After five long years, we come to the end of our journey with Merlin. Picking up where we left off last week on the fields of Camlann, the hour was a roller coaster ride, not because of the action, but because of the emotion. Secrets are revealed, destinies are realized, and not everyone makes it out of the hour alive.
Merlin makes it to the battlefield, and manages to end the fight decisively with some impressive feats of magic. The Saxons start to retreat, but not before Arthur comes face-to-face again with Mordred. After a brief fight it seems that Mordred fulfills the prophecy and deals Arthur a fatal blow, but Arthur returns the favour and runs Mordred through with the king’s own enchanted sword. By the time Merlin arrives on the scene, Mordred is dead, but Arthur has been seriously wounded, and because it’s a mystical wound as well, Merlin will need some extra help in order to save his king.
Taking his cues from Gaius, Merlin departs with Arthur for the Isle of Avalon, home of the ancient magic that will heal the king. But wait! We get ahead of ourselves. Merlin reveals to Arthur that he’s got magic, and it does not go over well. Although Arthur’s been a bit more level-headed on the subject of magic than his father, he still feels hurt and revolted at the revelation that his friend, servant and confidant is, and has been, a dirty sorcerer. Arthur refuses Merlin’s help, but Merlin gives it anyway. It doesn’t help when Gaius arrives and let’s Arthur know that, “hey, I knew Merlin was a wizard the whole time and it’s totally N.B.D.” But soon it’s time for Merlin and Arthur to make their run to Avalon, and in Weepy Tissue Moment #1, Gaius says goodbye to his ward saying that he’ll have his favourite meal waiting for him when he gets back, while knowing full well that this was probably the last time he’d ever see Merlin.
Meanwhile, Morgana’s getting her revenge on. Mordred’s dead, but Arthur’s still out there wounded. She sends her Saxons out to find him, remaining as ruthless and defiant as ever.
As Merlin and Arthur make their way through the still dangerous backwoods, Arthur sees more of Merlin’s magical works. An understanding begins to occur in the king, not just all that Merlin’s hid from him, but everything that Merlin has done for him, in secret, without ever even trying to claim credit. Arthur and Merlin recall the first time they met and the fight with the mace, and Arthur asks why Merlin never told him he was a sorcerer. Merlin says that he never wanted to put Arthur in an awkward position given the laws of Camelot, but Arthur admits that he has no idea what he would have done. But despite the refreshing honesty, and honest bromance, Arthur is getting worse.
Back at Camelot, Gaius returns with news: Arthur is injured, but Merlin is taking him to help. He also gives Guinevere the ring of the dragon, a bequeathment from Arthur and with it the power to rule Camelot. And oh, by the way, Gwaine’s girlfriend Eira is Morgana’s spy. A scheme is set up where Eira sends Morgana the wrong information about Arthur’s whereabouts, and when she gets to that wrong location, Gwaine and Percival will be there to finish her off for good. As for Eira, off with her head!
As for the grand plan, it was somewhat not very successful. While Gwaine and Percival get the drop on Morgana, she still has magic, and thus the upper hand. Morgana tortures Gwaine with one of those truth snakes (Why does it have to be truth snakes?), and gets Arthur’s real location. Percival comes to and after freeing himself he finds Gwaine near death. With his last breath, Gwaine says he fails, and dies. (That was Weepy Tissue Moment #2.) Morgana does indeed catch-up with her half-brother and her mortal enemy Emrys, catching them off guard. Morgana revels in Arthur’s predicament, and taunts Merlin that as a high priestess, she can’t be killed, but oh yes she can. Merlin runs her through with Excalibur saying that he’s to blame for what she became, but it was time for the circle of violence to end. Morgana falls to ground dead.
Having lost their horses, Merlin tries to take Arthur the rest of the way to Avalon on foot, but Arthur is not doing well at all. The king is near death, Merlin is behind himself and here comes Weepy Tissue Moment #3. Arthur tells Merlin that he has something he wants to tell him, but Merlin doesn’t want to say goodbye. “No, Merlin, says Arthur, “everything you’ve done. I know now. For me, for Camelot. For the kingdom you helped me build… […] I want to say… something I’ve never said to you before… thank you.”
