So it all comes down to this. Merlin vs. Morgana! Arthur vs. Mordred! And the end of the show vs. the legends it is based on!
Hold on, that last one doesn’t sound right.
So, how does a show like Merlin opt to go out? Big battle scene? Magic showdown between Merlin and Morgana? Some sort of dance-off? Maybe we’ll see a lot of characters just die heroically.
OK, that stuff sort of happens. But because Merlin has been sitting on a secret, most of this finale is about Merlin and Arthur and what kind of relationship they have. The fight with Mordred ends very quickly. Mordred stabs Arthur when the king isn’t looking. After some talk about how inevitable it all was, Arthur turns around and stabs Mordred to death as well.
By the way, Mordred: your girlfriend was an unrepentant murderer. She wasn’t worth dying over, and even you knew that.
But since Morgana forged Mordred’s sword with dragonfire, that makes it extra-deadly. Arthur has two days to live, and he may if Merlin gets him to a particularly magical island first. Not long onto the route, Merlin confesses he’s a wizard. Arthur is angry about it for a while, but ultimately orders Merlin to never hide who he is again. So, I guess magic just became legal in Camelot, particularly after Merlin takes out Morgana with Excalibur.
As for other big deaths, Gwaine died too because Gwaine is an idiot.
But the final big death is Arthur. The Great Dragon tells Merlin that Merlin accomplished a great thing. Arthur is the Once and Future King who will return in a time of Albion’s greatest need and…wait, hold on. Was Arthur that great a king?
Seriously, this is Merlin’s show and all, but I don’t see what made this Arthur that special. Likable? Sure. A better man than when the series started? Undoubtedly. A great king? I don’t know. We saw very little of what Arthur did to make all of Albion a greater place. Yes, he did things better than Child-Killer Uther did, but that was hardly a high bar to jump. Pretty much all of Arthur’s problems were people putting Uther’s sins on the son. That included Morgana.
If anything, it’s less Arthur the Man as Arthur the Promise that will be remembered. That…might actually work out fine.
So, Merlin will guard Arthur’s final resting place well into modern times. Gwen (somehow) becomes the new Queen of Camelot. And a show that was a fairly family-friendly fantasy adventure comes to a close. I won’t say I loved it, but I did like it. It was fine. A bit predictable at times, but fine. If parts of it made no sense, like how Arthur’s final orders make everything better for sorcerers if Merlin is the only one there to hear them, then I guess I can live with that. Let’s give this one a solid B grade with an 8 out of 10 watery tarts throwing a scimitar at you as a system of government.
But we need something new. Maybe I’ll just stick with something from the other side of the Atlantic for now and go with the German-produced, Netflix-hosted time travel series Dark.
I’m sure, with a title like that, that it’s just a jolly fun time.