The end is nigh! The final episode! Etcetera! And so on! The first part of the Merlin finale! Reviewed before your amazed eyes! Battle! Strife! Gunpowder! Treason! Plot!
So, do we see any huge moments or deaths in this episode, or are they saving the carnage for their climax on Christmas Eve? Well, if you’ve seen it you already know, and if not, best watch it on iPlayer to avoid spoilers. Onwards, brave men of Camelot!
Swords & Semantics
I’m still not clear why this is called The Diamond of the Day (Part 1), to be honest, but maybe it’ll be unveiled in the second half. Aside from that: the characters prepare for war after Morgana begins the big attack on Camelot, but Merlin is distracted by her robbing him of magic. By the end, everyone (included a re-powered Emrys) is converging for a big swordy fight.
It’s the first half of a Merlin two-parter, so it isn’t surprising to discover it’s mostly set-up – they always are. Still, fans who want Arthur to discover Merlin’s secret before the last possible moment may not be happy. Me, I’m just relieved Merlin got out of that damn cave; I was worried he’d be in there most of next week too.
Death, Death And Death Again?
There are some pleasant surprises scattered through here – good to see Merlin and Gwaine get another moment, as well as the reappearance of our hero’s father. And the looming prophecy of Arthur’s death successfully sets out why this is the big dramatic final showdown, not just a standard skirmish.
Having said all that: why does Arthur seem so grimly certain this was the final battle ever? He doesn’t know about the prophecies or Merlin’s powers. I guess Mordred’s defection was a big deal, the enemy force looks huge, and Bradley James has become good at big Kingly speeches, so I might let them off.
This wasn’t as beautifully balanced an exercise in tragic inevitability as last week – Merlin’s recovery of his powers felt like we were waiting for an obvious conclusion, rather than watching fate slide into place – but it moved everyone into position for the ending. And Emrys is in play, so hopefully there’ll be lashings of grumpiness.
Oh, and Gaius not yet dead, which genuinely surprised me, I’ve been waiting for him to drop for weeks. The last episode is on Christmas Eve, but don’t worry, a review should still go up shortly after it finishes. I’m nothing if not dedicated. Will Arthur die? I think not, but let us know if you’ve got a grimmer view.