So, this episode marks the second appearance of court archivist Geoffrey of Monmouth. And here’s the thing: there really was a Geoffrey of Monmouth. The real Geoffrey was a “historian” in the loosest sense of the word. His work The History of the Kings of Britain was intended to fill in the blanks left behind in English history beyond what the Romans wrote down. Geoffrey’s history was considered for centuries to be accurate and was even used as justification for the English conquest of Ireland. Why is he on this show? Because he wrote into his history a number of early Arthurian legends as fact. He also included giants, the idea that the Romans could only conquer Britain using deception rather than win a straight fight (they invaded THREE TIMES before they got anywhere), and that the first Britons were descended from a Trojan survivor of the Trojan War named Brutus.
Basically, he made stuff up.
As it is, Geoffrey doesn’t do much here. He has some records Gaius needs when a new healer named Edwin comes in to cure Morgana of a mystery illness. Said healer seems to be missing half of his face thanks to some make-up effects…I mean burn scars. And it turns out, Gaius is right to be concerned: this guy’s parents were burned at the stake for using magic by everybody’s favorite witch-hunter Uther. Sure, they were using magic for evil, but when you’re a kid, it’s only natural you might run into a fire to pull your burning parents out.
So, using claims of superior skills, Edwin gets Gaius fired and takes his job, and then he finds out Merlin uses magic. How does he learn this? Because Merlin is an idiot and tells him.
So, what is Gaius to do? He knows who Edwin is and suspects he’s up to no good, but if he tries to tell Uther, Edwin will give away Merlin’s secret. Consulting with the Great Cartoon Dragon, who also knows Gaius, he finds out that he may need to decide whether to save Uther or Merlin.
As it is, he can do both because that’s how these shows work. Edwin is using magic bed bugs or something to induce brain hemorrhaging, and when Gaius finally confronts Edwin, he’s trapped by a ring of fire, but then Merlin shows up and not only deflects a magically-tossed axe back at Edwin, putting out the fire ring, but he uses more magic to save Uther without Uther realizing it.
Did Uther learn anything? Only that he needs to be even more on guard against magic!
What a tool.
But Gaius, he’s cool.