The Sword In The Stone - Part One
Every review so far this series has been a bit...meh. I've been saying that it was almost there but could have been better, that there were things that didn't make sense, that the plot was dragging its feet. Merlin series 4 was good, but not...great.
This review will not be like that.
Because last night's episode was, quite frankly, brilliant.
There was drama, tragedy, love, action, humour. A feast, an invasion, torture, fighting, Merlin and Arthur being funny, bandits, Gwen returning, Merlin reuniting with his mother, lying, Morgana and Agravaine being on the icky side of close, the traditional bromance scene between Arthur and Merlin, naked Arthur, Merlin being useless and not using his magic when he really should, everything. If only they'd had the dragon actually in the episode it would have been everything we love about Merlin in one episode.
Kudos once more to Bradley James. His performance this series has been consistently brilliant, and last night was no exception. He can play so many situations perfectly. Bickering with Merlin, longing for Gwen, scared for his kindgom, betrayed by Agravaine, snapping a response to an insult, it's all perfect and feels real. Then you give him a completely different character, a simpleton, and again he is just...wonderful. Not just a pretty face, clearly.
The only problem I had with this episode is the random introduction of two characters called Tristan and Isolde for no discernable reason. Tristan and Isolde are a nobleman and a princess, not smugglers. Not entirely sure what the point of using those names are unless it was to show that they're very much in love. Maybe the writers have forgotten that people can be in love without legends being written about them?
Anyway. I've run out of ways to praise it, so instead here are my hopes and predictions for next week's episode:
1) The dragon. I want the dragon to kick some series Morgana arse.
2) Merlin to actually use his fricking magic. In the first series he killed a bad witch by essentially pulling the sky onto her. He could take out all of Agravaine's men if he needed to, why does he keep being so useless?
3) Gwen and Arthur to get back together. I'd love this to stretch to a wedding, actually.
4) Gwen to kick Morgana's arse in a fight. Gwen is handy with a sword and she has the rage of a woman whose boyfriend has been hurt.
5) Agravaine needs to get deaded, preferably by Merlin.
6) Gaius and Merlin need to have a cheesey moment together.
7) Arthur needs to have a noble moment (probably when he takes the sword out of the stone) and a huge bromance moment with Merlin before telling him to go and polish his armour.
8) Merlin's magic to be revealed to Arthur.
9) Old-Merlin/Emrys to come back.
You can see this episode of Merlin on the iPlayer, or find out more about the series on the Merlin section of the BBC website.