So, the last series of Merlin was, well, not as good as the first. So much so that I almost didn’t even start watching this season, but I’m pretty glad I did. Yes, the plot was a bit weak and the acting a little shaky here and there but overall it was a fun start to a new season.
The one reason I have stuck with the show through the bad times (yes I’m thinking of Beauty and Beast) was because of the interplay between Merlin and Arthur. Colin Morgan and Bradley James really carry this show, the big names might be Richard Wilson and Antony Head, but it is these two that give the show pace and heart and humour.
This season picks up where season 3 left off, although a year has passed. Morgana is still missing and Arthur and Merlin are on a quest to find her, which they do reasonably quickly. She is so grateful to be returned home that the audience can’t help but smell a rat. This episode was a great way to showcase the dazzling beauty of Katie McGrath, who was severely underused in the previous season. Although her acting wasn’t flawless she is great fun to watch.
So, Morgana has returned to destroy Camelot, starting with Uther, while her sister marches on the castle with an army. We definitely get to see a darker side to Morgana in this episode. After having been discovered as a traitor she attempts to murder a guard, stabbing him and then throwing him from the wall. When that fails to kill him she returns to finish the job with a vile of poison (that she found conveniently marked Poison with a skull and crossbones in Gaius’ stores).
Suspecting the lady of treachery Merlin follows her as she leaves the castle to report to her sister. But Merlin is not as cautious as he thinks and is soon bound with chains and left out to be eaten by giant scorpions. When will villains learn to simply start slitting throats, leaving the hero unattended to be eaten NEVER works! Anyway, Merlin screams a spell of summoning skywards and calls down the ancient Dragon to save him, but not, however, before he is stung by the scorpions.
And so the episode concludes with the Dragon flying away, Merlin clutched in his talons. And once again, I find myself strangely drawn to this overly British show. The budget may not be as big as it’s American rivals, the acting may not be as good either, but there is something just a little magical about this show and that is My Spellbound Two Cents.