Saturday Knights with Merlin


By Sir Laughs-a-Lot and Sir Morbid Mordred

If you mix the far-fetched plot-lines of Eastenders, the fantastical darkness of the Doctor Who villains, the cheesy humour of The Simpsons, and the ‘bromance’ of Scrubs, what do you get? We’re not pretending that it is an intense intellectual challenge, but Merlin is a TV show which is so addictive that it’s almost unhealthy. As avid watchers will obviously already know (shout-out to the Geography department – we know you love it!), Merlin is well into its fifth and final season. It’s dark, it’s funny, and the knights in shining armour are as fighting fit as usual. This season, the slap-stick laughs, which we all adore, are still there and the ‘bromance’ of ‘Merthur’ is as intense as ever.

Thoughts on watching last week’s episode, ‘The Hollow Queen’:

Did Gwaine just say “’sup”?

Arthur looks so hopelessly lost without Merlin

Arthur’s laziness reminds me of myself – worrying

Blue doesn’t suit Gwen. She needs dress advice from Merlin.

Merlin is seeing a girl – BEST PLOT TWIST EVER

Merlin’s bed looks tiny for such a tall man

Morgana’s hair volume is proportional to how evil she is

You know stuff’s about to get serious when Merlin walks in slow motion

Dramatic boy band strut – always a good way to end an episode

The major plot arc of all the previous series has been that Merlin has magical abilities, whereas Arthur hates magic and consequently has been kept in the dark about Merlin’s powers. However, series five may be the series in which the cat-and-mouse game of how many times can Merlin surreptitiously use magic in front of Arthur and get away with it comes to an end. With the increase in deep conversations around campfires and discussions of the future of sorcery, it looks like the writers are gearing up for this series to be the one containing the big ‘magic reveal’. The revelation of Merlin’s powers will pose an interesting challenge to the scriptwriters: how will Arthur react? Will his hatred of magic be too strong to rekindle his friendship with Merlin? We certainly hope not!

Gwen has always been a pain, but in this season her character is even more aggravating. Due to the Arthurian legends, the inspiration of the series, the character of Guinevere, was essential to the show. Therefore, her marriage to Arthur, which raised her status to that of a queen, was imperative. This change, however, made her character – even if we had previously thought it to be impossible – even more two-dimensional. Snore.

Luckily for Gwen, last Saturday’s episode brought a change in momentum in our disliking for her. In the words of an avid fan, “We still hate her. But we hate her less.” To what was this grumpy Merlin fan referring? Here’s a graph to illustrate:

At the beginning of the series, we hated the flatness of her character – she was all smiles and only appeared on screen to pat Arthur on the head and tell him that everything would be alright. Arthur always does what he thinks is best, Gwen reminds us. Gold star to you, Gwen.

Now, we hate her because she’s evil. Hoorah! At least her character now adds excitement to the series. Her presence and existence have a point! Indeed, we hate her, but at least we can now stop asking ourselves “What is the point in her being in this scene, again…?”

The next episode will air tonight at 8pm on BBC1. We shall be there, as ever, with the popcorn to throw at Morgana and her allies, and the tissues to cry over Merlin’s near-death experiences. See you at the round table.

Photography: chogenbo on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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