Le MorteD'Arthur... Don't worry; the rest of the episode is in English. Anyway, welcome to the series finale in all its epic glory. Here is where the awesome is happening, people. Oh yeah.
I - A forest. How... quaint and average for the opening of a series finale
Though the presence of Arthur, Merlin and a load of flappy-cloaked knights of Camelot does disturb the quaintness somewhat. They all seem very cautious. The camera angles are ominous. Obviously something bad is going to happen très sooneth.
One of the knights is holding a crossbow, but the angle made it look like a large rifle. I seriously just did a double take. Then I realised it was a crossbow.
Dammit, this is building up to a jump scare, isn't it?
There are some sounds in the distance like a creature roaring. It is very quiet though. Anyway, might as well take the time to show Arthur getting irritated at Merlin's hunting incompetence, this time by failing to hand Arthur a spear without dropping it.
ARTHUR Do you have any natural gifts, Merlin?
FINGER OF IRONY *continues to poke audience hard in the side*
Seriously, would you let up? Between this episode and the previous one I am getting a rather nasty bruise. Oh well, at least Merlin gets to insult Arthur back, before the creature starts roaring again. It sounds closer this time. You know, maybe it's because I watched it yesterday and therefore it is sort of fresh in my mind, but the roaring sounds an awful lot like the Krafayis from the Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor. Have we been recycling our sound effects, BBC?
OH HOLY CRAP JUMPSCARE! Knew it was coming. The creature leaps out into view and... hang on, give me a second why I try to work out what the scarf this thing is. Sort of a... giant snow leopard with the head of a cobra? Teh... what? Oh well, everyone seems pretty scared of it and it looks angry so...
RUN AWAAAAAAAY! (in slo-mo)
Seriously, Arthur, you had a spear and you were right next to it. Why didn't you just kill it?
And it killed Sir Bedevere. Complete with horrific scream.
Isn't Sir Bedevere one of the actual Knights of the Round Table? That might be an issue in the future.
(amusing note: my computer recognises the phrase 'Knights of the Round Table' and automatically corrects it to have capital letters. How awesome is that?)
ARTHUR AND MERLIN This is gonna suck.
OPENING CREDITS (maybe this is gonna suck for the characters, but it is going to ROCK for us)
II- Luckily Gaius knows what the what is up with that weird creature
It's called a Questing Beast. Weird name. Oh well, it's a weird creature. And it apparently foreshadows a time of great upheaval.
I love it when the show points out the foreshadowing for me.
ARTHUR Surely that's a myth
GAIUS Well so apparently were Griffins, Cockatrices-that-aren't-cockatrices, Unicorns, Avancs, Bastets and Wyverns. And sorcery and dragons are just common knowledge. Go figure
ARTHUR Sorry, what are Bastets and Wyverns
GAIUS You'll know soon enough
UTHER Kill it
Is that your solution for everything? Oh well, Arthur isn't going to refuse. Off to prepare (via training montage to cheesy music). But we stick with Gaius and Uther (probably because they can't really show what Merlin and Arthur are probably up to now). Gaius begs Uther not to ignore the omen, because he's seen it before, on the night Igraine died.
UTHER Oh no you din't.
Uther leaves. Gaius gives his best "bitchplz" face.
Later on- Merlin can haz sword? Gaius would rather give him advice on what to do about the Questing Beast, especially as its bite will kill you and there is no cure. I'm sure that plot point won't turn up again *shifty eyes* Merlin looks très worried.
And now the screen is on fire... Okay. Dragon, Merlin screaming, Merlin and Arthur running, dead!Arthur, Questing Beast...
GWEN This can't be good
GWEN Erm... hug?
III- If there is one thing that Arthur is good at, its pep talks.
Shame Morgana turns up in her nightdress to throw off his groove, screaming at Arthur not to go after the Questing Beast.
ARTHUR Morgana, go back to bed
But... it's the morning? Surely you should be telling her to be off to have breakfast or something.
Too traumatised to fight off Merlin, apparently, as she is quickly dragged back into Camelot.
