4.02: The Darkest Hour Part II

ctg

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The kingdom is on the brink of collapse and Morgana poised to strike. As Lancelot races back to Camelot with the dying Merlin, Arthur must continue on his mission to vanquish the Dorocha without them. Though the Knights know their journey to the Isle of the Blessed is fraught with danger, none could anticipate the sacrifice Arthur intends to make there.

Friendship and loyalty are tested to the limit, but in the end, it's the power of love that changes all their lives for ever.
 

Adasunshine

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Oooh it was good, it was good! Didn't much like Lancelot dying, I cried at the burning of his cloak and sword!

Morgana is severely twisted, bit hammed up but that's ok, she is Merlin's arch enemy! Not liking the Uncle either and good on Gwen for speaking out! I wish Gyas could be more outspoken.

The look Arthur had on his face when he realised Lancelot loved Gwen too... nice way to root the legend into the story.

By the looks of the sneek peek, Arthur meets Emris next week but then I've been misled before so I shan't get my hopes up! :D

All in all, loving Merlin yet again, do wish they'd get a move on and have Arthur knowing about Merlin, that's all I ask for.

xx
 

ctg

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I liked it too. But I'm not going to comment before TEIN has been in with his blunderbuss.
 

HareBrain

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Phew. When I enjoyed the first episode this afternoon watching it on iPlayer, I had the uneasy sense that the world wasn't quite as it should be. Thankfully the BBC have restored normality by delivering a distinctly "meh" episode 2.

I really think this series only works as overblown camp. Whenever it tries to do sincerity it falls flat on its face.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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Thoughts:

I'm still trying to calm down from last week. OK the new TV gives a better picture, but that blunderbuss doesn't half make a mess of the room. (frightened the cats too)

So Last week first.

Morgana establishes she's a powerful bitch by zapping all the knights, one at a time. A bit overdone and the slow motion evil girlie look didn't help.

Then we have the completely pointless messing with the shirt. OK a bit of light action. Lancy lot is re-introduced. It's not going too bad I suppose, until we get the 'I can't dress myself scene'. Oh we all rolled on the floor there, didn't we?

Then it starts to go down hill. The two sisters at the boat scene. Here we are at the river Styx with a boatman demanding payment for using his motor-boat. Why he couldn't just row the boat is beyond me. Still better hurry, Hercules is coming and...

oh wrong series - sorry

Then Uther, who in my opinion, just needs to be killed off - what does it take to get rid of him I wonder?

Now it really gets bad. We meet the uncle Dracula. I was waiting for the cape in front of the face just before the toothy smile and blood curdling wail. Sadly, it didn't happen.

The sacrifice scene was OK, if a little over dark and dramatic.

The BBC must have spent a fortune on those backward catapults though. It seems everyone wants a turn on them flying through the air.

The Aladdin and the magic lamp bit was OK and the old woman I thought did well. We actually got a few minutes of interesting plot.

In fact things improved quite a bit after that with the storyline moving along nicely. Nobody was surprised that the uncle was in cahoots with Morgana - who is overdoing it a bit.

So, in conclusion it could be better, but it has been a lot worse.

This week:

The Merlin slow recovery was acceptable. I liked the water spirits and again the banshees did their part well. (although, on reflection I'm seeing quite a few LOR reminders in this series)

The rodents in the caves - utter nonsense. Wheres the RSPCA when you need them. No hamsters were harmed in the ....

However, ignoring that, the rest of the episode wasn't too bad. The dragon needs some work from the reality point of view. The flying scenes were dreadful.

A bit of a surprise that old Lancy lot has such a short contract, but I suspect he will be back. What the point of the bonfire was is beyond me though. As for the weeping Gwen bit: yes it was a nice touch.

So, in conclusion, it seems OK (for now). If they could just cut out bad bits it would be better.

For this :-

Morgana needs toning down.
The uncle needs to get a new wardrobe.
Cut out the 'silly' humour. The one liners and banter is mainly OK, it's the stupid setup scenes that need cutting.
Get some decent monsters that don't look like 'Tales of the Riverbank' in drag.
 

