Merlin: Arthur’s Bane, Part 1 (501)

This is to be Merlin‘s final season.  There could be much to look forward to, but unfortunately I read comments from the UK viewers, who’ve already finished the series.

King Arthur and Queen Guinevere stand before the fabled Round Table.

King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and the Round Table

Season 5 opens three years after the end of season 4.   These have apparently been Camelot’s golden years, which I guess means this season will deal with the downfall of Arthur. I suppose it makes for more drama, but I’d like to have seen at least a smidgeon of paradise.

I don’t care for these “epic” two part season openers and finales that have become the norm for Merlin in the past three years.  But I suppose it’s fitting, given the darker course the series has taken.

This episode gets 2 starsI wasn’t really sure how to rate this episode until I realized the bad outweighed the good 2-to-1.  On the one hand, we had the appearance of the Great Dragon Kilgharrah, one of  SciFi Chick(s) 5 most fascinating characters.  On the other hand…

What the fuck, aliens?

Sir Gwaine and his men have been missing for 6 weeks.  Morgana has captured them and set them to work in the mines under Ismere (which allows for many gratuitous shirtless scenes of Gwaine and Percival).  Morgana’s key adviser, the sorcerer Ruadan, says “Arthur’s Bane” will bring about the downfall of Camelot; and the Diamir, buried underneath Ismere, is the key to telling them what Arthur’s Bane actually is.

Arthur sets off with the rest of his knights to rescue them, but their secret route is compromised, and Morgana’s men set upon them in a surprise attack.  Arthur is injured, so Merlin whisks him away from the battle.  The remaining knights retreat back to Camelot.  Gwen quickly figures out the betrayer is her serving maid, Sefa, Ruadan’s daughter, and sentences her to death for treason.

Alexander Vlahos plays the grown-up Mordred

The new Mordred, played by Alexander Vlahos

When Arthur and Merlin wander into a trap, they’re “rescued” by Mordred.  (“Rescued” being a relative term as Mordred is apparently working for Morgana.)  Sadly, Mordred is no longer played by Asa Butterfield (Hugo of Hugo), who at 15 is probably a little too young to become a knight.  But the producers did a good job of casting grown-up Mordred, giving him the same piercing blue eyes and tousled mop of hair.

The good:

  • Queen Guinevere looks awesome!  Plus she’s become an excellent adviser and an adept de facto ruler.
  • The new, larger round table makes its appearance.
  • Merlin seeks out the Great Dragon, although he’s not much help in telling Merlin what to do.

The bad:

  • The humorous scenes felt forced and out of place, given the gravity of the episode.
  • The previously mentioned alien, who heals Gwaine after Morgana’s guards beat him senseless.  Ok, maybe it’s not an alien, but it sure looked like one.
  • Precious little Gaius.
  • Overuse of the usually moving “heart-break significant event” music.  (I’m sure it’s called “[Something’s] Theme,” but I’ve not idea what.)
  • Commercials every 5 freaking minutes.  Granted, this is SyFy’s fault, not the series, but it was annoying nonetheless.
  • The supposedly valiant Knights of Camelot followed the order to “Run!” rather than fight.  Not once, but twice.

For the record, I’m guessing Arthur’s Bane isn’t a what, but a who; i.e., Mordred.

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One response to “Merlin: Arthur’s Bane, Part 1 (501)

  1. Pingback: Merlin: Arthur’s Bane, Part 2 (502) « SciFi Chick (s)

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