ARTHUR Right, now that slightloy disturbing tangent is gone...
Off to the forest again. For some reason all the spears and crossbows (e.g. Long-range weapons of the type most sensible for hunting a dangerous animal) have been replaced by swords (e.g. short-range weapons designed for hand to hand combat with freaking humans which will mean you have to be closer to the beast and therefore in range of its deadly bite) *rolls eyes*
Luckily, The Questing Beast has left a trail of friggin' enormous footprints. Easy enough to follow. That or the sounds of it moving in the undergrowth.
Oh, look. A cave. That wasn't too hard. The knights split up into groups, one of which is Arthur and Merlin. Three guesses who is actually going to find the Questing Beast and the first two don't count. For a start, the skeletons all over the floor and echo-y hissing does not bode well
QUESTING BEAST HISSSSROAR! (translation: I'm right behind you, suckers!)
ARTHUR *pushes Merlin to safety*
The Questing Beast makes some very unusual but cool noises. Props to the sound department.
QUESTING BEAST *swipes at Arthur with claws, knocking him out*
Merlin does not like this and waves his torch around to distract the Questing Beast long enough to telekinetically lift Arthur's sword, cast teh blue magics from episode six on it and stab the Questing Beast with it. The result, dead Questing Beast.
MERLIN I knew that spell would come in handy in another episode. Well, the monster's dead within the first ten minutes of the episode, that was pretty easy, eh Arthur? ... Arthur?
MERLIN But it didn't bite you... *finds blood on Arthur's body* ARTHUR?
IV- Gaius' room. The implication being that Merlin and/or one of the knights (on Merlin's orders) carried Arthur all the way back. Which is sort of adorable
Unfortunately Arthur has been bitten and there is no cure. Gaius sends the knights away to tell the King.
MERLIN He cannot die! It is my destiny to protect him!
GREAT SLASH DRAGON Oh, now he pays attention to his destiny
He's so desperate, it's heartbreaking.
MERLIN We haven't done all the things we're meant to do
MERTHUR SHIPPERS *on the edge of their seats*
MERLIN Gaius... He's my friend
FANDOM *collective "awww"*
The King will be here any moment but that won't stop Merlin from speed-reading through every healing spell in his magic book. Unfortunately, as Gaius explains that none of them will work Uther's voice over is coming ever closer.
And the next few scenes are just heart wrenching. Uther desperate and pleading for Gaius to save Arthur then carrying him across the courtyard. Its some bloody beautiful directing and Anthony Head is acting his heart out, bless him. The music is no help, with its wailing-singer-herald-of-doom.
Damn, this episode is going to be hard to make funny.
V- Maybe the Great Dragon can help, though after the last episode I don't think he's gonna be pleased with Merlin
MERLIN I have failed in my destiny. Arthur was bitten by the Questing Beast and I don't want him to DIE!
GSD *really calm, for some reason* Does he still breathe?
MERLIN Erm... yeah, but I've tried all two healing spells in my magic book and they didn't work
GSD You do not know how to save him
MERLIN Would you shut it with the riddles for two bloody seconds and tell me what to do?
GSD Well, I could tell you what you have to do but it will not be easy...
MERLIN TELL ME GODDAMMIT!
GSD *rambles about the Old Religion for eternity* The Old Religion is the essence that binds all things together
So... Duct Tape?
MERLIN ALL THE WHILE YOU ARE RAMBLING ARTHUR IS DYING HERE!
GSD *ramble ramble* Isle of the Blessed *ramble ramble ramble*
MERLIN Thank you
Why do I get the impression that the Great Dragon is enjoying this far too much?
GSD Oh, by the way, Arthur has to live no matter what the cost
MERLIN Yeah, okay *leaves*
GSD That is going to come back to haunt him later, I can tell
Back in Gaius' room...
GAIUS Oh, hi there. Take this potion to Arthur to ease his passing
Two points: One- Gaius is very calm about giving up on Arthur and Two- was that implied euthanasia on a BBC Saturday evening primetime family show? Whatever the case, Merlin is having none of it. He's off to the Isle of the Blessed to save Arthur! Unfortunately, Gaius is pretty passionate about Merlin not going.
