4.06: A Servant of Two Masters

ctg

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When Merlin falls into Morgana's hands, he becomes a deadly weapon in her fight for supremacy, as the magical drama continues. Using ancient magic, she pits friend against friend and creates the perfect assassin. An oblivious Arthur is in great danger. Will anyone notice Merlin's unusual behaviour before he does the King some serious harm?


Haven't watched it yet as we were so busy with the 5th of November fireworks. However, if you have please feel free to comment.
 

Dave

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This was a better episode than I expected from the trailer. Less slapstick and more puppet-masters. One thing I noticed was how much of a formidable opponent Merlin has now become - casting off offensive spells regularly and defeating the mercenaries army, four Camelot knights and laying Morgana's menagerie to ruins. This seems to have happened suddenly to me. Shouldn't we have seen him practicing his craft and his aim somewhere. I like it though. I hope that it continues and we don't reset to a time when he is afraid to use his magic.

There was a point when Merlin's life might have been in danger and he was lying next to Arthur and he could have said, "Yes Arthur, actually I have saved your life on several occasions because actually I am really a mighty Wizard in hiding but you are too thick to notice," but that moment passed away again. There is always going to be the problem that the audience know that Merlin and Arthur are never able to die, and so the series loses any kind of tension in that regard.

My only problem with the story was why Gaius and Gwen didn't come clean with Arthur and tell him that "Merlin has been possessed by magic by Morgana and he is trying to kill you against his will. Gaius thinks he can cure him but he needs a couple of days sick leave." It doesn't make for any comedy, but the King is safer that way.

Well, that and how Arthur storms into Uncle's room to accuse him of being a spy, then moments later, Uncle says it could be Gaius and Arthur immediately changes his attitude and instead believes it could be Gaius. It was almost as if he was possessed himself. I see from the trailer that it is to lead up to next week's episode. Series long story arcs - well what will we have next? But I think we have already had Gaius accused and then exonerated once before in the first series of this.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Well, I'll stick my tuppenny in and say I liked this episode, although Morgana's hissy fits are becoming more and more comical as she goes on; plus why is Agravaine following her, if she has a hold on him we're not shown what it is, and she seems thoroughly horrible to him.
Merlin/Arthur relationship was a little better in this one, but again they keep swinging and it's time for the writers to settle it down a little and decide is it mutual respect, or servant/master, or poor beleagued servant/master.
the kids particularly liked Emrys using the knights as a step ladder, and I think the balance is better this series with the humour mixed in rather than whole kid-friendly episodes.
 

Mouse

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The guy who plays Arthur has some great comic timing. I was cracking up when he was inching back behind the screen.

Wondered why Merlin didn't do some magic on Morgana in the first place to stop her putting the snake thing in him. Also couldn't work out exactly how/where he'd been injured, but I know it's difficult to show without blood.

I agree with you, Springs. I've no idea why Dunstan works with Morgana seeing as she treats him like poo.

Also, what was the whole exchange between Gawain/Merlin about when old Merlin was facing off the knights?
 

TheEndIsNigh

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This was a better episode than I expected from the trailer. Less slapstick and more puppet-masters.
.
Though the business with the chicken was bordering on the nonsensicle.



...
the audience know that Merlin and Arthur are never able to die, and so the series loses any kind of tension in that regard.
Although they could introduce a shocker - like the disappearance of Ivanhoe:). There's no reason he couldn't have a week off, only to return having vanquished the fiends of Barwoark or some such. This is something that annoys me about this type of series. Why can't the hero be thought dead at the end of an episode. Even better if he fails to re-appear the next week so that we, the idiots that watch it can have just a little doubt. It worked in LOR. If only the scriptwriters had a bit more imagination.

My only problem with the story was why Gaius and Gwen didn't come clean with Arthur and tell him that "Merlin has been possessed by magic by Morgana and he is trying to kill you against his will. Gaius thinks he can cure him but he needs a couple of days sick leave." It doesn't make for any comedy, but the King is safer that way.
Not to mention the sad demise of the poor sod that emptied the bath. Or the fact the bath seemed unaffected by the steel dissolving acid.


Well, that and how Arthur storms into Uncle's room to accuse him of being a spy, then moments later, Uncle says it could be Gaius and Arthur immediately changes his attitude and instead believes it could be Gaius. It was almost as if he was possessed himself. I see from the trailer that it is to lead up to next week's episode. Series long story arcs - well what will we have next? But I think we have already had Gaius accused and then exonerated once before in the first series of this.
Or any mention the baddie visiting Morgana? I suspect they had the snake makes you forget things in the plot but having failed to use it, it left the plot with a monster howler.

