Written by:Julian Jones
Directed By: Metin Huseyin
Brought to you by OBS staff Member Karolina
It is a dark and stormy night in Camelot when a stranger rides through her gates, with a cage attached to the back of the horse. The stranger dismounts, checks the locks on the cage, and leans through the bars to growl at his captive. It is a girl in a tattered dress, huddled in the corner of the cage. Merlin and Gaius are visiting an ill resident of Camelot. As they leave, they walk past the cage with the girl, and as Merlin passes her, she lunges forward, gripping the bars. Gaius tells Merlin that she has had the misfortune of being captured by a bounty hunter, and that Uther will pay a handsome sum for anyone who captures something magical. As Gaius walks off, Merlin and the girl share a long look.
Later that night while Gaius is sleeping, Merlin sneaks out of their rooms and back out into the court yard. He checks to see the whereabouts of the bounty hunter, who is in a tavern having a meal, and then uses his magic to break the girl out of the cage. He grabs her and they hide just as the bounty hunter returns to his horse to find the cage empty. Camelots guard are patrolling so Merlin distracts the bounty hunter by dropping a sign on his head and running with the girl to the tunnels underneath the castle (unbeknown to them, the bounty hunter saw two figures running off). Once there, Merlin attempts to calm the girl and offers her his jacket. She queries why he helped her, and he tells her simply because it could have been him in that cage. He hands her his jacket, and promises to return in the morning with food. He introduces himself, and the girl shyly tells Merlin that her name is Freya.
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Laura Donnelly as Freya
Richard Ridings as Halig
So, Merlin’s love interest is a were-cat- who is killed by Arthur. Awesome. That being said – I actually did like this episode, in a way (although there were quite a few niggling moments for me). It was interesting to see Merlin investing in someone who wasn’t Arthur – although the whole ‘let’s run away together’ speech to Freya did throw me quite a bit. This whole series has been all about Merlin dedicating everything to ensure Arthur’s safety, sanity and raise to the throne. Merlin in past episodes was shown to pretty much go against everything he believes just for Arthur, and then this girl appears and he wants to give that all up for her. But, then again, Love makes people act very strangely sometimes. Also, the fact that Merlin found someone who knew they were magic, and could connect with them because they felt just as lost as he did. The line that got to me was when Merlin tells Gaius that he can’t possibly understand what it feels like to be a ‘monster’. However – comparing Merlin and Freya didn’t really work for me. It was also interesting to note how careless Merlin was in this episode; the bath incident, the food stealing, the dress stealing, the dropping of the gargoyle head near Arthur – Merlin’s devotion to Arthur wasn’t very evident in this episode – and yet Arthur’s to Merlin was. Yes, he was furious when Merlin didn’t perform his chores properly- but he protected and defended Merlin when Halig had him at his mercy – he did no seem to punish him for the food stealing, and he was concerned when he saw Merlin was devastated, but didn’t know why. I think the Arctic circle could hear my happy squeal when Arthur SAT ON THE FLOOR next to Merlin (I can’t imagine Uther ever doing anything like that to comfort Gaius) and the noogie. I also loved that Merlin realised how out of Princely character that was for Arthur, even after Arthur ordered him to do his chores. And the banter about Arthur being fat and Merlin cross dressing was so much fun and seemed so natural between the guys too. Of course, this just adds to the question of what’s going to happen when Arthur finds out about Merlin’s secret. Again one thing that didn’t work for me in relation to this – was where the episode came in the grand scheme of things. It seemed a very strange episode to follow Sins of the Father. This is probably the first episode where I felt the least understanding of Merlin’s actions.
This was a very interesting take on the Lady of the Lake legend too. Interesting name for Freya – I know that the Norse and the Druids of Eire were friendly … but I found it took a little getting used to hearing a Norse name being used for a Druid girl. Also interesting that Nimueh and the lady of the lake are different people. I was wondering what they were going to do with that when Nimueh died in season 1. I loved the reason why Freya becomes ‘Lady of the Lake’ and the little shout-out to another Arthurian legend character, Elaine of Astolat – and the fact that Freya got a ‘viking’ funeral. I also like the suggestion that Freya will return, and play a part in Merlin and Arthur’s destinies.
What did you think of this episode? Did you like the love story between Merlin and Freya? Anything you’d like to comment on?