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So, no more Merlin for a year or so. Sigh. Despite this Season's wonkiness, I have been looking forward to my weekly Merlin-dose.

I became aware (again) of something, though, that I think I had forgotten about the show: namely that it is a family show. Now, duh, will you say, but there were a few times I went all eye-rolly "seriously" during the episode and then I realized that hey, I'm not exactly the target demo. I mean, it's probably supposed to be all-inclusive but in such a way that twelve year olds can enjoy it, too. And, as a twelve year old there would have been far less "seriouslies" than there were tonight. Then again, when I was twelve, I was all over "Robin of Sherwood" and that definitely was grittier and darker. Will Scarlett alone was probably a psychopath - yet a good guy. Hee, that could almost be the prelude to a rant on how today's youth doesn't have it as tough as my generation did. *g*

It's a bit ironic because back in Season 1, I fell for the show's child-like charme, and now I'm sometimes disappointed that it's still...child-like. Hm.

But, onto the episode

I loved parts and was so-so on some.

Loved that it started in on the action right away. Loved Leader!Arthur and guilty!Merlin.

The Arthur/Gwen moment was, well, not badly played but it is still a romance with very unconvincing build-up. When exactly did Gwen fall for Arthur that hard? I won't even excuse that with the family show thing because even those normally manage to portray their "main" romance better than this.

Arthur standing up to Uther was also nice. More and more Arthur looks better suited to be a king whereas the same wasn't true, despite all of Uther's failings, in the past. In fact, it almost looks like Uther regresses. All the big magical blind spot notwithstanding, I thought show had established Uther as a decent king. Gaius once said that he did bring peace and prosperity to the land. I mean, the dude who rules whereever Ealdor is wouldn't help the village and that scheming coward from episode 10, Alined, also wasn't really ruler material.

Whereas as Uther seemed reasonably interested to protect his people and land. Now, increasingly, he seems to veer between impotant threats and "my people? yeah, what about them?" In contrast Arthur puts Camelot first, second and twenty-third.

So, Arthur and Merlin go on a quest again. And did you notice how Arthur volunteered to go alone yet was clear that Merlin would come with him "fetch the horses." Heh.

Oh man, their awkwardness and goofy grins when they entered the unfriendly inn. Hilarious. Even more hilarious that it looked a bit like all the guys in the inn just stopped talking because they saw two pretty boys come in who clearly were gay for each other. I mean, there was no other reason to have SUCH an overblown reaction to the arrival of some strangers there otherwise. If this were Supernatural, they would have been asked "king or two queens" and answered "two queens" with the innkeeper nodding sagely. Which, looking at their sleeping arrangements later is likely exactly what they did. Ha.

And then, talking in bed. Arthur trying to get Merlin to open up. Pillowfight, aww. Also, Arthur who are you kidding? You ARE friends. At least in episodes who are not horribly out of character. You just don't realize that you already crossed boundaries your class-conscious mind still sees as unbreachable. Poor naive Arthur. *pets him*

Then Arthur faints - conveniently so that he is out for the first part of reveals. Cue the first eye-role. Though, I could somewhat buy it here.

Balinor is a cool character. Of course, it was SO obvious the last dragonlord would be Merlin's father. But the scene between Balinor and Merlin - and all their later scenes - are incredibly well played. Colin Morgan got some serious chops. His hopefulness, trying to establish a bond without giving himself away - followed by the disappointment.

And, thank you, show for telling me how the dragon was captured and making that believable.

Then we have...a delirious Arthur moaning Merlin's name. I think I just slash-gasmed.

Next, Arthur is high. Tries to convince Balinor and... gives up pretty easily. Hm, maybe this king thing needs a bit of work yet.

More fireplace bonding between boys. Yay.

Balinor returning and the scene where Merlin tells him he is his son - incredible. Just one tiny, little remark here: WTF? Arthur is strolling around in the background, conveniently not hearing anything you just said? You could only make that worse if, next up, you had Arthur dozily asleep while you openly talked magic, dragon-lordism and all that... FUCK YOU, show, I was being sarcastic.

Then Balinor dies. Wow, that was quick. Again, Colin did great in the scene where he desperately tried to hold back the tears and, it's somewhat horrific, that he can't even let Arthur know his grief, what his tears are really for. Which, btw, I'm not convinced he CAN'T. Arthur would understand grief for a lost parent. And I don't think him for a man who would hold Merlin's heritage against him. Or even tattle it to Uther. Sigh. They could have bonded some more over lost parental figures.

So, they return and Arthur is being awesome and invents the knights of the round table. Without the table but give him time.

