The Last DragonLord

Directed by: Jeremy Webb
Written by: Julian Jones
Balinor: played by John Lynch

This episode begins with the Dragon still attacking Camelot. Arthur is leading his tired knights against the Dragon, while Gwen and Gaius are tending to the wounded. The attacks have been going on for three nights and Gwen voice her feelings that the people cannot stand much more of this.

Merlin is at Arthur’s side; and he apologies seeming randomly to Arthur that he has to do this. Arthur is puzzled at the apology as Merlin is not to blame for the Dragon attacking Camelot. Merlin looks devastated at Arthur’s trust. He watches as the knights and Arthur prepare to attack the Dragon as it comes in for another attack, but to no avail. The Dragon is far more powerful than their fire-tipped arrows.

Gwen, still tending the wounded with Gaius, tells him they have no clean water left. He tells her that it is too dangerous to go out there, but she goes anyway and yes, it’s a heavy handed set-up for Arthur rescuing her as the Dragon comes in for another attack. Arthur runs after her in time to bear the brunt of the attack. They manage to make it into the safety of the castle, but unbeknownst to them, Merlin is still outside. Furious, he casts a spell on a lance and sends it flying through the air to the Dragon but it does no damage. The Dragon is contemptuous of his magic and provides no answer when Merlin asks why he is doing this.

In the castle, Gwen tends to Arthur’s wounds, admonishing him for risking his life for hers. His reply leads to a sweetly romantic moment, despite the obviousness of the set-up between them, and earns a smile from Gaius that is a treasure as he becomes one more in on their secret. I am hopeful that Uther is next to find out if only to allow more of Igraine to enter into the show and to draw a clearer picture of who Uther is and the relationship between father and son. Uther, as Igraine’s husband hasn’t been much explored and I would like to see more of the man Uther was before the man we see in the show currently.

Merlin enters to tell Gaius that the Dragon is immune to his magic and Gaius tells him that Dragons are creatures of magic, they’re not simply monsters.

The next morning Arthur and his knights report to Uther of the casualties and missing people, as well as the state of the castle’s defenses. Uther asks if there is any idea as to how the Dragon escaped, but there has been nothing that would give Merlin away. Merlin for his part looks guilty and devastated all at once at Leon’s reply to Uther. No one can offer any way for them to rid the kingdom of the Dragon, until Gaius points out that they need a Dragonlord.

It really is a powerful episode on which to end the season, for both Merlin and Arthur, as individual characters growing by the end of the season and their relationship progressing into one of friendship and more understanding than we’ve seen all season. The tragedy of this is though, Arthur will never know what Balinor, and by extension Merlin and Hunith have suffered at Uther’s hands, nor will he ever known how much Merlin has lost. These are the times when Arthur not knowing is about the worst part of the show for it robs bother Merlin and Arthur of so much potential to grow as friends and as characters. And by all accounts, sadly, season 3 doesn’t seem to want to change that. I can’t seem to figure out how it makes for better viewing to keep Arthur getting knocked out instead of having to deal with Merlin as a sorcerer and the lies he’s been telling Arthur – good drama, isn’t this what this show is supposed to be about?

The show continues to hold up Morgana and Merlin as contrasting magical figures who make take different paths, while both (apparently, in Morgana’s case) have suffered at Uther’s hands because they are magic users. I was really astonished by the end of this episode at “The Witch’s Quickening” which was supposed to pass as the episode in which Morgana makes her stand against Uther and it is glaringly obvious the writers have not spent any effort giving her a story like Merlin’s in order to make that decision. It is, to say the least, the most dissapointing part of this show, but I fear the writers rush to making Morgana the evil character we expect of legend for s3 will result far too much of the upcoming season being devoted to her at other character’s expense.