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Nov. 3rd, 2012

So, Merlin

At this point, I can`t fault Arthur for not "bowing to the Goddess". Lets recap what we know of the Old Religion: its High Priestesses used mind-controlling snakes to torture and well, control minds. How fun. Also, every single one of them we have seen has been flat-out evil in the end. Nimueh, Morgause, Morgana - in their quest to take out the Pendragons, have they ever cared once about innocent civilian lifes? Even the unicorn dude was just "sucks to live in Camelot atm, sorry".

So on some level, I have to say: shut the fuck up, old religion.

I half think they orchestrated the whole thing to get this specific outcome.

And issuing an ultimatum like this? Arthur has "waged war" on them? Come on. Sure, magic is still not outlawed but I doubt he goes out of his way to have pyres burning non-stop or children drowned or druid villages slaughtered just because. The show has given every indication that this has NOT taken place anymore under Arthur`s reign.

So, Arthur`s answer was basically "Camelot won`t negotiate with terrorists". That is kinda okay to me.

Merlin, though, he could and should have shown Arthur a different kind of magic by now. Namely his own why I think is neither what the OR had in mind nor evol. But his actions are entirely driven by fear. His love for Arthur rules everything. And while that may be "awww" on some level, through his fear-driven actions, he is basically assembling the firing squad for Arthur. He can`t or won`t trust anyone fully or have faith in them which is why he always makes the same mistakes in the end.

And he still listens to the dragon who doesn`t seem to be right about anything anymore. Btw, how about asking him about little Aithusa? Poor, sad-eyed, half-starved thing.

Did I feel bad for him and his dilemma here? Sure. But his imperative was mostly "chance to kill Mordred" and it`s chilling when his answer to Gaius questioning what happened to the boy who came to Camelot - a nice callback to Arthur asking Morgana what happened to the compassionate child she was - was the same as Morgana`s: I grew up. Next thing you know he`ll be getting crazy hair. *g*

Some nice scenes between Arthur and Gwen who, from Arthur`s side, might just as well be siblings. I`m sorry but while they were never the most roaring couple on TV, I still thought they had a little romantical spark here and there but now that they are married, it`s completely gone. Still, was kinda sweet.

What was REALLY sweet, though? Mordred`s adorable puppy crush on Arthur. Awww. Mordred was all around adorable here and so eager and protective of Arthur. I`m sure Merlin encountered the green-eyed monster a few times in the ep.

The knights teasing him was fun, too.

Something that truly surprised me? Gwaine of all people rushing forward to defend Arthur`s honor. I mean, I don`t think he hates or dislikes Arthur or even that he doesn`t respect him but Gwaine is more the cocky one to call him "princess" behind his back. I think that in a fight, he would absolutely have Arthur`s back. Or even against unjust accusations. Which, I guess you could say the Disir were making. But he didn`t say "that is not true" or "he is a good king" but "ZOMG, you are insulting the KING". Like it was a question of protocol. Leon would be my first go-to-guy for that, being old-school noble and all. Then Percy, then Elyan and only then Gwaine.
Oh, and our eager puppy Mordred before him still.

The "twist" at the end? Eh, we knew Mordred wouldn`t die and we know what role he will ultimately play. I`m just glad he didn`t become evol spy 3.0 in this episode. I like that for now he is genuinely in Camelot as far as it looks.

Also don`t know in which way that was supposed to be a "game-changer". I felt more like this in "Sins of the Father" when Merlin previously denied magic three times. Or, Wicked Day was a game-changer, Crystal Cave, Fires of Idirsholas (poisoning Morgana). This? Not so much.


Once again, the reviewers must have seen a different ep then I, judging by what I read about it beforehand. I found this one both less epic and less infuriating then I expected.

Comments

( 9 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
teprometo
Nov. 3rd, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
This episode made me want to punch shit. It was good, but it was frustrating. Merlin is a frustrating character, and he always has been, so I should not be surprised that he makes dumbass decisions. He is just afraid of losing Arthur, and he lets that fear cloud his judgment. The only way he can really, truly protect Arthur is by coming clean about his magic, but he's afraid that will drive him way. Urrrrrrghhhhhh.

