Sincere, Sincere apologies that I am a week late with this – to make it up to you, I’m giving you two for the price of 1 – I have seen and am in the middle of writing today’s recap and review as well. RL got on top of me – but we’re on the home stretch for Merlin, and it won’t happen again!
And, since it’s already been a week, here we go!
Written by: Howard Overman
Directed by: Jeremy Webb
Brought to you by OBS Staff Member Karolina
Picture : BBC Merlin
Arthur and his knights are on patrol, when Elyan finds out that some scoundrel has drunk all of his water. With an obnoxious burp, Gwaine reveals himself to be the said scoundrel. Leon pretends to be nice, and fakes a pass of his waterskin to Elyan, actually passing it to Percival. Percival reprimands them, saying that he helps out his friends – and then passes the waterskin to Merlin, who jumps out of nowhere (wait, weren’t you threatening Merlin’s life two episodes ago, Percival? And never apologised? Shhh – just watch, Karolina). Suddenly, Arthur, who has been watching the shenanigans of his men with an amused smile on his face is distracted by a strange site, surrounded by what looks like flags. The knights and Merlin go down to investigate. It’s obvious that Merlin’s magic sense is tingling, because he looks majorly uncomfortable- but what is interesting is, so does Arthur. The Knights snoop around for a bit, and then leave, Elyan lagging behind. He finds a well, which he seems to think is a perfect place to quench his thirst, something those pesky knights wouldn’t let him do. As he drinks from the well, he sees a ghostly figure (a boy) reflected in the water.
Arthur seems to be quite distracted back in Camelot, but everyone seems to attribute this behaviour to the loss of Gwen, last ep. Merlin, however, is relaying the creepiness factor of the site to Gaius, who tells him of the druid tradition of putting the flags up to keep spirits at bay – and that he hoped nothing was disturbed at the site, as that could have disrupted their slumber. Merlin assures him that no one touched anything. Little does he know …
Elyan doesn’t seem to be sleeping all that well – surprise surprise. He is visited by a ghostly ghoul (and it’s not even christmas , yet!) of a boy, dripping with water. Elyan begins to scream, bringing Gwaine running to him, and finding Elyan cowering on the floor. He laughs it off, and Gwaine leaves.
Merlin finds Arthur asleep at his table, with his head in last night’s dinner. He was apparently “reading” – and with as much authority he can muster, he orders the amused Merlin to prepared for the Knight’s training. Which apparently involves beating up Merlin. When it is Elyan’s turn however, things go decidedly pear-shaped, and Merlin ends up on the ground with an infuriated Elyan trying to beat him into it, until Arthur calls a halt to the training. While the knights are packing up, Elyan has another ‘ turn’ and is knocked out by Gwaine. The knights take him to Gaius (Elyan is now completely unconscious and in what looks like a coma) and hypothesize that Elyan’s strange behaviour is related (once again) to Gwen’s departure. Gaius, however, still isn’t too sure. He suggests to Merlin that perhaps, unbeknownst to anyone, Elyan did in fact disturb something at the druid site.
That night, a suddenly not vegetative Elyan has another vision of the dead boy. Instead of screaming, he embraces the dead child, telling him that he is cold – and the boy in turn answers that Elyan must revenge him, and kill the king.
Elyan , wasting no time, attacks Arthur in his chambers, but Arthur calls for the guards and is able to fend him off long enough for them to arrive. The knights follow their friend and soon track him down. Elyan is nocked out by Percival and thrown into the cells of Camelot.
Agravaine wasts no time in expressing his opinion that Elyan should be executed and scoffs at Merlin’s theory that Elyan has been possessed.
Meanwhile, Merlin decides on a plan to break Elyan out of the cells, then use powerful magic to expel the spirit (because that always goes well in this show). Using a spell to distract the prison guards (who, just like in season 1 and 2, seem to be fascinated with moving barrels- they’re like distracted kitties!), Merlin succeeds in freeing Elyan.
They take refuge in the woods, but as Merlin prepares to knock Elyan out with a potion (the only way to expel the spirit is for Elyan to be unconscious) Elyan’s ghostly visions shakes his head and warns him of Merlin’s deceit, so Elyan knocks Merlin out with a single blow. He tells the ghost child, “I won’t fail you again”.
Once he recovers, Merlin leads Gaius back to the shrine where Elyan first encountered the spirit. Merlin finds the well that Elyan drank from, and hears screams and cries of children, becoming deeply upset himself. He starts to cry, and tells Gaius that something terrible had happened on the site.
It is the site of a major slaughter. Druids who once occupied the site as a shrine and there had been a siege- by the king of Camelot. Back in Camelot, Elyan launches another attack on Arthur, a crossbow bolt missing him by inches.
Elyan speaks with the voice of the ghost child. He launches himself at Arthur, but the king is able to best him in combat. Nevertheless, he allows Elyan to escape.
Arthur is now convinced that Elyan has been possessed- he goes to Merlin and Gaius for council. Gaius tells him that it is suspected that the atonement may come too late – as the massacre that occurred was most likely Uther’s doing, and he was already dead.
That night, Merlin spots Arthur sneaking out from Camelot. He follows and confronts his king- only to find that Arthur has every intention of facing Elyan.
Merlin and Arthur return to the shrine, where Arthur reveals to his friend that Gaius and Merlin were right about the massacre, except for one thing-: “It wasn’t my father who led the raid on the druid camp – I did.”
Elyan appears before them and Arthur falls to his knees. He confesses that he led the slaughter on the druid camp when he was young and inexperienced. Though Arthur ordered his men to spare the women and children, some defied his orders, and Arthur froze, not knowing what to do or how to stop it. Arthur begs forgiveness, promising that the druids will be treated wit hthe respect they deserve and is granted it by the ghost.
The spirit leaves Elyan’s body and he is restored to normal.
Later Merlin expressed that he is impressed that Arthur got in touch with his emotions to resolve the crisis, and is thanked for his candor (and cheekiness) to his king by being chased around his chambers by Arthur.
Hmm. Was that the beginning of magic acceptance from Arthur? Only time will tell, I guess!
What did you think of this episode?