GAIUS There will be a price to pay, a life in return.
MERLIN I'm sorry, Gaius
I have no jokes. This is all too deep and sad.
Meh, at least Arthur has his shirt off whilst he is dying.
I have a question... If the bite of the Questing Beast means certain death, then why does it take so bloody long? Plot convenience, I guess.
VI- At least Gaius is helpful enough to supply Merlin with a map and a rabbit's foot to ward off evil spirits
GAIUS I don't believe in superstition
You're in the wrong show mate.
Merlin gallops off (on a horse... if he was just galloping on his own that would be weird. Unless he had some coconuts). Meanwhile, Arthur is in pain and Uther is looking very sad.
This is sort of the reverse of episode four, only less suggestive and more deep.
Why is it that unconscious, writhing, in-pain people can always be calmed by having their cheek stroked and told "ssh" by a close friend or loved one?
Heroic Merlin reaches the Isle of the Blessed, whilst the Great Dragon narrates the directions. It sounds like it is an awful way away but it can't be taking Merlin that long to get there. Either that or Arthur is taking forever to die.
Back to Arthur (this episode really can't decide which scene to stick to can it?) Gwen has turned up to look after Arthur so Gaius can get some rest and the writers can shoehorn in the first proper Arthur/Gwen moment of the series so far.
GWEN *secretly ogling Arthur's bare chest* You aren't going to die, Arthur. I'm telling you (in a slightly patronising voice) because one day you will be king. A better King than Uther anyway. That's what keeps me going
And that is the only reference to Gwen's trauma in the last episode that we will get for a pretty long time.
GWEN *rambles on about Arthur being a great king*
I think everyone in Camelot might be a little psychic, I mean; everyone is always going on about how Arthur is going to be a great King and how awesome everything in Camelot will be then.
Uther isn't so sure, and I don't think the people of Camelot standing in the courtyard with candles, all staring up at him are doing any good for his moral.
VII- The Isle of the Blessed, also called the Isle of the ridiculous amounts of mist
MERLIN Can someone turn down the smoke machine? Seriously, I can't see a bloody thing
SMOKE MACHINE BLOKE Sorry
That's better. Ah, a boat with a bell and a flag that requires magic to get it to move. The bell reminds me of when plague victims and stuff would walk around with a bell on a stick as a warning.
Random note: The Isle of the Blessed should be Avalon, right? I mean, I think that is what the writers were going for. The issue there being that the lake it is in the middle of is unnamed and there is already a Lake of Avalon in this show and that was where Merlin chucked Excalibur. But that isn't really an issue here.
The Isle of the Blessed is... Deserted. And creepy.
NIMUEH Hello, Merlin
Is her voice just automatically seductive or is she doing it on purpose?
MERLIN You! I thought you had it in for me for killing your clay baby... And Arthur and Uther and Camelot in general...
NIMUEH I have what are commonly known as Heel-Face Revolving Door Motivations. And I got over the clay baby. And I'm creepy.
MERLIN Works for me. But you can't be who the Dragon meant, I mean... You're evil!
NIMUEH Weirder things have happened. Besides, you and Arthur are kind of important so I had to stop trying to kill you.
WRITERS *hope that hand wave will satisfy the fandom*
NIMUEH And now I'm going to help save Arthur. Heh, irony ;)
Her eyes are a really creepy blue
NIMUEH Somebody's gonna have to die, you know
MERLIN I'll happily give me life for Arthur's
FANDOM *more collective 'awww's*
NIMUEH I laugh at your naivety. *reaches off screen, grabs cup from props man and brings it back on screen* The Cup of Life. If Arthur drinks water from the cup he will live
IT'S THE FRIGGIN HOLY GRAIL! But anyway, with Nimueh nothing can be as simple as just conjuring water into the cup itself or getting some from a tap. Oh no, it has to be dramatic. So she magically makes it rain for just enough time to fill the cup.
