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Le Sigh

Oh dear, once again the Season has started nicely, only to completely veer off track midway. Merlin

This entire enchanted!Gwen plot is stupid because once more it gives us the... *drumroll* traitor in our midsts routine. And I was so happy they averted that with Mordred. So far, that is. Of course he isn`t even given any lines here so that might be a reason.

Nope, here we have Gwen and once more Merlin and Gaius hang on to that stupid secret because they don`t know how to tell Arthur. Because it is so much better to hem and haw and let Gwen plot 50 million ways to murder Arthur instead of going for the "you know, dude, she is enchanted, we must save her". For pete`s sake, you could even tell Uther stuff like that and he would have believed it. Heck, Uther would have believed it even if it was not. true.

But I think we learned nothing from the Elyan (hey, anyone remember him since he died? no? I just love your sense of character continuency, show *extreme sarcasm*) gets possessed-episode last year where for once in a freaking while they brought in Arthur into the secret and hey, it worked out well in the end.

(Let alone that noone remembered the "peace with the druids" motto at the end of that episode. Like, what would Arthur do if a young druid boy seriously brought in his sick, six-year old sister to get treatment? Kill them on the spot? You know, like he was the first to lit the torch on that old sorceress in ep 3? Oh wait. And you can not give Mordred dialogue if you want but Arthur KNOWS who he is, he knows the circumstances of their first meeting so even though he MIGHT think Mordred is a magicless druid (I assume there are those, like the girl in the Season Opener) but he WOULD know he knighted a freaking druid, right? So make up your fucking mind, show on where he stands with druids.)

Nope, we`re back to Arthur is being played for a fool once more.

Good lord, can those writers think of no other plotlines? *headdesk*

Speaking of Arthur "being played for a fool" - was this dressing business supposed to be funny? Because I found it entirely ridiculous. That he can not put on his armour himself, fair point, you would need help with that but a shirt? Haha, our character can`t even dress himself, haha. Urgh.

But at least he is still an expert swordsman... oh wait. That was Season 1, maybe 2. Nowadays, he loses against any goon with a sword. With Excalibur too boot. The sword that made him basically invisbile in the legend, you yonkers. At this point, it might as well be a cheese knife.

Though Arthur`s humiliation was only the most obvious in the episode, it`s not like other characters actually fared much better. Morgana still can`t get shit done because, wait for it, she only ever uses poison that is so slow-working, it gives her enemy time to miraculously recover. Because they must suuuuuuuffer. That is more important than, oh, I don`t know, accomplishing her mission.

Merlin also still falls for the most obvious ruses AND is easily defeated by Morgana with the magic of "fallus backwardus". Though to be fair, he uses that as well later on one of the bandits. But of course he gets the Disney princess appeal that turns anyone to his side in the nick of time.

Gwen? Hm. She wasn`t incompetent in her evilness. Though the problem with her character is mostly that either she is in the background or she gets to be a total Sue who even the knights fawn over and can`t even wait for Arthur`s cooling corpse to put her on the throne. I mean even know that she is "evol", she is blameless due to being under Morgana`s spell.

The one bit I liked in this episode was Arthur looking disturbed when Sarrum told his tale of Morgana`s captivity. He isn`t the type to revel in torture like that. And no matter what, it is still someone he once cared about.

It could have been so much of a better episode had they played around with the dilemma of it being the politically savvy thing to do to make a treaty with this guy while being personally and morally disgusted by him. Maybe asking some hard questions on how far you should go in politics. They touched on that very, very briefly in the beginning but that was all. Guess there had to be room for slapstick moments of Gaius and Gwen`s nightgown.

And poor Aithusa. Though maybe someone can riddle me when and where exactly Morgana grew to love the little dragon soooo incredibly much, it became her only weakness? Because she saved her at the end of Season 4? WTF?

Eh, the first five episodes of the Season weren`t bad. And six was so-so but the last and this one? Not a fan.

This show really is better when it just gives us cute and silly Merthur stuff like naked fun at bathtimes or playing footsie in Ealdor or some outward drama like "killing unicorns brings curses on Camelot", "ghost!Uther terrorizes Camelot" or "let me pick a flower for you". Because I swear, everything else they fuck up eventually.

