Every so often, I wonder if the writers of Merlin (or Spooks or Doctor Who) read these reviews, especially when they pull out an episode that totally addresses my recent complaints. Then I realise this would be impossible, due to the effects production involved in making these type of programmes.
Still, this week’s story does comprehensively deal with a complaint I made last week about the ignoring of Arthur’s new crown. So, is it as good as I hoped?
The King And His Style
In this episode, young Pendragon confronts all the issues. Namely, does he have to change his unique style to be King? What about his dalliance with that servant girl? How about the nasty habit of putting himself in mortal danger to avoid asking others to do so?
You won’t be surprised to hear that the final moral is something about being true to yourself. After this slight blip, Arthur will be back on course and acting normally next week. This seems to be taking an easy way out, but anyone who’s been watching Merlin for few years shouldn’t be overly surprised.
After all, they implemented some big shifts at the start of the year, so I can’t blame them for wanting to let the boat level off for a while. This is fun enough for what it is; the newfound monarch issues give it novelty value. I did admire their balls for actually having Arthur kill that guy at the beginning.
Simpering Amorphous Chain Mail
After last week’s boy’s club episode, Morgana and Gwen are back! It’s good to see them, although I still miss the days when Gwen did things beyond simpering. Morgana makes a perfectly good supervillain though, and her final scene with Queen Annis was a nice character moment.
And the Knights, meanwhile, have merged into one amorphous mass of duty and chain mail. Remember when they had individual personalities? I used to like Gwaine, especially. With Lancelot gone, they’re just guys in fight scenes. Between them and the shallowness of Gwen’s portrayal, I hold that this show has too many characters now.
As ever, the central point is Merlin, Arthur and their combined bromance, which is still ominipresent and endearing. Everyone else is just revolving around that, but I feel they could be managing them better. Check it out on iPlayer and let us know how you felt about the strength of Arthur and comparative weakness of everyone else.