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Ten down, three to go

Slightly belated (and a bit wordy) reaction to

I liked it. It was atmospheric and even though more of a standalone, the events of last week were adressed. Also liked the two little action sequences, especially the sword fight between Arthur and Elyan.

Interesting scene where both Aggravaine and Merlin are standing before Arthur like advisers. And it was nice that he listened to them both but made up his own mind about matters. In fact, it does seem that Aggravaine loses his sway over Arthur. Earlier in the Season, he all but opened his mouth and Arthur, lacking confidence in himself as a King, surrendered.

What I loved best was Merlin telling Arthur something pertinent that was going on for once. I mean why does everyone in the entire kingdom feel they must lie to the King about anything and everything? Last week, why NOT tell Arthur Lancelot was a shade for example. Sure, it wouldn't have changed Gwen's behaviour (or what they thought of it) but hey, it would have helped save Lancelot's tarnished reputation. He didn't deserve that or what? And it's usually Merlin's instinct to tell but I swear Gaius has become the Bo Kent of this show with the "no, no, no, you can't tell". Like they couldn't tell about Morgana until she invaded Camelot and killed a bunch of people. Or they can't tell about Aggravaine until he...you can guess it. For fucks sake, if you think Arthur is making ill-advised decisions, then don't let him run into them half-blind all the time.

Yup, I need the magic reveal SO badly.

The banter betweem Arthur and Merlin, their whole interaction, wasn't as jovial here as earlier in the Season. And I have read people saying it reminded them of the low points in Seasons 2 and 3. However, I didn't see it that way. They still had a few moments of honest and equal interaction.

I mean, even when Arthur says "I don't have to answer to the likes of you", it wasn't truly played as "you lowly servant, you". Merlin had just caught Arthur in an obvious lie and Arthur, after looking down at the table and seeing that he could no longer claim he was reading something, used the old "attack is the best defense" strategy. And Merlin took it as such, all "wow, you're in a bad mood" like you'd say to a friend who just said something mean to you and you both know it but don't believe they were serious.

And I get he was trying to get Arthur to open up about what was clearly bothering him but Arthur's entire demeanor and body language screamed "not now, not ready to talk". It's at those times that their personalities clash because Arthur tends to be stoic and Merlin tends to be a bubbly talk-it-out guy which leads him to be a constant nag.

Maybe I can just emphasize with Arthur in this case because let me tell you, when I don't wanna talk about something, I don't wanna talk and if my (well-meaning) friends ignore my first signals of "do not approach, let sleeping dogs lie", I don't take any prisoners either. The only difference here is the power imbalance between master and servant. At some point in the show, I imagine that will change with Merlin getting a more prestigious function at the court. At least, I assume he will.

The whole confession scene was very well done. I'm glad they didn't make Arthur literally a killer of kids. That was Uther and no need to go for literary symmetry to the extreme. Instead I imagine a, possibly hot-headed, 16-17year old on his first? mission who simply lacked in experience and leadership skills to control a mob of soldiers falling into blood rage. Or to stand up to his father and King in the first place. And how surprising is that? Not.

I still would have to give a lot of responsibility to this for Uther because a) he ordered that raid and b) if he, Uther, had had any interest in sparing the women and children, HE would have made it an order and/or picked another commanding officer who could enforce that. Which I guess he was fine with everyone slaughtered anyway so yeah, the onus of responsibility is hardly on the kid who could only fail this mission.

Besides, while some magic-weilding survivors of the Purge have brought it up in the past, there is a person who was an adult and aided and abetted Uther in hunting down and slaughtering basically his own kind, including drowning kids and burning families. Hello Gaius, smile and wave for the camera.

Also nice to see a bit more on the Knights. I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed that after playing the round table/knighting as such iconic moments in the Season 3 Finale, they have basically become background props.

Next week? Hm, the trailer made me a bit antsy. And what was that intercutting of Arthur and Gwen, huh? Like I believe he is going to gun her down with a crossbow in the woods and five minutes after that, they get married. Uh-uh.