Comments

( 17 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Nov. 24th, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
Oh but then we couldn't have the endlessly boring episodes of always-the-same-scenarios!? Forgive me, writers, I didn't realise that.

Their storytelling instincts are atrocious.

Demeaning Arthur's character something gross, here. :<

I never got the impression the writers liked the character much (or have any good sense of actual humour) but it really, really went over the top here.

Eh, all in all, I deeply prefered the last Season. It had its faults, too, but I don`t think the characters suffered as badly as they are now in the writing. :(
rheasilvia
Nov. 25th, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
I'm not even watching Merlin anymore, but it's fascinating to me to read the reaction posts. Every one is different, and every one has things in it that make me glad not to be invested in this show anymore...

As an innocent bystander, I have the impression that at this point, the main problem is that the show lacks the courage to move on from a premise that has lost it's narrative plausability some time ago. The trope "Merlin hides his magic from Arthur" means that most other plot elements can't move on, and are caught cycling through their limited little range again and again. The relationships can't truly develop, nothing concerning Merlin can truly evolve or change, external plots have to repeat and characters and plots have to be forced into unnatural positions in order to make things work... all because a central premise of the show makes no narrative sense anymore at this point, and should have evolved several seasons back.

There's just nowhere to go from here. And I can't understand why TPTB can't let go of this one premise, when it is so clearly holding up everything else and preventing things from moving forward.

/rant

Ahem, sorry.
merlenhiver
Nov. 25th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
THIS so much! I wish I was detached enough to be able to stop watching this crap they are pulling these days, but I guess I'll be there until the bitter end ... :( Not buying any more DVDs though. Oh no.
rheasilvia
Nov. 25th, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
Merlin became unwatchable for me when they completely fucked up the Morgana plotline. I'd really liked Morgana as a character, and I've rarely seen a character's slide to the dark side done so badly. It just makes no sense at all.

It's not a surprise that the show is continuing on down the same path, really. A shame, though.
merlenhiver
Nov. 25th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
I agree about Morgana's storyline, it was ridiculously badly done. I find I'm mostly annoyed by her these days, which is a pity. :(
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
As an innocent bystander, I have the impression that at this point, the main problem is that the show lacks the courage to move on from a premise that has lost it's narrative plausability some time ago.

This sentence should be tatooed on the asses of the producers. Because it`s 100 % the problem of this show.

And why? Because they seriously claim that if Merlin`s magic was revealed, there would be no more story to tell. Like seriously. They can not envision what the show would look like after a reveal.

Well, let me give you a hint: it would be GOOD.

Argh.
rheasilvia
Nov. 25th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
they seriously claim that if Merlin`s magic was revealed, there would be no more story to tell. Like seriously. They can not envision what the show would look like after a reveal.

O_O

... seriously?

Wow. In that case, there really is no hope for this show. And I'd thought they just didn't have the courage to change something that's been their major plot point for so long...
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
I know, it boggles the mind.

I vividly remember one interview some time back, maybe even a year or so where the interviewer brought up the viewers championing a reveal etc.

And the producers not only got childishly defensive about it, they pretty much said, that is not something they really think about because in Superman, viewers also don`t care much if Clark Kent`s identity is revealed or some such. Because the undercover hero trope is what makes it work. This is...I can`t even...

????????????????????????????????????????????????????

And this year we get a lot of "oh, but you know, once Arthur finds out, then obviously the show ends, yadda yadda".

So yeah, the writers are too limited to even envision a better show.
rheasilvia
Nov. 25th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Undercover... hero...?

Wow. Incredible. That's... uhm. Well, if that's what they think the show is about, then I guess it explains some things. Including why they are limiting themselves the way they are, and why the plot just can't seem to go anywhere at all.

It's a shame, though. The show could have been so much more.

I remember back ast the beginning of S2 (I think?), when Bradley James said that he thought it'd be cool if Arthur found out without Merlin telling him, and then one of the themes for a while would be Arthur trying not to let on that he knew, while wondering what to do.