I fear for Sir Leon. *wibbles*

Next up, best Arthur/Merlin scene of the ep for me. Apart from their usual banter, realize that Arthur puts his hand on Merlin's shoulder and tells him something that he tells "all his young knights". *explodes with glee* I know that Merlin never will be a knight but royal counsel, I guess, but this holds so much "future-dom" in it.

I think I forgot the two Camelot scenes earlier but one was Sir Leon being awesome (yay) and one was Gaius shipping Gwen/Arthur while Gwen is all "Morgana, who?" Sigh, writers, sigh.

So, the light brigade rides out. And...the dragon did not just kill all the knights, including Sir Leon? Nooooooooo. Noble families must be baby machines to produce all those canon fodder knights of Camelot. Sniff. Sir Leon.

Then, get this, Arthur gets conveniently knocked out so Merlin can do his dragon-whispering. That is just adding insult to injury, show.

I realize by now that you are going to keep "TEH REVEAL" for Season 3 or possibly beyond but frankly, with how you do it by now, that is too long for me. Merlin pretty much practices magic openly now, in close range to Arthur even and you do this to "make it work"? Urgh.

Merlin whispers, the dragon caves. Merlin shows mercy, the dragon shows some wisdom and flies off.

Arthur wakes up, is told he killed the dragon and doesn't wonder where the giant dead dragon body is. *headdesk* Are dragons vampires? Is Arthur Buffy now?

Return to Camelot with more suddenly-deeply- in-love-Gwen.

And we close on a sweet Gaius-Merlin moment. Oh, I guess, Uther smiling slightly at seeing his son was sweet also.


Thus endeth the second chapter of Merlin. A bumpy ride it was. Now hopefully Season 3 will feature: some serious Arthur/Merlin, some Morgana onscreen and some bloody reveals. Aaaaaaaah.

Comments

( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
leelust
Dec. 20th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
While i agree there were some eye-rolling moments it's all was forgotten because of The Colin. Man, he was great in this ep. Well, the other guy is always great and i like Collin in other eps too but in this ep he was outstanding.
astri13
Dec. 20th, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
Yup, Colin was amazing in this. The scenes with Balinor really tugged at my heartstrings.
katikat
Dec. 20th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
Eeee, Robin of Sherwood! Michael Praed rocked my socks in that role. What an awesome show!
astri13
Dec. 20th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Man, I cried when he - the character of Robin - was killed in Series 2. Nothing against Jason Connery who did a good job as well but I wanted original Robin back.
a8c_sock
Dec. 20th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
I really liked hwo this season we're seeing Arthur the king in waiting appearing. He's starting to show his kingly potential.

The boys on a quest is always awesome. Clearly those inn people were very perceptive. Hee.

Arthur seems to be in his own little niave world. Or unconscious poor guy.

The bonding between Merlin and Balinor was lovely. So sad he dided. And Colin Morgan broke my heart with that scene.

I did want Merlin to tell the truth about his father to Arthur. They bond so well.

Sir Leon has to be alive. He has to be.

And the reveal has to come soon. It's dragged on too long.

I second all that for season 3.
astri13
Dec. 20th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
Clearly those inn people were very perceptive

And secretly slashers. :)

The bonding between Merlin and Balinor was lovely. So sad he dided. And Colin Morgan broke my heart with that scene.

He was amazing in the episode.

I did want Merlin to tell the truth about his father to Arthur. They bond so well.

Yes. I love Gaius but, shut up, dude. You handled it wrong with Morgana and you're handling it wrong now. Merlin's natural instinct is to want to share, especially with Arthur who is apparently his only peer friend in Camelot, and Gaius always gives stupid advice like that. Or, my personal favourite, yells at Merlin at the top of his lungs how he has to keep his magic a secret. Uh-uh.

Sir Leon has to be alive. He has to be.

*nods along* Even if they have to make him Kenny from South Park, he has to be back.

And the reveal has to come soon. It's dragged on too long.

Yes, it's just so silly now. I do hope they don't plan to keep it for the Series Finale because I will cut someone if that happens.
a8c_sock
Dec. 20th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
And secretly slashers. :)

Oh yes. I bet they were hiding their slash fic under the table.

He was amazing in the episode.

He really was.

Merlin's natural instinct is to want to share, especially with Arthur who is apparently his only peer friend in Camelot, and Gaius always gives stupid advice like that.

Yes. Plus telling Arthur does not mean Uther immediately knows sheesh.

*nods along* Even if they have to make him Kenny from South Park, he has to be back.

Yes. He cannnot die/stay dead.

Yes, it's just so silly now. I do hope they don't plan to keep it for the Series Finale because I will cut someone if that happens.

Me too. I would love an early season reveal and have it play out then for at least the first half of the season.
( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )