Episode: The Darkest Hour
Written By: Julian Jones
Directed by: Alice Troughton
Special Guests: Santiago Cabrera (Lancelot), Emilia Fox (Morgause): Gemma Jones as The Cailleach, Katie Moore as Drea, Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine
Brought to you by OBS Staff Member Karolina
Picture from : Merlin BBC
MERLIN’S BACK, MERLIN’S BACK , MERLIN’S BACK!!! *Runs around in circles and falls over*
Season four begins in what looks like a wasteland – a solitary figure in a coat dragging a cart behind themselves. The person is stopped by four knights – two of them being Sir Leon and Elyan. Leon asks the weary traveller where they are heading. The traveller answers , in a very familiar voice and reveals themselves to be none other than- DUN DUN DUN – Morgana. To further prove she is in fact the lady Morgana, she quickly knocks the four knights out with a surge of magic. Once they are taken care of, she makes her way to the cart , asking “Are you alright ?”. She uncovers the cart to reveal Morgause (who has far more boils on her face than I remember her having). Morgause states that she is, but they must hurry, as night is nearly upon them, and they still have far to go.
CREDITS. NEW CREDITS!
Camelot is buzzing with people -and looks like it is preparing for a celebration or a feast. Merlin runs through Camelot , almost running into people as he gets to the kitchens. He pilfers a pastry – just before he is stopped by the cook, demanding to know what Merlin is doing there. He states that he is there for the Prince’s shirt (which is hanging near the cooked meats, drying). The cook sends him off. As Merlin retrieves Arthur’s shirt (which is near a plate of chicken) he notices a rope hanging from the ceiling, with a hook attached. He looks up, to see Gwaine and Percival through a vent (Gwaine gives Merlin a little wave) Merlin laughs, attaches a piece of meat to the end of the hook and gestures for his friends to pull it up. He escapes the kitchen just as the cook realises what is going on. He continues his journey with Arthur’s shirt, only to knock into a man carrying wine. Merlin looks in horror at the wrecked shirt – enter Lancelot. Lancelot who seems much more sedate than I’ve ever seen him. As Merlin laments over his death by Arthur for the shirt – Lancelot decides to remind Merlin that he is “smart” enough to figure something out. Hey, presto change-o ; a little magic goes a long way. Merlin finally makes it to Arthur’s room – where he sees that Arthur has dressed himself – not very well (his shirt is riding up at the back, much to Merlin’s amusement)- but , still, what do expect from a Prince? Arthur mentions needing to write a speech – and Merlin pulls out one that he prepared earlier – all night – apparently. Arthur reads it and tells him that it needs some work – but still puts away his parchment. When Merlin gives a less than enthusiastic answer to Arthur’s request – Arthur reminds him that not all servants are privileged enough to write for a prince and the least he could do is say thank you. With a withering look, Merlin is gone, and Arthur smiles.
Morgana and Morgause make it to the Isle of the Blessed. Morgause pays the boatman, and tells him that he knows where they want to go. Back in Camelot, Gwen tends to a much aged and unresponsive Uther. Gaius enters, and Gwen states that she doesn’t think the food she is giving him etc is doing much good. We also find out that it has been a year since Morgana betrayed him. Gaius states that he has had his heart broken, and tries to encourage Gwen to join the feast. She declines, and when Gaius tries to praise her dedication to Uther, she states that she does not do it for him, but for Arthur.
Morgana and Morgause get closer to the isle of the blessed (where a dragon – probably a wyvern, circles the tower) as Leon and Elyan return to report to Arthur and the mysterious man in the corner that the reports have been true – that they intercepted Morgana on the plains of Denaria, on the way to the seas of Maridor (Gaius helpfully supplies “the Isle of the Blessed”). Elyan states that she was no alone, but they could not be sure if she was with Leon also warns that Morgana’s magic is much stronger, and that Sir Bertram and Sir Montague were dead. The court leave, leaving Arthur with the mysterious man in the corner – revealed to be Agravaine, Arthur’s uncle. Agravaine states that Camelot is strong and would be prepared for Morgana. Arthur thanks him and says he does not how he survived without him for months. Agravaine reminds Arthur that he made a promise to Arthur’s mother to always protect him.
The feast of Samhain begins – as Arthur declares it the time to remember and celebrate the dead. Morgana and Morgause enter a chamber where a stone tablet lies, and Morgause also stresses the importance of them needing to complete their task before Samhain passes. Morgana begins to doubt her ability to complete the task – but Morgause encourages her, stating that this would bring their enemies to their knees and change their course. She places a dagger in Morgana’s hands, informs her that she does not have long to live, and begs for Morgana to let Morgause’s parting be her gift to Morgana. Morgause climbs onto the stone tablet, and Morgana chants a spell, thrusting the dagger down into her sisters’ chest. Morgana gets thrown backward, whilst in Camelot, things begin to move slowly for Merlin, as he is overwhelmed by the magic. He sees an old lady standing in the middle of the feast, and she softly chants “Emrys” at him. Merlin falls unconscious to the ground, and Lancelot runs to his aid.
Morgana is woken by the same old woman Merlin saw, who introduces herself as “Cailleach” (pronounced Kalix). She states that she is the gate keeper between worlds, and Morgana had ripped the veil between the worlds. There are hellish screams from the black void behind her, which Cailleach states are (and, apologies for this – I’m not sure if this is the correct spelling) the dorocha – the voices of the dead. She also states that Morgana’s enemies shall rue this day – but that she had created a new world – a world where she would be shadowed by “Emrys”, and that he is her destiny, and her doom.
READ THE REST OF THE RECAP HERE
I was so excited by this episode – and I have to say, I really really enjoyed it. I loved seeing the knights from last season . I adore the idea of Arthur trusting Merlin to write speeches for him – and that they do appear closer and on slightly more equal ground already in this season. I like the implicit suggestion that Gwen and Arthur have an understanding between each other -and that Lancelot has changed in the year that we have skipped ahead. Uther completely broke my heart. I liked Morgana’s part in this episode, she does seem calmer this season – not as comic book evil , and the Dorocha were quite a creepy ‘bad guy’. I liked the return to the Isle of the Blessed, and the rift between worlds is an interesting one. Arthur, however, needs to learn from his mistakes and STOP TRUSTING RANDOM FAMILY MEMBERS WHO TURN UP. Especially with the kingdom! I can’t wait to see what the fall out of Merlin ‘sacrificing’ himself is going to be (if any) and the fallout of this storyline in general. (I actually think next episode is the episode i was lucky enough to see a few scenes being filmed while I was in France this year, so , yay!)
What did you think? Did the opening episode of Season 4 meet your expectations? What did you love? What did you hate? Do you like the new credits?
Join us here and in the forum to discuss!