On the Return of Merlin

Last night, thanks to the magic of the internet faeries, I watched Merlin‘s second season premiere, “The Curse of Cornelius Sigan.”

When last we left Camelot in “Le Morte d’Arthur,” Prince Arthur has been poisoned by the Questing Beast, Arthur made a deal with Nimeuh to save his life, and when the deal cost him his mother’s life, Merlin called down the lightning and fried Nimeuh.

Which was really unfortunate; the world needs to see more of Michelle Ryan as Nimeuh. 🙂

Be that as it may, the second season of Merlin began in the UK on Saturday with “The Curse of Cornelius Sigan.” It’s some unspecified amount of time after “Le Morte d’Arthur,” maybe a week or two, and an archeological excavation under the castle reveals a crypt. A con man, Cedric, worms his way into Arthur’s confidence so he can gain access to the riches of the crypt, while the court physician Gaius warns Uther ominously that the crypt belonged to Cornelius Sigan, a great sorceror of the Old Religion who built Camelot and vowed to destroy it. Naturally, Cedric unleashes an evil he doesn’t understand, there’s magic afoot in Camelot, and Merlin has to find a way to save the day unobtrusively.

In short, if you’ve seen one episode of Merlin, you’ve probably seen this one.

“The Curse of Cornelius Sigan” isn’t bad, by any stretch. The last half of the story, when Cedric’s body hosts the spirit of Sigan, is engaging and compelling — Arthur may be a dick, but there’s also a strong sense of heroism and duty within; Uther is slave to his blindspot where magic is concerned; and we get a hint that Gwen’s speech about what Arthur represents to her in “Le Morte d’Arthur” has repercussions. The first half, however, feels like something off the slush pile for the first season; there’s a regression in the Arthur/Merlin relationship, for one thing.

A mixed bag, then.

The best part of the episode, honestly, was the preview for upcoming episodes. Charles Dance! The return of Lancelot! The return of Mordred! (That kid has seriously creepy eyes, by the way.) And was that Merlin snogging Morgana?

I’m not sure when (or if) NBC is planning on broadcasting the second season. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

And when’s the first season DVD set coming, BBC Worldwide? Hmm? 🙂

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