As for his diverting the interest over to Gaius. I got the impression that Arthur wasn't convinced or fooled. It would make more sense that he wasn't. Surely the lad is supposed to figure some things out, even if he and those around him have lost the power of observation in general. How many times can someone take their glasses of nip into the nearest telephone booth before someone would start to think -

"Ooo, there's that old guy - Quick Merlin grab... Merlin.... Meeerrrrlllliiinnn..."

I liked the butler character. However, I wouldn't cry if we never saw him again. I assume he was the poor sod that emptied the bath.

Morgana: OTT again. Considering that she and Merlin were big mates back in the time she seemed a little bit distant, as though she didn't know who he was at all. Why not just say I don't want him killed because we used to be friends and I have plans etc.
 

Ursa major

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I also enjoyed this episode more than I'd been expecting to. A good mix of proper action and slapstick. There were, of course, plot holes aplenty, but the show's good points usually outweigh these.

This seems to have happened suddenly to me. Shouldn't we have seen him practicing his craft and his aim somewhere. I like it though.
I've only just noticed the change in the introductory narration (spoken by the dragon), which now calls Merlin a young man as opposed to a boy.
I hope that it continues and we don't reset to a time when he is afraid to use his magic.
Me too.
 

ctg

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Finally had time to review the episode, and I have to say it was very good. Much better than many other that we'd in earlier season, and I especially like the idea that Merlin is living a double life with Emrys being his other person. So giving the old man a chance to be the villain of the peace allows him to practice more of his magic that would otherwise be hidden in the scenes.

The producers has come a long, long way from the monster or magic-user of the week, and giving much thought of making Morgana to be the ultimate villain, while Arthur grows as a King. But he's not the only one as I can see - for my pleasure - Gwen taking Guinevere role and becoming steps of becoming the Queen to her loyal subjects. And when she does, I could believe that the usual 13 episodes isn't going to cover the deep arcs. Not if they will bring Lancelot back from the Hell.

Speaking of Hell, I think the writers and the producers has shown that they can build the bridges and just work on what they have as they push the show in the deeper realm, where we know Merlin being the greatest mage that has set foot on this earth.

He truly shows great, great potential in this episode magical battle. A battle that I especially liked and would have wanted to last for hours, but then again, maybe that is the geek in me. Maybe that short of thing would make show very boring.

Don't know.

*Shrugs*
 

ctg

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Or any mention the baddie visiting Morgana? I suspect they had the snake makes you forget things in the plot but having failed to use it, it left the plot with a monster howler.
TEIN, how? How he could have done that? Do you think that while he's arranging Arthur's socks he can pop, "Oh, by the way, while I was in the forest, I saw your Uncle coming out from Morgana's hiding hole."

No.

I don't think so.

But what I think is that he can use this piece of information to his advance and I think he will, and you just have to be a bit more patient with the obvious plot-holes, as not everyone are as good as you are on these thing my dear friend.


I liked the butler character. However, I wouldn't cry if we never saw him again. I assume he was the poor sod that emptied the bath.
I liked him as well and I expect to see more of him in the future.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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Hi CTG:

Well, he might have mentioned it to Gaius, surely he "would have believed it". Something,given Gaius' predicament, that would be useful to know. Everything else he has ever learned about the witch as been faithfully reported and discussed when Merlin got back to the ranch.

As for the magic duel. I wasn't too convinced. Seemedd to be a lot of throwing about with soft comfy landings. The similarity to the old batman TV series where the baddie has the hero at his mercy, but rather than administer the coo-de-gra, the baddie stands around while the goody recovers, was quite sickening.

Morgana was thrown at least 20 feet into the air only to land in a leafy hollow to be out for the count. What does our hero do? Blast away her head to be rid of her forever, no he hot foots it out of there to build a fire.
 

Ursa major

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To be fair, the fire was rather important to Merlin: he had to kill the mini-hydra before the head within his own body recovered consciousness.
 

Dave

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To be fair, I also agree with Ursa that the fire might have been top of his agenda for that reason. On the other point though, you would expect that at some point in general conversation between Merlin and Gaius, Agravaine's visit to Morgana might have been casually mentioned. And who did empty the bathwater?
 

ctg

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To be fair, the fire was rather important to Merlin: he had to kill the mini-hydra before the head within his own body recovered consciousness.
I agree. He had to kill the hydra or otherwise he would have lost the battle. But I also do agree that BBC could have used a little bit more of those creative talents to produce magical effects. Just they didn't. And I hope that not all those funds were spent in the first two episode special effects.
 

ctg

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On the other point though, you would expect that at some point in general conversation between Merlin and Gaius, Agravaine's visit to Morgana might have been casually mentioned. And who did empty the bathwater?
Has the little people pointed that out? If not, I think we can forgive producers obvious plot-hole. They just had to get the humour in, but maybe in the after-production they can correct the scene before it hits the DVD/BRay market.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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To be fair, the fire was rather important to Merlin: he had to kill the mini-hydra before the head within his own body recovered consciousness.