Now THAT would have been a really great way to go forward with the plot and the characters. It might even still work now. Except that the producers are certainly not going to be smart enough to do something that would make so much sense, and that would move the show beyond the point where they believe they'd have no more story to tell. *headdesk so damn much*

Edited at 2012-11-25 03:47 pm (UTC)
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
when Bradley James said that he thought it'd be cool if Arthur found out without Merlin telling him, and then one of the themes for a while would be Arthur trying not to let on that he knew, while wondering what to do.

If only he was a producer and could have made it happen because that could have been awesome.

I feel quite badly for him. He comes across as passionate about his character and also that he gets how much Arthur is diminished and humiliated by certain writing tropes.

Thing is, I believe such a period piece, swashbuckling role is a good fit for him. While I always kinda liked the character of Arthur, I initially felt Bradley didn`t have the greatest range, especially compared to Colin but since then I think he has grown and he can manage to bring quite a lot of charme and charisma to a character like this. I`d like to see him in something similar, just better written.

Of course that goes for the other actors, too. And so agreed on Morgana`s inexplicable lightswitch to evolness. I will never understand why she returned in Season 3 with a seething hatred for everybody including Arthur and Gwen, the two people who had honestly never done something bad to her to deserve it by then.
merlenhiver
Nov. 25th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
I second this review so much. Especially what you said about Arthur and the Druids. It's anyone's guess where Arthur stands on the whole magic issue these days. Continuity has fled the friggin universe episodes ago.

I'm beginning to hate Season 5 with a passion, tbh. In this episode alone they managed to make both Arthur and Merlin (and Morgana, but that only gets an eyeroll from me these days) look like incompetent, imbecilic fools. The mightiest swordsman loses in battle, and the mightiest sorcerer can't spot a ruse and once again falls victim to a witch who should be way less powerful than him. I'm just so sick of it.

I can't stop watching now, have to see it through to the end, but it's verging on masochism these days. /rant

Arthur noticing Merlin's limp was really touching though. <3
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
In this episode alone they managed to make both Arthur and Merlin (and Morgana, but that only gets an eyeroll from me these days) look like incompetent, imbecilic fools. The mightiest swordsman loses in battle, and the mightiest sorcerer can't spot a ruse and once again falls victim to a witch who should be way less powerful than him. I'm just so sick of it.

Me, too. And they don`t even seem to get how much it undermines the characters. And for what? Plot contrivance? Lazyness? Cheap slapstick? Urgh. I feel for the actors. If I get secondhand-embarassment watching it, I can`t even imagine what it feels like shooting some of this stuff.

I hope they get projects with better writing in the future.
gilli_ann
Nov. 25th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
I completely agree. This episode was a waste, filled with character assassination of Merlin and Arthur both as persons and as king and powerful warlock. The whole thing was brimming with recycling of tiresome plot points (including the would-be comic relief). I actually am amazed that they manage to write something so uninspiring. Rather this than magic reveal, eh? Incredible.
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
Rather this than magic reveal, eh? Incredible.

I know. We`re more than halfway into what is most likely the end of the show but lets waste time on plots seen a million times before. And lets humiliate the characters to the ninth degree while at it. It`s just...I have no words. It`s painful.
mangokulfi
Nov. 25th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
Agreed on all your comments and just added that I actually wanted to punch Merlin when he said that Arthur would probably hang him if he knew about the magic.

For me, that is such a betrayal of he so-called bond and understanding of Arthur. It shows no trust or faith in him at all, so all that blah, blah about Arthur having a good heart underneath is pure bullshit.

At this point, when the dream of Albion goes up in smoke, Merlin will have no one to blame but himself. It's his fear, weakness and lack of faith that will bring it about, not Arthur's.
astri13
Nov. 25th, 2012 12:10 pm (UTC)
Agreed on all your comments and just added that I actually wanted to punch Merlin when he said that Arthur would probably hang him if he knew about the magic.

And I think that comes directly from the writers. It`s their excuse of "keeping the magic secret". They have not thought it through how that makes the characters look or how it makes no sense anymore at this point in the show.

Then again, those are the same people who actually repeat Morgana`s claim in interviews that "Gwen stole her crown". Because they seriously seem too damn daft to realize that Arthur wears the crown Morgana wants.

You know, I think a lot of TV writers are willfully blind or stubborn (in their Mary Sue crushes) or even mean-spirited but I`m not sure I ever found a bunch I considered to be literally stupid.
( 17 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )