Why 'The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die' Surprised Me

The Last Kingdom Seven Kings Must Die Uhtred of Bamburgh Netflix

Instead of watching “The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die” when it got released on Netflix, I waited a few days. “There is no need to rush right it,” I thought. The idea of it sitting in the Netflix queue was comforting. Yesterday, the time finally came to see it, and something happened that took me by surprise.

“The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die” is more than just a Netflix movie. It is the ending chapter of the long-running series. I did not realize that going into it. Only when you watch the final moments of the movie does the realization of the story ending properly wash over you. That is if you (like me) missed the news beforehand.

Uhtred of Bamburgh (Alexander Dreymon) rallies his allies for one last adventure filled with the requisite political and personal intrigue. The latter would not be a truly royal costume drama without familial infighting over a crown. In the middle of it all is the man, the myth, the legend – Uhtred of Bamburgh – the Saxon raised a Dane who has always reminded us that “Destiny is all.”

I was not ready for this to be the realization of Uhtred’s destiny. On the contrary, this viewer, since the TV show debuted what feels like a lifetime ago in 2015, thought the movie was a transition for the Netflix series. A chance for “The Last Kingdom” to go from a serial to a movie series. I was wrong.

Five seasons and seven years since it began, “The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die” marks the ending of Uhtred’s story. And if you had told me at the beginning of the series that I would have exclaimed “Nooo!” when the credits started to roll, I may not have believed you. Somewhere along the way, ole’ Uhtred grew on yours truly, into a likable anti-hero who matured into a wise man.

The movie is a terrific extension and seamless transition for “The Last Kingdom” TV show, thanks to those in front of and behind the camera. Series writer - Martha Hiller - penned the script, and frequent series director - Edward Bazalgette – directed it. Hiller and Bazalgette deftly tell the compressed story without skipping a beat. There is enough action to keep viewers excitedly sailing and quieter drama to steady the ship.

After seven years, five seasons, and one movie, there is no denying that the final moments of “The Last Kingdom” are bittersweet. If the show had gone on for seven more years, it would have gotten no complaints from me. Unlike so many other TV kingdoms, “The Last Kingdom” can say it ended its era with maintained prestige.