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Merlin: The Gates of Avalon

“If Uther ever found out, things would never be the same again. It must remain a secret.”

It's the same old story. Boy meets girl. Boy saves girl from bandits. Girl bewitches boy with magic. Boy becomes girl's unwilling slave. Girl plans to sacrifice boy to fairies so she can get back into the magic kingdom. Boy's jealous boyfriend kills girl and girl's father. Jealous boyfriend saves boy from drowning. Jealous boyfriend ends up in the stocks as a reward. As dating experiences go, I've seen worse. I'm an avid Joss Whedon fan, after all.

Turns out that Morgana is having visions of the future. And like others who are precognitive, she only ever sees bad things. Never the football results or this week's lottery numbers. No, just pain, misery and death. She might as well be watching Supernatural. Being a prophet is dangerous for Morgana. She did not choose to have this power. Would Uther have her put to death for something that is beyond her control? More than likely. I can see Uther as the kind of person who would drown a kitten if he suspected it of using magic.

Again, Merlin blatantly uses magic and no one is suspicious. A huge branch the feckin' size of a canoe falls all of a sudden and Arthur thinks it's only a stroke of luck. Arthur is one gullible prince. He even buys that Merlin (Merlin!) was able to knock him out and drag him back to Camelot. He was probably dropped as child.

Aulfric and Sophia could've been more sympathetic villains. Aulfric only wanted his daughter to return to Avalon so she wouldn't have to die a mortal death. But then they had him laughing manically when no one was around like a typical panto villain. Why do villains find their murderous schemes so amusing?

Uther continues to be a model parent. He's more than happy for his son to fool around with any girl he choses. It is his right as the heir the the throne. But he won't stand for Arthur wanting to marry someone whose father doesn't own at least three castles and a summer house in the Hamptons. So what is a king to do? Simple, have that girl arrested and then threaten to have her and her father executed. That'll teach him for following his heart.

Familiar Faces

Kenneth Cranham (Aulfric) is probably best known for playing Pompy Magnus in the first season of Rome. Holliday Grainger (Sophia) currently plays Lucrezia Borgia on The Borgias.

Merthur Moments

Merlin repeatedly ends up in the stocks being pelted with rotten fruit and veg (and historically inaccurate potatoes) just because Arthur promised to be his friend for life.

Notes and Quotes

--Merlin races through the forest to save Arthur but isn't out of breath when he reaches the lake. For some reason I find that more unbelievable than the whole fairy thing.

--Avalon is the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann.

--The sídhe, also know as the aos sí, are mythical creatures from Gaelic mythology. They are similar to fairies.

Uther: “Have you some kind of mental affliction?”
Merlin: “Probably.”
Gaius: “I'm looking into it, sire.”

Uther: “Had you forgotten whose court you're standing in?”
Arthur: “You won't stop me. If I want to marry her, I will!”
Uther: “Arrest Sophia and Aulfric Tiamor.”
Arthur: “What are you doing?”
Uther: “And inform the executioner his services will be required tomorrow morning.”
Arthur: “You can't do this!”
Uther: “Yes, I can. And unless you show me some respect, I will.”
--Something tells me he's not going to pay for the wedding.

Uther: “Could somebody tell me what happened?”
Merlin: “Well...”
Uther: “Somebody with a brain.”

Two out of four dropped baby princes.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

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