HareBrain

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The dragon needs some work from the reality point of view.
My problem with the dragon was that it was a huge deus ex machina. Merlin and Lancelot run away from the only source of fire when threatened by creatures only defeated by fire, but rather than be killed like the idiots they are, their stupidity doesn't matter because the dragon just happens to turn up completely out of nowhere. This is the kind of plotting you'd get in a ten-year-old's first attempt at a story.

Having said that, it did fit a theme. How many times over the course of the two episodes was someone about to be killed by a darocca, only to be saved by someone off-screen waving a flaming torch into shot? Many.

And while I'm at it, slo-mo shots of lines of characters walking towards camera while stirring music plays in the background was old about ten years ago.

This programme has a lot of potential but it's being scripted and made in a very lazy fashion.
 

Dave

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I haven't had a chance to watch the second part yet, but this is exactly what I expected. It is a repeat of last year's two part opener - the first offering a real hint of change - the second reverting back to the same old status quo to continue through the rest of the Season. The Dragon should never had been freed - why is it still around? But killing off Lancelot!!! Surely, not? Surely, a big mistake?? Was it not a doppelgänger? He has a twin brother? Was it not Uther in a disguise? (Dave hopes!)
 

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But killing off Lancelot!!! Surely, not? Surely, a big mistake?? Was it not a doppelgänger? He has a twin brother? Was it not Uther in a disguise? (Dave hopes!)
Now that would be awesome.

I'm also wondering why they don't get shot of Uther now. Poor Anthony Head's doing nothing but looking miserable in his scenes.

I enjoyed the episode. Gutted they got rid of Lancelot, but I guess Santiago Cabrera is busy - they did have to write him out of episodes before. I'd rather they got rid of Gawain though. God, that bloke's an idiot.
 

ctg

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I really enjoyed on how to were displaying the knights of the round table coming together. They didn't need Merlin there, and surely at the end, if it would have been up to them, they would have fought on who's going to take the step on behalf of Arthur. But then again, as I'm saying that, it was only fitting for Sir Lancelot to take the step as he is, according to the Mists of Avalon the son of Lady of the Lake.

Speaking about the Lady of the Lake, it was so nice to see that they have started to bringing in those elements as the Lady is going to play a big role in the coming coronation. Surely the mental Uther is going to wither away while Morgana get bigger and bigger role on being the baddie.

Overall, I think that we're going to see faster pacing as they tied the knot and plug the holes as they move on towards the bigger stuff. So the show isn't going to be all about the magical creature of the week, but more about what's important in the name of Arthur the King.

And what I really like in that is that the Dragon isn't giving all the answers but being at the background giving sarcasm on Merlin's actions. And there cannot be long as we saw from the trailer for Merlin spilling the beans to Arthur.

What do you think?

PS. This one was one of my all time favourite Merlin episodes. Five stars out of five.
 

Ursa major

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How many times over the course of the two episodes was someone about to be killed by a darocca, only to be saved by someone off-screen waving a flaming torch into shot? Many.
And that's not counting urSpock saving not-Captain Kirk with two torches in Star Trek on Channel Four (last Sunday and then again, in the repeat, yesterday).

I wondered what was up with Merlin and Lance running away from the fire. Even Merlin, who knew he could summon the dragon, can't have known it was in the neighbourhood. What Lance was thinking, goodness only knows. And then, when it flew off, I wondered why Merlin didn't ask for a lift all the way to the island so that he could confront the Cailleach before Arthur got there.
 