You know while I haven't outright loved every single episode this Season, there also hasn't been one that made me want to claw out my eyes and throw them at the screen. So really, this has been an exceptionally strong Season. Hope the conclusion is fitting to the build-up. With the finale ep on Christmas Eve no less. In that case it should feel like a present, shouldn't it? :D

Comments

( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
leelust
Dec. 4th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
No time to read properly yet but i'll come back and read again, promiss. cause i loved that last ep. This season pleases me and that particular ep helped to revive after atrocious spn mid season finale.
astri13
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
This season pleases me.

Me too. It has really rekindled my love for the show.
leelust
Dec. 7th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
Finally got time to read.
I have to say i didn't get their interactions as servant-master type. Where did you see a master who would let a servant to talk to him like that? It was (as you said) mostly that Arthur didn't want to talk about stuff and wasn't ready to open up. So he did everything to make Merlin stop talking.

And i'm very glad that they made Arthur somehow responsible for that slaughter. I expected it to be fully his father's fault but making Arthur responcible too made it more personal (for me as Arthur girl) and made the whole story more serious which is good cause i like what Bradley can do when given a good material.
katikat
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
I think they didn't tell him about Lancelot being a shade because how would they explain knowing it? Cursed places and possesions, that can be found in books and surmised from evidence. But necromancy? Since the only way to detect is through magic? That would be pretty hard to explain, IMHO.

I'm VERY nervous about next week's ep. It looks very Gwen and Morgana centric which is not my cuppa :(
astri13
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
I think they didn't tell him about Lancelot being a shade because how would they explain knowing it? Cursed places and possesions, that can be found in books and surmised from evidence. But necromancy? Since the only way to detect is through magic? That would be pretty hard to explain, IMHO.

Maybe. I just feel really weary watching these things. It's like "for the love of God, tell him something already, at least once."

I'm VERY nervous about next week's ep. It looks very Gwen and Morgana centric which is not my cuppa :(

I don't mind it per se but I would like a Morgana/Arthur confrontation as well. Before they found out they actually were brother and sister (nad before Morgana turned inexplicably IMO completely evil), they used to have a relationship like brother and sister. Just like Gwen being Morgana's closest friend and confidante, that seems to have been erased from history.

Oh well, I do hope the whole Arthur/Gwen thing gets resolved in this episode. Let Morgana gloat about what she did, let Gwen and Arthur learn about it, kiss and make-up. And then, in the final two episodes, we can focus on the fight for Camelot. Again. :)
mangokulfi
Dec. 5th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
Yeah I am actually not quite sure why I am enjoying this season so much. I think part of it is that they are not working quite so hard to shoehorn Merlin into being the most important element of every single story in quite such a blatant manner and that Arthur is being written with a nice level of maturity.

I do agree that the knights have been wasted. It's too bad they have been mostly reduced to comic relief and I hope we get a bit more individual focus on each of them like we did with Eliyan this week.

But overall, I have enjoyed this season far more than the past two and I think it is because they have gone back to the more ensemble feel of season 1.
astri13
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah I am actually not quite sure why I am enjoying this season so much. I think part of it is that they are not working quite so hard to shoehorn Merlin into being the most important element of every single story in quite such a blatant manner and that Arthur is being written with a nice level of maturity.

Agreed. Also, I believe Arthur, due to having the clearest character arc and progression this year in becoming King, has received quite a bit of focus so far. The featured majorly in most episodes, I think. And that has certainly been nice to see.

I hope they can bring it home all the way to the Finale. I mean, I do expect some more Merlin in that and having the tables turned somewhat but for Arthur this Season should close out his arc of "becoming King" as in gaining the confidence to be ruler and have it continue next year with him more settled into that role.

And as a little aside, have they ever disrobed Arthur as much as this Season? Hehe, not that I'm complaining.

It's too bad they have been mostly reduced to comic relief and I hope we get a bit more individual focus on each of them like we did with Eliyan this week.

At least Lancelot and Gwaine had had their own character introduction episode in Season 1 and 3 respectively. And both featured a bit more before they became Knights. Elyan, too, was at least part of an episode previously. The one who hasn't gotten his turn in the sun at all is poor Percival which IMO leaves him the weakest link so far.
( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )