Last night, suddenly, the BBC announced that Merlin would conclude at the end of the current series five. You can see the full statement on CultBox, but it includes all the pleasantries you’d expect: The show had a good run, but this was their time, we must stand by their bedside and hold in our tears while Camelot falls.
So, as a hardened critic who has been covering the show on this site for 2.5 series and counting, how does this news make me feel? Does it alter my critical assessment of series five to date? What do I predict for the remaining five episodes? READ ON TO FIND OUT.
Alas, Morgana, One Cannot Smirk Forever
Let’s be honest, they’ve dragged Morgana’s campaign of slow, unsuccessful evil out for two and a half series. We gotta have that final battle in the upcoming series conclusion, and resolving her plotline is a natural end point for the show. At least this way, they’ve told a clear story arc with the main hero-turned-villain.
Still, the other main thrust of the show was the Merlin/Arthur relationship, and this news gives them… five episodes to explore Arthur finding out the truth. I imagine this is the point many fans will focus on. At least the small timescale might force them to pick up the pace and give us a few really strong scenes.
Those of you hoping for Merlin and Arthur to fall into bed and make passionate love might have to give it up, there just isn’t time to get there.
Gazing Into My Crystal Ball
I’ve been down on Merlin lately – the Evil Gwen storyline hasn’t worked for me at all, and discovering they’ve wasted a third of their final series on it doesn’t improve matters. Still, it looks like they’re bringing that nightmare to an end in the upcoming episode. Hopefully we can get back to the Mordred subplot, there’s way more tension there.
Especially in light of the cancellation news, of course, since it opens up the possibility that Mordred might genuinely kill Arthur. I don’t think he will, as they’ll want to keep the Merlin/Arthur dynamic usable in case that rumoured movie trilogy ever happens, but stranger things have happened.
So, my educated guess for the closing episodes: Gaius dies (father figures always die towards the end), Mordred surprises Merlin by sacrificing himself to save Arthur, Emrys kills Morgana as forecast, but Merlin’s trapped in the elderly body to bring us in line with the legends, shortly after finally telling Arthur his secret. (Don’t worry, they can easily write him young again if the movies happen.)
So, how do you feel about the Merlin news? Do you rate my predictions for the climax? Which of the next five episodes do you think Gaius will die in? Sound off in the comments!