Merlin: Lancelot and Guinevere

"I would die for you one hundred times over. Live for me, or everything that I am has been for nothing."

It is now an unquestionable law of television that all shows need is a good love triangle. In fact, there is nothing that stipulates that it even has to be a good love triangle, every show just needs a love triangle. Period! Vampire shows tend to have at least three or four. Merlin goes one better. After all, why have a love triangle when you can have a love quadrangle instead?

This is how things stand right now. Merlin is in love with Arthur. Arthur is in love with Gwen, but is also quite fond of Merlin. He just isn't ready to confront those feelings yet. Gwen, who previously had a crush on Merlin, is in love with Arthur, but she also fancies Lancelot. And Lancelot, greedy man that he is, kind of has a thing going on with all three.

As the title suggests, this episode is focused mostly on Gwen and Lance. Since Lancelot and Guinevere's love affair is one of the most famous stories in Arthurian myth it was only a matter of time before the show took a stab at it. Last time we saw them together there were hints of an attraction between Lancelot and Gwen. But, being a simple guest star, he left before their relationship could develop beyond gentle flirting.

Luckily fate (and a botched kidnapping) has brought them back together. Due to an administrative cock up, Gwen is kidnapped by Lord Commander Mormont (who thinks she Morgana) and held prisoner in his castle where Lancelot – now scruffier and sans his L'Oreal hair - is working as a gladiator. Hey, the Night's Watch needed some form of entertainment after their cable was cut off.

A warlord's castle where men fight to the death or are fed to giant baby rats is not the sort of place you would expect true love to blossom, but blossom it does. This might only be the second time they've met, but Lancelot and Guinevere are already talking like they're in some grand romantic melodrama. You can tell by how cheesy all the dialogue is.

Alas, despite declaring their love for each other, it was not meant to be. Lancelot, being ever so noble and still merely a guest star, leaves because that Arthur has feelings for Gwen. Did you ever stop to consider what Gwen wants, Lancelot? I know this is a more misogynistic time, but you're a rather noble and chivalrous sort of chap, surely you would let Gwen decide who she wants to be with? It is obvious for everyone to see that she is totally into him. Forget about Arthur. He's got Merlin, he doesn't need Gwen.

Merthur Moments

Merlin and Arthur are supposedly on a rescue mission to save Arthur's secret love, and yet they are acting more and more like an old married couple. And is Arthur’s big speech meant to be about Gwen or Merlin? It is so hard to tell.  

Familiar Faces

James Cosmo (Hengist) has appeared in Highlander, Braveheart, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Trainspotting and Troy. He is currently best known for playing Lord Commander Mormont on Game of Thrones.

Notes and Quotes

--You can tell Howard Overman wrote this. Arthur and Merlin rub stinking berries all over each other, then get licked by the giant baby rats.

--Why is it when women are making a run for it, one of them will invariably twist their ankle? This never happens to men. Just once I want to see a show where it is the bloke who trips and sprains their ankle.

--Lancelot's poisonous string trick was very You Only Live Twice.

Kendrick: "You wish to bathe?"
Morgana: "I am the King's ward, and accustomed to certain standards. I'm sure you are quite contented to stink like a pig, but I'm not."

Merlin: "Oh, no. I know that face. I'm not going to like this, am I? What's in the tunnels?"
Arthur: "They're infested with wilddeoren."
Merlin: "What are wilddeoren?"
Arthur: "They're like giant... baby rats."
Merlin: "Baby rats? They don't sound so bad."
Arthur: "They feast on human flesh."
Merlin: "Maybe we should go over the mountains?"

Merlin: "Why can't you just admit your feelings for Gwen? It's so obvious a blind man could see it. Is it really that hard to admit you like her? Just say it!"
Arthur: "I can't. How can I admit that I think about her all the time? Or that I care about her more than anyone? How can I admit that I don't know what I'll do if any harm comes to her?"

Three out of four giant baby rats.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

2 comments:

namastenancy said...

LOVE your commentary - much better than the episode which was rather Meh.

Mark said...

When the men start wearing spike heels, and the women get the leather hiking boots, the ankle twisting should tilt in the other direction.