She’s back, she’s bad, she’s got a plan to drive Uther mad! That’s right, [[Merlin (TV Series)|Merlin]]‘s returned for a long over due third series, and Morgana’s playing bad girl this series.
A bit like Nina Dobrev in Vampire Diaries, Katie McGrath finally gets to turn to the dark side. And it makes Merlin ten times better than last series (yeah, early days, I know). I checked, and we’ve been waiting for Morgana to turn bad in this show since November 2008!
Seriously though, it feels like Merlin’s been gone for too long, so tonight’s return felt like seeing old friends again. And to that end, there were some gently comic scenes between Arthur (Bradley James) and Merlin (Colin Morgan) and their slightly old-married-couple dynamic.
When we caught up with them, they were searching for Morgana. After a minor skirmish, they found the bedraggled Lady and brought her home to Camelot. No sooner was she back within the castle walls than she’s giving secret evil smirks when the others aren’t looking and planting Mandrake roots under Uncle Uther’s bed.
Predictably, Uther (Anthony Head) starts to freak out. He has a genuinely frightening moment when a hand clasps him from inside a well – and looks in to discover his dead wife hanging there. So he drops her, because she’s dead. Later, he’ll see the ghost of a child sorcerer that was put to death during his purges of the old religion. And because it’s Uther, it’s hard to feel sorry for him.
Morgana cements her new bad girl credentials when she stabs a guard and pitches him off the battlements. But the guard refuses to play along and survives the stabbing and the fall. So she just poisons him instead.
Merlin, suspecting something (maybe he caught Morgana’s unsubtle wicked grinning at the banquet?), follows Morgana to a forest where she’s meeting her sister Morgause. Except it’s a bit of a trap. What’s surprising is that Merlin flees rather than
a) asking why Morgana is betraying Uther/trying to appeal to her reasonable side, or
b) battling Morgause with magic
I suppose it was the heat of the moment or something. The bad girls bind him with magic chains and leave him there for the giant man-eating forest scorpions to kill him. That scene had a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it. Try as he might, Merlin couldn’t spell away the chains, but he could hold off the scorpions. Finally he lets out a raging yell and summons the dragon. Yes, the Great Dragon.
It’s an explosive start to the series, and there’s no way of telling whether Merlin’s still in danger – this time at the claws of the dragon. And Morgana’s still at large – I like the fact that she’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing, though that can’t last forever. Though what she’s done has propelled Arthur into the position of temporary monarch, even if he doesn’t want to recognise that fact. So more responsibility for Arthur might nudge him closer to being the legendary king.
As for Merlin – for the moment he seems outmatched by stronger magic. I wonder how he’ll deal with that or if he’ll work on making his magic more powerful throughout the series?
What did you guys think of tonight’s episode?