I KNOW WHAT THE FUCK WHY HAS AITHUSA NOT BEEN MENTIONED! THAT IS DRIVING ME NUTS!

Dude, I just genuinely don't think the writers have been able to figure out Gwaine's character since they made him a knight. He has no solid identity whatsoever. Last season he was the smelly, loud one. They decided that was a bad idea (and it was), so they've made him charming again. But then this episode? WTF was all the OMG MAGIC IS TERRIBLE FUCK EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING MAGIC vibe coming from him? Yuck.
astri13
Nov. 4th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
He is just afraid of losing Arthur, and he lets that fear cloud his judgment. The only way he can really, truly protect Arthur is by coming clean about his magic, but he's afraid that will drive him way. Urrrrrrghhhhhh.

And everything just because the producers have this insane notion that the show would end after a magic reveal. No, it wouldn`t. It would finally begin this ever-foretold golden, wonderful age everyone has been waiting for since Season 1. Instead they are doing the before and skip right to the doom. Crazycakes.

But then this episode? WTF was all the OMG MAGIC IS TERRIBLE FUCK EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING MAGIC vibe coming from him? Yuck.

I mean, I could even buy it if it was something that had begun after ending up on the wrong end of Morgana`s wrath two times - though she basically tortured him like any non-magical brute would. If say she had used the magical snake on him as she did Elyan and made Gwaine betray his own self and comandeer him like a puppet through magic, I could see how he had personally grown to hate it and its people. It`s not like the Disir seemed particularly sympathetic or likeable here.

At least Arthur has very personal and history-based reasons to not bow down to magic.

And as long as Merlin won`t step up and show either of his friends another side to magic, why should they believe otherwise? So frustrating.
teprometo
Nov. 5th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
They don't know how to do angst without having a Big Secret looming over everyone.

Gwaine's whole personality just felt very forced and off. And it's not even that he necessarily doesn't feel that way about magic, but he just wouldn't be all SHOUTY AND GRANDSTANDY about it. Because even though he's brash and hot-headed, he's never been an in-your-face yeller.

Like, Elyan was fucking POSSESSED BY A DEAD DRUID BOY. I'd believe that magic freaks him out hard. But we just have no reason at all to believe Gwaine would be this worked up about the magic part. He'd just do his damn job.
legoline
Nov. 4th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
I'm usually not the one to overinterpret Merlin because seriously, I don't think that the writers put 3/4 of this stuff into the show intentionally but...

I doubt he goes out of his way to have pyres burning non-stop or children drowned or druid villages slaughtered just because.
Didn't he even save that old woman from the pyre in the village that one time this season?

I was totally with Arthur on this one the whole episode. I found him neither particularly arrogant nor condescending--in fact, given that he doesn't even believe in the Old Religion I found it remarkable he even took the threat serious in the first place.

Merlin is killing me this season. Poor guy. To me, his mind has basically been poisoned by the Dragon (and possibly other druids etc.) who keep telling him about his great destiny, so he's grown into this very sombre man who is absolutely convinced that saving Arthur and Camelot is his responsibility and his alone, his weight to carry. (And Colin absolutely murdered that last scene by the camp fire.)
reverie_indigo
Nov. 4th, 2012 10:26 am (UTC)
I think the Dragon is pretty much always right - it's just Merlin has a bizarre way of interpreting what he says. He told Merlin to let Morgana die - he didn't, and instead turned her evil. The dragon also told him to let Mordred die. He didn't, and just pissed him off. In this episode, the Dragon told him to KILL Mordred, not make half-assed assumptions and tell Arthur to keep persecuting magic. And if Merlin wants Mordred dead, then HE SHOULD JUST KILL HIM. Gah! Who writes this crap?
astri13
Nov. 4th, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
I think the Dragon is pretty much always right

Not so much with Aithusa though you could argue that he specifically said he didn`t know the specific meaning of her birth but was just putting his own most positive spin on it.

