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Hm.

I really don't know why we had to take a detour into Goblin's Gold humour in the penultimate episode of the Season. I liked the opening two-parter followed by "Wicked Day" so much because it had very little humour and concentrated on some beautiful drama.

Now, I realize this is still a family show but fuck the slapstick humour to be honest. Especially now.

What Merlin did here - mind-control is never, ever a good idea - was borderline though I can see (somewhat) the necessity of the act. Also figures that once again it is Gaius very stupid advice. What else is new? I'm still banging my head on a table how he handled Morgana back in Season 2, basically drowning her in sleeping potions till she looked like a zombie on crack. Guess that is why he doesn't have any handy anymore now for Arthur?

However, what rankled was seeing Merlin enjoying it and being really petty in the situation. I have no trouble when they're bantering and Merlin gets his own back for Arthur insulting him or making him do stuff but given the situation here and the fact that he basically lobotomized his friend, it was an asshole thing to do to take advantage of Arthur.

And the clothes, really show? Not even real pants? Found that a bit too much. But Arthur actually took it in stride once he got back to himself.

Besides, you know, if Merlin wants a change in his life and being recognized for his abilities, then he needs to take that step now and reveal them. If he lets Arthur (and everyone else) continue to believe in the bumbling fool persona, then what does he fucking expect? I'm so, so, so, so, so entirely sick of the magical secret, I can't even properly put it into words. It's been at least two Seasons too long. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.

Not to mention, it gets to a point where shit is happening that Merlin could do something about with his magic yet he rather stands there, keeps his secret and waits for a more opportune time to act.

I have no idea what the purpose of Tristan and Isolde was though making them smugglers is a neat idea IMO. And of course smugglers wouldn't like the king so I didn't see the big deal they tried to make out of it here. Naturally Camelot will have criminals and naturally they won't be too keen on the authorities. It's hardly like I believe Arthur raises crazy taxes and starves out his own people. The entire show so far has set up the opposite, he went against Uther and his troll wife regarding taxes once. So what, am I supposed to be shocked that there are taxes in Camelot in the first place? And oh my, the angst of Arthur questioning his kingship over them? Seriously?

They have enough material with the Aggravaine betrayal and fall of Camelot into enemy hands to write an existential crisis for the character at this point.

Sigh, Morgana continues to be batshit crazy. And why do Katie and Bradley not get the slightest bit of screentime together? It's getting to be ludicrous at this point. Their characters SHOULD interact at least once.

Also, Cenred's kingdom has a new king apparently, Lot. Guess he spent the last two years trying to get people to not refer to his land as "Cenred's Kingdom" anymore. *g*

Now for some things I liked:

The campfire talk - that was another beautiful Merthur scene, I loved Arthur saying that those were people he cared about - which is actually a big reason they were able to betray him like that, he didn't want to see it - and he just can't understand what he did to make them hate him so much.

Excellent question, hon. Would the crazy person formerly known as Morgana answer this please?
I have no idea about Aggy's motivations, other than he randomely loves Morgana because he...was...um...never seen before this Season and therefore didn't have any opportunity TO fall in love. But okay.

And Merlin's little peptalk was nice. Doesn't entirely make up for the assholedom earlier but I love scenes like this between the characters.

Gwaine getting some screentime that wasn't comedy relief. Too bad they passed it on to Arthur.

Actually, the reunion between Arthur and Gwen. It was short and not overly dramatic.



Next week: Ex-fucking-calibur. Finally to be wielded by Arthur, you know, the dude it was made for. I hope they don't fuck up the retrieval scene. I'm very partial about this part of the myths.

Unfortunately the set-up doesn't give me much hope because there is no legend surrounding it. Logically, it should go something like this:

Merlin: "Hey Arthur, there is this great sword, look."
Arthur: "Cool, but why is it sticking out of some rock in the woods?"
Merlin: "..."

Merlin: "There is a legend that whoever pulls it out gets to be the true King of Albion."
Arthur: "Where the hell did you hear that?"
Merlin: "..."

