Merlin s5, ep 2 : Arthur’s Bane, part 2
written by : Julian Jones
directed by : Justin Molotnikov
Review by OBS staff member Karolina Avalon
Picture : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mjlxv
Morgana dreams, a dark dungeon filling her mind. She sees herself, chained, and a white dragon, curled around her, that calls out in distress. Morgana wakes, panicking, and calls Aithusa’s name. The white dragon, so cute before,but now kind of decrepit looking, limps to its mistress’ side. Morgana promises her dragon that all will be okay, that they will soon know Arthur’s bane, and she will rule Camelot.
Merlin and Arthur are being taken , in chains , to Morgana by her lackies and Mordred. Arthur bitches that their capture is due to Merlin thinking with his stomach, while Merlin angrily tells Arthur that he had told Arthur to go back to Camelot. Merlin and Mordred keep exchanging glances, and Merlin uneasily tells Arthur that they have to plan an escape. Arthur gets punched in the stomach for talking.
In Camelot, Sefa watches as a noose is prepared for her. Gaius arrives, offering Sefa a potion that will ” make it easier”. ( very comforting, Gaius). Sefa begs Gaius an opportunity to speak to the Queen, to let her beg for her life. Gaius reluctantly agrees.
Night has fallen, and a freezing and hungry Merlin watches Mordred and Morgana’s men eat and laugh around a fire. The lackies tease Merlin with food, but Mordred tries to negotiate for food or some sort of respite for Arthur and Merlin.
In Ismir, ET’s glowing cousin sits with the still unconscious and still shirtless Gwaine. It hides when some men march through the caves, where Gwaine, and the glowing thing, go undetected.
Back with Merlin and Arthur, Morgana’s lackies sleep huddled for warmth in a snow covered land. Some how, Arthur sleeps on the snow covered ground, while Merlin keeps watch. Mordred slowly approaches Merlin with some bread, asking if Merlin wants it. He tells Merlin that he owes Arthur, and that Merlin should not be so quick to judge. He asks if Merlin fears him (to which Merlin gives a little nod). Mordred admits he has seen what happens to magic users, and has also learned to hide his talents, and that Merlin’s secret is safe with him. Merlin tests this new found loyalty in Mordred, asking what Morgana is searching for in Ismir, and Mordred tells him that it is the key to all knowledge.
Morgana marches to the throne room in Ismir, whining to Sefa’s father that the key has still not been found, and that Arthur could be on them any day. Sefa’s father states that he could be dead, but Morgan knows her brother far better than that. She demands he talk to his spy in Camelot, but Sefa’s father gravely tells Morgana of his daughters fate, stating that she had proven to be a worthy daughter. Morgana says that that is a cruel fate, and that Sefa would be remembered, but there was nothing he could do for Sefa now. Morgana marches back out, leaving Sefa’s father with the distinct feeling that Morgana may just be on the wrong side of crazy.
Merlin and Arthur march on, until suddenly Arthur falls to his knees in the snow. Merlin yells for water for Arthur. One of Morgana’s lackies picks Arthur up from the ground and taunts him until Merlin says that he’ll take care of Arthur. As Merlin props Arthur up to stand, Arthur looks at Merlin and winks, showing him that Arthur had managed to steal the sword from the lacky.
Back in Camelot, Sefa has an audience with the Queen, and they address each other quite cordially, given the severity of the situation. Sefa tries to say that she was just trying to help her father, while Guinevere argues that she cannot change the law and men died due to Sefa’s betrayal. Sefa begs for her life, saying she wanted to make her father happy. Guinevere acknowledges that Sefa had been used by her father, but states that the sentence stands. Sefa is taken back to the dungeons. Gaius tries to advocate for Sefa, stating that she was foolish, but does not deserve to die. Guinevere agrees, revealing that her plan was to lure Sefa’s father to Camelot, not to have Sefa die. Guinevere states that if Ruadan ( finally, a name) has one spy in Camelot, he may have others. Gaius tells Guinevere that this is a dangerous game, and Guinevere states that wars aren’t won without taking risks. Gaius reminds the queen that the execution is set, and what happens if Ruadan does not show up. Guinevere states hat he is Sefa’s father, so she has to believe he will.
