It’s been well documented, both in my reviews and elsewhere, that Merlin has been “darker” this year. Obviously, they’re never going to be a serious adult show like Game Of Thrones, although Morgana’s interactions with her relatives have been almost as incestuous, but still, they clearly want to push in that direction.
And this week: a lengthy PG-rated old man torturing sequence! Could that be as fun to watch as it was for me to type?
Gaius Shines Under Torture
Well, not quite. Certainly, it isn’t as gleeful as last week’s episode, which provided much-needed amusement as Merlin went into action as the world’s worst assassin. It’s all grim again this week, as Morgana takes drastic action. And, since she’s a villain now, this involves torturing an old man for information she vaguely suspects he has.
Poor old Gaius. Almost nothing to do all series, and he finally steps up to centre stage by… sobbing on a table and cracking under pressure. If this was sold to Richard Wilson as his big spotlight episode, he should ask for his money back.
And it has to be said, the “twist” that saves Merlin’s hide at the end was very predictable. They never convinced me that the big secret would be spilled to Morgana this early, so that was the obvious escape route.
Everyone Is An Idiot, Again
Meanwhile, the only subplot that gets much action this week is Agravaine’s ongoing treachery, and that’s getting silly now. His continued consorting with a supervillain is kept secret only by having Gwaine act like a moron in a cave, then Gaius and Merlin act like idiots by not telling Arthur.
Honestly, you two, it’s no wonder the Pendragons turn on you at least once a series and try to have you locked up, exiled or executed. If you stopped being secretive for plot convenience, many fewer people would die.
That review sounded quite negative, didn’t it? Oddly, I’m going to end by saying I didn’t really mind this episode, but it lacked a standout sequence or any real suspense, and after last week’s excellent outing, I was a bit disappointed.