Britannia (S01E09) “Episode #1.9”

The finale of the first season was a mixed bag which hit all the right notes in some places while being underwhelming in others. So let us look at them both:

With the grain storage being burned down to the ground by Lindon, the act of which he finally confesses to Kerra; Cantii cannot hide or avoid the Romans anymore. It’s either submission to them or brutal death; and Kerra, chooses submission to the Romans rather than seeing her tribesmen slaughtered as Queen Antedia certainly would have wanted to. So, this is what she conveys to Aulus as well when she is escorted into the Roman camps by the guards.

Aulus agrees to her demands to keep her people safe and in a wholly backstabbing fashion which was midly expected- he turns on Antedia and showers arrows and opens fire on her camp, killing everyone but her. With this move, the Romans have Cantii and Regnae both in their hands and that too without having to ally with either. This was also a show of power from Aulus to Kerra, to never even think of standing up against the Roman army.

But, Keera is not a queen who will surrender all too easily. When Aulus asks Kerra about the girl with the blind father, she refuses to tell him and pretends that she knows eventhough she doesn’t. It works on a psychological level since Kerra might have lost the battle in the physical world, but she had won it in their mind space by realizing that Aulus was desperate to find that girl, who she had saved and thus in a way by saving Cait she had ensured the survival of her people inadvertently. Aulus realizes this defeat too because he believes that Kerra knows about Cait. That anger unsettles him and he literally rips Kerra’s heart out and burns it. The act of burning the heart only reinforces the fact that he has just won on a physical plain and has no idea where Cait is since almost all his assassins are dead. Except one that is.
After capturing Cait and trussing her up like a turkey, that female assassin hired by Aulus, burys her with just a pipe poking up above ground to allow Cait the luxury of breathing. Then instead of going to the Romans, she goes to the druids and in exchange for something (presumably gold) she tells Veran the whereabouts of Cait who then rescues her and brings her to the stone table in the Stonehenge.

While all this is going on, Phelan and Ania had taken shelter in Veran’s camp with Ania being sure that she was the goddess Brena who would give birth to a Pantheon of Gods. But Veran puts a dampener on her plans by telling her that her assumptions have been wrong, she wasn’t Brena and while the prophecy was right, yet it might not come to pass even in a thousand more years. Even in the light of this, Ania decides to stay with the druids in an attempt to know more but Phelan takes on a journey outside the sanctuary to know learn more about life as well and thus, they part ways.

The ultimate knockout punch which connected all the central threads together while also setting up for the sequel was when, Cait had the same markings as Kerra just above her eyebrows and just as Veran had said long ago: ‘hope is the daughter of a blind father’ so, Cait has really been that, except since the  prophecy also alluded to Kerra so Cait is the Queen reborn again. Very mystical and goosebunducing.

The ultimate cliffhanger in which the show leaves its audience is what Divis says in the Stonehenge when Cait wakes up in the morning- that he remembers the rest of the prophecy. Meanwhile, Amena is crowned the Queen of Cantii by Aulus and the rest of the Roman army who chant her name. It signifies that all that Amena had done to summon a demon to do her bidding had actually worked and her words to Aulus when she finally meets him in Kerra’s castle had been true and she had rightly recognized her demon. Yet she declares that the old gods who had done her bidding were dead and that the Romans were here to light the way of a new age. In short, she had sold Cantii to the Romans in exchange for Queendom. Except that the lonely Queen Antedia being held prisoner by Cantii in skillful irony of the whole situation, still believes in the old gods.

Special mention has to be given to the aesthetics of the episode, which involves beautiful shots of forests, the Stonehenge and all the aspects of winter Britain.

It’s a good thing that the show has been renewed for a second season which will certainly result in some of the mysteries unfurling.