Lancelot du Lac
This week in Merlin Morgana is back, stirring up trouble and generally being a nasty. The news of Arthur and Gwen’s wedding has spurred her into deciding that it’s finally time to sort that irksome Gwen out once and for all, even though she’s had that vision of Gwen being Queen for ages.
To break Arthur and Gwen up, she resurrects Lancelot from the dead and sends him off with his most charming smile to break up the happy couple. I’m not entirely sure many women could, when presented with a half-naked Lancelot saying “I am yours to command”, send them off to do evil deeds, but there we go. Morgana is now clearly one seriously evil-minded lady.
It’s a bit of a weird episode for Lancelot fans. Lancelot, with his kindness and his heart and his courage and his...well, face...has always been a favourite of mine, so seeing him as Morgana’s puppet is slightly unsettling. Especially when he’s doing things like wounding Arthur and running back to Agravaine for orders before trotting off to snog Gwen dutifully.
The whole episode is slightly unsettling. In a good way, but still. Gwen and Arthur are lovely characters and seeing them happy is what we want, but because of Arthurian legend and the general way Merlin works we knew that some bad shit was going to go down.
It’s a bit of a cop out by the writers to have magic bracelets take on the whole Guinevere-cheating-on-Arthur thing, but it’s certainly not a cop out to let this show the failings of the characters we love. And by the characters we love, I mean Arthur. And by failings, I mean his violent grabbing of Gwen and his almost murder of Lancelot. Again, all of this made me uneasy, but it’s a good uneasiness. I like that they’re not making the characters two-dimensional.
This angry-Arthur was played very well by Bradley James. He and Angel Coulby were rather brilliant this week, in fact, more than making up for the lack of Merlin himself. I do hope Gwen comes back; she’s been a bit wet this series, but she’s generally a really good character. I know that they’ve done the love-triangle bit of the legends now and having Gwen and Arthur have a happy ending would spoil that, but their love story has been one of the main plot arcs since the show actually started. It would be a shame to let that go. I want a big wedding to finish the series with, or at least them reuniting.
This was a good episode, all in all. Sad and tense, but that’s not a bad thing necessarily. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next, especially with Gwen’s brother still being a Knight.
You can see this episode of Merlin on the iPlayer, or find more about the series on the Merlin section of the BBC website.