MERLIN And now I'm wet. Was that really necessary?
NIMUEH No. I just wanted to make you wet and uncomfortable for teh Lols. *pours water from the cup into a interestingly shaped container then randomly grabs Merlin's arm for no reason other than to be creepy* The bargain is struck. I hope it pleases you
MERLIN You are way too creepy *leaves*
NIMUEH *watches, creepily* Oh. I'm evil.
I'm pretty sure she evil laughed right after the cut to the next scene.
VIII – Camelot. Night... No wait, day... No wait, Merlin riding towards Camelot... No wait...
Gaius seems very surprised to see Merlin.
MERLIN Water. Cup of Life. Arthur. Hurry up.
GAIUS Whose life did you bargain?
MERLIN Don't worry! Everything's going to be alright!
Well, that's a lie and both Gaius and Merlin know it. In Arthur's room, they give Arthur the water just in time for Uther to turn up
UTHER And what the heck is that?
GAIUS It's a tincture, sire. Totally just an average, non-magical cure
Gaius and Merlin leave Uther and Arthur alone. I think Merlin is waiting for the shouting-at of a lifetime
MUSIC *weeping angel scarechord*
MORGANA'S ARM *reaches out and grabs Merlin*
AUDIENCE GAH! WEEPING ANGEL! No, its only Morgana
MERLIN GAH! Morgana!
MORGANA Beware, Merlin. This is only the beginning
Well, the episode is only half way through. There's no way it was going to be that easy.
DIRECTOR *files scene in head for use again in series three... In an awesome way. Seriously*
IX – Well, if Gaius did give Merlin a yelling-at we shall never know, because right now he's watching as Arthur wakes up from his bought of close-to-deadness
And Uther wakes up as well
ARTHUR *adorable confused face*
MERLIN *in Gaius' room. Pacing*
GAIUS Arthur's alive.
MERLIN *adorable happy face*
FANDOM (ESPECIALLY MERTHUR SHIPPERS) *collective 'AWWWWW!'*
DAMMIT! ARTHUR'S GOT A SHIRT ON NOW! Luckily we know he is fine because he is being just as sarcastic as ever.
ARTHUR I think there must be someone watching over me and keeping me from harm
FINGER OF IRONY *poke. poke. poke.*
Uther is all smiley. It's nice.
GWEN *turns up just as Uther leaves*
ARTHUR Hey... You were talking to me (why am I reminded of a slightly drunk/hungover person by Bradley's acting here?)
GWEN Oh crap
ARTHUR You stroked my forehead
GWEN I was... tending to your fever. I was just talking. I don't remember what I said
ARTHUR Yes you do
Wow. Arthur's just come back from almost being dead and even he can see the hole you're digger Guinevere.
GWEN Gah, this is so awkward *leaves*
There's more where that came from next series.
But of course we still have a third of an episode to go and things can't be all fine and shiny and Merlin knows it. As a storm rages outside Camelot (they do have an awful lot of storms, don't they?) a hooded figure makes its way inside, finding its way to Gaius' room and opening the door with a hand covered in blisters and sores.
MORGANA *wakes up screaming... again*
X – The next morning Merlin wakes up and stares at that rabbit's foot for a second before bounding happily downstairs
MERLIN Hey, Gaius I'm alive... Oh crap, what's happened?
Despite Gaius' warnings he approaches the cloaked figure (who has collapsed on the floor) and sees that it's his mother, Hunith. Either that rabbit's foot bounced the balancing death off Merlin onto her or Nimueh is feeling really vindictive (I'm guessing the latter).
MERLIN What's happened to her?
GAIUS She's gravely ill
What? Covered in all those boils and sores, I never could have told. Merlin, understandably, is pretty desperate for Gaius to cure Hunith but the illness is deadly. I think Gaius is pretty sure this is down to Nimueh being vindictive as well.
But Merlin is determined to save his mother and runs down to the Great Dragon for answers. And he is not happy
GSD Well, you did say you would do anything to save Arthur. I did warn you that the "price to pay" thing would come back to haunt you.
