When we left our Merlin heroes, Evil Queen Gwen was trying her utmost to kill Arthur, whilst Merlin and Gaius slowly twigged that something wasn’t right. This week: could it be more of the same? Will we get a straight explanation for Gwen’s evilitude?
Or will Arthur simply get naked with an old man instead? Watch the episode on iPlayer before reading this review if you care about spoilers.
Merlin Can’t Leave Camelot Alone For Five Minutes
For a while in The Hollow Queen, I thought they were shoving the Evil Gwen arc to one side and giving us an unrelated storyline, but everything circled back round. Once again, Merlin’s departure from Camelot turned out to be a trap – you have to wonder why anyone ever leaves that place without scheduling “being ambushed” into their plans – and Gwen used his absence to plan a good old fashioned assassination by sniper for Arthur.
To be honest, this episode felt like a weaker version of last week – traitor takes a shot at King, Merlin narrowly saves him – only without as many of the scenes that made it fun. Basically, I’m sulking because we didn’t get any Emrys. Can you really blame me?
Admittedly, the comedy business between Gaius and Arthur did please me. We also finally got a clear demonstration that without Merlin to save them, Camelot falls into a confused mess within a day or two and the King nearly gets a crossbow bolt in the head.
Morgana, Gwen And Their Consistencies
The closing sacrifice almost moved my heartstrings, although it’s a shame they didn’t give Elyan that death, instead of the cruddy one he got. Giving him some alone time with Merlin might have made us care when he snuffed it. In short: pleasant but not amazing. Preferred last week’s rendition of this basic story.
Oh, and from our continuity notes department: when exactly was Morgana taken prisoner in a pit? I guess it must’ve been between series four and five if Aithusa was with her? Strange addition.
Yes, Evil Gwen is still jarring with me, but I spent enough time talking about that last week. Suffice to say, my feelings haven’t changed. Based on the trailer at the end of this episode, it looks like we’re finally getting the mind control ending I expected, so we can write this off as an okay idea clunkily executed.
But on the plus side, next week looks pretty cool doesn’t it? Emrys appears, if nothing else! And even if it ends up being dreadful, at least we may finally move on from Evil Gwen! Party time!