And if Merlin wants Mordred dead, then HE SHOULD JUST KILL HIM. Gah! Who writes this crap?

Yeah, the ending with Merlin going "ZOMG, I totally missed my chance, now Mordred will live" fretting was somewhat unintentionally hilarious. Dude, you could still poison him, smother him in his sleep or all kinds of various means to kill him.

I get he doesn`t want to be hands-on and would prefer a situation where Mordred croaks on his own but that is just to make himself feel better, not that morally it is better.
astri13
Nov. 4th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
Didn't he even save that old woman from the pyre in the village that one time this season?

Yup, which is why this sudden "OMG, you waged war on our people" reaction seemed to come out of nowhere. What we have seen onscreen is Arthur being lax about sorcery. It is outlawed but he is not actively hunting down practioners like Uther was. He doesn`t scream "sorcery" every episode and sentences someone to death.

And seeing how he has personally seen Camelot/himself/his friends/everyone be attacked with magic every second ep, that is incredibly open-minded.

So, I agreed with him two. The kind of "old religion" the Disir seemed to be asking to be brought back strikes me as very bad and callous for the ordinary people. It wasn`t even "unban magic" but "bow down to us". Up yours, triple goddess.

who keep telling him about his great destiny, so he's grown into this very sombre man who is absolutely convinced that saving Arthur and Camelot is his responsibility and his alone, his weight to carry.

Well, that`s what the teaser of every episode says. So maybe he watched the show. *g*

I`m just deeply frustrated on this diehard declaration that there can be magical reveal or the show would end. Nope, there would be wonderful stories to tell AFTER a reveal. Horrid storytelling instincts, they have.

And Colin absolutely murdered that last scene by the camp fire.)

The campfire scene was great but I still favour the pretty much equal scene in Sins of the Father.
bluebeeangel
Nov. 4th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
"So, Arthur`s answer was basically "Camelot won`t negotiate with terrorists". That is kinda okay to me."
It is kinda like that isn't it? Although ARthur was pretty much been subjected to a 20 years of "DEATH TO MAGIC! DEATH TO MAGIC!" by Uther (I'm sure he had someone whisper it to him in his sleep), he's pretty accepting of it considering. The Old Religion could do a lot worse.

"But his actions are entirely driven by fear. His love for Arthur rules everything. And while that may be "awww" on some level, through his fear-driven actions, he is basically assembling the firing squad for Arthur."
Yes! This! He's basically obsessed with Arthur. The loyalty and devotion part of that is 'aww' inducing, but it also brings out this ruthless side in Merlin. He will protect Arthur at any cost. His weakness for Arthur is going to bring both their downfalls.

I bet the Dragon breathed a firey sigh of relief about coming away from that conversation with Merlin, without being questioned about Aithusa. The last time they met he failed to mention that he's lost Merlin and Arthur's dragon. I know Merlin's got other things on his mind, but Kilgarrah makes a lousy babysitter.

"was the same as Morgana`s: I grew up."
That was a brilliant little callback. The pure, resolute conviction he had on his face when he was telling Gaius that he was going to let Mordred die. He doesn't relish killing people/letting them die, but he certainly will justify it for Arthur and not look back. I like the comparison between Merlin and Morgana and how the show doesn't necessarily present their issues as black and white. Merlin is a cold blooded murderer. He will kill people for his own justification. Yes he has little puppy dog eyes, but that doesn't change his actions. The darkeness is something that I love about his character. On the flip side, although there is a bit more of a 'panto baddie' vibe for Morgana, I get her point of view. She's lost or been betrayed by everyone. While Merlin's obsession is Arthur, her's is vengence. She feel she has a right to the kingdom (she kinda does...)and won't stop until she gets it. SHe's not a character that is executed as well as Merlin, but the comparison is definitely there.

"I think that in a fight, he would absolutely have Arthur`s back."
Yeah for me Gwaine totally respects Arthur, while still being able to take the piss out of him. I liked him passionately defending Arthur here and think it is in character, but I think it would have been better to have a contrast of him taunting and teasing Arthur a bit too. I miss that about Gwaine and Arthur.

