.Oh, Merlin, you’ve been edging so close to being more than just dumb fun in your fourth series/season. Then something always comes up to change my mind…
OK, so, Merlin seems to be edging towards more serial as opposed to episodic storytelling, and perhaps being a bit more of a mature series. Considering the show ran for five series (what Americans like myself call seasons), and this change happens in the fourth, well, what took the show so long?
And there is that feeling here. Agravaine is plotting with Morgana for…some reason to take over Camelot. Is it because he thinks she’s hot? She is a very attractive woman and all, but that’s about the only reason I can come up with why Agravaine would plot with Morgana against his own nephew. I can see why he’d be mad at child-killer Uther (I am not letting that go). It’s Arthur that perplexes me.
Plus, Morgana really wants to know who the Emerys is. Gaius seems to know, and Gaius also seems to be a thorn in Morgana’s general plans as it is. Targeting Gaius with some sort of mage inquisitor makes sense. And heck, given the nature of the series, having Gaius not only break under magical torture isn’t terrible. He reveals Merlin will usher in the age of Albion, a golden age where the Old Ways and the New would be united at last does somewhat. What? Well, it turns out Morgana didn’t screen her hired help very well. The wizard she had torturing Gaius realizes he likes that prophecy a lot more than working for Morgana, and so he turns on her.
But then there are two things that happen here. First, we see that beyond Merlin (and Gwen, natch), when Agravaine basically frames Gaius for treason, Gwaine also believes the old doctor is innocent. He goes with Merlin to rescue the old man. And Gwaine gets to Gaius just before Agravaine can slit Gaius’ throat. And somehow, the series of lies Agravaine tells works on Gwaine. Eventually. Or so it appears. But c’mon, Gwaine, none of those statements explain at all how Agravaine left Camelot after you but somehow got to Gaius first! I know for the sake of drama characters on this show sometimes have to pick up the idiot ball, but c’mon! Will more come of Gwaine’s suspicions? Probably not. His name isn’t the show’s title.
And then there’s Gaius at the end basically explaining to Arthur why the old man that is secretly Merlin couldn’t be guilty of Uther’s death. I had to ask why Gaius waited this long to tell the young king. Was there a moment in this show that made it more appropriate? Gaius knew from the beginning Old Merlin was innocent. I’m not even sure the series did much with Arthur’s mistaken belief until now.
It’s stuff like this that has me take this show a little less seriously than I otherwise would have.