I really really wanted Merlin to answer Arthur's question about the girl at the end of this episode. It drives me nuts that they cut the scene there. Did he confirm Gwen's story in order to make nice with "the hollow queen" or did he deny it, and Arthur assume he was lying...? Or did he make his excuses and limp out of the room?
I make it a point not to complain about the writing of Merlin. I'm sure many of you have noticed. I only expect the standard that they've so far shown me, nothing more. Mainly because if I held them to a higher standard, I'd end up frustrated at the end of each episode instead of having enjoyed the episode. It's sort of like reading stories written by children - you don't expect a six or seven year-old to tell you a story with a complex plot and believable characters, because they're only six or seven... by the time they get to be 11 or 12 though, you might start asking them "okay, but WHY did that character do that" or "I thought this story was about a princess and a dragon fighting trolls, why are we suddenly in the middle of a bank robbery?" You know, stuff like that. It may sound insulting, but I don't mean it to be - Merlin's writers are the TV show equivalent of six and seven year-olds... and I expect six and seven year-old quality. This year, I think maybe they've stepped it up to maybe even a ten-year old level...but they aren't at the stage where I'm going to start wanting more out of them (ie: the thirteen year-olds of Supernatural... once you hit your metaphorical teens, you are open for criticism.)
Okay, now that I've said all that, I will say that it does REALLY annoy me when TV writers cut away from a scene instead of showing us how the main issue in it is resolved. So, there, I think that kind of "convenient writing" solution is something I would even criticize a six year-old for.
On a completely different note: Okay, that line in that final scene with Arthur where he's like "Tell us about the girl, Merlin - and tell us why you're walking with a limp." and this is just after Merlin said, "there is no girl." ....did, um, anyone else's mind go to a very dirty place? No girl and your walking with a limp, eh.... Arthur might put those two facts together and still assume a romantic liaison is all I'm saying. I swear it's the glove scene all over again. Arthur already thinks Merlin is a crossdresser, I wouldn't put it past him to put two and two together incorrectly in this case as well...
Anyway, so, part of the reason I wasn't talking about Merlin is because I wanted to see how they resolved the whole Gwen storyline...that hasn't happened yet, though it looks like it's going to happen next week - which is wicked cool. I'll probably do another post then, because that episode looks EPIC. Also, that way I can talk about Gwen's storyline with ALL OF THE FACTS.
I do think that in this episode they DID manage to make me feel a bit of sympathy for Morgana...and I think Arthur feels sympathy for her too. Mind you, I think he always did. I think me and Arthur kind of agree about Morgana at this point, like "hey, maybe if you stop being a crazy revenge-seeking idiot for two minutes, you might notice that we actually care about you and would totally welcome you home and such as long as you stopped trying to kill everyone." Because, honestly, Arthur, I don't think, has ever actually done anything against Morgana except defended himself and his people. MERLIN has tried to kill her numerous times, but even those were arguably in self-defense. Except for that one time when he couldn't even go through with it... stupid damn Merlin.
I know a lot of people complained last episode about how the knights didn't leap to Merlin's defense when Gwen accused him of regicide and had him thrown in the dungeons...and yeah, I totally get that, but again, seven-ten year-old writers. It's true, it would have only taken a second to show some conflict on Gwaine or Leon's faces, but whatever... that would leave us nothing to write fics about afterward. That being said, I would love some more Merlin/Gwaine scenes. I absolutely love the way Gwaine loves Merlin. Part of me really wants a Gwaine magic reveal before we get an Arthur one.
I really do think the magic reveal is coming this year, because Merlin is getting more and more obvious with the magic, and also "revealing" it to more and more people who aren't Arthur. It's to Merlin's benefit, however, that Morgana doesn't know about it, so part of me does want him to keep it a secret for as long as he can - as long as Merlin is underestimated, he has the advantage. We see in this episode what happens when he's not underestimated and therefore specifically targeted... he just doesn't see it coming. Though, I think he suspected for a fair bit of the journey... especially when he realized that the boy wasn't a druid. And that was really cool to see them do the head-talky thing to someone who didn't have the head-talky ability.
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, magic reveal. I wasn't surprised when the kid died at the end. I was actually wondering, once the kid found out about the magic, if Merlin was going to kill him at the end of the day. Because honestly, I would have. The kid has already been captured by Morgana and Gwen once and obviously was pretty easy to coerce to their side...so, what's to stop them from capturing him again and easily getting the Merlin's secret out of him? Nothing, that's what. The kid had to die one way or the other, Merlin lucked out that he didn't have to do it himself. (Though, that's my extremely cold-hearted opinion...Merlin probably would have been a softy and let him life and worried about the consequences later.... seriously, you should all be happy that I'm not in a position to decide life or death matters. I'm fairly cruel. I'd have killed Crowley no matter what meat-suit he was in, and I would kill stupid redemption seeking boys in order to protect Merlin.)
That being said, I like the fact that Merlin is a physician now - and that he did cure himself with science rather than magic. I like when characters actually learn and grow over the course of a series.
Speaking of changing over the course of the series - I love Arthur's slow building concern for Merlin's absence, and his obvious affection for him. It's true that Arthur CAN dress himself, he's done it numerous times without Merlin's assistance, but I thought the whole scene with needing Gaius to help was really hilarious...as well as the whole notion that he's completely at a loss without Merlin.
I suppose I should about Elyan's death and whatnot, but I don't feel like it. :P
I'm looking forward to next week. Looks like it's going to be Merthur-tastic with a side of Arwen.
ETA: I'm heading out for the evening, but I'll be back later to chat in comments with anyone wishing to!