And now, I am caught up on Merlin.
Sunday night, NBC broadcast two episodes. However, I had no idea that they were showing two episodes. I just assumed that Merlin was on in its regular slot at 8 o’clock, and so I settled in to watch “The Labyrinth of Gedref.” Then, I found out later that there had been an episode at 7, “The Moment of Truth,” with Alexander Siddig as the episode’s baddie.
And I just got caught up and watched “The Moment of Truth.”
I loved the visual flair of “The Labyrinth of Gedref” on Sunday; the episode looked like nothing on American television, with some unique camera set-ups and an interesting sense of framing the shot. The story, however, left me a little cold.
Honestly, after seeing “The Moment of Truth,” I sort of wished I’d caught the first episode and missed the second.
However, I also understood, after seeing “The Moment of Truth,” why Merlin has such a shippy fandom. I don’t think Malory would approve. The monastic writer of the Vulgate Cycle definitely wouldn’t approve. The deranged author of Perlesvaus, however — he might approve. 😆
I feel like I’m getting an idea of where Merlin might be heading, in a long-ish term sort of way.
One of the things that’s bothered me is that there’s absolutely no reason why, given Merlin‘s set-up, Arthur would have to assert his claim to Camelot’s crown. In the series, Uther sits on the throne, and Arthur is the acknowledged crown prince. The need for the sword-in-the-stone doesn’t seem that necessary in Merlin‘s world.
But, after watching “The Moment of Truth,” I have a better idea.
Britain isn’t unified. Camelot and Mercia nearly go to war in “The Poisoned Chalice.” In “The Moment of Truth,” Uther can’t help Merlin’s village with the barbarian raiders (who, curiously, wield crossbows, which wouldn’t be invented for another millennium) because it would involve sending troops into another kingdom, which would be an act of war.
What we have, by all appearances, is an island of squabbling kingdoms, each with their own king, with no High King ruling the entire island or, at least, a goodly chunk of it.
Could this be the direction Merlin will take? That Arthur will have to claim the High Kingship? That he will have to win the crown, and make the rival kings of Britain subservient to him?
As “The Moment of Truth” shows us, Arthur is an adept leader of men. His speech to the people of Merlin’s village was inspiring — and they weren’t even his subjects. If anyone could unite Britain, it would be Arthur.
I wonder when Merlin will tackle the story of Arthur’s unification of Britain. Second season? Third season? Does he do it because Uther dies? Does he begin his quest in defiance of Uther’s wishes? Will he come into conflict with King Lot of Orkney and King Mark of Cornwall? And will there be a sword in a stone? ❓
I think that’s where the series will go — Arthur will unify Britain, and he’ll do it, ultimately, with the awareness that Merlin has magic. Season three, that’s my guess.