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Episode: Excalibur
Written by: Julian Jones
Directed by: Jeremy Webb

Nimueh chants an incantation over a crypt under Camelot, which she ends with the words “Uther Pendragon”. The sarcophagus in the crypt bursts open, opened from the inside by a fist, and its occupant roars in fury.

Back at Camelot, it is Arthur’s coming of age ceremony (21st birthday), where he is crowned by his father as “Prince of Camelot”. A Knight in black armour, mounted on a black horse bursts into the hall through the window. The knight casts his gauntlet onto the ground in front of Arthur as a challenge, which Arthur moves to accept, but is intercepted by another knight of Camelot, Sir Owain. The Black Knight states the rules; single combat at noon to the death.. Gaius later tells Merlin, when questioned, that he doesn’t know the knight, but he and Geoffrey of Monmouth recognise the crest and realise that the knight is Tristan Dubois. When Gaius tells Uther who the mysterious black knight is, Uther refuses to believe him, as Tristan Dubois was killed by Uther 20 years ago.

The next day, Arthur is trying to give Owain pointers on how to fight when Guinevere comes in with a token from Morgana for Owain. Owain leaves behind an uneasy Arthur, Merlin and Gwen, sure in his ability to beat the unknown Black Knight. On the field Sir Owain and the Black Knight then fight; in the duel, Sir Owain manages to stab the Black Knight in the chest, with no visible damage. The Black Knight then finishes off Sir Owain before issuing another challenge. As Arthur starts to up down to the arena to take up the challenge once again, Uther holds him back , allowing another knight, Sir Pellinore to take it up in his stead. Arthur then confronts Uther about why he held him back. Uther justifies it saying that they should allow the other knights a chance to prove themselves and that Arthur is not to blame. After the fight, Merlin tells Gaius that Owain landed a mortal blow and the Black Knight should by rights be dead. Gaius suggests that perhaps he already is.

Merlin and Gaius go to the crypt to discover that someone had already broken out of Tristan’s tomb. Back at Gaius’ room, it is revealed that Tristan is the brother of Ygraine, Uther’s wife and Arthur’s mother. Tristan, blaming Uther for the death of his sister in childbirth, rode to Camelot and confronted Uther, challenging him to single combat. Uther managed to kill Tristan in the ensuing battle, but with his dying breath, Tristan swore he would return to Camelot one day and take his revenge. At the time, the threat was dismissed as the ranting of a dying man, but now Gaius fears that there was more to the threat than previously anticipated. Gaius suspects that sorcery was involved in bringing him back from the dead, bringing it back to life as a wraith. When Merlin asks how they can stop it, Gaius retorts that they can’t. A wraith is not alive, it cannot be harmed by any mortal weapon, and will continue killing until it achieves its ultimate goal, which is revenge.

Read the rest of this recap and disscus more HERE.