Merlin, S4 Ep3 – The Wicked Day

So far, most everyone I know has watched this episode but me, and my pokes around the internet have been met with a wall of tears and I-can’t-evens and All-the-Feelings.  I am not an All the Feelings kind of person, so if it provokes even Some of the Feelings or maybe just distracts me from Bejeweled Blitz, I’ll consider it a job well done.  I don’t think it’s a secret that this fourth season is much better than the previous three, which is gratifying because you want the things you like to be well-regarded, but it’s really hard to make fun of things that are good.  Luckily, it wouldn’t be Merlin without a heavy dose of cheese, so there’s no real danger of my favorite silly show crossing over into the land of light and goodness.

We open right into a carnival in Camelot.  Jugglers and confetti and dudes doing somersaults off of other dudes’ shoulders.  Merlin is always on the lookout for new cheerleading moves, so he’s hanging out the window watching.  Arthur learned how to do a no-hands Scorpion the last time he was at cheerleading camp, so he’s not impressed.  Also, it’s his birthday and he wanted Chuck E. Cheese, so he’s in the middle of a very long temper tantrum.

In the Great Hall, everybody’s doing flips and juggling and unpacking for the carnival.  The guy I only recognize as the killer from the first episode of Sherlock because he looks like Peter Pettigrew comes upon some guy searching through a giant trunk for a present for Arthur.  Luckily, Peter Pettigrew ratface guy has the gift:  a box full of knives.  Aw, he knows just how to cheer Arthur up!

Up in the Chamber of Daddy Issues, Arthur’s talking to Uther, who’s speaking normally even though his hair is still out of control, about court business.  Uther remembers it’s Arthur’s birthday, and Arthur is all, “Aw, shucks, Pa,” but really Uther only remembers because he’s got the date circled in red with “Happy Genocide Day!!!!!!” stickers all over it.

Last year a vibrating throne, and now this. Merlin, you shouldn't have.

Firebreathers!  Tumblers!  There are at least TEN people in the great hall!  What a magnificent celebration!  Ratface asks for a volunteer, then just walks up to Arthur.  Not really a volunteer, but okay.  There’s a big spinning wheel with grips and straps on it, and Arthur just hops on up and holds onto the grips with a big smile on his face.  Somebody has done this before.  Ratface calms Arthur and says he never misses his target, then stuffs an apple into Arthur’s mouth.  Seriously, is this not like Arthur’s best day ever?  I do not even know how Merlin is going to top this present next year.

Ratface throws a few knives that miss, and a final one that we’re supposed to assume is an assassination attempt I guess.  Merlin slows down time and the knife goes into the apple, and Ratface takes a bow, so…it was supposed to do that?  Clapping, clapping.  Percival has this hilarious Mary Kate/Ashley Olsen duck look on his face during the entire clapping sweep-over.  Arthur eats the apple (so happy to be tied up and gagged, our Arthur!) and Ratface tells the guy with the weird smushed face that the sedative in the apple will start to take effect soon.  Ooooh, double trickery.

Later, Arthur (wearing the brown coat we haven’t seen for a few seasons!  Welcome back, brown coat!) stumbles into his chambers all drunky, talking about how he wasn’t scared because he is so much v. v. manly warrior person.  He decides to go back out and talk to his father, but Merlin strongly discourages him because his trousers are around his ankles.  That’s one of Merlin’s lesser-known spells.  It takes Arthur about ten minutes to pull them up and Colin Morgan keeps an eye on Bradley James’s bum very intently the entire time.  Hate to see him leave, love to watch him go.

Arthur wanders out into the hallway.  My screencapping software has an orgasm and lovingly captures every single moment.  He goes into Uther’s chambers, where the king has fallen asleep with his cup in his hand.  But lo!  Ratface has somehow killed the guards, steals a sword, and sneaks up behind Arthur.  Arthur sees him in a reflection and swings his sword, but he’s so drunk Ratface beats him easily.  Uther stops him.  Fight scene!  Uther and Ratface go at it and finally Ratface falls.  Uther takes like half an hour to turn the sword around and bring it down with both hands when it would have been just as effective to hit him in the throat with it, but he had to make sure Ratface had time to pull a dagger out and stab him in the chest.  Uther falls and Arthur catches him.  He calls for the guards again and suddenly, Bradley James is an awesome actor.  Not that he’s ever been bad, despite some William Shatner-esque line readings and eyebrow-acting, but the fourth season is basically his, especially this particular moment.

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