Sorry Merlin fans but after tonight it’s just two more episodes till the end. But hey, wasn’t tonight’s antipenultimate episode amazing? It was the moment we’ve all been waiting for: fate is met, secrets are revealed, and the chess board is set for the ultimate battle of ultimate destiny. But where did it all go wrong? Let’s dive into the recap.
As you’ll remember from last week, Camelot is in the midst of a full-scale war with the Saxons led by Morgana, so when a Camelot patrol comes upon a bunch of slain knights, the assumption is Saxon attack (which is fun to say, but not so much fun to live through). Mordred thinks he sees someone in the nearby woods and gives chase, but it’s not who he expected. Indeed it is a young woman named Kara, and its painfully clear that she and Mordred share an affection. Naturally, Mordred covers for her with Arthur and the others, saying that he merely saw a deer. Merlin, however, is suspicious.
Mordred later tries to sneak remedies and supplies to Kara, but is caught by Merlin on his way out of the castle. Merlin points out that there’ll be big trouble for the knight who helps someone who helped attack Camelot citizens, but Mordred pleads with Merlin, she’s a Druid, one of them, he was duty-bound to help her. Merlin, despite himself, promises to keep Mordred’s secret, but while patrolling in the woods with Arthur later, the king and Merlin come across a trail of boot prints that lead them to Kara. Kara attacks immediately, but is captured in the process.
Because of her seemingly bottomless appetite for murder, Kara is sentenced to death. Mordred blames Merlin, thinking he betrayed him and promising retribution. In the meantime though Mordred sees Arthur to beg for clemency and to take credit for helping Kara out in the first place. Although Arthur’s sympathetic, his judgment stands: Kara will be executed.
Visiting Kara, Mordred is beside himself. he thought he and Arthur were friends, brother knights through and through, but Kara says it just proves that Arthur and Uther are cut from the same cloth. Mordred comes up with a plan. He goes to Arthur and apologizes for his earlier outburst, and Arthur appreciates that. All is forgiven. But Merlin knows that Mordred’s not going to let it drop, and that Mordred is going to spring Kara from the Camelot brig. Gaius points out the irony in Merlin’s decision to stop him, but Merlin says that if Mordred leaves the castle, he’ll run straight into the arms of Morgana, and by then it will be really too late.
And Mordred does indeed escape with Kara from the citadel, with the knights in hot pursuit. When cornered Mordred decides to fight, and Kara urges him to kill the knights with magic, but Mordred hesitates, and they’re both taken into custody. Merlin feels that he’s brought about the very thing he was trying to prevent, but Gaius says that “some paths woven so deeply into the fabric of the world, that nothing can be done to change them.”
Merlin tries to convince Arthur to let both Mordred and Kara go, a desperate plea to avoid the future Merlin knows is coming. Arthur is resolute, but after thinking about Merlin’s words – How will two more deaths help secure a peace in the overall scheme of things? – Arthur gives Kara a chance to repent. But Kara repents not, she says she’s not guilty of any crimes, and that it is a not a crime to fight for your freedom.
So she’s hanged. Mordred, in that moment, loses his $#!% and escapes using magic.
Arthur and Merlin talk later. Arthur feels bad for letting Mordred get so close, but Merlin says it’s because he’s got a good heart and believed in Mordred. Arthur asks Merlin if he’s made a mistake, and Merlin says he hopes not.
But yep, Mordred heads straight to Morgana…
Mordred: I bring you the news you have longed for.
Morgana: Arthur’s death?
Mordred: The key to it. I was wrong to ever question your wisdom, my lady, and I wish to make amends.
Morgana: Tell me!
Mordred: There is someone you have been searching for, someone who has always eluded you.
Mordred: I know where he is.
Mordred: Camelot. And I have his true name. It is Merlin.
Boom. There it is.
-Oh man, that was so worth it. After five years, for Merlin’s secret to be out to the worst possible people waylays all my petty complaining about how Merlin’s secret was on lockdown for so long. I don’t think I was wrong, of course, but it was just a great moment when Mordred let drop that it Merlin was Emrys I let it slide for a minute.
-There was also compelling drama in the Arthur and Mordred dynamic. Their relationship was ruined not by an issue that was cut and dry. Yes, Kara did kill people, and Mordred was in the wrong trying to spring her, but Arthur also offered an olive branch, and it was batted out of his hand. It’s compelling that it was more a moral play than Arthur was 100 per cent right, and Mordred was 100 per cent wrong.
-Good on Gaius for calling double-standard on Merlin. I mean come on, how many people has Merlin sprung for the Camelot jail?
-With Merlin’s whole swan analogy, is it just me or did he come out of the closet in tonight’s episode? Or am I reading too much into that?
NEXT WEEK: The End, Part 1