Merlin, S4 Ep2 – The Darkest Hour, Part II


Previously on Merlin:  Morgause was a walking advertisement for carpeted floors; Morgana tore a giant hole between the worlds of the dead and the living;  misty skeletons turned Merlin into a popsicle.  Muuuuuhlin. *clang*


No no, go on without me. I'll just stay here. Unable to move. With my blanket for protection.

Merlin, unlike every other person who has encountered the Dorocha, is not dead.  He has, however, been turned into a very sad little kewpie doll.

Percival carries Merlin in what looks like a terribly uncomfortable position and the knights walk in slow motion to dump him on a horse in a still more uncomfortable position and send him back to Camelot with Lancelot.  Arthur gives him Sad Puppy Stare TM and they head off to the Valley of the Kings with Merlin desperately trying not to fall off the horse.  Meanwhile, the knights get way better music.  It’s all drummy and boomy.  They stop to rest and Gwaine sticks his hand into a bees’ nest, because Gwaine is stupid now.

Back in the Valley of the Kings, Lancelot carries Merlin to their camping place, inspiring legions of Lancelot/Merlin shippers (and on a more practical note, we know Colin Morgan is skinny, but is he made of sticks? The knights just toss him around like a football, it’s crazy).  As Lancelot washes his hands, a bunch of droplets rise from the water and women’s faces appear on them.  Lancelot side-eyes them and they’re like, “Hey, no, we’re totally nice magical creatures, you can trust us.”  For once a feminine magical creature is truthful and doesn’t try to kill them, and they heal Merlin and protect them both from the Dorocha.

Not having the benefit of hot brook spirits, the knights have to pass through the tunnels with all the Wildren.  Gwaine does that thing people do in horror movies where they break off from the rest of the group and stare off into the darkness because they want to be absolutely certain that, yes, that is the flesh-eating monster coming straight at them.  Sure enough, the Dorocha love the smell of stupid and come after him, but Percival pushes him to the ground and they make out.  We guess the people who built the sets didn’t take into account that Tom Hopper is about 60 feet tall, because once they’re in the tunnels he has to duck.  A wildren comes along, sniffs, ignores them, then decides Gwaine is his new best friend until Gwaine kills it.  Everybody’s like, “Dammit Gwaine, why are you so dumb,” but Arthur didn’t say anything about them hunting in packs, so maybe he’s the stupid one.  No, we’ll stick with Gwaine, since he’s the designated Merlin of the episode.  Watch out, Gwaine, he’s going to start throwing shit at your head!

Back in Camelot, Agravaine’s shutting the castle doors against the scared peasants.  Gaius asks Agravaine and his council what’s up with that, and Agravaine gives one of those explanations that’s perfectly reasonable and yet makes him look like a total dick.  Gaius is like, “Welp, all right, if letting them in means I can’t have my spaghetti bolognese for dinner, I suppose it’s just common sense,” but Gwen draws on her vast leadership experience as Arthur’s girlfriend and asks to address the council.  Fortunately, she makes a very good point— the people they’re keeping out have brought lots of stuff with them, so they’re not going to run out of food anytime soon.  Gaius is like, “Hooray, spaghetti bolognese is still on!” but Agravaine is pissed.

In the Valley of the Bubble Brook Spirits, Lancelot wakes up to Merlin fishing with a spear.  They have an adorable little conversation about how disobedient Merlin is that does nothing to discourage the Lancelot/Merlin shippers, and then they’re off to save Arthur’s ass.

I gave her an eyebrow. Bitches love eyebrows.

Agravaine rides off to stamp his little black boots and tell Morgana that Gwen’s being mean to him.  Morgana tells him about the dream she had in which Gwen is queen, and says she’d rather drown in her own blood than see that day.  I see someone’s been hanging out in the Merlin forums during her downtime.  DieGwenDie76, is that you?  Gwen takes care of Uther, who mumbles and chews on his own hair, and Agravaine comes up on her and tells her boobs that he’s super sorry and everything and would she please come to his chamber that evening so he can, uh, seek her counsel wink wink nudge nudge say no more?

Merlin and Lancelot ride along until they encounter what appears to be the Unabomber’s shack.  It’s full of dead animals, including the dead, frozen owner.  They decide to stay there that night, ignoring the dead dude, and Merlin lights a fire with magic, saying that he’s not entirely useless.  Lancelot gives him a look like, “Oh, I believe you.  That thing you did earlier with the moss and the handcuffs wasn’t useless at all.”  Morgana breaks into Camelot while Gwen goes to Agravaine’s chambers.  He pretends to listen to her advice, then turns into the creepy uncle who gives uncomfortable neck massages.  His guards walk her home and Morgana attacks them with a remarkably restrained smirk.

