Merlin: The Nightmare Begins

“I know now who I really am. And that it isn't something to be scared of. Maybe one day people come to see magic as a force for good.”

This is probably the series' darkest episode to date. But in order for it to work, Merlin had to be a complete idiot.

I can understand his desire to help Morgana, but he went about it in the wrong way, making one boneheaded decision after another. First of all, he sent Morgana to the Drudis alone. He sent a girl in a fragile state of mind alone into the wood with no weapon, no horse, no food or even anything to read. Would it have killed you to pick up a magazine, Merlin? If that wasn't bad enough, he didn't even bother to come up with a story for where she'd gone. Did he seriously think Uther wouldn't notice that his beloved ward had suddenly vanished? Hell no! He understandably thought that she's been kidnapped. This why you always leave a note.

But all the blame doesn't rest with Merlin. Gaius deserves a good share of it, as well. Why won't he talk to Morgana about her magic? He can see that she is terrified. Morgana isn't stupid, she knows what is happening to her and what will happen if Uther finds out. She needs to learn how to control her powers like Merlin. Doping her up on prescription drugs is no solution to the problem. That isn't helping her, Gaius.

Merlin's take on Morgana has very clearly been influenced by Smallville's version of Lex Luther. From the start of the series, Morgana has been portrayed as a caring and compassionate individual. She is a very moral character with a strong sense of justice who doesn't believe someone should be killed simply for practising magic. But as with Lex, we know that Morgana has a dark future ahead of her. She's destined to become one of the great villains of this story. We already saw her take her first steps down that dark path in 'To Kill the King', when she plotted to do away with Uther. The relationship between Morgana and her guardian has always been strained, but as the series has gone on it has become increasingly fractured. How will Uther react when he finds out she has magic? Something like that can't remain secret for long, especially since she has no one to teach her how to control it now. Yes, that last remark was directed at you, Gaius.

With Morgana gone, Uther sent out Arthur and the troops to bring her back and slaughter the druids. Special mention has to go to Bradley James. Arthur knows if they attacked the Druid camp it will be a massacre. Innocent people will be killed. He doesn't want to do it, but he carries out his father's orders regardless. And he hates himself for it.

Merthur Moments

Jealous those flowers weren't for you, Arthur?

Familiar Faces

Colin Salmon (Aglain) is best known for appearing as Charles Robinson in the James Bond films. He also appeared as Dr. Moon on Doctor Who.

Notes and Quotes

--On her way to the Druid camp Morgana encounters some giant scorpions. Why? Because this is Merlin, And Merlin needs a pointless appearance by giant monsters like The Vampire Diaries needs the male cast members to get shirtless.

--In early medieval literature, Morgan le Fey was relatively minor character, described as a powerful sorceress and a great healer. Later stories expanded her role and begin portraying her as a villain, something that contemporary interpretations have continued to do. Many, such as John Boorman's Excalibur and the mini-series starring Sam Neill, even simplify things by making her, rather than her sister Morgause, the mother of Mordred, Arthur's great enemy.

--'The Beginning of the End'. 'The Nightmare Begins'. I'm starting to notice a pattern with Mordred episodes.

--Mordred is clearly very powerful. I'm surprised Merlin let him run off on his own. Is he perhaps afraid of the boy's power?

Gwen: “I blew it out, I swear!”
Arthur: “Gwen's been Morgana's servant for years. She said she blew it out, I believe her.”
--When did Merlin become Carry On Camelot?

Morgana: “It wasn't, it was me. It was magic.”
Gaius: “My child.”
Morgana: “I'm not a child!”

The Great Dragon: “I've lived more than a thousand years, seeing civilizations rise and fall. Do not believe that you can lie to me.”

Arthur: “You can't hide anything from me, Merlin.”
Merlin: “I wouldn't dream of it.”

Three out of four remedies that aren't going to solve anything, Gaius.
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Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

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