As Merlin draws closer to its ultimate finale, they cast aside all that Evil Gwen guff and give us what we want to see: shit going down. Not all the way down, of course, not right down to funky town, but a fair old way.
So, which side will Mordred pick in the war(dred)? And will those prophecies finally come to pass? Check out the episode on iPlayer first to avoid spoilers, as ever.
The Mordred Prophecies (By Me And Others)
Speaking of prophecies: I guessed the plot for this episode at the end of last week’s review, based on a spoiler-laden trailer, and oh yeah, I was right. It’s not as if The Drawing Of The Dark was super-subtle to begin with, but still.
So, Mordred actually was a nice chap, it turns out, but after the woman he apparently loves is executed for being a fanatical anti-Camelot terrorist (and for good reason), he gets rather narked and betrays everyone to Morgana. Obvious by about ten minutes in, but I don’t think surprises were the point here.
No, this is one of those stories where events march on to an unavoidable conclusion, whilst the cast struggle in vain to prevent it, and Colin Morgan does especially well with material that explores his character’s sometimes-foolish stubbornness. You couldn’t do this every week, but watching our heroes strive helplessly creates a desperate tension that works well as the series draws to a close. After all: if Mordred turning bad was so inevitable, what hope do they have of avoiding Arthur’s death?
When Is A War Not A War?
It is strange that they wrote the girl as such a fanatic though, kinda saps the episode of ambiguity. Either they really wanted Arthur to be in the right, or Mordred is going to have another change of heart once he calms down and realises, wait, was she… desperately, totally evil? Also, nice of her to beg Mordred to use magic telepathically, for no reason other than: if she’d done it out loud, Arthur would’ve realised Mordred was a sorcerer too early.
And considering the massive dramatic “We’re at war!” statement at the end of last week, it seemed fairly business as usual at Camelot this time round. Good job they namechecked the war a handful of times, otherwise I think people might genuinely have forgotten. Except bold Sir Percival, who shows he means business with one of the funniest moments of the episode.
But that’s just nitpicks – all told, this was one of the better episodes of Merlin in quite some time, propelling us doomfully downwards towards a final two parter that has massive amounts of pressure on it. And in addition to that, they even kept major spoilers out of the trailer at the end. Only two episodes to go!