A Noble Wedding and a Failed Peace.
A New Wife
As a naked Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) takes a wintry bath in preparation for his strategically arranged marriage to Saxon noblewoman Mildrith (Amy Wren) he is confronted by a jealous Odda the younger (Brian Vernel). Odda offers Uhtred money to go away. Uhtred responds with jeers. Seeing his words falling on deaf ears, Odda can only proffer a mouthful of insults concerning his pagan barbarian love rival before riding off.
Leofric (Adrian Bower) and Uhtred discuss Mildrith whom Uhtred has not been allowed to see. Uhtred is anxious to get his revenge along with Ragnar the younger but Leofric reminds him that ‘bloodfeuds last a lifetime’. Odda makes a last ditch attempt to stop the marriage telling Mildrith he will appeal to Alfred on her behalf but Mildrith does not accept. They are married by Fr. Beocca (Ian Hart) and upon revealing her face, to Uhtred’s pleasure, she is very attractive.
A New Hall
As Uhtred rides to his Manor with Leofric and Mildrith in tow, the group are shadowed by Danes. Uhtred unsheaths his sword and they ride on, but he fears something is gravely amiss by the Danish presence so far into Wessex.
Musing on Alfred’s plots to snare him at every corner, Uhtred questions Mildrith why such a beautiful noblewoman with land and royal connections is unmarried. She confesses a huge family debt that Uhtred must now take on. To top it off they arrive and Uhtred finds a hovel of a house. Leofric cheerfully reminds Uhtred that ‘once he pays off his debts he can build a fine hall”. Coins from the bridal price are also missing. Uhtred declares them both to have been robbed. Next day Uhtred tells Mildrith he does not blame her for the mess and she falls pregnant.
The Danes invade.
Leofric Uhtred and Mildrith catch sight of the Danish army marching. They hurry to Winchester to warn Alfred. News arrives that Wareham has fallen. Alfred must now defend his kingdom. Uhtred humiliates Odda the younger by exposing him as the thief of Mildrith’s money and taunts him as a virgin. To rub salt in the wound, he brags of his physical enjoyment of Mildrith.
Meanwhile dowdy Queen Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth) consoles Mildrith over her horrible fate of being married to Uhtred and says she will pray he dies. Mildrith does not agree and prays for the opposite.
Hostages in the fortress.
Guthrum (Thomas W. Gabrielsson) has taken the fortress but his position is untenable as his ally Ubba (Rune Temte) is away on a revenge mission. Forced to sue for peace Guthrum and Alfred exchange hostages. Uhtred goes with them as spy, and inside the fortress is reunited with Ragnar (Tobias Santelmann) and his ex-girlfriend Brida (Emily Cox).
Fr. Selbix (Lorcan Cranitch) is also offered up as hostage in a sub-ploy by Alfred of religious conversion which would then avert war. Selbix fears martyrdom but Alfred ruthlessly prods him along saying it is ‘God’s Work’.
As news arrives of Ubba’s return, Selbix is stabbed by Guthrum, and the other hostages massacred. Uhtred tries to flee but is cornered. Ragnar and Brida save his life. He returns to the nearest beacon to light it and watches as the other beacons light up one by one sending a warning to Alfred of the imminent Viking invasion.
Notes and Quotes
Leofric ‘this is Wessex, our England and we shall murder any heathen bastard who tries to take it’.
Uhtred ‘a warrior can only die once, why die in vain’?