Merlin and Arthur continue to trek through the snow, Arthur holding the dagger out of sight. He nods to Merlin to continue their plan. Merlin causes some of the lackies supplies to fall of their cart. Head lacky yells to know who did it, and Arthur indicates it was Merlin. Merlin states that they need to rest. The lacky tells them that he’ll rest, forever. As he moves to kill Merlin, Arthur cuts him across the face. Through fighting and magic, Merlin and Arthur free themselves, grab as many weapons as they can, and run. They hit a crevasse , and Arthur moves to jump over it. Merlin hesitates, as Arthur calls to him to hurry up.
Merlin almost misses the edge, but is pulled up over the side by Arthur, who then starts shooting Morgana’s men with the crossbow he obtained. Merlin tries to make the crevasse larger by chopping at it, and with magic. The lacky that he stops jumping over the crevasse is, in fact, Mordred. Arthur aims the crossbow at Mordred, but Mordred watches Arthur and Merlin, then turns and walks away. Arthur lowers the crossbow, only to be yelled at by Merlin. Merlin tells Arthur that they may not be so lucky to get away from Mordred alive next time, to which Arthur states he loves Merlin’s optimism, and pulls him away.
Back in Ismir, Gwaine is finally coming to, still being watched over by the glowing thing. Gwaine, maybe due to his concussion, doesn’t seem to phased by the strange creature guarding him, and acknowledges that it had saved his life. The creature states that it knows that Gwaine is worthy of its’ care, and that it is the last of its kind, and now, it’s only sanctuary has been sullied by Morgana and co. it tells Gwaine to rest, which Gwaine does.
Camelot is being patrolled by some knights, but they prove themselves as useless as they have been for the last 4 seasons, as Ruadan easily slips by them and into Camelot. He scales the wall, undetected by the guards, until he inside . A guard stops Ruadan, but is easily killed by magic. Ruadan goes around killing guards, until he gets to Sefa’s cell, and frees her. The bells ring, and Guinevere watches the useless guards run around. She asks Leon if its Ruadan, and he states that it most certainly is. Ruadan is finally apprehended by Elyan. They sword fight, until Ruadan is stabbed. Sefa runs to her wounded father, and he magically creates a wall of fire, as Ruadan and Sefa run from the castle. They are in the forest, Ruadan becoming weaker. Sefa begs him to heal himself, instead he writes a note and gets Sefa to send it by crow. He tells Sefa that he will always love her, and then loses consciousness. Camelot guards appear, and Sefa runs.
The crow arrives to Morgana, along with the note from Ruadan. The note states that there is grave news ; Arthur did not return to Camelot , and is heading towards Morgana. But, she will know Arthur’s bane soon.
Merlin and Arthur find their way to Ismir, as Guinevere and Gaius make their own discovery on Ruadan’s dead body. Gaius finds a Druidic prayer for victory of the old religion. Guinevere states that she thought that the Druids were a peaceful people. Gaius reminds her that the great purge changed that, and that some believe that Arthur is no different. Guinevere asks if Ruadan meant to kill her husband, and Gaius revealed that there is a prophecy that states that Arthur could come to his end by a Druid’s hand – and maybe Ruadan had thought he was that Druid.
Cut to the actual Druid who could kill Arthur, making his way to Ismir. Merlin and Arthur watch, and Merlin again voices his displeasure that Arthur didn’t just kill Mordred. They contemplate how to get into Ismir.
Merlin and Arthur crawl through the sewers ( or something like that) to get into Ismir and past the Saxons, while Morgana watches the lackies arrive. She sees Mordred, and runs out to meet him joyfully. Meanwhile, Arthur and Merlin find Percival, who tells them that the other knights are scattered around, but that he hadn’t seen Gwaine in days. Arthur leaves Excalibur with Percival, to free the other knights, while he and Merlin search for Gwaine.
Percival frees some knights, while Morgana creepily watches Mordred eat. She tells him that she thought he was dead. He tells her that it was a near thing sometimes, that people fear magic, even the supporters. He had to fight to stay alive, or not be exploited. Morgana tells him not to worry, that it will all change once Arthur is dead. Mordred decides that now would be a good time to tell Morgana that he had Arthur in his grasp, but he had escaped. Morgana loses whatever thread of sanity she had left and starts screaming that she is a high priestess and Arthur still defies her. Mordred tries to calm her, and the warning bells ring, signalling Arthur in Ismir. Morgana grins crazily.
The key ( the weird entity sitting with Gwaine) wakes him as the warning bells ring, and Arthur and Merlin get closer. Gwaine swears to protect the key. Gwaine attacks, only to find Merlin and Arthur. Merlin pushes past Arthur and Gwaine to stare at the entity. Gwaine assures it that Merlin and Arthur are friends, and it quietly leaves. Arthur , with a weird look on his face asks what it was, which Gwaine answers he’s not sure. Percival and the other knights fight their way through the Saxons, shirtless, of course.
