Merlin: The Death Song of Uther Pendragon

“Merlin has...”

This time last season Howard Overman did us all a favour and finally killed off Uther Pendragon. And now, for one night only, he has brought him back.

Things start off as they normally do, with Merlin and Arthur alone in the woods bickering like an old married couple. On their way home after a nice long hunt (is that what they are calling it these days?), they pass by a village where the locals are getting ready to burn a witch at the stake. Arthur won't have any of this. Sure, magic is still outlawed and all this lot are doing is enforcing his laws, but Arthur is king and he can do what he wants. This isn't a democracy, after all.

As a reward for his kindness she gives him a horn that summons the dead (think he would've preferred a simple thank you card, luv). Since it is the anniversary of his father's death, Arthur, having not read any M.R. James stories, takes a trip down to Stonehenge (with Merlin, because Arthur never goes anywhere without Merlin) and blows the horn. And, boy, does he regret it. This is not the joyful father-son reunion that Arthur was hoping for. Death has not mellowed Uther. Quite the opposite in fact, he's worse than ever. He gives his son an epic dressing down for not living up to his standards, accusing him of weakening the kingdom by knighting plebs and marrying a serving girl. Sure, he's brought peace and prosperity to the land, but that isn't enough for Uther. Nor is merely giving Arthur a stern talking to about how useless he is.

Unleashed back into this world, Uther sets about destroying everything his son has built. He starts by breaking the Round Table, then attacking his low born knights and finally trying to kill Gwen. From that point on this episode became a haunted house story as Uther's ghost terrorised the halls of Camelot. Overman tried his hand at telling a spooky ghost story last season with 'A Herald of the New Age'. This was a much more successful effort. Yeah, it relied on all the same horror clich├ęs as that episode, but the ghost of Arthur's father made for a far more effective supernatural menace than some creepy druid kid who had seen one too many Ring movies.

To stop daddy dearest from causing more harm, Merthur strap on their Proton packs and went ghostbusting. This leads to lots of great Merlin/Arthur banter, something that Overman excels at. But the highlight of this ghost hunt was Merlin finally getting to confront the man who has killed so many of his kind. I've been waiting for this moment since day one. After Uther croaked it, I feared it would never come, but here it is. Uther discovers that Merlin has magic. You can tell that Merlin has wanted to do this for a long time. To finally stand up to the former king and tell him that he has magic, that he was a crappy king, and that Arthur is ten times the man he ever was. Bravo to Colin Morgan in that scene.

Frustratingly, while this confrontation was going on, Arthur was out cold. And when Uther is about to let the cat out of the bag, Arthur blows the horn and sends him back to the otherside. I know I've complained about this before, but it is silly that we're five season in and Gaius is still the only (living) main character who knows Merlin's secret. Even Smallville let Pete and Chloe find out about Clark by this point. I know it is unlikely Arthur will kind out any time soon. That would lead to a massive shake up of the series that producers clear aren't ready to go to. But would it be so wrong if someone else found out? Like Gwaine, Leon or Gwen even?

Merthur Moments

Where do I even begin?

Notes and Quotes

--Round Table meetings are really, really dull. Gwaine had nodded off.

--In my head the confrontation with the villager went something like this:


--Not much Mordred this week. Looks like Eylan has been assigned to babysit the new kid.

--Arthur obviously has some dangerous skills with a spoon.

--Arthur looking back is reminiscent of the story of Orpheus.

--No Morgana this week so here's a nice video of Katie talking about how much she loves Nathan Fillion.

Uther: "Your marriage should have served to form an alliance with another kingdom and you choose to marry a serving girl."
Arthur: "I married for love. I love Guinevere. More than... I can express."
Uther: "There are some things that are more important than love. It is your duty to strengthen and protect the kingdom. You have failed."

Arthur: "I always looked up to my father. I admired and respected him more than anyone. I have to accept that I can't please him, and be true to myself."
Merlin: "Uther did what he thought he had to do to protect the Kingdom."
Arthur: "That doesn't mean he was right."

Sir Leon: "Is everything all right, my Lord?"
Arthur: "It's perfectly fine. We are... Merlin. Tell Leon what we're doing."
Merlin: "We're... I'm teaching him some poetry."
Sir Leon: "Poetry?"
Arthur: "I...love poetry."
Merlin: "I was as surprised as you are. He can't get enough of it."
Sir Leon: "I'll leave you to your poetry then, my Lord."

Uther: "You have magic?"
Merlin: "I was born with it."
Uther: "I made you Arthur's servant. You are a sorcerer?"
Merlin: "Even while you were King, there was magic at the heart of Camelot."
Uther: "I will not allow you and your kind to poison my Kingdom."
Merlin: "You're wrong. You're wrong. About so much. Arthur is a better, and more worthy King than you ever were."

Another great episode from Mr Misfits. Three out of four spoons.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

5 comments:

Paul Kelly said...

"Arthur, having not read any M.R. James stories, takes a trip down to Stonehenge (with Merlin, because Arthur never goes anywhere without Merlin) and blows the horn".

Come on, Mark, there are enough Merthur moments without you resorting to making up your own.

Mark Greig said...

I can't help it. After that episode, all I can see is Merthur everywhere.

CrazyCris said...

lol! Another great review Mark which had me laughing at quite a few points!

For me too the highlight was Merlin's confrontation with Uther. Colin Morgan totally sold it! All in the eyes... that intensity as he stared Uther down and FINALLY let it all out. I was like YES!!! ;o)

The ghost story was cool too! :p

I love your listing of Merthur moments, don't leave them out!!! ;o)

Here was my take on it:
Adventures in Camelot - Merlin 503
Nothing straight from the traditional legends this time (other than the obvious Round Table and a few characters of course) ;o)

Juliette said...

I haven't seen much Merlin but saw this and liked it a lot, I'm a sucker for a good ghost story. Arthur not knowing Merlin's secret is getting ridiculous though. I'm enjoying the series more now that Arthur is king and they can finally grow up and get on with it - and part of that is that Merlin should be his magician! For which, he really should know about it.

Sooze said...

I can't help myself...I am reading your reviews even though I can't watch the episodes yet, because they are so darn funny....and then Paul adds to the laughs...thanks guys.