Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer TV Rewind: Merlin 1.06: "A Remedy to Cure All Ills"

It's time for yet another Merlin series 1 rewind courtesy of Sarah...


“In life you always have a choice. Sometimes it’s easier to think that you don’t.”
- Gwen

We open in a laboratory of sorts with a hooded figure enchanting a spell over a box of tiny black beetles. The spell brings them to life and one crawls into a bouquet of flowers. The next thing we know, Gwen is carrying that same bouquet to Morgana saying they’ve just arrived. Morgana asks who they’re from and Gwen suggests Arthur. Morgana quickly dismisses it as “disappointing” and says she’d prefer they be from a tall, dark stranger. Too bad her wish has come true in a not good way. Night quickly falls and the beetle comes out of hiding. As Morgana sleeps, the beetle, and its master (a disfigured man) make their move. The beetle settles in Morgana’s ear and the disfigured man makes his way to Camelot.

Next we see Morgana, she’s been unconscious for two days and Gaius seems at a loss as to how to cure her. He believes it may be inflammation of the brain, caused by an infection but he can’t be sure. Uther is none too pleased by his ward’s condition. This is the first time we really see him acting in any sort of paternal capacity towards her. Merlin offers to help cure Morgana but Gaius reminds him of the last time he tried to “help” (Gwen nearly got burned at the stake for suspicion of being a witch). Meanwhile, Arthur finds the disfigured man, whose name is Edwin, in the courtyard. Edwin says he has a remedy to cure all ills and wants and audience with the King. Arthur promptly tells him that Camelot has a court physician. Edwin brings up Morgana’s condition which only serves to irritate Arthur more.

To add to Arthur’s annoyance, Merlin is pacing in Arthur’s chambers saying that Morgana is going to be fine. Unfortunately, Merlin goes from pacing to nervously tapping his fingers on the table and drives Arthur to pacing, too. The next day, Gaius says that Morgana is hours, maybe less, from death. Arthur refuses to accept that and informs his father about Edwin. Arthur, now more pissed off about Morgana dying than some unknown-maybe-hack showing up unannounced at the castle, lobbies for his father to at least speak with Edwin. Uther agrees and Edwin does a fairly good job at convincing the royal family he can cure everything. And he begins to plant the seeds of doubt in their minds about Gaius’s abilities. Gaius is suspicious of Edwin and thinks they may have met before. But Edwin denies it, claiming that no one would forget a face like his (what with how disfigured and burned it is). Merlin becomes Edwin’s little helper and lugs a bunch of equipment, including the beetle box, to Morgana’s chambers, where Edwin promptly kicks everyone out. He claims he has to work in complete silence and peace.

He begins to coax the beetle out of Morgana’s brain when Gwen appears. Edwin scares her off saying she could cause Morgana to die. He extracts the beetle and dabs some blood on a bit of cloth to make it look like he caught a bleed in her ear. He shows it to Uther and says that had Gaius continued his treatment, it is likely the hemorrhage would have worsened and killed her. Uther, while annoyed that Gaius could have missed the bleed and misdiagnosed Morgana, is grateful she’s alive. Gaius is still untrusting of Edwin and makes a show of trying to learn the secret to Edwin’s methods. Edwin quickly says that his elixir isn’t perfected yet. Gaius brings up the scars on Edwin’s face again and gets yet another denial about knowing each other. Still, Gaius goes down to visit Geoffrey and ask to see the court records from the time of the Great Purge. Geoffrey refuses, saying it’s not allowed.

Uther tries to convince Edwin to stay in Camelot awhile as their guest. Edwin feigns humility, saying it’s not necessary, but Uther is insistent. So, they make plans to dine together later, and Uther is expecting Edwin’s answer. Merlin shows up at Edwin’s room and is messing around with some of his alchemy artifacts when he opens the box of beetles and reads the incantation on the box, bringing them to life. Edwin sees it and we have a brief scene where Merlin and Edwin show off their abilities. Merlin is pretty impressed with Edwin, especially when he spouts off stuff about magic being used for good.

Night falls and we find Gaius in his chambers. Geoffrey shows up with the court records Gaius wanted. Meanwhile, Edwin dines with Uther and sows more seeds of discord. He convinces Uther that Gaius’s sleeping draughts for Morgana were a symptom of her fake brain bleed. Uther orders Edwin to review Gaius’s work. Gaius goes to confront Edwin about who he really is. Edwin doesn’t deny it now but threatens that if Gaius tells Uther the truth, he’ll expose Merlin. Gaius can’t let that happen, of course. Edwin blames Gaius for his parents’ death (even though it was Uther who ordered his parents killed). Gaius seeks an audience with the Great Dragon, so we get our fiery wisdom for the episode. The Dragon doesn’t have much encouraging for Gaius. The Dragon confirms Merlin’s destiny and says that it’s up to Gaius whether Merlin and Arthur’s time starts now or not.

Not surprisingly, Edwin finds fault with Gaius’s work, saying Gaius is too old and failing in his facilities and Uther has no choice (or so he thinks) but to dismiss Gaius and instate Edwin as the new court physician. Gaius is allowed to stay in his chambers until such time as other arrangements can be made. Gaius attempts to out Edwin but can’t bring himself to do it. Edwin kind of intimidates him into keeping quiet. I have to say that Edwin rather irritates me. It reminds me a bit of the pilot and not in a good way.

Merlin tries to keep Gaius around, but Gaius leaves Camelot. Merlin wants to go with Gaius, but Gaius says that Merlin’s destiny is in Camelot with Arthur. Merlin ends up griping about Uther sacking Gaius to Arthur during training. Arthur sort of defends his father by pointing out (again) that Gaius nearly let Morgana die. That bit got on my nerves.

Edwin convinces Uther to try a new remedy for an old shoulder wound. Uther seems thrilled with the idea. After all, Edwin has a remedy to cure all ills. Around the same time, Gwen finds Gaius loading up a horse and getting ready to leave the kingdom. She says he can’t go because she doesn’t trust Edwin. She says she didn’t see any blood in Morgana’s ear and that Edwin did something to her. Gaius says she needs to be careful who says that to. Gwen says she’s telling Gaius because he can do something about it. I find it interesting that Gwen seems to know who can handle situations. She said much the same thing to Merlin in “Valiant”.

That night Uther drinks the elixir Edwin gave him. It turns out o be a paralytic agent. As soon as the King is immobile, Edwin unleashes one of the beetles on him. Gaius is out in the woods and ends up going back to Camelot. Gaius finds Edwin in his chambers and tries to use magic against Edwin. Unfortunately, Edwin is far more powerful than Gaius and quickly captures Gaius in a ring of fire. Luckily, Merlin shows up and after a brief battle of the wills, beheads Edwin and saves Gaius. It wouldn’t be an episode of Merlin if he didn’t save the day. He manages to remove the beetle from Uther’s brain before it does any damage. Gaius is reinstated as the court physician and a free man.

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