Knights.  Arthur’s looking rough.  It’s Elyan’s turn to pat him on the shoulder and tell him he’s awesome.  Buck up, Skippy!  Gaius goes to visit Uther and discovers Gwen isn’t there, then finds her passed out and not even slightly dead next to the guards.  Um, Morgana, we are totally big fans of your work and everything, but this seems half-assed.  We are disappoint.  Gaius, treating Gwen, says cold-blooded murder would be suspicious and that’s why she wasn’t killed outright.  Excuse you, Morgana wears black now.  She doesn’t need to hide her light under a barrel anymore.

In the Unabomber’s shack, Merlin and Lancelot talk about girls.  Lancelot claims he doesn’t think about Gwen anymore because Arthur’s the better man.  Richer, you mean.  He says unconvincingly, “Arthur loves her and she…is happy.”  In the night, all the fires go out and one of the Dorocha comes along, and while they’re running away Merlin calls for the Dragon.  Lancelot gives the same look we gave the first time we heard Merlin’s dragonlord voice, which is a cross between aroused, confused, and giggling like a little girl.  Along comes the Dragon to blast away all the Dorocha and tell them shit they already know.  Merlin and the Dragon talk about how Merlin has to sacrifice himself to save Arthur, and it’s going to be so sad with Merlin gone and the world will probably fall into ruin without him, all in front of Lancelot.  So let’s rank the knights of the round table by how much they love to sacrifice themselves.  Elyan— kinda.  Gwaine— sort of, as long as it doesn’t burn his hair.  Leon (not dead!)— more than a little, but not a lot.  Percival— who knows, he doesn’t get to speak words.  Arthur— a lot.  Lancelot— a lot a lot alot.  Five stars.  Bye, Lancelot.  We really liked you.

Knights.  Fun stinky feet jokes with Gwaine.  Poor Gwaine.  In previous episodes, he seemed smart enough to walk upright, but not now.  They hear noises, but fortunately it’s just Lancelot and Merlin.   Nobody asks why he’s the only person in the history of anything to live through being frozen by the Dorocha.  He and Arthur stand in front of each other for approximately a year because Merlin’s learned his lesson about trying to give Arthur hugs and Arthur really wants a hug but only knows how to hit people.  Tragedy.  Afterward the two of them watch over the baby knights like parents.  Arthur asks Merlin to look after Gwen, which is as bad as Gwen asking Lancelot to look after Arthur.  As a couple, we’d just like to say Arthur and Guinevere need to learn some diplomacy, because damn.  They’re the couple everybody hates at parties who’s always like, “Oh, your basil dip was actually all right this time!  I only spat it out twice,” and “It’s so interesting how you can still be nice to Jerry when he’s cheating on you with your sister.”  Cross the Pendragons off your invite lists, people.

I've done this with older women before, but not this old. Can we just...keep the lights off?

They arrive at the Isle of the Blessed and are immediately attacked by Wyvern.  Merlin turns away from them and does sexy Dragonlord talk and they fly away, although a few of them are naughty and come back for more.  Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin, and Gwaine approach the tear (which…um, we know it’s unlike us to find dick and/or vagina jokes in anything, but it really does look remarkably like…anyway).  Gwaine goes to attack her and gets knocked out, because he is stupid.  The Cailleach asks if Arthur’s prepared to give her what she wants, and beckons him closer.

Sad noble music.  Sad.  Very sad.  Merlin knocks him out with magic and prepares to sacrifice himself instead.  Sad music.  Ooooh sad, so sad.  But he spends too much time talking to the Cailleach; Lancelot smiles rakishly and walks into the vagina rift with his arms held out in the traditional “Come at me, bro” position like a boss.

Arthur walks back into Camelot in slow motion, and they have a slow motion funeral pyre as everyone cries in slow motion and sets his red cape on slow motion fire.  Seriously, slow motion, maybe after this episode you can sit a few out, let the other special effects get some time in the sun.  Arthur gives a very touching speech and holds Guinevere’s hand as she tells him they’re all dumb and Lancelot died for her, not Camelot.  Arthur looks like he doesn’t appreciate her making it All About Gwen very much either and lets her stand and cry in front of the fire by herself.

Morgana is pissed.  Dude, you’re the one who didn’t kill Guinevere when she was standing right in front of you.  Agravaine just wants to be a creepy uncle okay, he doesn’t want to go around killing people.  But whatever, new mission!  Find Emrys, exterminate!  Agravaine goes to ask Gaius if he’s ever heard of Emrys.  OH DEAR.  You are not very good at this sneaky evil thing, Agravaine.  Better give your black clothing back.


Next week:  the Merlin writers decide to shed the “family show” label and have an episode all about Merlin’s happy dreams:  Arthur tied to a spinning wheel with an apple in his mouth.