But wait,:) Powerful magician, able to conjure fire at will (as demonstrated), but unable to destroy a hydra in a bottle without first building a little camp fire and singing Cum by Yar?

A much better sequence, would have been to have the hydra back in the medal. After all Merlin saw her do the 'Hans Solo out of the metal' trick so he knew what to look for. That would have required him to return to Camelot to learn how to re-animate it and then kill it.

Now we have time constraints and work that requires Merlin to get back as soon as possible. It would also mean in the magical fight scene there would be no need to keep switching to the bottle (unshattered) as the medal would be perfectly safe. As it was, why would you stick it in a specimen jar - it was inanimate so presumably pickled and dead already.

I also wondered why she didn't twig why the old guy was interested in that particular creature.

She comes home, finds her Nemesis rooting about in her palatial gaff. She panics, is he hear to finish her off and end her salubrious contract?

No! All he's interested in is a certain creature she recently stuck in the neck of some inconsequential buffoon. Does she ask, could there be a connection?

Not her (after all she's only a powerful witch woman).

OK then, having killed of the thing, does he destroy the witch. Does he burn down her shack of evil to hide his specific interest. Does he bury her under a convenient rockfall*1.

No, he trolls off back to Camelot.

*1 which is becoming a bit to common in the storyline IMO- Oh no we're outnumbered - I know lets have a rock fall/ building/tunnel collapse.

However, lets be sure not to kill any of the baddies, because that's just not cricket.
 

Connavar

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I also wondered why she didn't twig why the old guy was interested in that particular creature.

She comes home, finds her Nemesis rooting about in her palatial gaff. She panics, is he hear to finish her off and end her salubrious contract?

No! All he's interested in is a certain creature she recently stuck in the neck of some inconsequential buffoon. Does she ask, could there be a connection?

Not her (after all she's only a powerful witch woman).

OK then, having killed of the thing, does he destroy the witch. Does he burn down her shack of evil to hide his specific interest. Does he bury her under a convenient rockfall*1.

No, he trolls off back to Camelot.

*1 which is becoming a bit to common in the storyline IMO- Oh no we're outnumbered - I know lets have a rock fall/ building/tunnel collapse.

However, lets be sure not to kill any of the baddies, because that's just not cricket.
I agree its stupid writing to make Morgana foolish enough not to wonder her nemesis is after the thing she put in Merlin. Better writing would have been if she thought why does he care about Merlin the lowly servant? Whats the connection ? That would have been expected of the big bad witch villain.


Also i think you are a too picky to expect Merlin to be mature,tough enough to be the older Merlin who decides to kill Morgana when he had the chance. He cant kill her now ! The series would end then.

It makes as much sense as killing Arthur before he becomes the legendary king or killing Merlin before he is the famous wizard known to all in Camelot. They cant mess with their planned ending, the legend too early. Thats just common sense.

There is many weaknesses in this series but not killing Morgana is not one of them. Whats the point to the story without the villain ?
 

TheEndIsNigh

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I agree she is needed, so why write a storyline that puts her in that position.


However, as I suggested, with just bit of imagination she could have been beaten and not at his mercy or even apparently killed, say in the fire to destroy her hovel.
 

Connavar

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I agree she is needed, so why write a storyline that puts her in that position.


However, as I suggested, with just bit of imagination she could have been beaten and not at his mercy or even apparently killed, say in the fire to destroy her hovel.
Because i think it was good to see her and Merlin putting their magic abilities against each other. I was wondering how powerful she has become. Merlin showed he had more than her.

If it was an important story ep like early in the season or the finale of a season i can see why there might be need for imagination to make it look like he killed her,destroyed her shabby hovel. This was weird humor ep at the same time as Merlin was trying to kill Arthur. Didnt expect better from this ep.

I have just seen half of season 3 and early season 4 because i was finally impressed by the changes they made. Darker tone, closer to ending of the series, closer to who Merlin,Arthur is suppose to be. Uther dead, Morgana not hiding as fake innocent girl in Camelot. It was too cute,weak in the story eps before. Now its getting as close to the film Excalibur as family fantasy show can get.

I just hope they dont ruin the characters growth,storyline eps.
 
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