Tag Archives: Part Two

Merlin: The Sword in the Stone Part Two Review

Merlin this year has been all about change and moving on after three years of what seem to be stagnation. We have seen Arthur become the proper king of Camelot after the death of Uther, Morgana become a worthy opponent of the kingdom itself and witnessed Merlin moving out from the shadows into a influential character who massively changes outcomes and sets events in motion.

But going into this episode I was worried that the second part of the series ending finale might not live up to all the frantic action and big moments that the Sword in the Stone Part One provided.

However, despite getting a sense of time displacement from the over use of slow motion, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that the plot lived up to it’s hype and this is surely the best series climax to Merlin in it’s four years on television.

When we last left Arthur and his friends he was forced out of Camelot by Morgana and her troops and he, Merlin and the most of the Knights of Camelot were on the run and in hiding. Meanwhile Gaius, Ewan and Gwaine are locked in the castle’s dungeons.

It would of course be simplistic to say that the solution would be an epic battle.

Not only would it it be obvious that Camelot would have to be retaken by force but it does not put into account the five year plan the production team and writer’s have with this series, and how it ties into the overall legendary tales that the show is inspired from.

Arthurian legend is of course heavy with scenes and ideas that will forever resonate with the public and one of the largest of these is the idea of the Sword in the Stone, the sword that only the true king can remove. The concept is intertwined with the finale’s plot in such a way that Arthur doubts himself and his right to be the king of Camelot.

It is this that makes the plot go beyond a simple tale of a castle under siege being reclaimed from the bad guys into an epic installment of the series as Merlin steps up to lead and guide Arthur like the king and king’s sorcerer that we have known since childhood.

Consequently this also leads to the confrontation between Arthur and Morgana, a meeting of brother and sister who fell on opposite sides of a conflict while both trying to escape the shadow of a father who was both villain and hero. As both Arthur and Morgana realize, both son and daughter have more aspects of their father’s personality then either would want to believe.

On the flip side of the coin is the heavy use of slow motion battle sequences which truth be told made every character look rather silly, like they were posing with swords for some renaissance festival’s promotional booklet. I could understand a few of the bigger and dramatic blows being slowed down as this is television after all and in a real battle things would be moving fast and furiously so this is done for the audience at home to take in the scope of what is happening, but when it is every blow it just becomes tiresome and boring.

Katie McGrath has been quoted as saying that the end of this series leads nicely into the start of series five, so one is left to wonder what is in store by the strange appearance of a baby dragon Merlin had saved earlier on. Did the baby dragon who appeared at Morgana’s greatest time of need give Morgana the power to speak to dragons as Merlin does? A new kind of magic? Or did he just heal her to fight another day?

Time will tell.


McGrath Talks Merlin Finale and Beyond

Katie McGrath has gone from King’s ward to evil sorceress over the course of the last four years of BBC’s Merlin and this year has been spectacular as the prefect foil form King Arthur and his servant/secret protector Merlin.

Recently McGrath talked to Digital Spy about this Saturday’s Merlin finale The Sword in the Stone Part Two, and also some teasing comments about the already commissioned series five of the hit show:

“The ending is the basis of one of the main myths, not one that everybody’s familiar with, but it’s setting up a very powerful and pertinent myth that runs through the Arthurian legend.”

On the series ending cliffhanger and what is beyond in series five:

“[The ending of series four] sets up season five so brilliantly.”

“Before, you were left on this lovely finishing note, because we didn’t know whether we’d be commissioned [for another series], We know that we’re doing series five, so now this is just going to make you want it to be September next year and the start of the new season!”

On if Merlin has a future beyond the fifth series in the Autumn of 2012:

“It all depends on how [the production team] spin out season five and the legend, there’s so many different interpretations [and] so many stories that they haven’t told.

You want it, whenever it ends, to end on the right note. If that takes seven seasons, if that takes ten seasons… you want to tell the story properly.”

The Merlin series four finale, The Sword in the Stone Part Two, can be seen Saturday, 24th December at 8PM on BBC One.


Merlin: The Darkest Hour Part Two Review

Honor is a thing that is very prominent in Arthurian legends but something that is lacking in our modern society if it ever existed at all. The Darkest Hour’s conclusion was a tale all about honor and sacrifice and also the other side of the coin, where greed and selfishness rule.

When we last Merlin he seemed as good as dead but knew he would be all right in the end, the name of the show is his after all and we could all quickly imagine how a Camelot without it’s dynamic duo of Arthur and Merlin would fall. However that did not mean that the rest of the outcome was so transparent.

Except it was…

But it also wasn’t…

Another fact we all knew is that when the group of brave knights reached The Isle of the Blessed that it most likely would not be Arthur or Merlin that would end up sacrificed to close the veil. As stated above it was hard to see the show going forward without either of the two, even if they were somehow brought back after an absence. But as far as a fodder for sacrifice went Lancelot would not have been my first choice.

Lancelot’s knowledge of Merlin’s powers made for a refreshing change from the cloak and dagger business of him remaining in hiding while Uther was the main man in charge for the last three seasons. It was also a release for the fictional character Merlin’s psyche I’m sure as really how much can one person keep something like that bottled up before growing a bit tired of it if not a little bitter as well?

Positive’s did abound though with Morgana being aware of Emrys (Merlin’s) existence as well as what seems a come back of sorts for Uther in the cards next week. The only thing I am hoping is that Agravaine’s deception does not become an overused concept that actually ends up hurting the franchise by repetition the way that Merlin hiding his powers from Uther became or Morgana’s similar role in previous years as the evil inside Camelot’s gates. To do something once in awhile for effect or when it serves the story’s is fine. To do so every outing to the point it is grating is quite another.

So far we have seen a very positive step forward for all concerned here and I await to see what happens over the course of the remaining episodes as we are once again led into the wonderful family fantasy Merlin has become.