Episode: ‘The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part 1″
written by: Julian Jones
Directed by: Jeremy Webb
picture from bbc.co.uk
The first episode of season 3 opens with Arthur and Merlin and Arthur’s men riding up to what looks like a battlefield, surveying a huge mass of dead Camelot soldiers. Arthur orders his men to check for survivors, then states that the attackers are moving north and that they should pursue. When Merlin questions this decision, Arthur calls him a ‘girl’s petticoat’ and they continue on their way.
Back in Camelot, Gaius makes his way towards Uther, who is standing in the council chambers looking out the window. He questions Uther on how many men he was going to allow to die, to which Uther answers as many as it will take. Gaius appeals to Uther as first his friend and then his physician (when that will not sway Uther’s resolve) to stop, as ‘she’ has been missing for more than a year. Uther answers that he will stop when Morgana is found.
Arthur and Merlin and his men approach a seemingly abandoned campsite, and as they ride along, Arthur and Merlin bicker. They get closer and Arthur signals for silence, and urges his men to surround the site. Arthur checks the unlit campfire, when suddenly one of his men is taken down, and they are attacked. Merlin spends the fight trying to get to Arthur (and using magic extremely obviously to keep himself and Arthur alive) only to be berated by Arthur for being cowardly once the bandits are apprehended. Suddenly, the group hear another noise in woods, and the figure of a woman staggers towards them. Suddenly she stops, and Merlin looks on in shock as it becomes obvious that it is Morgana. Arthur softly whispers her name, and the opening credits roll.
Morgana is back in Camelot and being looked over by Gaius, as a worried Gwen stands by. Gaius informs Morgana that she needs to rest, and leaves her with Gwen. Just outside her chambers waits Uther, looking tearful and hopeful all at once. He asks after her health and to see her. Gaius tells him that Uther best wait to see Morgana, but that she should be fine, physically. Uther thanks Gaius and he makes his way back to his rooms, where Merlin is waiting for him.
As soon as Gaius enters, Merlin starts questioning whether Morgana said anything about him. He states that even though Morgana does not know of his magic, she knows that he tried to poison her (“The Fires of Idirsholas” S2 ep 12) . Gaius attempts to justify this, saying that Merlin had no choice, but Merlin counters that Morgana would not tell Uther that – all he’d know was that Merlin had tried to kill her. Gaius suggests they wait until morning, while Merlin asks what Gaius thinks Uther will do to him.
Next morning finds Merlin laying in bed, until a quite subdued looking Gaius, who informs Merlin that Arthur is requesting his presence – in Morgana’s chambers. As Merlin enters, he finds Arthur and Morgana sitting side by side on her bed. Arthur implores her to recount what happened. Morgana emotionally states that she had been moved a week prior, possibly because of the patrol from Camelot – which she witnessed being slaughtered. However, when the bandits (the ones who Merlin and Arthur had encountered) were distracted by their spoils, she decided to make her move, which was when Arthur found her. Arthur and Morgana hug, which is when Morgana spies Merlin standing awkwardly at the doorway. Arthur notices his presence as well, and starts to leave the room. As Merlin follows, he is called back by Morgana. Morgana informs him in a strangled voice that she remembers that he tried to poison her, and Merlin tries to tell her that he didn’t want to. She states that she understood why he did, and that she would have done the same. Morgana claims that she had been so naive before, but she had now seen the evils of the world and what Uther was fighting against. She tearfully implores Merlin to forgive her, which he does with a smile, and tells her that he is glad she is back. Morgana looks relieved.
Merlin happily cleans Arthur’s room, and they again, lightly bicker and tease (however, the feel of this teasing is slightly different to that of last season, or season one, it seems more equal). Morgana makes her way into the council chambers where Uther is distracted from listening to Sir Leon give a report. When he sees Morgana, he orders everyone out, and they run to each other, tears streaming down their faces. They hug, and Morgana dabs Uther’s eyes with her handkerchief. Morgana profusely apologises for the way she treated him and promises to treat him with the respect that he deserves after being the best ward she could ask for. He kisses her hand and she leaves him to his council – as Morgana walks out, a devious smile forms on her face.
That night, Morgana sneaks out of Camelot and rides off into the forest, stopping at a cave. She meets Morgause within the cave. Morgause greets Morgana as “my sister’, and asks how everything went. Morgana gleefully tells her that Camelot has welcomed back their daughter with open arms, and that Uther “laps up [my] lies like the snivelling dog that he is.” Morgause asks after ‘the boy’, to which Morgana freezes and states that Merlin believes her changed, and that he is about to find out how much. Morgause takes the handkerchief Morgana used to wipe Uther’s tears and drops it into a cauldron, stating that Uther Pendragon’s tears had not even began to fall. She also throws in a mandrake root, which lets out a high pitched shriek as it hits the concoction. Morgause tells Morgana that those with magic are the only ones who can hear the mandrake – but to mortals it has a more sinister effect, rendering them mad. Morgause retrieves the root from the cauldron and hands it to Morgana, who smiles.
READ THE REST OF THE RECAP, AND JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION HERE
Special Guests Emilia Fox as Morgause, Tom Ellis as Cenred
For the first time – this show actually creeped me out a little. the images that Uther saw due to the mandrake root; Igraine and the image of the drowned child, did actually make me shiver a tiny bit. And, oh, the hypocrisy. Uther drowned little children who were born with magic , because of the loss of his beloved wife – and yet, he kept his son -who was born due to magic by Nimueh. Wow, Uther. If your actions didn’t anger me before…
I have to admit – I felt little to no sympathy for Uther OR Morgana (although I love Anthony Head and have been a fan of Katie McGrath’s Morgana) in this episode -if anything, my sympathy lay with Arthur, who is being played so thoroughly by his loyalty and love for both parties.
Word to the wise, Morgana. Smiling after every lie you spout? Not exactly conducive to lying convincingly. I think I’m reserving my judgment on this episode until I see part 2- it seems to be an interesting start- but seemed rushed to me. I’m not too sure about Morgana coming back 100% evil from the get-go; and that it’s a year on from “The last Dragon Lord.” I probably would have liked her evilness to be slightly ambiguous for a while- and I really think something else is going on there. Although, I do like Katie McGrath’s evil Morgana face. I’m also looking forward to the Merlin and Morgana showdown. Also, Morgause’s interest in Merlin is a fascinating twist – especially with her not knowing about Merlin’s magic. I’m glad they carried over the ‘Dragon Lord’ powers from season 2 as well -it’s nice to see some continuity.
Merlin and Arthur – while Arthur is still a prat – the relationship seems a little more natural and Arthur doesn’t seem as .. cruel or unsympathetic as he did at the beginning of season 2. I do like that Merlin is dishing out as good as he gets, now. The preview looks quite interesting, with Merlin giving Arthur words of wisdom, and dragon riding, as well as the Merlin and Morgana stand off. It would also be lovely to see Gwen play a part in this story, considering who she will become. Oh, it was also interesting to see Cenred, finally, after 2 seasons of him being an unseen, relatively powerful figure.
An interesting beginning to season 3, let’s see where they go from here.
Did you see this episode? What did you think?