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Spoilers all over these comments, so don't click the link below if you want to avoid them...

What did I get from this episode???

[Spoiler ahead...]Merlin/Arthur banter, albeit drapped around a number of Arwen scenes (just to remind everyone, lest we forget, that Gwen is back on the good side and everything is hunky dory in Arwen-land, no Gwen guilt in sight).

Merlin knows that magic (big magic) has been practiced simply by looking at the tree. Yeah, suddenly competent!Merlin has arrived. Or possibly just a short term aberration for the storyline – that's more like it.

Helva? First time we've heard of it. Last time we'll hear of it.

Finna's camp – she's a powerful sorcerer (from what we see later) but she's left all the incriminating evidence in her camp when she fled.

In all Merlin's training, he's still not competent to read Catha??? And even Gaius apparently has a hard time deciphering it.

A forced disagreement between Merlin & Gaius, all based on Gaius' guilt and the need to have the plot put Merlin in faux-jeopardy, when the Knights are sent out to find Finna.  And allowing a fairly limp reconciliation between Merlin & Gaius later in the story. And some fairly HUGE leaps to conclusion (yeah, not even a jump) by everyone, starting with Gaius. And Merlin is waaay too forgiving of Gaius' actions.

Since when is Merlin's disagreeing with Gaius deemed to be him hurting Gaius or his feelings? Crap writing, merely there to add to the tension in the faux-Merlin/Gaius break-up.

A fairly nice sleight-of-hand over whether Finna is working for Morgana (sic. her command to the Raven-Express).

Gaius being sneaky??? Ok, he's done it to some extent in previous eps, but this is downright underhand. And since when has he ever employed this tactic in the past to protect Merlin? Answer – never!

Knights pratting around in the Camelot armoury – ok, I get it, nice to see the brothers-in-arms are still a bunch of...brothers-in-arms. But I would value this scene more if one of our esteemed (named) Knights was then the victim of Morgana's machinations at the end (more later).

Finna – Sorcha Cusack, what's not to like.

Mordred can't tell that he's chasing the great Emrys??? Seriously, where are his druid powers now? Like a bad broadband connection - intermittent, I suppose.

Alator is an idiot. I mean seriously – you get a secret Raven-Express delivery in your jail cell, but you don't bother to dispose of the evidence???? Duh!

Morgana proves she can actually kill someone properly with her magic, rather than pissing around with slow-acting poisons that faaaiiiillll. It's only taken her 4 series to work it out.

Merlin actually takes a sword with him for protection. The guy who can barely use a sword to save his life, has taken a sword with him, rather than just relying on his magic. So we all know that the sword is going to be used for 'something' (more later).

Incredulous Knights finding Merlin in the forest and being capable...good for them for not letting Merlin waltz off. But fairly light use of them, otherwise. And Mordred....sigh....just not going to comment on him at the moment.  And this is where the Knights should have split up, to allow one of them to be captured later by Morgana for her 'message.'

The tree markings – seriously, if Finna was a High Priestess I would expect her to be able to hide the markings so only Emrys could see them. Honestly :-(. Nice to see Merlin using his magic without worrying about who's watching, but Finna fails at protecting her Lord? Also nice to see someone recognising Merlin as the important person he's supposed to be, and his embarrassed reaction.

Oh, that's what the sword is for – a walking stick!

Merlin / Finna : “It won't always be like this. Things will be better.” “That is why I was sent, to help you make it so.” So some of the magic community still believe in Emrys' destiny. Good to know. But I have a feeling they're all Brown Coats (Firefly / Bushwhacked: 'May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one'.)

Finna to Merlin : “For hundreds of years the Catha have guarded their ancient knowledge...and now the time has come to pass it on. To you, Emrys, because only you can carry their hopes into the great battle that itself.....Here. Guard it carefully, it will help you in the dark days to come.” I expected this to be something momentous and helpful, but... see later comment.

Finna : “Do not make the same mistake as Arthur. Do not trust the druid boy.” Like we needed any further reinforcement of this! And Merlin doesn't trust him already...so why do we need this reiterated again? Oh, I get it, cos Mordred's 'turning' next week, and those with short memories need to be reminded, so it doesn't shock them too much.

And another guest-star redshirt (Finna) bites the dust.

Merlin whump – yeah, I'm a sucker.  And I'm looking forward to the oodles of fanfic off the back of this.

Nice to see the dragon in action again, even if it is a rehash of the serket scene. And Merlin is miraculously saved, without Arthur knowing. Again.

Merlin / Dragon : “What will I do without you?” “You will remember me...” Given the dragon hasn't been much in evidence this season, and Merlin has been handling everything on his own, does it really matter if the dragon bites the dust, after he's done his last fire-breathing duty in the final episode???