Merlin: "You should totes give it a try."
Arthur: "It was probably put in with magic, how the hell am I supposed to get it out of there without any magic?"
Merlin: "..."

Merlin then secretely magics it out while Arthur pulls.

Arthur: "Splendid, now that I pulled out this random sword from some rock in the woods which, according to a legend I never heard before and do not believe, means I'm the greatest King ever, I have completely regained faith in myself."

Merlin: "Yay, that worked out great, just as expected."

The Great Dragon somewhere: *face-palm*

Comments

( 6 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
leelust
Dec. 18th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
Argh, couldn't help it and read your review before i watched the ep. Not much to expect sadly :/
astri13
Dec. 18th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
If you ignore the unfortunate slapstick humour in the middle, it did have good points and good dramatic scenes. And even in the middle it gave a nice view of Arthur's "assets" at certain angles with the too-tight clothing. Can I just say: nice butt. :D
leelust
Dec. 18th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Watched it now.
I have to say i don't mind Artur wearing those stupid clothes (hee) but i didn't like the way Merlin was using brain-washed Arthur. If merlin doesn't like to be Arthr's servant why not to tell Arthur that and don't change job? Arthur showed himself as a very liberate man and king - he was ready to marry a servant whos father was killed for relations with magic and he wasn't ashamed of her. I can see him respecting Merlin's friendship and advices to the point of letting him to do another job.
I'm annoyed at Merlin always whining how bad Arthur treats him when in reality it's the opposite and for many things Merlin did to Arthur the other king would kill him a long time ago.

But other than that? Pretty much liked some parts. I only wish Bradley would be given more dramatic material to play with. He's so good in drama.
astri13
Dec. 18th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
I only wish Bradley would be given more dramatic material to play with. He's so good in drama.

I think he has been exceptional this Season and Arthur did have the clearest and most consistent journey of all the characters.

Man, my heart broke for him when he said "I cared about these people", the hurt and confusion he felt. Or when he first saw with his own eyes what a traitor Aggravaine was, then how his face slowly transformed into rage.

For me, Season 4 has been an Arthur-Season which is a big reason I liked it so much. I have no doubts that Merlin will figure prominently again in the Finale but if they give Arthur a worthy conclusion to his arc this year with the same attention they have given him so far, it should be good.
kuhekabir
Dec. 18th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the episode very much...I honestly didn't think twice about the mind control thing...now that you've pointed it out, sure, maybe Merlin shouldn't have enjoyed himself this much but maybe it makes me an awful person but if I had been in his shoes, given the chance to make a fool out of Arthur without doing lasting harm? Hell, I would've take it too!

Guess this is a very fine line there...very hard to walk...
astri13
Dec. 18th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
I think due to my patience having snapped with the stupid magic secret keeping, I also have a problem with Merlin continue to do it yet at the same time act all put-upon because what he projects is what he gets. He wants acknowledgment for his powers, he wants equality in the relationship but secretely he does hold the power already because he does hold the truth. So if he wants his situation changed, then he needs to change it. At this point between them it is only about trust IMO and as long as Merlin doesn't fully extend it, he can't expect to have it fully returned either.

I get that Arthur is often a prat to Merlin and can abuse his power position but what Merlin did here with his magic was the same thing, abusing his power position. When Morgana controlled Merlin or later Lancelot, it was also the same principle. I find it wrong no matter what. And whoever does it and revels in it, loses the high ground of complaining about it.

Mostly, I just found the entirety of the humour misplaced in this episode. Camelot has just been taken by enemy forces, the city is burning, people have died and are still dying. Hardly the time for slapstick IMO. Merlin and later Arthur (when he regained himself) should have been weighed down by what and who they left behind. As fas as they know, Morgana could have already made cufflinks out of some of their closest friends.

And good god, who do I have to kill for a scene between Morgana and Arthur? They are the only characters this entire Season who didn't have any interaction together.

Though since Morgana became apparently a cardboard cut-out villain - they even tried to give Nimueh some more depth in Season 1 - it would probably be a let-down either way. At this point she is all the bad things about Uther, cubed. At least Uther never looked like he got off on it when he did evil shit.
( 6 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )