Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.08: "The Hollow Queen"

“In his heart, I know he is a good man. And one day, he will bring about a world we all dream of.”
- Merlin

We are inching closer to the Gwen is evil plot concluding and I couldn’t be happier. We start at nightfall. A young boy climbs over a castle wall and injures his arm. He’s caught by Leon (accompanied by Gwen and a few other knights). Gwen sends the boy off before heading back inside to find Arthur has festooned the bed with flowers. Clearly we know what he hopes will be happening that evening. Gwen clearly has other plans. Seeing as she thinks Arthur is evil and horrible, there’s no way she’s sleeping with him. So as a way out, she tells Merlin she wants a hot bath first. He’s down in the kitchens getting said water when the boy appears and begs Merlin to help his little sister. Merlin isn’t inclined to give the boy a second thought until she reveals he is a Druid. This is Merlin’s downfall of course. He can’t say no to helping his own people. He promises to go in the morning and leaves Gaius to find an excuse for him when Arthur gets crabby. Besides, there’s a high powered ruler coming for a visit and Merlin assumes Arthur will be too busy with that to pay him any mind.

Well Merlin would be wrong. First Arthur can’t find his comb. Gwen spots it and narrowly avoids him kissing her by telling him he needs to get ready for their guest’s arrival. Then he storms into Gaius’s chambers demanding to know where Merlin is. Gaius makes up some excuse about being out gathering a rare herb which could take all day. Arthur calls the bluff but assumes Merlin is down in the tavern getting wasted instead. Out in the forest, merlin and the boy begin their trek to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Merlin sees the boy favoring his arm and basically forces the boy to stop so he can tend to it. The boy is rather surprised by Merlin’s kindness. Most people don’t care if he lives or dies.

Back in Camelot, it becomes clear the boy is not all he seems. Gwen takes the reverse path he did to get out of the castle and leaves a message for Morgana in the woods. Arthur is running late (really, Merlin does keep him on time for the most part), and Gaius pops in the report Merlin has not yet returned. And we get yet more physical comedy from Bradley as Gaius attempts to dress Arthur in Gwen’s night dress. They get things sorted though, and Arthur is as ready as he can be to meet their guest. It turns out this is the same individual who had imprisoned Morgana and her dragon in a well for two years. Arthur plans to get the details of his sister’s capture.

Meanwhile, in the woods, Merlin is starting to get suspicious when the boy grows quiet and sort of edgy. He returns some food Merlin gave him and ultimately, they reach their destination and there is no little girl in need of saving. Merlin figures out the boy isn’t even a Druid (after they’re nearly caught by bandits and the boy didn’t heed Merlin’s telepathic warnings). Unfortunately, Morgana takes that moment to pounce, knocking Merlin out. She feeds him some kind of poison, pays the boy for his services and kick poor Merlin off a small embankment where he lands with a thud.

Camelot’s tenuous guest arrives and things get underway for more than just the two leaders. Gwen has her own role to play during the visit. Arthur is rather appalled at his guest’s tale of keeping Morgana locked up and in agony by keeping her and the dragon in the pit together as it grew and became crippled. Gwen is even more upset (given her evil connection with Morgana at the moment). She takes her leave and has a rendezvous with Morgana in the woods. They discuss Morgana’s plan to use Arthur’s guest to kill him (he is known for assassinating even his friends) before a treaty can be signed. Gwen is unsure they should even be using this man given his history with Morgana. But, there’s really no choice.

The following day Arthur fights his guest’s best knight and loses. Gwen watches from inside and then confronts the guest and basically tells him if he were to have Arthur killed she would reward him with lots of and lots of money. Their guest isn’t sure about Gwen’s sincerity so she tells him they can meet later to discuss it further. While this scheming is going on, Merlin wakes up in the forest with the poison coursing through him. He tries to use his magic to heal his broken leg but it’s not working so well. The faux Druid boy returns, feeling guilty over having led Merlin to his death. Upon Merlin’s orders, he gathers some herbs and turns them into a tincture that effectively kills Merlin, only reviving him once all the poison is gone. The boy shares that he believe Gwen and Morgana mean to kill Arthur and this spurs Merlin to trek back to Camelot before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Gwen and Camelot’s guest meet and Gwen promises 1/3 of Camelot’s lands to him if he kills Arthur. She provides him with a key to a tower so his assassin can take the shot from up high while the treaty signing is happening.

As Merlin and his new ally make their way back towards Camelot, they encounter bandits. Because of Merlin’s bum leg, he slides into view. With a tiny display of magic, they’re left alone but his travelling companion is awash with questions. How can he live in Camelot with magic? Does Arthur know? Why would Merlin serve Arthur if the King would have him killed? Merlin brushes away the questions by explaining that one day Arthur will bring about a world where magic is accepted not feared. They race back to Camelot as the guest’s assassin sets up to take the shot. It’s a bit of scramble but the Merlin and his friend manage to stop the assassin from killing Arthur. He kills his own leader instead. And of course, Merlin kills him. Unfortunately his new friend has taken a dagger to the gut and his bleeding out rather quickly. But Merlin promises that people will care about him since he helped save the King’s life. Merlin and Gaius have more proof that Gwen is under Morgana’s thrall and it is time to clue the King in on the dilemma brewing within the castle walls.

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