"I like that for now he is genuinely in Camelot as far as it looks."
I'm really enjoying Mordred as a character. I feel a bit like Merlin. I know that he's going to kill Arthur (or believe it anyway), but at the moment he doesn't seem to be showing any sign of it, so I want to trust him. He's being played very well. I wonder if him killing Arthur is going to be in a simular situation to Merlin poisoning Morgana. That maybe he doesn't have any intention yet of doing it.
astri13
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Although ARthur was pretty much been subjected to a 20 years of "DEATH TO MAGIC! DEATH TO MAGIC!" by Uther (I'm sure he had someone whisper it to him in his sleep), he's pretty accepting of it considering. The Old Religion could do a lot worse

Like it did under Uther, for example. Also, I`m quite iffy on the Old Religion itself. While you could say Nimueh and Morgause and Morgana now have a point, there is/was also an inherent cruelty in all of them, in how they acted in their vengeance. Just like Uther. He gets condemned for it so I don`t think a kingdom under rules/rulership of magical people like those would be anything to write home about either.

There is also quite a difference between asking to stop the persecution of - peaceful - people of a certain kind and go Although ARthur was pretty much been subjected to a 20 years of "DEATH TO MAGIC! DEATH TO MAGIC!" by Uther (I'm sure he had someone whisper it to him in his sleep), he's pretty accepting of it considering. The Old Religion could do a lot worse "instate our religion or else".

And that entails/legalizes torturing some random poor "ordinary" people with snakes and mandrake roots if the high priestesses feel like it? I also thought the Disir acted as haughty and arrogant as they accused Arthur of being.

He will kill people for his own justification. Yes he has little puppy dog eyes, but that doesn't change his actions. The darkeness is something that I love about his character.

I`m glad to see it as well. Otherwise, he`d just be...well, Gwen. I had a bad feeling already from the Comic Con interviews that described her as "wise, strong, authorative yet still humble, smart, wonderful, good..."

OMG, go to the Camelot market and buy a character flaw, seriously. *headdesk*

At times Merlin could veer too far into the "little innocent, always good, martyrized, inherently wise, can fix everything through magic - even stuff that the other characters should be able to do without help, thereby rendering them idiotic - lamb" territory, too, so I enjoy when the narrative makes him more rounded than that.

I liked him passionately defending Arthur here and think it is in character, but I think it would have been better to have a contrast of him taunting and teasing Arthur a bit too. I miss that about Gwaine and Arthur.

Yes, that would have been better. As it was, the scene seemed to just be the writer going "hm, a line for a knight here, I think I`m going to give it to...Gwaine".

Actually, the relationship between Arthur and the knights one-on-one is something that is sadly underdeveloped. And poor, sleeveless Percy never even got an introductionary episode where Uther threw him to the dungeons and Arthur passionately argued his case. *sadface*

They are each different people and should have their own rapport with Arthur. Like Leon is an "old-school" knight and probably trained with Arthur since both were young. Meanwhile Gwaine would be the one with the slightly irreverent banter. Elyan is the brother in law, doesn`t that make it slightly awkward with him and the other knights as in reality it should give him some more privileg position, even unwittingly?

I miss Lancelot in these times because in terms of honour and nobility and the knights code etc, I think him and Arthur were the most alike. Both never met a sword they weren`t willing to fall on for the greater good. :D Only Lance`s whole character can be summed up with "le sigh" about the weltschmerz of it all, Arthur has a more cheerful, brutish side to balance it out.

I'm really enjoying Mordred as a character. I feel a bit like Merlin. I know that he's going to kill Arthur (or believe it anyway), but at the moment he doesn't seem to be showing any sign of it, so I want to trust him. He's being played very well.

Isn`t he just? I think Alex Vlahos is doing a wonderful job with the character. I mean, obviously Mordred spent some time outside the space-time-continuum because if Arthur saved his life "many years ago", then the fountain of youth is located right under Camelot. Many days ago, I would believe. If "many" were 15 or so. *g* But Mordred seems to have lost the creepiness factor from the Asa Butterfield version.
( 9 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )