April 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Merlin “Aithusa”

Series Four, Episode Four.

Yeah, there’s definitely a more somber tone to the series now.  The events feel more monumental and less case-of-the-week than they did before.

That is not to say Merlin really rises above what came before.  It’s still a fairly silly show, and it’s still fairly family friendly.  The plots are often predictable.  The comedy more or less works.  The acting is fine.  And sure, the CGI isn’t exactly top notch, but it gets the job done.  It’s just a show with only so-so writing more often than not.  When the humor works better than the drama, that’s a problem for a show that is at least trying to be somewhat serious.

But I’ve come this far and still like the show, so I’ll stick with it.  It’s been better than some of my past Thursday shows that I may or may not ever finish.  *cough cough* House of Cards *cough cough* American version *cough*

So, let’s see what we have here…oh cool, another recognizable guest star.  It’s James Callis as one Julius Borden, a one time associate of Gauis, but I know him best as a different Gaius, namely Dr. Gaius Baltar from that sweet update to Battlestar Galactica.  So, that tells me two things:  Borden isn’t trustworthy and I’m going to call him Baltar throughout this tongue-in-cheek write-up/glorified plot summary.

And hey, we open the episode with Baltar threatening to slash some druid’s throat if the others don’t let him go with a piece of a something or other that is the second of three parts to a key to an ancient tomb for some dude with a hard to spell name so I’m not going to even bother.  But I was right about his lack of trustworthiness.  Sure, he may know the last piece of the key thing is in Camelot, but Gaius knows better than to trust that guy who is looking to find…wait, the last dragon egg?

OK, that might be important.  Merlin overhears two Gaiuses arguing, and when he asks about getting that last egg, Gaius says the egg is safe where it is and Baltar can’t be trusted because, you know, he’s Baltar.

Is Merlin going to help Baltar and learn he shouldn’t?  Obviously  The Great Dragon would love another dragon to hang out with.  He said to get the egg.  Gaius said not to.  Merlin then does the dumb thing and helps Baltar, a favor that earns him a knock to the back of the head as Baltar escapes to the tomb of the guy with the long name with the key.  And wouldn’t you know it, once Arthur learns there’s a dragon egg out there, he figures he has to destroy it, so that means riding out with Merlin and the knights to do that.

I’ve sometimes wondered why Arthur takes a servant with him everywhere aside from it making for a convenient plot device, but that’s neither here nor there.

And yes, it’s obvious that Merlin is useful for all this stuff.  The druids approve of his mission.  He knocks a crossbow out of Baltar’s hands when that dink has everyone pinned down.  And the jerkass pranks Arthur and the knights play on  Merlin come meal time mean Merlin avoids getting poisoned and even gets to storm the tomb himself, getting past the boobie traps and refusing Baltar’s offer of huge profits for selling a dragon egg because, you know, Merlin is the last Dragon Lord, and those guys don’t mess around.  So, he does get the egg, sneaks it out as the tomb collapses on top of Baltar, convincing Arthur and the knights that the egg must have been destroyed, gets back in Gaius’ good graces because of course he does and Gauis isn’t a jackass, and even takes the egg back to the Great Dragon to hatch.  How does a dragon egg hatch?  Merlin just has to call out a dragon name which he does.  The name?

Aithusa.

And out pops a cute white baby dragon with a name the Great Dragon says is momentous.

So, while this episode sure sounds like a standard episode of Merlin, it also seemed a lot more consequential for some reason.  Maybe having a second dragon hanging around has that effect.

Then again, maybe it’s just because we’re this far into the show’s fourth series and we haven’t seen a tournament yet.