Merlin – Series 1

Episode 10:  Moment of Truth

This is the episode where we knew we really, really loved Arthur.  Not because he’s all sweet and noble and goes after Merlin to help him out, but because of one thing:  sticking his feet in Merlin’s face.

Merlin’s mother, Hunith, is in a bit of a bind because these dudes keep coming through her town, Ealdor, and taking all their food and beating on people.  She lives just outside Camelot’s borders, but she comes to Uther anyway because she’s not getting any help from her own king.  Uther’s sympathetic, but he doesn’t want to undermine the truce they have with this other kingdom.  Merlin decides to leave with her and try to help her out the next time the mean dudes come into town, so he says goodbye to everyone.  Gwen and Morgana decide to come with him, and that night while they’re camping, Arthur shows up out of nowhere to be gruff and manly and pretend he’s totally only there to make sure Merlin doesn’t accidentally cut his own hands off with his sword.

Ready for a fightWhen they get to Ealdor, Arthur tries to get all the villagers together and teach them how to fight back against the bullies.  He’s very inspiring and everything, but they’re really terrible and he knows they’re going to get their asses beat.  Merlin’s childhood friend, Will, isn’t too happy that Merlin has found a new dude to hang out with and is all jealous ex-boyfriend about it.  He knows about Merlin’s magic, and asks Merlin to use it to save the town.  So while everyone’s getting their asses beat, as predicted, Merlin creates a whirlwind thing and it drives all the bad guys away.  Arthur sees and is about to call shenanigans, but Will gets shot with an arrow and, as he’s dying, he takes the blame for the magic.

The best parts of this episode occur in the interactions between Merlin, Morgana, Arthur, and Gwen.  We see the very first beginnings of Gwen and Arthur together, when she scolds him for being a jerk about Merlin’s mother’s cooking and he says she’s right.  Morgana and Merlin are good friends.  Merlin and Arthur are close enough that for the first time, Merlin tells him about his childhood.  The harmony between the four of them is very sweet.  Savor it.  You won’t see it again.

Episode 11:  Labyrinth of Gedref

Die for youWhenever you hear Merlin referred to as “the gay unicorn show,” this episode is the reason.  And a good, good reason it is.  Arthur and Merlin are out “hunting,” or, you know, whatever excuse Arthur can make to get away from Camelot for a while, when they see a unicorn.  It lets Merlin near enough to touch but Arthur comes along and kills it.  He’s all proud of it at first, but when the kingdom starts turning to crap, he realizes he has to fix it.  Well, Merlin realizes Arthur has to fix it and goes about convincing Arthur, which takes some doing.  A sorcerer named Anhora gives him a bunch of tasks that question his nobility, his generosity, and his humility, which as we know is not exactly Arthur’s strong suit.  Finally he sets Arthur off to the Labyrinth of Gedref, intending for Merlin to follow him so they can complete the final task:  they have to choose which cup the iocane powder is in figure out which cup is poisoned, and both cups have to be drained.  Arthur, in a reversal of episode 4, combines the cups and drinks the poison.  Merlin flips out, but Anhora is a troll and is like “Lol jk n00b, he’s not dead, he just had to prove he would die for you.”

The kingdom goes back to normal, and Merlin and Arthur go out and bury the unicorn’s horn.  The unicorn comes back to life, but won’t come anywhere near Merlin and Arthur, which begs the question:  what did they get up to in the Labyrinth after Anhora left?

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