A Fight to the Death
As Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) contemplates the coming battle with Leofric (Adrian Bower), Leofric comes to explain the reasons why he confessed all to the Witan Council – to stop the schemes of the odious Odda the younger (Brian Vernel). After a heart-to-heart they part as friends.
As Uhtred and Iseult (Charlie Murphy) rest together later she tells him she wants to abandon her virginity for him. Uhtred is all for it, but Iseult also says she does not want to lose her gift of clairvoyance which she believes is linked to her purity. Annoying as this is, Uhtred is happy to hear that at least that she has not seen his death.
Next morning at the crack of dawn Alfred calls Uhtred demanding he send Iseult away and resume his debt, promising to call off the trial. Uhtred refuses. Alfred turns on him and loses his temper. The battle will go ahead he fumes.
As Leofric and Uhtred begin Brida is seen scouting around. She rides back to the forest to give the thumbs up to Guthrum (Thomas W. Gabrielsson), to take the city of Winchester in a surprise all out attack. This assault stops Uhtred and Leofric who take immediate cover with Iseult.
The Arrival of Guthrum
Reaching the palace Guthrum enters and ponders the holy relics. Aelthewold appears from nowhere promising allegiance as the rightful king. Guthrum tears the crown from his head mocking his fear.
Hiding in an attic, Iseult Uhtred and Leofric witness a nun Hild (Eva Birthwhistle) being raped. Iseult jumps down stabbing the rapist in the eyes. Leofric and Uhtred join her. Uhtred grabs the helmets of the Danes disguising themselves once again.
Suddenly they run into Brida who is as cold as ice to her ex. Referring to him as ‘the Saxon Uhtred’ they exchange brief civilities before she tells him to head past the drunken guards to escape. Leofric looks at Brida as a sexy Danish woman. The feeling is not reciprocated.
The unlikely quartet flee to the woods for safety. Over a campfire Hild reveals she knows Mildrith and asks Uhtred of her fate. The next day they move out.
The Marshes of Aethelney
Finding themselves in the marshlands of the Severn, Uhtred and Leofric fight Danes who are pursuing some priests. Jumping into the boats Uhtred speaks to one priest who pulls back his cowl to reveal King Alfred. Calling Alfred ‘king of nothing’ he lectures him on not having watchers and spies and how his carelessness with the kingdom has brought his ruin. Alfreds son is also sick and cannot be moved. Uhtred tells Alfred to stop his priests praying and to send them in all directions for help. Alfred tells Uhtred that he needs all the Danes in one place to beat them in ‘one definitive battle‘ before the kingdom disintegrates piece by piece.
Iseult as witchy healer-woman gives Alfred medicines for his illness and proposes to cure the kings son. Hild warns Uhtred if she fails, she will be blamed as a woman and pagan and probably killed.
Back in Winchester Ragnar the younger and Guthrum discuss entering the marshes, a plan Guthrum dismisses as foolish. Uhtred describes the Viking fleet to Alfred and recognises the colours of crazy Skorpa. Alfred is so preoccupied he burns the cakes, a famous historical incident nicely woven into the plot. Iseult tells him off saying ‘I gave you one job!‘
Alfred’s priests reach Beocca (Ian Hart) at Sherborne where reinforcements march to his aid. In the meantime Uhtred proposes to lure Skorpa’s men into an ambush and afterwards destroy their ships – leaving just one army to fight. Alfred decides to let Iseult heal his child. Luckily for her she succeeds although she reveals to Uhtred some other child has died in the place of the kings son.
The plan is successful however and as Viking ships burn Alfred watches satisfied as all give praise to the Christian God once more. Alfred has achieved checkmate.
Notes and Quotes
Iseult ‘I cannot lie with you‘
Uhtred ‘Yes you can‘
Iseult ‘I will lose my gift‘
Uhtred. ‘Who cares‘.
Leofric to Uhtred. ‘Brida was always angry, now she’s nasty‘.
Leofric to Hild ‘ You were being humped against your will. Where was God?‘
Hild to Leofric ‘He sent you‘.