Screen versions of the Arthurian myth can sometimes get a bit confused with Excalibur and the sword that proves Arthur is the rightful king. So where will Merlin
go with the legend in a two-part finale called “The Sword in the Stone,” especially since Arthur has been king for a while now, and has been accepted as the rightful heir since the series began? Oh, look at me trying to figure out the mythology of Merlin
. Any time I worry that a Saturday night family show’s logic is confusing me, I just remember how much more confused the writers are. They even chuck Tristan and Isolde into this one.
Actually the way the writers manage to shoehorn this storyline into a plot that technically doesn’t need it is rather neat, with a dethroned Arthur having doubts over whether he should be king after all, and Merlin doing some eye-magic to make sure the sword actually comes out (that’s if he didn’t actually put it there and make up the whole legend himself, which the show makes perfectly plausible.)
I don’t think I’ve particularly hidden the fact that I’ve found this series of Merlin
a bit of a chore, but this two-parter was much more entertaining. It doesn’t hurt that the aforementioned Tristan and Isolde are a particularly good pair of guest stars, namely Ben Daniels and Miranda Raison. (On Monday when we saw Haunted Child
, Rupert Young and Angel Coulby were in the audience, presumably there to see Daniels. There was another woman there sitting between them, but after the interval they changed seats so Coulby and Young were sitting next to each other. Scandal!
I mean, not that it means anything, but if Gwen has a tendency to make her way through all the Camelot knights, can’t I extend that and assume it applies to the actress playing her? Clearly I can.) Anyway this pair of doomed lovers are partly there to inspire Arthur to finally make an honest queen of Gwen for the big finale.
There’s a bit more Marthur development as well – at the start Arthur jokes that Merlin can’t keep a secret, but little does he know that Merlin has been inexplicably keeping it secret that Uncle Aggravation is a bad’un for months now. I know actually telling Arthur wasn’t an option because four years of being betrayed by everyone hasn’t given him a clue how these things work and he wouldn’t believe it; but what, Merlin and Gaius couldn’t set a trap to have Uncle Aggro give himself away? Whatever, he's unmasked now, and also possibly dead. As is Morgana, again, for a bit. Until she gets resurrected via Baby Dragon Belch Power. Anyway by the end the Marthur relationship is near to what it’ll end up being, with Merlin as a friend and advisor (until the next time the script requires Arthur to throw a shoe at him) although actually having him reveal his magicosity is obviously too much to ask. To be fair at this point with one more year to go they need something to build up to and most of the other stalwarts of the myth are already in place.
In other news, Sir Percival’s need to show off his guns continues to be greater than his need to protect them from injury in battle, and Gwaine’s shirt disappears in prison for no reason other than the obvious. And Gwen and Morgana get their own swordfight, which is all very nice and Girl Power but doesn’t exactly fit into anything we’ve seen about these two characters in the past. I joke, I joke – as if continuity is a thing!SOSSERY! count
Nil. That’s like, what, a total of one all series? Gaius is so annoyed at the catchphrase-ectomy that he spends most of the episodes in bed.GAYWATCH!
There’s a very coupley “ooh, someone’s put on weight” running thing at the start. And then Merlin casts a spell to make Arthur do anything he tells him to. Anything
. Although why this also turns Arthur into a simpleton with an erotic interest in trees is anybody’s guess.
'Bye, Series 4!