unmatched by the men who constantly surround her. She says what she means, and means what she says, which is something considering, on more than one occasion, she threatened to cut men from cock to throat. She literally takes shit from no one. Especially Uhtred. What starts out as a love story evolves into something far greater.
I would also die for Brida, but she would kick my ass for thinking that I needed to.
Thyra: Uhtred’s sister suffers more than anyone on the show. And that’s saying something.
(Side note: One of the things that I appreciate about this show in comparison to Game of Thrones is this – while there is a lot of suffering and trauma, The Last Kingdom doesn’t sadistically linger on these scenes. They show it, sure. But it doesn’t drag out making the viewer feel like a tortured masochist.)
Thyra’s strength and her good heart are ever in the forefront of who she is. And when she’s finally rescued, she has a moment of pain depicted so honestly and beautifully, you will actually weep. Or, at least, I did.
Aethelflaed: Alfred’s daughter, and the future Lady of Mercia. Holy damn. She’s amazing. A princess at first, with all the privilege her birth has allowed her. She believes in her father’s England, and is willing to do her part to help him achieve it. This means marrying a sadistic asshole who doesn’t deserve her for many reasons. Not the least of which is he’s an abusive fuck who abuses her, and deserves to have his dick cut off.
Full disclosure: I think a lot of men on this show need to have their dicks removed slowly and painfully.
But Aethelflead, like the other women on this show, can take care of herself. And she does so with the grace and strength of a warrior. Which is exactly what she is.
Last, but in no way that could be considered least, we MUST talk about the Cookham Crew. Otherwise known as the warriors who serve and follow Uhtred.
Sihtric: The bastard son of a Dane, who joins Uhtred early on. We love Sihtric for many reasons. Not just because he’s hot and loyal, but because underneath his warrior persona, he’s a man with a good heart. He loves a prostitute, and even though his squad thought it was a bad idea, he put a ring on her finger and made her his wife.
I adore him.
Osferth: A young man who is more cinnamon roll than warrior. But Uhtred takes him under his wing for many reasons. He’s the nephew of his mentor, friend, and fallen warrior Leofrich. As well as the bastard son of King Alfred. He’s a monk, but he wished to serve Uhtred and learn to be a warrior. This is nothing new to Uhtred, as Hild was a nun who fought alongside him. But the main reason Uhtred keeps him around is that Uhtred’s wife loved Osferth very much.
He is precious.
And he must be protected.
Finan: A man who endured something so horrific and degrading with Uhtred, it bonded them for life. Of all Uhtred’s men, he is my favorite. He’s funny and witty, and at the end of the day, he’s badass af. Finan is the kind of man you want beside you, or on top of you, or inside you, if we’re being totally honest.
Oh, and he’s Irish.
Oh, and that’s hot af in case you were wondering.
NGL, I played Fuck/Marry/Kill: Cookham Crew Edition and it basically ended with me fucking all of them and killing no one. So…
There’s a lesson here somewhere.
Sometimes, those Netflix recommendations are on point.
I have fallen down the fandom hole for this show, hanging out on tumblr like it’s a coffee shop. I even told Funmbie that I was three seconds away from writing fic. And I still just might.
I could go on and on about this show forever, but honestly guys. Just watch it. It has literally everything you could look for. I binged it in less than a week, and I was sad it took me so long to actually watch.
It’s a story about loss and revenge, about passion and love, power and glory, and finding the path that you were meant for. I know I talked about how Uhtred was an asshole and would piss you off. (And he will.) But he’s the kind of asshole who learns from his mistakes and bad choices, and he suffers for them.
He’s a hero, and you’ll root for him, even when you want to punch him in the dick.
That’s storytelling I can get behind.
I’m here for the ride because apparently, season four is set to film. So, here’s to loving another show on Netflix, and impatiently waiting for a new season to drop.