It’s the second part of the series opener in Merlin, and after last week’s flashforward shock, we’re settling back into a groove here. There’s Arthurian court intrigue, swordplay and, yes, an emotional moment at the end. (Which I’ll be spoiling later, so watch the episode first if you don’t want to know.)
So are we on the verge of a golden age, like they’ve been saying on this show since episode #1?
Mighty Morphin’ Power Merlin
Well, my worry that everything would get reset to basics didn’t come to pass. There aren’t any more major changes here (mostly), but the new age of Arthur as Big Man On Camelot is here to stay. Similarly, Morgana has been reinvented as an underground Rita Repulsa-styled supervillain.
Oh, and Agravaine is going to stay on as her man on the inside, but it looks like the good guys are already suspicious of him, which stops them looking too dense. And to give the man his credit, he’s more convincing a traitor than Morgana last year, perpetually smirking behind the King.
The episode itself is alright, there’s entertaining Knight banter with Gwaine and a lot more foreshadowing of the future, but you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a bit slight except for the very end. They spend most of the time walking, to be honest.
I Told You So
And then, yes, Lancelot commits noble seppuku. I predicted this last week, of course, because the character was showing all the classic symptoms of a man about to undergo a heroic sacrifice. This has the dual effect of slashing the Merlin guest star budget and rescuing them from that Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot love triangle without having to make any of the nice characters look mean.
So Lancelot is now off the scene, having given his implicit blessing to his rival’s relationship with Gwen by dying to save it. Problem solved. It’s a shame, though; I thought Lancelot was one of the most endearing and heroic of the Knights. Without him, they lack a strong dramatic leader aside from Arthur. Since he died in a way that leaves no body, I suppose he could always come back.
Anyway, another reasonable wizarding outing. The question is, now that we’re past the opening two-parter, what next? Will it be back to Merlin business as usual, namely people falling in love with trolls disguised as famous actors, or is the new series too dark and brooding for that?
You can still see the episode on iPlayer, and feel free to form a grief support group in the comments below. Let’s share our favourite memories of Lancelot.