Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merlin: The Coming of Arthur (Parts 1 and 2)

So ends season 3 of Merlin (well, it actually ended a week and a half ago!). And, I have to say, this season has been an improvement. I remember getting the first half of the first season on DVD as a Christmas present a couple of years ago but, as I had no intention of rewatching it, sold the collection on Ebay. I'm still not sure whether I'd want the DVD of this show but it is certainly better than those early days - especially this strangely-titled finale.

There's a splash of circular storytelling going on here as the final two-parter mirrors the two-part episode that kicked off this season. In both, Cenred's men - aided by Morgause - lay siege to Camelot but whereas they failed at the beginning of the season, here they succeed using the "cup of life" (aka the holy Grail) to create an army of immortals. Both two-parters were also the best bits of the whole season (a pity much of the middle bit was just above average).

It's funny how the Grail just happened to turn up, in the hands of some druids and that, whilst Uther wanted it for it's healing properties, Morgause wants it for other magical mischief. Handy that. It would've been nice if there had been some foreshadowing in previous episode. Perhaps reports through the season that the druids were using the cup to heal people or something.

Other things that didn't quite sit right was how, in part 1, Arthur and Merlin easily managed to sneek back into Camelot. There were no guards nor army stationed around the castle just after Morgana had taken control. What happened to them? Also, in part 2, Arthur and his knights-to-be just happened to find an old abandoned castle, that no-one had thought to claim, and in said castle was the round table. And why wasn't Merlin made a knight? Arthur made Elyan, a mere commoner, a knight.

Still, I nit-pick. Overall these were a great couple of episodes that packed a lot in. We got the Grail which is now left on the floor in Camelot (I wonder how it becomes lost so that the knights have to quest for it?), the fall and re-taking of Camelot, the return of Excalibur (and Freya) which later becomes the sword in the stone, the beginning of the knights of the Round Table (why was Percival added so quickly and without any real introduction?), and the fall of Morgause and Morgana.

The status quo has now been changed - Uther is a broken man, Arthur and Gwen's relationship is out in the open, Morgana has been shown to be a traitor, etc - and hopefully this will be reflected in the next season. It would be good to see longer storylines, season arcs, more action and adventure and less burp 'n' fart jokes.

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