MERLIN: “Le Morte d’Arthur”
Here is my live-recap for Merlin 1×13, edited with comments.
- Hunting. Didn’t we already see this scene in the unicorn episode? Arthur questions, “Do you have any natural gifts, Merlin?” Hee. We hear a growling. Agh! It’s a cobra monster with a cheeta body, and it’s huge. All the men flee.
- Gaius says it’s the “Questing Beast.” King Giles says it’s an old wives tale, then says “We must kill it.” Hee. Gaius argues that it’s an omen, like what he saw the night the king’s wife passed away. The king is in major denial. Gaius explains that the beast is really deadly, and it only takes one bite. There’s no cure.
- Morgana wakes up after a nightmare/ omen dream. She looks very disturbed.
- Meanwhile, Arthur gives a speech to his knights, and they are preparing to go. Morgan runs out, crazed, and says he can’t face it. Arthur is less than understanding. It seems that her sight is getting stronger.
- The knights enter a cave, looking for the Questing Beast. Merlin uses his magic against the monster, and kills it pretty easily. But Arthur was already bitten. Uh oh. Merlin runs off to find a cure. He tells Gaius, “He can’t die. It is my destiny to protect him … Gaius, he’s my friend.” Then he does that dark Willow thing, where he absorbs a spell book. Doesn’t work.
- Oh, King Giles sobs as his son’s body is taken into the castle. See, he really does have a heart.
- Merlin goes to visit the dragon to beg for help. The dragon says that there’s still time to save Arthur. The dragon says that it will not be easy: “And Merlin, the young Pendragon must live, no matter what the cost.” he gives him directions … blah blah blah. Eventually, Merlin must reach a lake.
- Gwen nurses Arthur, and tells him that he’s not going to die. “Because I know that one day, you will be king. A greater king than your father could ever be … For the love of Camelot, you have to live.” Awww. Hints of a little love connection, perhaps?
- In a less optimistic mood, Giles tells Gaius, “I don’t believe in miracles.”
- Arthur reaches the lake, with a dock and little boat. I think it’s the same one that Anne of Green Gables sank in. When he reaches the other side, Nimueh is waiting. Awesome. She says, “Arthur was never supposed to die at my hand.” She goes on, but I missed dialogue. Agh. Basically, she can’t give back life for nothing. Similar to the rules for magic in the Buffyverse. There’s always a cost. Arthur says he’ll do anything [he's a big fat liar]. In turn, she gives him the cup of life. Arthur needs to drink from the holy grail to live.
- Merlin makes it back to castle and gives the drink to Gaius. Ooh, cute little Arthur and Gwen moment. Arthur: “What was it you said? Something about the man I am inside.” Hee. I like it.
- Merlin is less than happy. What price will he pay? So confused. That’s what I get for searching internet while watching. Bad blogger. Uh oh, crone goes into Gaius’s room. Morgana wakes in another nightmare. Merlin wakes the next day. Did Gaius die?
- Nope. Merlin’s mother was the hooded lady. She was the price. Merlin says that he bargained his life, not his mother’s. I don’t think it works that way, honey. Watch some television–you never get to choose.
- Merlin goes down to talk to the dragon. The idiot finally picks up on the dragon’s personal motivations. Hello. Merlin goes a little overboard: “You will never be released! For what you’ve done, you will never see the light.” Put the blame where it lies, Merlin! Nimueh and Merlin are much more to blame. The dragon just did what Merlin BEGGED for him to do, and gave him the option. It was Merlin who chose to leap before he looked, and not think of the consequences. And Nimueh who actually performed the magic. The dragon is deservedly upset to be told he’ll rot in the dungeon forever, but Merlin blocks its fire with his magic. The dragon and Nimueh both told Merlin that the price would be heavy, and Merlin went in knowingly. Merlin wants to blame everyone else for his decision, and takes no personal responsibility. He’s acting decidedly Uther-like. Hmph. This reminds me of similar story-lines on Smallville, Buffy, and Angel. There’s always a cost for magic, and there’s always a price for making a deal to prolong someone’s life.
- Merlin says goodbye to Arthur, but we all know he won’t die, so I can’t bother to care. I think even Merlin must know that he won’t die, as he has that whole grand destiny. He then moves on to say goodbye to Gwen: “You have such a good heart, Gwen. Don’t ever lose that.” Merlin sits at his mom’s sick bed. She is not in good shape. Merlin then notices that Gaius left him a note. Uh, oh. I sense a sacrifice. The letter states: “You are and always will be the son I never had.” Yep. He’s gonna volunteer to die instead of Merlin’s mom.
- Nimueh calls Gaius a traitor. She’s still bitter about Uther’s whole crusade against magic. Gaius is still surprisingly un-guilty about the slaughter of so many people. He’s sweet to Merlin, but I kinda don’t care if he gets killed. The time to pay for his sins may have finally come. Nimueh: “And you’re willing to give your life, Gaius, for the future they will give?” Gaius says “For Merlin, I will give my life.” Wow, he sure bonded with the annoying kid quickly.
- Merlin returns to the lake and manages to make it in time to see Gaius die. Well, actually he’s not dead yet. Nimueh: “The old religion does not care who dies … Come now, we are too valuable to each other to be enemies. Your childish tricks are useless against me.” Why are they making “old religion” bad? The ancient historian in me hates in when polytheism and “paganism” are automatically evil. I don’t like that. I like the characterization of the old religion in The Mists of Avalon. Anyways, Nimueh shoots some kind of fireball at Merlin. “Pity, together we could have ruled the world.” She sashays off in her tattered dress. Merlin stands back up, magically, and says ominously, “You should not have killed my friend.” Then he frakking kills Nimueh!!! But is she really dead? I’m not convinced. Merlin goes to Gaius dead body and cries and screams. Wait, he’s not dead! The old man tells Merlin,”You’ve mastered the power of life and death itself.” Hmm. This seems a little too good to be true. Merlin got away with being a total idiot, and murdering someone. Also, he will probably just continue to act in this reckless way, as he didn’t learn his lesson.
- The dragon screams, and Morgana wakes up scared. Hmmm.
Thoughts on the episode? Comment away.