Here are some things I learned from this year’s two-part Merlin
- The opening voiceover has been re-recorded. Possibly to change the description of Merlin from “young boy” to “young man” but more likely because John Hurt still gets credited every episode despite only turning up a couple of times a series now, so he might as well earn his fee when he does
- Even Merlin is surprised to find that Arthur has got his clothes on in his first scene of the series. He does briefly get his nipples out later but it’s not the same. I mean it’s meant to be Bradley James’ first appearance on screen, like a mission statement.
- Tom Hopper, however, continues to be employed mainly because he has arms. To the extent that he goes into battle wearing sleeveless chain mail.
- Gwaine is apparently now entirely comic relief, which was news to me. I mean he was always meant to be a bit of a lad but everything he does in The Darkest Hour
feels like it should be accompanied by slide trombone.
- Camelot appears to be under attack by some Berocca tablets.
- Gemma Jones is awesome, but we knew that. The only new information is that she’s capable of a mighty mwahahahahaha, which I suspect she was desperately trying to suppress during her entire run on Spooks
- Despite several years of intrigue and betrayal, Gwen still has some work to do developing her self-preservation instincts. OK, so she might not have figured out that Agravaine was trying to kill her, but you’d think she’d smell a rat with him inviting a servant girl to his bedroom to give him advice on state affairs. Surely she’d at least suspect that the phrase “go on, up the bum doesn’t count” might figure in proceedings but no, she takes it at face value. Gaius, who spends the rest of the episode being even more all-knowing and expositiontastic than usual, seems to think something’s wrong, but he doesn’t mention anything to her. Nice.
- After Fierce!Morgana and EvilSmirk!Morgana it looks like this year we’ll be getting AreYouFeelingAllRightDearYou’reLookingAB
- Given how hot Santiago Cabrera looked this episode I should have probably given more of a shit when Lancelot died at the end. Presumably the whole idea was to go “see, you don’t
know who’s safe,” but the fourth series is a bit late for that kind of jeopardy really. As we’ve gone three years with the assumption that we’re setting things up for the familiar Arthurian myth of which Lancelot is a major part, as he went off into death I was just thinking “wonder how they’ll bring him back.” It probably doesn’t help that Sir Leon, who’s died on an almost weekly basis, is sitting just out of frame at the time.SOSSERY! count
nil. Gaius is far too busy turning himself into Hermione Granger to find time for his catchphrase.GAYWATCH!
Merlin and Arthur gazing meaningfully at each other all “I’ll sacrifice myself,” “Oh no you can’t die, I will,” “Oh no I can’t go on without you” and so on forever. By the way Arthur’s constant death wish “for the sake of the people of Camelot” is all very noble and etc, but he really hasn’t been paying much attention to the political landscape or his position in it. Given the endless stream of warlords looking for the slightest hint that Camelot’s leadership has weakened in order to invade and slaughter everyone, you’d think he’d figure out that dealing with the short-term problem of the Berocca by LEAVING CAMELOT WITHOUT AN HEIR TO THE THRONE might be a tad short-sighted.