This week in the happy-go-lucky medieval bromance festival of Merlin, things start to go serious in advance of the upcoming finale. Marvel as Arthur falls for a woman who isn’t Gwen! Yes, again! Although at least he wasn’t brainwashed like I cynically predicted last week.
And, after a whole series of circling, things are starting to come to a head. Are we excited?
Merlin & Arthur Vs Emptiness
It’s hard to come up with four hundred words of worthwhile critique for this episode. A few nice moments took place, but the bulk of it was moving the chess pieces into place for next week. Which, in turn, is the first of a two parter, so it might be two more weeks until you get a Merlin review with real thrust. Sorry about that.
It was a bit melodramatic, though. I’m aware that we’ve got two weeks of miserable burning injuries coming up, so I was hoping for more joy in this one. But all quiet, aside from a few Arthur/Merlin moments and some comical belching. I did like some of the character work on Merlin here, as we see that the kid’s stubborn determination to “do what is right” isn’t always the best attitude.
And there was a heavy final scene with Merlin and Arthur which worked well despite any problems with the episode to date, as ever. The Colin Morgan/Bradley James rapport lets them get away with a lot.
Deer Oh Dear
I did appreciate them not taking the easy mind-control way out on the romance storyline, though, instead letting the rival Princess be likable. I suppose this was the final hurdle for the Arthur/Gwen relationship: having him reject a perfectly good, non-evil partner to be with her.
Morgana turning Gwen into a deer is a new level of magic for this show, isn’t it? Normally people just tumble backwards. The resultant beast, however, didn’t fare as well; it seemed to exist only in separate shots that couldn’t interact with anyone, so the visual flow of the hunting sequence was ropey.
And next week, the beginning of the end. I’m curious how much resolution we’ll get, considering they already know they’re getting series five. If they could resolve the Agravaine story and give us a nice Royal Wedding, that wouldn’t be too bad. I know everyone wants Arthur to discover Merlin’s secret powers, but I think we’ll have to pry that one from their cold, dead hands. So about a week before the whole show ends, then.
Anyway. Check the whole episode out on iPlayer and let us know your thoughts, hopes, dreams and series-end predictions below.