Luckily, the show’s children are stepping up. Aethelflaed fulfilled her promise as a true leader of Mercia by coming to her people’s aid (even if her, Aldhelm and the bloke who waters the horses don’t stand a great chance against Cnut’s entire army). Finan the joker proved this episode to have a very wise head on his shoulders, and is now the most likely candidate to step into Beocca’s shoes as Uhtred’s closest advisor. Brida is set to become a mother, which will only make her more of a warrior. And Young Uhtred has come around and sworn allegiance to his father.
The advocates Uhtred earned over the years spoke up for him in episode three, rallying in his time of need. Beocca, Finan, even the memory of Gisela helped Young Uhtred to see that his father must be more than a bloodthirsty Pagan to garner so much loyalty and respect.
The hour was filled with emotional monologues and touching tributes. Uhtred was crushed, declaring himself finished with battles and bemoaning the loss of his lands and his name. He cried and hugged, and hug-cried, but only after transforming into a Tasmanian Devil of grief-based rage back at the fortress.
That was an exhilarating sequence. Still reeling from Beocca’s premature exit, we watched our hero become a stab ‘n’ slice machine, repelling grown men with the earthquake-like force of his yells. A series of thrilling skirmishes followed the men to the ship, where the rain too, wept for Father Beocca.
Down south, a shit-storm of gargantuan proportions was brewing. If I’ve tracked this correctly, the Danes and the Mercians both left their own lands to invade each other’s, just missing each other like a wife and a mistress in a French farce. Now Cnut’s waiting for Edward to help Aethelred, so he can kill them both and win, and Edward’s waiting for Cnut to kill Aethelred, so he can kill Cnut and win.