Mouse

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That's exactly what the person I was watching it with said too when the dragon flew off. "Why didn't they ask for a lift?" I'd already sat through the whole episode listening to him whinge about it, so I just told him to shut up, rather than agree with his perfectly valid point. ;)
 

Adasunshine

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My problem with the dragon was that it was a huge deus ex machina. Merlin and Lancelot run away from the only source of fire when threatened by creatures only defeated by fire, but rather than be killed like the idiots they are, their stupidity doesn't matter because the dragon just happens to turn up completely out of nowhere. This is the kind of plotting you'd get in a ten-year-old's first attempt at a story.
Actually, the dragon didn't appear from nowhere, Merlin called him whilst they were running through the foresty bit, he's his DragonLord and all that malarkey... Also, their 'only source of fire' had been burnt out by the Darocha (spelling was in my son's Merlin magazine! :D) and Merlin only created a flash explosion to scare them away so he and Lancey could make a run for it.

xx
 

HareBrain

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Actually, the dragon didn't appear from nowhere, Merlin called him whilst they were running through the foresty bit, he's his DragonLord and all that malarkey... Also, their 'only source of fire' had been burnt out by the Darocha (spelling was in my son's Merlin magazine! :D) and Merlin only created a flash explosion to scare them away so he and Lancey could make a run for it.

xx
Fair point, and thanks for coming back on it. I've seen only a handful of episodes of Merlin and didn't realise he was calling the dragon. Not sure the explosion makes sense though -- he can create a log fire in just as short a time as the flash, so why not relight the one that was blown out?

Anyway, my main problem with ep2 wasn't really details like this as much as it lacked the feel of the first one, which I struggle to define. I think the first one just had a higher quotient of camp gothic madness than the second, and that really worked for me. I think they should concentrate on that aspect and not on trying to portray realistic emotional relationships between the characters, which I don't feel they're very good at.
 

Dave

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I've watched it now and while not as bad as we like to make out, it did still have that reset button quality.
Actually, the dragon didn't appear from nowhere, Merlin called him whilst they were running through the foresty bit, he's his DragonLord and all that malarkey... Also, their 'only source of fire' had been burnt out by the Darocha (spelling was in my son's Merlin magazine! :D) and Merlin only created a flash explosion to scare them away so he and Lancey could make a run for it.
That's an excellent explanation, and makes much sense, but it wasn't one made very clear in the actual episode.

...it lacked the feel of the first one, which I struggle to define. I think the first one just had a higher quotient of camp gothic madness than the second...
Yes, I noticed Morgana's new Gothic look. I think her and uncle have have been reading too many vampire novels.

Lancelot didn't actually fall on a sword or spill any blood. He just walked into the rift. That was not my definition of a "blood sacrifice" and by the same token it allows for his return out of the rift at some future point. Which would be wrong. The opening of the rift demanded the ritual death of Morgause so the closure should have demanded an equal compensation.
 

HareBrain

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Lancelot didn't actually fall on a sword or spill any blood. He just walked into the rift. That was not my definition of a "blood sacrifice" and by the same token it allows for his return out of the rift at some future point. Which would be wrong. The opening of the rift demanded the ritual death of Morgause so the closure should have demanded an equal compensation.
One thing I didn't understand about the whole rift/sacrifice business (but I may have missed something, as with the dragon-calling) -- people knew what the darocha were, so presumably the veil has been rent in the past. But then it must have been mended in the past, but no one seemed to know anything about that.
 

Ursa major

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Actually, the dragon didn't appear from nowhere, Merlin called him whilst they were running through the foresty bit....
The dragon must still have been nearby. (For instance, we didn't hear a sonic boom. ;):))
 

Adasunshine

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The dragon must still have been nearby. (For instance, we didn't hear a sonic boom. ;):))
:p... I'm a bit of a dracophile and unfortunately :)rolleyes:) believe dragons can do anything so I'm quite easily led when it comes to them being able to do stuff like appear out of nowhere! I find it all perfectly believable. :D

xx
 

rune

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I think its about time Authur figured out Merlin is a wizard, its just getting a bit lame that he doesnt know yet!
 

Jo Zebedee

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The problem is if you know the legends well, then you know they're stretching at this stage, quite a lot; uther needs to go; arthur was a young king; Lancelot being killed off makes no sense so i doubt if he's gone, since he brings about the fall of camelot, but I do like the mixing of Merlin/Emrys, because the Welsh legends definitely show them as disparate characters, whilst not saying they're different. But, having said that, big fans here, and my kids love it which is great.
 
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