Merlin: Diamond in the making?
Well, I have to give the penultimate episode of Merlin mixed reviews; I mostly enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best of the season… but is that saying much at all?
The episode started with an awesome scene in which Morgana demonstrated her latest (and last) plan of attack on a poor sorcerer – she used a magic leech to suck out his magic and intended to do the same to Merlin. It was a great opening and Katie McGrath did a really awesome job – as usual. I kind of wish we’d been told of this leech during one of Morgana’s earlier attempts to find out who Emrys is.
A masked guy planted the magic leech’s box in Merlin’s room and after he got home from the pub, where he used his magic to beat Arthur at backgammon, he was taken by surprise by the creature and lost his magic. That’s all fine and dandy, but can we go back to him using it to beat Arthur at a game? That’s something the immature Merlin from the first or second season would do… where’s all the wisdom he’s supposedly gained since? Anyway, because Merlin didn’t die after the leech’s kiss, Gaius assumed Morgana’s plan failed, even though he knew nothing about the creature. That’s not like him at all.
Morgana’s men then proceeded to attack a village, defeat what guards and Knights there were and take over. Gwaine fell for this hot blonde and took her back to Camelot, where after a pointless, boring Council, Arthur decided to strike back and end the war with Morgana once and for all. Meanwhile, Morgana forged a blade using her dragon’s fire breath and gave it to Mordred. I’m glad they writers were putting some thought into this last plan of hers; it almost made up for the countless times she’s been made to look like a fool.
Speaking of Mordred, though, I feel like his entire arch was handled the wrong way. Throughout the season, he’s been portrayed as this honest, loyal friend of Arthur that Merlin didn’t trust on the basis of some prophecy. In the end, he turned to the dark side not because he always intended to, but because Merlin hated him and wanted him gone. That just feels cheap and I wish they came up with better reasons for his actions.
Back to the episode. Since Arthur and his army will meet Morgana at Camlann (or something), which is the place where he’s supposed to die at the hand of Mordred, Merlin made up some excuse not to go with him and traveled to the Crystal Cave to see if he can get his powers back. The scene in which he breaks the news to Arthur was brilliant and I loved it. Now that it’s the end of the series, the writers have stopped messing around with their relationship and started moving it along, which is great. I loved everything from how Arthur took it and the effects it had on him throughout the rest of the episode. This was one of the highlights of the episode.
After reaching the Crystal Cave, Merlin encountered a surprise: Morgana. Turns out the hot blonde worked for Morgana all along and had told her about the Cave. So instead of killing Merlin, she just trapped him in the one place where he could regain his powers… and only after being mildly injured by Merlin, who’s barely yielded a sword before. *Sigh.* Really? Why do the writers insist on making her so incompetent and stupid?
Merlin had a breakdown (great scene) and passed out. When he woke up, guess whose ghost was there to help him out? His father’s! The father who had only appeared in one other episode, the father Merlin’s never really known, yet has always looked up to like no other. I’m sorry, but what about Lancelot, who died for Merlin and had a much bigger part in the story? What about the girl Merlin fell in love with in season two? Gwen’s brother? The dragon? I know it’s not dead, but it would still have been a better choice.
But no, we got his father instead. This is the first thing he told Merlin:
“Dead or alive, real or imagined, past or present… these things are of no consequence. All that matters is you heed the words of your father, who loves you.”
WHO talks like that? Then he went on about how Merlin is magic and the world is magic and Merlin is the world… I’m so frustrated because this scene could have been a great one, and instead we got a cringe-worthy monologue from a character nobody cares about.
Meanwhile, Gwen gave Arthur another one of her dramatic speeches about how he’s great. She really has been insufferable since she’s become Queen. Morgana launched her attack, but Merlin was able to warn Arthur about it. The scene in which he delivered that speech was another strong one. Grim, spooky, haunting music, an uplifting speech… I loved it. Then the battle commenced and we got some awesome part-slow-mo shots of Arthur fighting. They’ve used this technique before, but they really nailed it this time!
The episode ended with Mordred trying to find and kill Arthur and Merlin emerging from the cave as the old, red robed sorcerer. Why the old sorcerer? It’s the end of the series and the main character can’t reach his full power unless he turns into a grandpa?
For better or for worse, we only have one more episode until Merlin ends and I’m already nostalgic. Despite these last two seasons, I’ll still miss the story and the characters. Here’s hoping the final episode knocks it out of the park!