Gwaine leads Merlin and Arthur through the tunnels , until Merlin realises that there are no Saxons about. And suddenly, there is a weird wind in the tunnels. Enter Aithusa. Gwaine , Arthur and Merlin hide from the dragon. Merlin tells Arthur to take Gwaine, and he’d lure the dragon the other way. Arthur says ” Merlin, I’ve always known you’re stupid, but not that stupid” Merlin ” No, I am that stupid; if you don’t believe me , watch” and with that, he runs after Aithusa. Arthur tries to grab for Merlin, but fails. Then resignedly tells Gwaine he’s going after Merlin.
Merlin finds Aithusa, who at first tries to fry Merlin. He does his dragon lord thing, and then tries to find out what happened to Aithusa, why it is so wounded, and makes the discovery that it cannot talk. In the distance, Arthur calls for Merlin, so Merlin sends Aithusa away. Merlin isn’t the only person who heard Arthur’s calls for him, as Morgana and Mordred confront Arthur. Arthur tries to appeal to the Morgana he used to know, and his sister, but to no avail. Morgana is determined to kill Arthur, saying that Uther taught her to hate well. She manages a few blows to Arthur, when Merlin runs forward. Morgana throws him up against a wall with magic, as Arthur screams ” No” and begs Morgana not to . Morgana smirks and goes to make the final blow, Merlin unable to stop her with magic as he is half concussed, when she is stabbed in the back (literally and figuratively ) by Mordred. She brokenly gasps out his name and falls to the floor. Merlin passes out to the sight of Mordred helping Arthur up.
Mordred gets Arthur back to Percival and Gwaine , while the key wakes Merlin. It reveals itself to Merlin as what Morgana has been looking for, and asks Merlin if there is anything that Merlin wants to ask it. Merlin contemplates the burden the key carries, and then says no, that he can imagine the answer would not be good. The key smiles proudly, and calls Merlin wise, and that his wisdom will live in the minds of men. Merlin decides to ask one question. I Arthur’s bane is not Mordred, then who is? The answer is not a surprise to any one who has watched the series from the beginning, and watched Arthur( while a great man and king) give his heart to people unworthy of it. Arthur’s bane, is Arthur himself .
With this knowledge, we’re back in Cmaelot, and Mordred is being knighted. He exits the great hall, smiling, only to be confronted by Merlin. Merlin asks why Mordred saved Arthur’s life. Mordred states that it was because Arthur was right; that the love that binds them was greater that the power they wielded , and Morgana had forgotten that. Merlin does not know what to say to that, so he leaves.
Back in Gaius’ rooms, Gaius has made Merlin’s favourite pudding. Gaius asks what is troubling Merlin. Merlin had one word ; Mordred. Gaius tries to remind Merlin that people change, but Merlin still believes that the prophecy of Arthur’s demise is still tied to Mordred and that the die has been cast; Albion’s trial has begun.
A wounded Morgana makes her way through snow covered lands, with the lame Aithusa behind her.
Did you guess what “Arthur’s bane” was going to be? Or were you surprised? What struck me is that Guinevere has just unwittingly created another enemy for Camelot, in the form of Sefa. The fact that she escaped must signify her return ; Guinevere, as Gaius pointed out, made quite a gamble there – and I’m not sure if it was the right one. I’m liking the darker Merlin, knowing that he cannot save everyone – and I’m pretty sure he does have something to worry about with Mordred. But, the fact that Mordred is seemingly riding solo (or at least, without an alliance with Morgana) is interesting. Anything you’d like to add about this ep?
PS Yes, it looked like an alien – that was just plain weird.
PPS If Guinevere’s plan was to capture Ruadan with Sefa, you’d have thought that they might have watched Sefa a little more closely!
PPPS Didn’t guess re Arthur’s Bane, but it makes sense, and if Arthur ever falls out with Merlin over (oooh, let’s say, his magic??) then…….
Bit surprised as to why Gaius would tell Guinevere about the prophecy re Arthur’s end – that’s going to make her feel a whole lot better! And a prophecy that “a druid” would kill him? Is that something new, or Gaius rehashing what Kilgarrah said (and I think Kilgarrah was a little more specific about which druid!). Nice twist re Mordred. They’re obviously making him deliberately ambiguous (the fading of the smile when others aren’t looking).