In agony, Merlin calls out to the Great Dragon for help, and although he takes Merlin and Arthur the rest of the way par avion, it really is too late. Merlin thinks he’s failed, but the Great Dragon disagrees and gives Merlin some last bit of wisdom. “Though no man, no matter how great, can know his destiny, some lives have been foretold, Merlin… Arthur is not just a king, he is the Once and Future King. Take heart, for when Albion’s need is greatest, Arthur will rise again. It has been a privilege to have known you, young warlock. The story we have been a part of will live long in the minds of men.”
Merlin puts Arthur on a boat and points it towards the island of Avalon. Merlin breaks down in tears as the boat leaves the shore, but he stands and watches his friend sail away into the mist. Meanwhile, back in Camelot, it is announced that the king is dead, and the court rousingly declares, “Long live the Queen!”
Flash-forward to the present day, and a legitimately old Merlin strolls by the water’s edge where he sent Arthur on his way hundreds of years before, still waiting for the time of Arthur’s return.
-Mordred went down like punk bitch, didn’t he?
-That was pretty sweet when the Saxon bursts into the medical tent and Gwen takes him out. It was a nice reminder that Queen Gwen is the fighting daughter of a blacksmith.
-I realize there’s a TV budget constraint, and there was a lot to get to in the hour, but it did seem like the Battle of Camlann was over really fast for such an important benchmark.
-I liked that Merlin took the mulligan for making Morgana what she became. It was kind of alluded to in the past that if Merlin had taken Morgana under his wing when they realized she had magic, they might have mitigated some of those evil doings.
-RIP: Arthur, Morgana, Mordred, Gwaine, and the Great Dragon
-I remember when they announced Merlin’s cancellation there was a possibility mentioned of a spin-off, but now having seen the finale, I’m curious to see what a spin-off would look like. Would it be the adventures of Queen Gwen in a post-Arthur Camelot, or would it be Arthur and Merlin in the modern world solving crimes and other stuff? I really hope that it was the later rather than the former.
Thanks to the cast and crew of Merlin for five great years of TV. It was a helluva ride.
Last week, Arthur and Merlin were able to free Guinevere from Morgana’s control despite the witch’s best efforts to stop them, and you know what that means – VENGEANCE PARTY!
Indeed, Morgana goes on a tear this week looking for a way to get at her mortal enemy Emrys, AKA: Merlin, AKA: The Meddlesome Serving Boy. Of course, Morgana doesn’t know the three are related, far from it, but she knows someone who knows: Alator of the Catha. Morgana captures Alator in the opening scene and promises that she’ll make him suffer till he coughs up Emrys’ alias. Alator, however, promises to reveal nothing.
In Camelot, refugees have been arriving in the city from a neighboring kingdom, one of the few places in Albion magic is practiced openly. Merlin poses the question: why would Morgana be drawn to attack such a place? He discovers the answers in the woods nearby, a brooch and some papers that Gaius identifies as belonging to Alator. Merlin wants to help, but Gaius is concerned because Alator knows Merlin is Emrys, and more to the point, Alator got that information from Gaius himself, closing the circle of guilt.
Merlin gets a chance to help Alator later when he’s approached by Finna, one of Alator’s trainees in the way of the Catha. Finna asks Merlin to meet her later that night so that she can give Merlin some wisdom that Alator wants Emrys to know. Despite Gaius’ concerns, Merlin goes to meet her in the ruins of an ancient temple. What Merlin doesn’t know is that Gaius went to Arthur behind his back, and as Finna and Merlin start conversing, their meeting is broken up by some Camelot knights led by Mordred. Merlin helps Finna escape, promising her that he’ll meet up with he again.
Back at the castle, Merlin is incensed that Gaius would betray him, and Arthur’s confused how a squad of his best men could let one, lone sorcerer get away. Meanwhile, back at Snake Mountain, Morgana tries to get Alator to talk by actually putting a snake in his head.