Yeah, this is where we get the impression that our friend Sparky is not as pleasant a mentor as he first seems and is pretty much determined to do anything to make sure Arthur becomes King and magic returns to Camelot.
MERLIN Oh, I get it. You just want a free ticket out of here and you made me murder my own mother to do that
MERLIN Well, you can forget about being released then
Oh dear. Sparky is not pleased with that. Cue fire-breathing. Luckily Merlin is able to block it with a magical shield and tell Sparky that he won't ever see him again before leaving.
With one of his two mentors now out of the window, it is time for a sit down and a nice, quiet, sad chat with Gaius. Merlin wants to go back to the Island to save his mother and is making it damned clear that Gaius isn't going to change his mind. Cue speech about magic and how good Gaius has been to Merlin and how much he has taught hm.
MERLIN I need to say goodbye to Arthur.
MERTHUR FANS *teary, but still happy because Merlin cares so much about Arthur*
OBLIVIOUS!ARTHUR *is oblivious* So, yeah, I killed that Questing Beast then. Amazing. I must have retrieved my sword and stabbed it whilst unconscious. Oh, say thank you to Gaius for saving me, could you.
MERLIN Good lord, you're a prat. And a royal one
Yay! First episode callbacks!
ARTHUR Are you ever going to change, Merlin?
MERLIN No. You'd get bored
Oblivious!Arthur thinks that Merlin is trying to resign
MERLIN No. I'm happy to be in your service 'till the day I die
OBLIBIOUS!ARTHUR *seems to realise that something is up, even if he doesn't know what* Sometimes I think I know you, Merlin. Other times...
MERLIN Well, I know you. Just... don't be a prat *leaves*
OBLIVIOUS!ARTHUR Well... That was odd
HALF THE FANDOM *bawl eyes out*
OTHER HALF *eat popcorn like the heartless bastards they are*
MERTHUR FANS *memorise entire scene and file it away in memories for future reference *
And now Gwen is with Merlin's mother. She gets everywhere, doesn't she?
GWEN Oh, Gaius went to go and get some supplies
... That isn't suspicious at all.
More sadness as Merlin tells Gwen never to lose her good heart, then she leaves Merlin alone to promise his dying mother that he will make her well again.
Goddamit. This is making me cry. Especially as Merlin and Hunith appear to be going through two different conversations with one narrative, each convinced that they are going to die and promising they'll see each other again one day.
Why can't people on television just tell each other stuff properly?
XI – The next day.
Gaius is missing, but he's left a letter.
MERLIN This can't be good
LETTER I'm off to the Isle of the Blessed instead of you, k? Fulfil your destiny *drinks coffee* DON'T come after me.
MERLIN Screw that! *rides off to rescue Gaius*
WORRIED!MORGANA *watching from window of watchingness... worriedly*
XII – Back on the Isle of the Creepy- erm, I mean 'Blessed' *hides from creepy Nimueh
Nimueh has a thing for offscreen teleportation, doesn't she? Must be a villain thing.
NIMUEH Hi, bitch. Long time, no see. I'm guessing you want help again, because that went so well last time what with Igraine dying and Uther going all genocide-y on anything related to magic.
GAIUS Oh shut it. You're being far too vindictive so now you're going to take a just price for saving Arthur
NIMUEH *evil laugh* Gaius the hero? Well isn't that hilarious? Nah, I don't think so, traitor.
Her eyes are really far too blue.
GAIUS Merlin. Arthur. Destiny. *bitchplz face*
NIMUEH Works for me.
And we cut to Merlin, making it to the Isle of the Blessed just in time to hear Nimueh casting a spell of... some kind. No idea what but she's holding the Holy Grail (Cup of Life. Whatever) and Gaius is looking very dead in a heap on the ground.
MERLIN NO! STOP!
NIMUEH Too late bi-atch. Don't worry; your mother is safe now
Wrong answer, because now angry!Merlin is very, very angry. I think this calls for a shouting match!
NIMUEH THE OLD RELIGEON DOES NOT CARE WHO LIVES AND WHO DIES!
