Merlin: Love In The Time Of Dragons – Dork Review

Merlin: Love In The Time Of DragonsIt’s been a short while since the last time a Merlin character fell for someone untrustworthy, so here we go again. This week, physician and father figure Gaius is smitten when a woman from his past turns up, but she has gone through some changes since the good old days.

Sorry if that counts as a spoiler, but since it was in the trailer last week, and is revealed in the opening minutes of the episode, I feel it’s fair game. So how is this particular rendition of the medieval pop classic “Don’t kiss her, she’s evil!”?

Richard Wilson Gets A Rare Work-Out

It’s nice to see Richard Wilson get a decent role in an episode, and not even that long after he was last centre of attention in Goblin’s Gold. He does a decent job of making Gaius seem believably misguided rather than annoyingly stupid, and his big emotional scene towards the end successfully twanged my frayed cynic’s heartstrings.

However, I admit this wasn’t my favourite episode. Perhaps it’s the mentioned over-use of this storyline (last time was The Changeling, three weeks ago), normally with little variation. Does Merlin discover the truth early on, only for the deluded supporting character to plunge into denial and abuse him? Of course he does.

So, even though Richard Wilson and guest-star Pauline Collins as his fake love interest were both good, I found my attention wandering a bit. There were a couple of good comic relief scenes with Arthur using Merlin as target practise, though.

Assessing The Degree Of Evil

I was quite taken aback by the monster this week. Many Merlin creatures are from the obvious-fantasy school of design, but the manticore was an unsettling looking thing. This may compensate for the absence of our regular source of malice and/or sneering, Evil Morgana.

In fact, I’m not sure Gwen had a second of screentime either, outside of the trailer for next week. I suppose I could have blinked and missed them in a crowd scene. Said trailer, though, did eclipse the episode almost entirely. Could we be headed for irrevocable progression in the Gwen/Arthur saga? Surely not.

I could pick more holes in this episode, but it seems childish. (If Alice was known across Camelot for magical healing, why didn’t Uther think of her when it started happening again?) Suffice to say, competent but samey. Hopefully they’re just lulling us into a false sense of security before next week’s quantum leap forward.

As ever, you are welcomed to watch the episode on iPlayer, then come back and tell me to cheer up.

More Merlin on Dork Adore | Merlin: The Eye Of The Phoenix – Dork Review

Nick Bryan

Nick learned to read and write at an early age. This has developed into an unhealthy need to either write stories or consume them for later dissection. He reviews film and TV on Dork Adore and The Digital Fix, lives in London and enjoys a nice white beer.

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  1. says

    Was I the only one who noticed that the manticore's body looked nothing like a lion? Bugged me the whole ep! They said, “body of a lion, tail of a scorpion” and I saw “head of a grumpy old pensioner, neck and torso of a bearded dragon, legs of a chihuahua and tail of a scorpion.” At least they got part of it right!

  2. Cheekyerica8 says

    It wasn't a great episode by any means–at least as far as the story/plot. It would be nice if the writers could look a little farther afield and generate some new perils & pitfalls for the characters to deal with. How many more episodes will there be of “an old friend/acquaintance” turning out to be 1) evil 2)someone else (evil) in disguise 3) after control of Camelot ? *sigh*

  3. Jenny Wilde says

    Nope, it wasn't the best ep – not enough Arthur so it couldn't be. I have a feeling next week's is not going to be the quantum leap forward you think it will be either. I think Uther is going to think that Arthur was enchanted into behaving amorously towards Gwen (a la series 2 ep 10). In the trailer, doesn't Merlin say something about making up an enchanter because Uther will never believe it is Morgana? So, by the end of the ep, Uther will not know about Arthur's true feelings. Just my opinion. Anyway, looking forward to seeing Arthur angry again.

    • says

      I'm hopeful for that quantum leap, but am aware it may not happen. I suspect Arthur will take Uther's temper tantrum as vindication of his belief that he and Gwen can never be together, thus putting into a holding pattern for another series. Or at least until the finale.


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