And suddenly Gaius is fluent in Catha – having stated earlier that it was difficult for him to translate Finna's writings, he suddenly translates the whole of the prophesy without recourse to any books or dictionaries. Yeah, right. And the supposedly important info that Finna needed to pass on to Merlin to help him in the dark days to come? What????? WTF?? How can the prophesy of Camlann be the 'help in the dark days to come'???  Camlann is Arthur's end – and this is what this entire episode is about – getting this message to Merlin. Merlin being told that Camlann is IT. I'm sorry, perhaps I've missed something here, but how is this supposed to help him, rather than just reinforcing all that Merlin is dreading will happen.

And the final scene – a Camelot Knights' demise – by Raghaid(?). Would have been much more powerful if it had been one of the Knights of the Round Table, rather than a nameless Red Cloak.

What did I take away from this episode?  It was simply to get across the following :
  • Morgana has declared war on Camelot (seriously, was there any doubt already???)
  • Camlann is the big smack-down for Arthur.
  • The dragon is dying – but does this really matter to the greater story??

If I view this with the RTG's* firmly in place, this was a benign episode which gave Merlin a critical piece of information that he no doubt needs, but does little else.  It has a nice whumped!Merlin quotient for those that need it.  But it was still spinning the wheels.  And with only 3 episodes left, I expected the plot to move further along.  Given the next ep is going to be Mordred-based, that leaves us with 2 episodes for the reveal, Camlann and the 'heart-wrenching ending that will leave us all satisfied'.  I'm not hopeful, folks.   I'm off to read some fanfic :-/

Next week – Mordred 'turns' in just one episode, notwithstanding any long game he's been playing.  Seriously, you're asking us to believe that it takes only 1 eppie for Mordred to turn Dark Side and that Merlin is almost entirely responsible???

(* Rose Tinted Glasses - guaranteed to alleviate any and all plot discrepancies, lazy writing and character-diminution)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
8th Dec, 2012 23:07 (UTC)
Well that was... weird.

Your review sums it up really. Some bits were nice enough to watch, but what exactly was the point? Surely not for Merlin to hear a more poetic version of the vision he saw in 5x01 and has been worrying about ever since?

"Where brother kills brother, and friend kills friend" - is that a metaphor for war or are they planning to pile up even more prophecies they will never have the time to address?

Seriosly, show.

Lol to Gaius' varying translation skills. It's just like Merlin's magic - one week it's there and the next not. And I don't mean to sound harsh but Merlin used to be able to heal people (well, when the plot allowed it), and surely the wanna-be-High-Priestess could have done more than jank the arrow out?

Kilgharra. Wtf. He was there. They had a conversation. NOBODY MENTIONED AITHUSA. Or, you know. THE DISIR? Important things that have happened since they last saw each other???

Not sure why I'm expecting any sense anymore really. Lol, you said you wouldn't comment on Mordred, are the "look Merlin you can trust me, I'm not evil" scenes that the writers keep shoving down our throats getting on your nerves as well? Alex must have a really easy time learning his lines. ^^
9th Dec, 2012 14:17 (UTC)
Oh, good points!

I'm choosing to believe that Merlin & Kilgarrah have had other interactions where they discussed Aithusa and the Disir (but those hit the cutting room floor, figuratively speaking). Otherwise, it's yet another HUGE plot point overlooked by TPTB. I'm waiting to read the fanfic that sorts all that out.

Merlin's lack of healing powers apparently don't extend as far as his offering to try to heal Kilgarrah. And yeah, I know they were running for their lives, but why the hell didnt Finna try her mojo on Merlin? Surely that little bit of 'wasted' time would have allowed them to escape. Oh, wait, sorry my mistake - TPTB needed Finna to fall on the sword in order to underline Emrys' importance...because how else are we to know that Merlin really is important. And we need to slow Finna down so she's faced with this decision, so let's hamper her with a mortally injured Merlin. Sheesh!

My lack of comments on Mordred are soley about the fact that they're going to turn him in 1 episode flat, and use Merlin as the fulcrum to do it. Leading even more heavily to Merlin being the sole reason that Arthur winds up taking a sword at Camlann. I can't remember all the Arthurian stories I read way back when, but I'm pretty sure that Arthur arrived at Camlann due, in no small part, to his own decisions. It stinks that they're setting up Merlin as the main fall guy...

Thanks for your thoughts. I'll be leaving some more comments over on Tanous' LJ.

11th Dec, 2012 01:36 (UTC)
Ooooh, I wish I could make myself believe in all those "between episodes" things happening! As it is, I couldn't have cared less about Kilgharra, because him and Merlin haven't had any useful interactions and are obviously not talking about the most important things standing between them.

Yes, that arrow just... ah well. Best not bring logic into the room.

I completely agree about the rubbish Mordred set-up. It's as if the writers are hammering away at us from two opposite sides: they keep repeating that Mordred is not to be trusted, and then they keep *showing* that he is trustworthy. Tell vs. show... yep, Merlin is going to look like an idiot.

I've joined the discussion at Tanous' by now, so see you there. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )