Merlin: The Once and Future Queen

“You shouldn't need to be told to think of someone other than yourself. You're not a child.”

You'd think I would hate this episode. Arthur and Gwen is a pairing I have never had any love for. I liked both characters individually, but find them together boring. It says it all that Arthur has more sexual tension with Merlin. But I didn't just like this episode, I absolutely loved it.

''The Once and future Queen' is a wonderful mix of action, comedy and romance. It's another gem from the master that is Howard Overman, back on top form after the duffer that was 'The Labyrinth of Gedref'. There's a delightful fairytale quality to proceedings, as the vain prince conceals his true identity to compete in the tournament, but along the way winds up falling in love with a servant girl.

While it is true that Arthur and Gwen are a couple I have difficulty investing in, Overman makes such great use of both characters that even I started rooting for them at one point. It's a great episode for Bradley James and Angel Coulby, who final gets the chance to shine after being sidelined for most of the first season. Gwen gets to have some personality for once as she gives Arthur a much needed lesson in humility.

The Prince of Camelot might say he wants to be treated like everyone else, but he still expects to be waited on hand and foot by his servants. Behaving, as Gwen says at one point, like an 'arrogant pig'. Even when he wants to do something nice, like cook dinner for Gwen, he sends Merlin to nip to the palace kitchen for him. He needed someone like Gwen to give him a kick up the arse and show him just how the other half lives.

The assassin plotline was an unnecessary addition. It has little impact of everything else that happened in this episode. Ultimately it added nothing to the episode, save for some extra tension in the final jousting scenes, something that could've easily been achieved without Myror's involvement. After all, jousting isn't exactly known for being one of the safest medieval sports.

Merthur Moments

Even with all the Arwen stuff going on, there is still room for a lot of great Merthur banter. And I am fairly certain at this point that 'polish my armour' is a euphemism.

Familiar Faces

Adrian Lester (Myror) is best known for starring in Hustle. Alex Price (Sir William of Deira) has also appeared as Gilbert on Being Human and a fish vampire on Doctor Who.

Notes and Quotes

--Hello there, Sir Leon. Nice of you to finally join us.

--This is one of those very rare episodes where there is not a single magical threat.

--There are some great jousting scenes in this episode. There aren't many areas where Merlin is head and shoulders above Game of Thrones, but jousting is one of them. The tournament looks grand and brutal, as jousting should.

--Katie McGrath has no lines in this episode.

Arthur: "We have received reports that a beast has been sighted roaming the forest, near the northern borders."
King Uther: "What's the nature of this beast?"
Arthur: "It is said to have the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle and the... face of a... bear."

Arthur: "It seems pretending to be somebody else is the only way to get people to be honest with me. Grab my bag, will you?"
Merlin: "If you want to pass as a peasant, you should probably carry your own bag."
Arthur: "You're forgetting something, Merlin. No-one will know it's my bag."

Merlin: "Imagine you're really... arrogant. Knights like to think they're so much better than everyone else."
Arthur: "It's not arrogance. Ignore him, he's an idiot. A knight must behave with honour and nobility."

Gaius: "You are not impressed by this Sir William of Deira?"
Gwen: "I believe he's an arrogant pig."

Merlin: "Gwen says you're cooking."
Arthur: "I need you to fetch me two dinners from the palace kitchens."
Merlin: "So, you're not cooking?"
Arthur: "No. Gwen doesn't need to know that. As far as she's concerned, dinner will have been prepared and cooked by me."
Merlin: "Are you trying to impress her?"
Arthur: "Don't be ridiculous, Merlin!"

Four out of four leach tanks.
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Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

1 comment:

sunbunny said...

Reminded me a lot of A Knight's Tale but with less Heath Ledger and classic rock.