Despite Gaius’ concerns that Finna is an agent of Morgana, Merlin sets out to find her. Finna herself has let Alator know via carrier raven that she’s been able to meet up with Emrys, but Morgana intercepts the note, and realizes that Finna’s got the answer she wants, and that she’ll probably be way easier to break than Alator, who she finishes off by snapping his neck. Morgana orders the Saxons to mount up and hunt down Finna.
Racing against time, Merlin finds Finna’s trail, but he also finds the Knights of the Round Table. Leon insists Merlin stick with them, but when night falls, Merlin’s able to lose the knights as they sleep nearby. Merlin finally catches up to Finna, but they’re jumped by a trio of Saxons and Merlin’s injured in the ensuing fight. Finna’s helps Merlin get away, but now Morgana and the Saxons are definitely hot on their trail.
Arriving at an old, abandoned watch tower, Finna takes Merlin inside to the top with the intention of making one last stand. She gives Merlin a box Alator meant for him to have, and tells Merlin not to trust Mordred (as if Merlin needed reminding). She then asks Merlin for his sword and let’s him exit to the safety of the roof, just as Morgana herself arrives. Finna tells Morgan that she’ll reveal nothing, and stabs herself through the chest with Merlin’s blade. Pissed, Morgana orders the old woman’s body burned and she departs with the Saxons.
Dying on the roof, Merlin let’s out a desperate call for assistance from the Great Dragon, who not only carries Merlin to safety, but restores him to health too. Merlin notices that the Dragon doesn’t seem like his chipper self, and it turns out that the Great Dragon is dying. Merlin is visibly upset and asks if there’s anything he can do, but the Dragon says it’s just his time, and he’ll be there to help Merlin once more before the end.
Back in Camelot, Merlin and Gauis examine the box left by Alator and Finna. Inside is a prophecy that reads:
“Let loose the hounds of war. Let the dread fire of the last priestess reign down from angry skies. For brother will slaughter brother. For friend will murder friend. As the great horn sounds, a cold dawn at Camlann. The prophets do not lie. There Arthur will meet his end, upon that mighty plain.”
Bummer. And to add insult to injury, a dead knight is brought in with skin covering the entirety of his face, enchanted as to suffocate him. Gaius recognizes this as a sign, Morgana has officially declared war on Camelot.
– I loved seeing Gary Lewis back as Alator. He was such a bad ass when he appeared in last year’s “The Secret Sharer” and despite the fact that he spent much of this episode as Morgana’s prisoner, he still came across like a bad ass. He’s like the Jack Bauer of medieval Britain, he can torture, and he can be tortured without breaking. He should have his own spin-off where he heads up CCTU, the Camelot Counter Terrorism Unit. Okay, I need to wrap this up so I can start working on a script.
– Sorcha Cusack was also good as Finna. They tried to make us in the audience think she really was a mole for Morgana, but who could deny that sweet old lady face. Well, Gaius could, but unlike Merlin he never saw her sweet old lady face and understood her veracity.
-Gaius, meanwhile, was kind of dick this week. One would think that by this point he might put a little more faith in Merlin’s instincts, they’ve only proved to be right about 9 times out of 10.
-Anyone else struck by the news that the Great Dragon is dying? I guess this really is the last season if the show’s losing such an important character. The CG was a little more impressive than normal to give the Dragon a kind of sickly hue, instead of his once golden sheen. Of course by the time the scene ended I thought they came up with the idea for the effed up wing because the effects for the Dragon while flying weren’t the greatest, but I digress. I take it the next/last time we’ll see the Dragon is the series finale.
-And by the way, Morgana, you’re beautiful when you’re angry.
NEXT WEEK: Can anyone say, “Prophecy fulfilled?”
There is a three minute promo out for the newest series on the Starz network, Camelot. Sure sure, you say that this theme has been done before. But it looks like this might actually have a chance at being really good, and we should be willing to give Starz the benefit of the doubt. After all, they did give us Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which was awesome. Who isn’t up for seeing the Camelot ladies in their unmentionables? You know there will be the two B’s. Blood and boobs.
Video is below, but for those of you too lazy to watch it, let Nerdbastards sum it up for you. They said you will see the sword in the stone, you will see King Arthur and his Knights, you will see the lady in the lake, and you might see the beginnings of a round table. Sounds like good times! Check out the preview.