MERLIN STOP SHIFTING THE BLAME! THIS IS YOU'RE FAULT FOR BEING EVIL AND VINDICTIVE!
NIMUEH You forgot 'creepy'
MERLIN Yeah, that too
NIMUEH Oh, come on. We are too valuable to each other to be enemies
MERLIN If that was a chat up line (and I think it was) then no way. Besides, I'm taken
NIMUEH I can help Arthur become King
But Merlin is having no more of her bullshit. Time for a magic battle! This is very reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
NIMUEH I don't think so. Priestess of the Old Religion 'pwns Warlock-in-Training *shoots fireball at Merlin*
FIREBALL *hits a wall which FREAKING EXPLODES*
NIMUEH *conjures another fireball-of-doom* You should join me
MERLIN Let me think about i-NO.
NIMUEH *sigh* So be it *throws fireball*
FIREBALL *hits Merlin*
MERLIN *flies backwards, hits the ground and is obviously in pain*
NIMUEH *struts over* Pity. Together we could have ruled the world. *walks off to leave Merlin to die* That was disappointingly easy. So much for the greatest warlock ever to have lived.
MERLIN *eyes open*
Then he stands up and gives the most epic death-glare ever.
MERLIN You should not have killed my friend
NIMUEH *turns round in slo-motion looking smug*
And then Merlin summons FREAKING LIGHTNING from the sky to strike Nimueh and she FREAKING EXPLODES!
FANDOM *flock to the internet to complain about the effect used*
WHO CARES ABOUT THE EFFECT? SO WHAT IF IT LOOKED TERRIBLE, HE EXPLODED HER WITH LIGHTNING! HOW IS THAT NOT SEVERAL KINDS OF AWESOME?
And then it started raining. Which is always the downside of summoning thunderclouds and lightning to destroy your enemies. Merlin runs across to Gaius' body, but unfortunately he appears to be dead.
And, right on cue:
MERLIN NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO! *weeps*
GAIUS Ow. Earpain.
MERLIN Gaius? Teh scarf?
GAIUS What just happened?
MERLIN Killed Nimueh. Balanced death's books
GAIUS Awesome. Now can you stop this blasted rain?
And they both laugh and the soundtrack is triumphant (blimey Colin Morgan's legs are long) :D
XIII – Unfortunately the Great Dragon is less than pleased
ANGRY!GSD MERLIN! JUST YOU WAIT! I'LL BE THE BIG BAD OF THE NEXT SERIES, YOU'LL SEE! MERLIN! *ROARS*
MORGANA *wakes up, gasping this time, not screaming*
SOUNDTRACK *EPIC ominous chanting*
MORGANA This is not good...
Seriously. THAT is how you end your series. Honestly, just watch it, text alone can not do it justice it is awesome. Or maybe I am just weird and easily impressed but damn if the fandom was on the edge of their seats praying for the next series when this aired and I'm rambling and will shut up now.
But don't worry people...
MERLIN WILL RETURN
And has done. Twice. Because I am so bloody slow and Youtube is so bloody useless. But hopefully- with time, DVD availability and a sprinkling of teh magics- The Amusing Reviews shall also return. However, before I get back to Merlin I have three episodes of Sherlock to review and I'll try to get those done before the next series in the Autumn, so long as Doctor Who hasn't turned me into a completely incoherent wreck.
Whether I will review every single episode of series' 2 and 3 remains to be seen. The slightly more serious tone and the tear-jerker-ness of episodes such as "The Lady of the Lake" and "The Fires of... Gah, I cannot be bothered to look up the spelling" may make them hard to review. But hey, series 3 means Gwaine and I'll be damned if I can't get some funny jokes based around him.
In the meantime, thank you very much indeed for reading and for reviewing this fic. If you spotted anything that I missed or have some observations that you think should make their way into the Amusing Reviews of the next two series, feel free to note them down in a review or PM me... Private Message, that is, not Prime Minister.
This has been the Amusing Reviews for Merlin, Series One.