Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.12-5.13: "The Diamond of the Day Parts One & Two"

“Though no man, no matter how great, can know his destiny, some lives have been foretold, Merlin. Arthur is not just a king. He is the Once and Future King. Take heart, for when Albion’s need is greatest, Arthur will rise again.”
- The Great Dragon

We have reached the final chapter of Merlin. It has been a fun ride but alas, it must come to an end. In the spirit of endings, Morgana has summoned a very powerful Druid to her court. She makes him put on a little show by dousing the torches. She then sets a creature (it kind of looks like a cross between a slug and a manatee) on him and it drains him of his power. She’s going to use to render Merlin powerless. Her doom can’t possibly do anything to her without his magic. So one of her men sets off to plant the creature while Merlin and Arthur play dice at the tavern. Merlin is using his magic to beat Arthur quite handily in fact. He seems to be enjoying himself. That mirth ends the minute he gets home and the creature starts sucking his face. Gaius kills the creature but the damage is done. Merlin wakes and can’t even summon a glass two or three inches into his hand. They find the creature in a book and it becomes clear what Morgana’s goal was.

Speaking of, she and Mordred are at one of the outer garrisons of Camelot’s knights and together they send a magical fireball into the town. The knights are trying to fight off Saxons and of course, Gwaine rescues a pretty girl before Leon calls the retreat and they head back to Camelot. Merlin frets about what he can do without his magic now that Morgana has officially begun her attack. Gaius simply points him in the direction of the nearest wounded person to treat them. He tends to Gwaine’s trollop and then the knights assemble in the council chambers to determine what to do. Some of the knights think they should make their stand at Camelot. They can defend the citadel and protect most of the lands people. But Arthur won’t leave some of his subjects to die needlessly. They’re going to ride out and meet Morgana. They discover a pass in the White Mountains that should work to their advantage so long as morgana’s hordes don’t outflank them. And it should be no surprise to anyone that the place they choose to make their stand is Camlaan. The prophecy is slowly coming true.

Merlin knows he can’t talk Arthur out of going and the only way he can protect the King is to regain his magic. He doesn’t know if it is possible but he’s going to the birth place of magic to see if it is possible. He takes Gwaine with him and Gwaine stupidly tells his new bed buddy where he’s going. You really shouldn’t trust people during war times. So Merlin and Gwaine ride off as Arthur and the rest of the knights mount up to go make their stand. Gwen is joining them because she won’t sit home and wait for a man who might never return. I guess that makes sense. She’d know sooner on the battlefield if she were to become a widow.

The trollop goes to spill the beans to Morgana and Mordred (who by the way now has his own sword forged in a dragon’s breath). She gives them the goods on Camlaan and that Gwaine is heading off with Merlin to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. That makes something click in Mordred’s head and he info dumps about the Crystal Cave. After encountering only a small group of bandits, Merlin and Gwaine make it to the cave. Merlin thanks Gwaine for his help and friendship but tells him to return to Arthur’s side. If Merlin is successful, he’ll have all he needs to get past the bandits. Unfortunately, he enters the cave and Morgana is waiting for him. She taunts him that he’ll never defy her again and then causes a small cave in, keeping Merlin locked in the cave so he can’t possibly intervene. And as night falls, Leon and Percival spy Morgana’s forces marching on Camlaan and there are far more numbers than they anticipated.

Arthur is still rather miffed that Merlin bailed on him. He doesn’t believe Gaius’s tory that Merlin is off gathering essential herbs for the wounded. Gwen doesn’t either but she does note that Merlin wouldn’t abandon Arthur unless it was truly important. Gaius can’t tell her what he’s doing but she does wish him luck. I think she has an inkling of what Merlin is doing and why. The knights ride out to Camlaan and settle in to make their stand. Whatever the outcome, there’s no turning back now.

Merlin wakes up after the cave in and is frustrated by the fact he cannot get free. But then a bluish light catches his eye and he half-crawls, half-stumbles into the actual Crystal Cave. And lo and behold, his father’s spirit is waiting for him. I thought it was a really nice touch to bring back his father at the very end (since we ended the first series with him as well. Merlin’s father explains that Merlin is magic itself and that he must believe what is in his heart.

Morgana sends Mordred and one hundred men to outflank Arthur’s forces. And she plans to attack that night. Merlin wakes again in the cave to find himself healed and his magic restored. He uses the power of the cave to warn Arthur of Morgana’s plan. Arthur actually heeds the subconscious warning and sends Percival and Gwaine and some men to meet the surprise troops. Arthur gives his men a rousing speech before Morgana’s army arrives and the battle goes full tilt. And back in the cave, Merlin thanks his father for the assistance before walking into the light and emerging from the cave as Old Merlin, ready to serve up some serious whoop ass. It reminded me a bit of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf is riding to save the day.

