Title: Lancelot and Guinevere
Written by: Howard Overman
Director: Dave Moore
Review by: OBS Staff Member Verushka
Picture source: picture from bbc.co.uk/merlin
The episode begins with Arthur seeing Guinevere and Morgana off on a pilgrimage to her father’s grave. Interspersed with helping Morgana onto her horse, we see Arthur and Guinevere exchange longing, troubled glances at each other which serves as a reminder of their feelings for each other explored in “The Once and Future Queen” and what they cannot have. As the women and the knights accompanying them leave, Gwen glances back at Arthur emphasizing, I thought, her regard for him. Besides, when the girl looks back, she’s always interested, right?
During their ride, a short conversation reveals how much Gwen is keeping from Morgana as the latter notes how secretive she has become. It’s a stark difference from the close relationship the two were supposed to share in Season 1. Morgana suspects there’s a man involved, but Gwen dismisses her suspicions. I was surprised that Arthur was the cause of the growing distance between them though Morgana at this time does not realize who is the cause of the distance. When I first watched this episode, I did wonder if it was an attempt to set up Morgana’s feelings for Arthur.
They are soon attacked by a band of kidnappers and despite a Camelot knight’s attempt to ensure Morgana and Gwen escape, both are unhorsed and forced to flee on foot for their lives. They don’t get very far, for Kendrick, the leader of the kidnappers catches them and reveals that Morgana, as Uther’s ward, is their target. At the kidnapper’s camp, Morgana soon has a plan of escape that requires she demand a chance to bathe – after all, what self-respecting kidnapper, modern or classic, will pass up the chance to watch a beautiful woman bathe?
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I was so disappointed in this episode and the lazy writing that accompanied it. Everything here relied on the audience knowing the story of Arthur, Gwen and Lancelot from other sources rather than it making sense within the show. A thirteen episode season does mean that certain things will be rushed but this was just awful characterization to force Lancelot/Guinevere into becoming a relationship of consequence within Merlin. Personally, I don’t see the need for this show to follow previous versions of this story if it doesn’t make sense within the confines of this show. I’d rather the creators make their own path within the parameters of this story than enduring another haphazard episode like this one.
What do you think? How does your previous experience with the story of Arthur/Gwen/Lancelot affect your perception of this show? Would you prefer it create it’s own ending or stick to giving you the ending you already know from other texts?