TV Review: Netflix's 'The Last Kingdom' Sensational In Season 4

The Last Kingdom Uhtred of Bebbanburg Alexander Dreymon Netfilx
Image by Netflix
“The Last Kingdom” storms back into action in the long-anticipated Season 4, and it proves itself more than worthy of the wait. To say it is a defining season would be accurate. It is the series’ first without a key player throughout its first three seasons and its third on Netflix. How does it handle the weight?

Without missing a beat. King Alfred is gone but far from forgotten as his shadow encompasses everything viewers see and hear. It is only when a character is absent that the accurate measure of their impact can be known, and “The Last Kingdom” does a terrific job at showcasing King Alfred’s in Season 4.

As much as “The Last Kingdom” had always been a bit of a two-hander between Uhtred and Alfred, Season 4 must find total leadership in Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon). After three seasons of prep, the once grating anti-hero proves he is ready for it. Perhaps, it Uhtred’s age and subsequent maturation mixed with his defiant characteristics, but he has never been more likable or complex than he is here.

Season 4 makes it impossible to root against him. He is savvy, capable, bold, and slightly more sophisticated. It is a distinguished look and a sign “The Last Kingdom” has steadily developed a flawed and likable protagonist. As someone who loathed Uhtred when the show began, that is saying something, and it is a rare thing to utter.

“The Last Kingdom” takes viewers through another surprising turn of adventures, and they get to see Uhtred finally take on one of his most trying ventures in fatherhood. Uhtred is far from perfect, and Season 4 explores that through the lens of the people affected most -- his children. It is a compelling angle that brings yet another refreshing layer to a show evidently far from tired.

There is forward movement, backstabs, and a lot of interpersonal intrigue as the schemes and interests of its characters take one turn after another in Season 4. To its credit, “The Last Kingdom” also finds time to inject some quality humor into a show threatened to be overtaken by the darkness of its subject matter.

Uhtred’s BFF, Finan (a superb Mark Rowley), is at the fore of that again in Season 4, and he is arguably one of the best characters in “The Last Kingdom.” A Season 2 addition that has only made the content soar. Finan’s buddy chemistry with Uhtred is an especially welcome breath of fresh air and much-needed dynamic for the alpha, Uhtred, to have.

If there is only one complaint about Season 4, it involves Aethelflaed and Uthred’s relationship. “The Last Kingdom” does not do the best job explaining where their romance ends up. It feels contrived instead of authentic. A “because I said so” explanation as opposed to one that is naturally cultivated.

It is a surprising notion for a show that somehow teems with a generally genuine feel despite its fictional fascets. As for Alfred’s detestable widow, Aelswith tries to find redemption for her stone heart in Season 4. Surprisingly, it works more than it should. Another indication, “The Last Kingdom” is as much about character development as it is action.

All told, Uhtred has never been better, the stakes have been higher, and the battles have never given you sweatier palms. “The Last Kingdom” continues to improve in a TV world where its genre peers have usually lost so much steam, they can barely chug to the finish line. Season 4 is one of the series’ best, and its ensemble only continues to wow in new ways.

According to Netflix’s most-popular feature, it was the number six most-watched TV show in the U.S. at one point. Season 4 deserves it. Here is to a Season 5 renewal. “The Last Kingdom” has earned it on the merit of its quality, alone. Named one of 2018’s best TV shows on Eclectic Pop, I see no reason for it not be one of this year’s picks.

Season 4 of “The Last Kingdom” is now streaming on Netflix alongside its previous seasons and a lot of other excellent TV options.