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Merlin: The Hollow Queen

“You must promise me something. You must make sure the Sarrum’s last moments are filled with agony.”

I do hate it when a season starts out very strong, but then rapidly goes down hill. Not that I think season 5 has suddenly got bad. It is just frustrating that, after the promise of the early episodes, this season has reverted to season 3 form. This is doubly frustrating now because we finally know for certain that this will the the series' final season.

Despite talk of a sixth season or a movie, the BBC made it official on Sunday night that Merlin will end this Christmas. The creators have always said that they had a five-year plan for the series and it seems they are sticking to it. I'm sad to see the show go, but five years is a good run and at least the show is going out on the creators' terms. This leaves us with only five episodes to wrap up the entire series. Which is why I wish they would hurry up and bring the ongoing Evil Gwen saga to a swift conclusion. Luckily the promo for next week's episode seem to indicate that this storyline will finally be coming to an end.

In the mean time, it is business as usual for Morgana and Evil Gwen. They have evidently decided to take a 'if at first you don't succeed...” approach to killing Arthur and seizing the throne. The young King has a big peace conference thingy going on at the castle, so now is as good a time as any for an assassination. But they decide to get Merlin out of the way first. At last, someone has finally figured out that if you want Arthur Pendragon dead, you have to get rid of Merlin first. Only took them five seasons to work that out. At this rate we should get a magical reveal by season- oh.

Anyway, Morgana finally has Merlin right where she wants him. Now she can be rid of- no, don't go for the slow and agonising poison. Take out a knife and stab him in the heart. Don't Bond Villain this chance, Morgana. Just kill him now. No, don't walk away and leave him to die. Stay make sure he is- and she's gone. Bugger. Oh well, I can kind of understand why she did it. Merlin was the one who poisoned her back in season two, so I don't blame her wanting some karmic revenge. But still, it gets on my nerves when characters we know not to be stupid do idiotic things because it is convenient to the plot. After all the trouble she went through to get Merlin out of Camelot, it makes zero sense for her to leave him there and hope for the best.

While this episode was mostly just going through the motions, we did finally find out exactly what happened to Morgana and Athusia, but like most of this episode, it was rather underwhelming. Considering how powerful Morgana is, I was expecting her captor to be more than just a random warlord. True, he was a nasty, sadistic piece of work and deserved to die, but I still can't help feeling let down. And how did Morgana escape from the pit? Did someone free her and, if so, who?

If anything this revelation solidified the bond between Morgana and her dragon. There has been some speculation that Morgana was somehow controlling Athuisa the same way she is controlling Gwen. But I never bought that for a second. The brief glimpses we got of their relationship in 'Arthur's Bane' showed that Morgana genuinely cared for Athusia. And now we know that she willingly endured two years of torment at the hands of the Sarrum to protect her dragon.

Familiar Faces

John Shrapnel (The Sarrum) is a prolific character actor who has appeared in Inspector Morse, Jonathan Creek, Waking the Dead, Gladiator and Troy.

Merthur Moments

Merlin: “Arthur won't even notice I'm gone.”

Notes and Quotes

--Never really thought about this before, but how come Merlin has a room all to himself while Gaius has to sleep in his workshop?

--We finally got to see Merlin openly using magic. Okay, it was just a brief force push to a random bandit we will never likely hear or see again.

--Once again Camelot proves itself to be the easiest place in all of Albion to break into.

--Arthur needs Merlin's help to get dressed. There is some great comedy as Arthur gets Gaius to dress him.

--Who was the Hollow Queen of the title? Was it Gwen, who has been twisted by Morgana into being her puppet? Or Morgana herself, who has suffered so much in the last few years that there is nothing left inside her but hate.

Arthur: “There is a rumour that you held Morgana prisoner, is it true?”
Sarrum: “She’s nothing to be feared. I kept her, like an animal.”
Arthur: “How did you capture her? She’s a sorceress, a high priestess.”
Sarrum: “I found her weakness. Everyone has one. Even a high priestess. A young dragon. Her love for that creature caused her to suffer more than she ever imagined possible. But not more than she deserved. I knew that she wouldn’t dare to use magic against me, not while her beloved creature was at risk of harm. Such a shame. All that power, all that beauty, abandoned and forgotten. In a living grave.”
Arthur: “You’re a harsh judge, Lord Sarrum.”

Arthur: (Gwen finds his comb on the bedside table) “It must have been under something.”
Gwen: “Your nose.”
Arthur: “You just have this way of seeing things.”
Gwen: “Yes, two of them. They're called eyes.”

Arthur: "How am I meant to get dressed?"
Gaius: "Well, surely that's not too difficult, Sire."
Arthur: "Really? You think you can do it? Right, come on then, Gaius."

The Sarrum: “Arthur will be dead by sundown and then... all that stands in our way is a serving girl who plays at being a Queen.”

Two out of four once and future kings who can't even comb their hair.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


  1. Yeah, I share your pain, buddy. I guess it's probably a little too late in the day to start complaining about what could have been. It is what it is. Let's hope it doesn't end too badly. I'm just annoyed that this constantly not telling Arthur about Merlin's magic has made the whole series feel like it's constantly treading water, forever awaiting the big reveal. And when the show's gone, what are we supposed to do for cleavages? It just makes no sense to me. Oh, sod it, I'm stomping off in a huff.

  2. I knew Sarrum was in Gladiator! Was he Gaius? (not that every other Roman isn't called Gaius...) The whole episode through all I could think was 'I'm sure that dude's a Roman...'

  3. "At last, someone has finally figured out that if you want Arthur Pendragon dead, you have to get rid of Merlin first. Only took them five seasons to work that out." lol! My thoughts exactly when I saw it! :o)

    ROFL while going through your captioned-photos of Arthur searching for Merlin!!! :D

    And I had a lot of fun with Gaius "helping" Arthur dress!

    As for Morgana not waiting around to make sure Merlin died... how on earth was he supposed to survive? Even if she knew he had magic, we were shown that he couldn't use it to cure himself, he needed help (herb = potion). Considering her personality there's no way she would ever consider the possibility of that lowly boy turning on her and helping Merlin. (I expected Merlin to summon the dragon). So I didn't have a problem with this part.

    I liked this episode a lot more before I heard about this being the final season. SNIFF!!! Now it feels like time wasted! They only have 5 episodes to solve the Gwen situation (hopefully next week), reveal Merlin's magic to Arthur, have Arthur be really pissed and banish him or something, then have Merlin come back and save the day with his magic against Morgana and hail the glory days of Albion under King Arthur!

    And no Camlann please!!! No time for that! Which unfortunately would mean they've wasted the character of Mordred (he would have been a good villain for season 6, after they got rid of Morgana once and for all in s5). *sigh*

    3 out of 4 Kings who can't put on their own shirts. :p


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