Mordred and Arthur are slowly making their way towards each other amongst the mass of soldiers duking it out. Morgana gives Mordred a little magical assistance by knocking some men out of his way. That doesn’t do a whole lot though once Merlin shows up and literally starts smiting people with lightning. Yes, lightning. He takes Morgana out and with their leader down, the Saxons beat a hasty retreat. Gaius tells Gwen they owe Merlin their lives and she really starts putting things together. Unfortunately, Mordred and Arthur end up meeting and poking each other with their magically forged swords of awesomeness (you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to write that). Mordred falls and Arthur begins to walk away but stumbles.

Leon reports the semi-good news to Gwen (that the battle is won and in their favor). She asks about Arthur but no one has seen him. She turns away, sheds a tear and gets back to work. Meanwhile, Merlin takes Arthur from the battlefield and tends to him. Arthur wakes up and we get one of the most heart wrenching scenes of the whole series. Merlin finally admits he is a sorcerer and possesses magic. To show Arthur, he makes a dragon out of embers from the fire. It was definitely some quality acting from Colin Morgan right there (the revelation, no the fire dragon). He was absolutely breaking down as he told Arthur the truth after all these years, knowing Arthur’s stance on magic. And the fact that Merlin pretty much failed to thwart the prophecy to boot just makes it all the more emotional. Arthur’s reaction is he wants Merlin to go away. Back in Camelot, Gwen still hasn’t given up hope, despite the fact no one’s seen Arthur. And Gaius is now AWOL, too. So she’s got a little spark of hope.

Back in the woods, Merlin gets crabby with Gaius for not having the really good healing herbs. Gaius tells him to go water the horses and this gives Gaius time to urge Arthur not to turn away from Merlin. He has great power and it is in Arthur’s best interest to trust Merlin at the moment. Too bad the tip of Mordred’s sword is travelling towards Arthur’s heart. Only the power of the Sidhe in the Isle of Avalon can save him now.

Merlin and Arthur head out, though Arthur is rather reluctant to trust Merlin. Gaius returns to Camelot with the news and Gwaine appears to confide in his scheming trollop again. Gwen also asks Gaius if she knows the sorcerer from the battle. He says she does and she figures out it was Merlin all along. She’s glad that Arthur is with him. Elsewhere, Morgana is having a mental breakdown. She vows over Mordred’s grave that the battle isn’t over and then she sends her men back out to find Arthur because she wants her brother dead. Like now!

Merlin and Arthur are stopped by some Saxons and when they figure out they have Arthur, Merlin sends them flying. It was almost a “oh no you don’t” moment. Arthur is still in crabby land, remarking that Merlin lied to him for so many years. Well of course he did, he had to. He’d have been executed ages ago by Uther if he’d been truthful. Arthur asks Merlin why he is still acting like a servant as they camp for the night and Merlin explains it is his destiny and because they are friends and Merlin doesn’t want to see Arthur die.

As expected, Gwaine’s trollop betrays them again. But this time she’s been tricked. Gwaine gave her false information so they are sending Morgana in the opposite direction. And as Gwaine and Percival watch the girl hanged, they decide to take a crack at Morgana themselves, knowing where she’ll be going. They take out her patrol and Percival even gets a knife in her side but she takes them out. She ties Percival to some trees and uses the evil pain snake to force Gwaine to tell her where Arthur’s really going. Percival breaks free in time to have Gwaine die in his arms. It was kind of sad but I guess it makes sense, given his arc for the final episode.

Meanwhile, Arthur and Merlin continue their journey and avoid some more Saxons. Arthur is kind of impressed that Merlin has been saving his life and covering their track for years without credit. Merlin obviously doesn’t do it for the acclaim. He does it because he believes in who Arthur is and will be. But Arthur is fading fast. They are nearly to the lake but Arthur insists he can’t go on. Merlin allows him to rest for a brief time, all the while Morgana rides for their location. Arthur says he doesn’t want Merlin to change who he is. I feel like he’s kind of going through the stages of grief or something. In a way, I suppose he is. He’s lost the Merlin he thought he knew. Percival appears to be tracking Morgana as well. She finds Arthur and Merlin and she professes that she will watch over Arthur as he takes his last breath. But Merlin runs her through with Excalibur. I know some people were disappointed with her ending but I feel like she was so far gone, there’s really nothing that could have redeemed her.

They make it to the banks of the lake but Arthur cannot go on. He tells merlin to hold him (I’m sure all the slash fans were freaking out at this point) as he finally tells Merlin “thank you”. Merlin calls the Great Dragon in one last effort to try and save Arthur but it’s too late. Arthur is dead. But Merlin need not fret too much because one day, Arthur will rise again. So Merlin must be patient. He sends Arthur off (thankfully not with a boat on fire) and Gwen is crowned Queen of Camelot. It would have been great if it all ended there but alas it does not. We cut to a matt picture of Avalon and then a Laurie drives by and we see Old Merlin walking up the road, still waiting for that day when Arthur will return. Overall, this was a satisfying end to a great series. I look forward to seeing where the actors go next and what the writers take on as their next project.

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