Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.05: "The Disir"

“I thought the best way to protect Arthur was to kill Mordred. But all I did was let him live. That was the Disir’s judgment. Mordred’s life is Arthur’s punishment for rejecting magic.”
- Merlin

We begin with three women in a cave, chanting in the dialect of the Old Religion. They appear to be priestesses of some sort and one of them gives a young man, Osgar, a coin with instructions to get it to Arthur and that he holds Arthur’s fate in his hands. Cut to Camelot where Arthur is having a training session with the knights, specifically Mordred. The young newcomer is doing quite well and Arthur is pleased. Merlin is still distrustful of the young man given what the old sorcerer showed him of Arthur’s impending death. During a routine briefing, Leon returns with news that one of the men on the Eastern border was mortally wounded when they tried to apprehend Osgar. Arthur takes this quite personally and insists he lead a group of men to find the culprit. Gwen protests his intentions, reminding him he nearly died the last time he led a mission that was based on personal feelings. But Arthur won’t be swayed. And, he’s going to bring Mordred along, too.

Morning dawns and the other knights don’t waste time hazing Mordred. At first it’s little stuff like making sure he’s got his boots on and such. But as they ride out, he’s riding backwards in the saddle. Even Arthur teases him a bit until Gwaine says they’re getting close to Osgar. The knights dismount and give chase. Gwaine stabs Osgar who then knocks out both he and Percival before taking off. He encounters Mordred, Merlin and Arthur and explains he’s there to pass judgment of the Disir (the three women we saw earlier) on Arthur. He hands over the coin and with his final breath warns Arthur that judgment has been passed but he may have a chance to change it.

Arthur is at first skeptical that it means anything. He characterizes Osgar as deranged. But Merlin points out that the man could have used his power to kill Arthur, instead he didn’t. Merlin and Mordred share a brief moment as Merlin buries Osgar and marks his grave (in contravention of the law). Merlin is convinced one day they will be free. Back in Camelot, Gaius explains who the Disir were and that people feared the coin Arthur now possesses. It would seem Arthur’s concern is growing that perhaps it has some merit. Merlin also has a conversation with the Great Dragon about Arthur’s fate. The Dragon likens Mordred and Arthur’s fates to being intertwined as ivy around a tree. And that ivy must be cut. I don’t think Merlin can really kill Mordred. Not at this point in time anyway. The boy’s done nothing to warrant such against.

In the middle of the night, Arthur goes to Gaius and demands to know where he can find the Disir. It would appear his fate and judgment is weighing heavy on him. He takes a group of knights, including an overeager Mordred, back to the White Mountains to where the Disir reside. His concern for his fate extends only so far, though. He has no problem going into a sacred space armed and disregarding ancient relics. I was kind of appalled with the way they treated the space. Even if they don’t believe in the Old Religion, they should have enough respect to know that they wouldn’t want people flouncing into their sacred places like that.

The Disir explain they have not judged him, the Triple Goddess has and they are but the messenger. He gets angry and Gwaine starts rattling his sword. The women show their power and Mordred is wounded by a staff. The knights fall back and Merlin is able to deflect another staff and we actually see one of the women’s eyes. They know who he is. Merlin pronounces that Mordred’s wound is grave and that Gaius is the only one who can save him. He knows it’s a long ride back to Camelot but hey, maybe Mordred will die on the way and problem will be solved!

Of course Mordred is still hanging on and they get him back to Camelot. Gaius says there’s not much he can do since magic is involved. Once Arthur is out of earshot, Gaius tells Merlin he has the power to save Mordred. Merlin refuses. He can’t justify saving the life of someone who is destined to end Arthur’s. Arthur is still guilt tripping himself over Mordred getting hurt and Gwen tries to reason with him. If Mordred hadn’t gone, it could have been Arthur who lay wounded and dying in Gaius’s chambers. It doesn’t seem to brighten his mood at all. And his spirits plummet even further when Gaius explains that only the Disir can reverse their own magic. So the obvious choice to go back and beg forgiveness. Thankfully, this time around Arthur is smart enough to leave his sword outside the cave and tread carefully amongst the relics. He even goes down on bended knee to ask forgiveness. The Disir tell him that if he wishes to save his people and his kingdom, he must embrace the Old Religion and lift the ban on magic. Yeah, I can’t see him doing that just yet. He and Merlin have a sort of veiled conversation over the evening campfire (Arthur has until dawn to make his decision). In the end, Merlin tells Arthur there is no place in Camelot for magic. The Disir accept Arthur’s decision but warn he will not be able to change his fate again.

They ride back to Camelot find Mordred healed and in good health. Arthur is thrilled while Merlin is horrified. Had he convinced Arthur to accept magic in Camelot, Mordred would have died and all would have eventually been well. Bu now, Mordred being alive is Arthur’s punishment for not accepting magic. Mordred can still play his part in Arthur’s downfall. Things are going to get interesting!

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