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Episode: Valiant
Written by: Howard Overman
Directed by: James Hawes

Knight Valiant enters a Wizard’s den to enquire about a shield. The wizard tells him that the snakes etched on the shield will come alive when he needs them too, and do as he commands, As a test, Valiant commands the snakes to kill the wizard, and he proceeds to ride towards Camelot to join the annual sword tournament. Meanwhile, Arthur is training with Merlin for said tournament – where Arthur is training, and Merlin is trying very hard to stay upright. Arthur tells him that he needs to be ready for the tournament the next day. Back in their rooms, Merlin complains about being Arthur’s servant to Gaius, who is more amused than sympathetic, and reminds Merlin that Arthur has an obligation as Prince of Camelot.

The next day, Uther calls the start to the tournament. As the day progresses, both Arthur and Valiant steadily defeat their opponents. Later, Valiant is at a tournament dinner and has a chance to speak to both Uther and Morgana, in which Valiant attempts to charm her. He states that he intends to win the tournament and escort her to the closing ball as the ‘champion’, much to the chagrin of Arthur. The next day, as Merlin is preparing Arthur’s armour, he hears a hissing noise. He follows it and it leads him to Valiant’s shield. As he is examining it, one of the snakes blinks at him. Valiant discovers Merlin staring intently at his shield and asks him what he is doing, and Merlin manages to bluff his way out of it. Merlin returns to Arthur’s rooms to dress Arthur in his armour. Arthur begrudgingly acknowledges that Merlin did not do a terrible job, although he states that he didn’t see how Merlin could have done a worse job than the day before.

In that tournament, Valiant uses his shield to wound knight Ewan, who he had been fighting. Gaius and Merlin notice snake bite marks on knight Ewan’s neck. Merlin spies on Valiant, and sees him feeding one of the snakes a mouse. He sneaks into Valiant’s room and with magic cuts off one of the snakes on the shield’s head. As he is running to show both Gaius and Arthur, he is spotted by Valiant leaving his room. Morgana has dream of Arthur and Valiant battling and Arthur falling to the ground, defeated. Merlin presents the snake head to a sceptical Arthur, who after a while believes Merlin’s fantastical story of the enchanted shield, and requests an audience with his father. Meanwhile, Gaius has made an antidote to the snake poison, and Ewan awakens. He is told that he will be able to tell the king what happened. Unfortunately, A snake comes out of the shield and bites Ewan again, killing him.

Read the rest of this recap HERE.