After three bleak episodes, I was wondering whether Merlin was hellbent on being miserable this year. Don’t get me wrong, none of those were bad, but nor were they happy, and the zippy bantering unity is part of this show’s appeal – that and Bradley James topless, obviously.
So, this week, something more traditional, perhaps? But will it seem hopelessly outdated?
Classic Magical Bottomless Wrestling
This week, Merlin makes a stupid mistake, and the whole heroic cast must embark on a quest in order to rectify it. There’s a couple of half-naked Arthur scenes in the King’s bedroom, as well as a homo-erotic moment in which our hero yanks his trousers down with magic, and then they wrestle. Not only that, the dragon spouts some ominous wisdom.
In short, if you didn’t get it from the above, this is classic Merlin. The only way it could be more old-school is if it featured Anthony Head kissing a non-human. For the first time all series, they don’t kill off a significant character, probably because they’re running out of disposable folk.
There’s nothing hugely remarkable about it either, but after all this gloom, it’s nice to see some camaraderie, a bit of questing, Merlin getting humourously abused, and an ending which will presumably play into the future. So does the kid now have a pet baby dragon?
Well, At Least The Dragon Had Eggs
I also noted that Merlin was rather a sausage fest this week. Did Morgana and Gwen appear on-screen at all? I don’t remember them saying much. I’d rather they save Morgana for when she has a purpose, instead of giving her a ranting solo scene to fulfil contractual obligations, but do they have a clue what to do with Gwen? Is she just waiting quietly to get together with Arthur?
Angel Coulby does a good job with that character, so hopefully they will stumble across a role for her soon. If that’s as queen, then so be it.
Also, I’d expected the show to feel more different now that Arthur is finally King. But no, he’s still allowed to go on quests and volunteer to “draw his fire”. I thought they might get a story out of his new Kingly responsibilities preventing him doing that kind of thing – could still happen, I guess.
So some queries, but a solid enough episode of Arthurian antics. Check it out on iPlayer, and let us know what you thought. Also, any ideas for how to give Gwen something to do, short of just marrying her off. Magic powers, maybe?