Sincere apologies for the lateness of this review! Life sometimes gets in the way of Merlin love and excitement – much like it does in this week’s episode – kind of! And now, on to the recap and review!
Title: Queen of Hearts
Written by:Howard Overman
Directed by: Ashley Way
Special Guests: Emilia Fox as Morgause.
Brought to you by OBS staff member Karolina
picture at: Merlin BBC
This episode opens with a coronation – presided over by Arthur, who stands at the thrones. The Coronation of the new Queen of Camelot- Guinevere. Merlin looks on, standing next Gaius, with a happy smile on his face as Gwen is crown, and takes her place by Arthur’s side. Gwen, in turn, smiles back at her friend, and looks to her king. And suddenly, Morgana wakes, gasping. She looks to her wrist, where the bracelet that Morgause bestowed on her in season 2 (2.12 – The Fires of Idirsholas). She get out of bed, troubled – and moves to her window and stares out of it. Gwen – still her maid- comes to check on her lady- and is told that she is fine, and that Gwen should go to bed. Gwen goes to do so, while Morgana still stands in her chambers.
Obviously, Morgana can not sleep, so she goes for a walk around the castle – only to hear a sound – and a door opens by itself, a torch lights itself- and Morgause’s voice can be heard, calling to her sister. Morgana, of course, follows. She is guided to Morgause – where she tells her sister of the fact that night after night, she dreams of Gwen on the throne. Morgause tells her that it is a prophecy, as the healing bracelet is not powerful enough to block these dreams. And. as the show has reminded us time and time again, that there are many futures – but this one seems to be clear, so she must destroy Arthur and Gwen. Morgana gets a ‘I can do that’ smirk on her face. She goes back to her rooms, and tries to convince a reluctant Gwen(and wary, thank god) that she should spend more time with Arthur. That breakfast time, both Merlin and Gwen serve Uther, Arthur and Morgana. Arthur is distracted and clumsy around Gwen – much to Merlin’s mischievous delight – and Morgana’s sinister one.
Morgana enters Arthur’s chambers, where Arthur is still very distracted. Morgana sets her plan in motion by telling Arthur that Gwen loves him, and is equally distracted by him. Morgana teases him, and encourages him to spend more time with his love – stating him that it is obvious, Arthur takes her heart to heart seriously, still completely unaware of her duplicity. This leads to Merlin being in Gwen’s home, and asking her if she would like to spend time with Arthur the next day. Gwen is reluctant – and teased by Merlin because of it. He tells her that so no one suspects – he will personally come to pick her up the next morning and take her to Arthur. He urges her to forget that Arthur is the prince, and a ‘spoilt, arrogant brat’, and focus on that they love each other. After more hesitation, Gwen finally agrees. Merlin smiles, signals to her that all will be fine, and leaves.
That night, Gwen helps Morgana prepare for bed. As she is leaving, she requests the next day free, feigning a fever. Morgana approves her leave smiling sinisterly as Gwen goes to her own house. Merlin turns up the next day as Gwen is preparing to meet Arthur, and smiles softly as he watches her, complimenting her look. Outside Camelot, in the forest – Arthur is checking himself in the reflection of a silver platter, a picnic ready for himself and Gwen. Merlin and Gwen arrive, and have a bit of a laugh, Merlin finally alerting the prince to their presence by letting out an unconvincing bird call. Arthur fumbles a compliment out about Gwen, only to be saved by Merlin, whom he dismisses. Merlin tells them to both have fun, and leaves. Gwen crosses a little river to join her prince, as Morgana, who has followed them, looks on. She returns to Camelot, where she then begs Uther to go for a ride with her, as they haven’t spent time together. Uther agrees.
Arthur and Gwen are having their picnic, and revelling in the fact that they are out of Camelot. Arthur speaks of his love for his people and for Camelot – but confesses that he sometimes feels trapped in his role and responsibilities as a prince, and that he sometimes dreams of leaving Camelot and becoming a farmer. Gwen teases him about this – and Arthur confesses that he’d take Merlin with him, and make him do the hard work. Meanwhile, Uther and Morgana ride out in the outskirts of Camelot, laughing and joking, they start to race each other.
Gwen talks of getting back to Camelot, as it is late, and Arthur tries to persuade her to stay, stating that they may not have time like this together again any time soon. He acts as her hero – against a wasp – and this playfulness ending in them kissing for a long while, only to suddenly be discovered by Uther and the devious Morgana.
Arthur agitatedly paces the throne room floor back in Camelot, waiting for his father. He is finally joined by Uther, who promptly starts laughing – and admitting that he had his dalliances with serving girls, too. But, he stresses that this can not continue. Arthur moves from relieved to frantic, as he tries to tell his father that what he and Gwen have is not a dalliance, but love – and Uther puts his foot down, and banishes Gwen, assuring that Arthur will not and cannot be with a servant. In Arthur’s rooms, Merlin asks how Uther could have known where they were. Arthur, angry and frustrated, tells him that Merlin was the only person that knew where Gwen and Arthur were , and that he couldn’t keep a secret if his life depended on it. When Merlin barks back that Arthur would be surprised, and then goes tight-lipped when Arthur questions this, Arthur backs off. Merlin asks what Arthur is going to do – and Arthur quietly says he does not know. Cue Morgana’s entrance. Arthur tells Merlin to leave, and Merlin and Morgana glare at each other as Merlin reluctantly leaves.
Arthur blames himself to Morgana, and tells her that he cannot bear the thought of not seeing Gwen. He contemplates leaving Camelot with her, thrilling Morgana with the possibility of Arthur relinquishing the throne to be with his love. Merlin is with Gwen, who is packing her belongings. When Merlin asks where she will go, Gwen breaks down into tears, telling Merlin that all she has ever known is Camelot, and all that she loves is there. Merlin tries to reassure her that they will think of something. Morgana sets in motion the second part of her plan, planting a poultice under Arthur’s pillow, with markings of the old religion on it, and then going to Uther, ans suggesting that Arthur’s feelings for Gwen may not be his own.
READ THE REST OF THE RECAP HERE
This was a fun episode. Colin Morgan was BRILLIANT as Ancient!Merlin (yay, future Merlin!) , and Bradley James wonderful as the distraught and in love prince. I also loved his and Angel Coulby’s interaction as Arthur and Gwen in this – and the addition of Merlin in their story. Also – again we have the visions of the future episode. Every time we have on of these, we are reminded that what the characters see is only one of the possible futures – but it’s usually the one that will come to pass in the show (destruction of Camelot by Kilgarrah, Morgana’s visions in season 1, Merlin’s in ‘the crystal cave’). I was struck at how soon Gwen’s coronation could be. But of course – there always seems to be a little twist to the visions as well.
A few niggling points – the convenience of a sorcerer suddenly appearing, the fact that Arthur is still quite naive (this seems to be coming up in every episode)
I did love Uther’s blindness though, and Gwen’s defiance in the face of that – and the fact that Gwen told Merlin that she suspects Morgana. I would love to have seen Merlin be able to completely confirm that as well – but, at least, again , it’s movement! I also loved Merlin’s angry tirade at Uther. What did you think of this episode?