5.05: Merlin - The Disir

ctg

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When three soothsayers from the court of the Disir pass judgement on Arthur for rejecting the Old Religion, the young king sets out with Merlin, Mordred and a handful of knights to a sacred grove to demand an explanation.
 

Mouse

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Yeah. Kinda boring I thought! Merlin should've seen that coming, surely? I don't have anything to say on it, really. Oh, apart from did anybody notice that when the crones magicked Gwaine, Percival was the first to draw his weapon? I thought that was sweet. ;)
 

Perpetual Man

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I actually felt that this was an improvement on last weeks episode, and although it might hav ebeen obvious that Merlin was going to make the biggest mistake of his life, I rather liked the way it happened and the fact that he realised exactly what he had done at the end.

Of course I guess this means that we are not going to see Arthur learning Merlin's secret any time soon.

Overall though, I thought this episode was different to many recent ones, was stronger and without so many of the annoying short-cuts in the writing.

Mouse - what are you suggesting something about Percival and Gwaine? :)

That being said, the trailer for next weeks episode looks like we are going to be back on the same old ground once again.
 

Dave

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I have to reiterate what the others have said - a little boring, but at least a bit different to the usual fayre - which is exactly what we will get again next week.

As for Merlin's decision, I didn't think he would do that. His vision wasn't clear as regards to the time it happened, so it could be long in the future. Mordred has already saved Arthur's life twice, so why not twice again before being responsible for his death. Even Gaius, who he trusts, gave him the same advice. However, he carries on doing whatever the Dragon tells him to do. He has no backbone. He castigates Arthur on the difference between destiny and fate, but he seems unable to separate them when it applies to himself.
 

ctg

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I'm so sorry I haven't replied earlier, but to be honest, I haven't had time to review the episode before. But I did tonight even though I had already read your condemning comments on the episode.

The episode felt like it was strongly connected to the season pilot. The whole faith of King Arthur being in Merlin hands and him cocking it up completely, even though he had all chances to finally allow the magic being practised in the streets of Camelot.

It had to hurt him. A great deal in fact. And I felt for him. But there lies the danger, the show must go on, Merlin has to hide in the shadows and allow the conjurers like Morgana to do whatever because there is nothing he can do. He cannot change the facts, the destiny, the faith of the great king. So as Dave says he has no backbone.

Well, I don't know how long I keep putting up these episodes as there is clearly much of hate towards this series. I will give it go for few more episodes but I'm afraid that this series has to be cancelled in this board.
 

Dave

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I don't hate it; I think this current series is the best yet. None of that slapstick anymore, and Morgana casts dirty spells and not just dirty looks. No more monster or evil wizard of the week. However, it has lost some focus and direction since the start of this season. The story needs to move on a little each week, not only in the first five minutes of the first episode and the final five minutes of last episode of the season. Why can't we see Merlin and Arthur as adults now? Why is it still The Young Adventures of Merlin?
 

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I'm with Dave, I don't hate it at all. I enjoy it very much. I also enjoy moaning about it a bit. ;)

Besides, I'm still hoping for Perwaine.
 

ctg

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Why can't we see Merlin and Arthur as adults now?
They are adults now. Don't you remember, Arthur rans after Merlin and caught him in one of hallways where he asks, "Why don't you laugh my jokes anymore?"

And Merlin answers, "I have grown up."

So they try to be serious, do serious things and the series certainly isn't about the boy king leading his toy soldiers in the battle. But I do admit that there are a lot of waffling because of the budget constrains. And they simply cannot change the whole series two notches north when they have established an audience with a lot of young people and some older people.

My wife, Mrs Ctg for example is really big fan of the show, and she likes to talk about "Merlin Wedding" whenever she can - although I do admit that she talks all time because she's a PR, and I cannot leave her alone for ONE MINUTE without her going to have a chat with a strange person.

But the thing is, I feel like people don't want to talk about this series because they are so embarrassed about how it has turned out. And there isn't single WOW episode, where people have gone and said that was really good. Not one in its entire history. So I feel that there's a lot of hatred towards Merlin. And people simply just like to plug holes in it.

Why is it still The Young Adventures of Merlin?
Why Doctor Who is still travelling in 50's phone box?
 

Perpetual Man

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I would just say it is the nature of the beast ctg.

Merlin is one of the most successful Saturday night dramas that the Beeb have put out in recent years, part of the reason it has done so well and there could well be more to come.

Both myself and Mrs Perp don't miss an episode (although we rarely get to watch it as transmitted), and as a whole we enjoy it.

It's easy to find the issues that we see as weaker than it is to praise it because we just want to see the show achieving even more.

Is it actually being called The Young Adventures of Merlin? I never noticed...

And just as a comparison, have you seen the mauling most of the episodes of Doctor Who got this year (on this site)? While the national critics were falling off their seats to praise it, we tore into it (probably even worse than Merlin has received.)

I think the more a show is loved, the more people see fault in it because they want it to be better...
 

ctg

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I have seen how you lot have torn down Doctor Who, and I have mostly stopped watching that series because of those comments. I just haven't bothered to even put it on a record, watch it on an iplayer or even download the episodes. I would even say that some of the habits we have learned in the critiques has multiplied in those threads.

So I don't bother with them as it's all about throwing sh*t on the producers, but if people would actually take another lesson we have learned from the critiques, and say something positive about the series/episode then maybe things would change.

For example I really, really like the fact that the wardrobe department has had big balls to do ALOT of stuff in this season. And I also like that the episodes are more and less linked to bigger arch. So writing of this series has gone up a great deal. And there is the locations, which fortunately has been extraordinarily beautiful over these five episodes.
 

Perpetual Man

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You are of course right.

In defence of my Doctor Who posts I spent the best part of those 5 episodes defending the show and answering every criticism made, just to prove that answers could be found that made sense...

For myself I found the latest DW episodes to be lightweight but highly entertaining, which was they were trying to achieve - although Moffat did say he expected it would upset a lot of hardcore fans - and judging by the reaction here he was right - but they have to take in the majority of the viewing public and deliver something that is entertaining to them.

I guess the same stands true for Merlin.

So... next week I shall endeavour to do for Merlin what I try and do for DW, and when writing the comments for the writing challenges - positive only.
 

ctg

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I would say that everything has it's limits and if there is something that bothers you or anyone then say so. Just like I say that it bothers me that there are so much of underground stuff, even though I love seeing caves and dark places. It is as if they cannot figure out doing anything else. But then again that thing is the nature of the show, just like the fact that Merlin cannot reveal him being the major magician to the great king of Arthurian legends.
 

Perpetual Man

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But there are positives as well, of course - as you mentioned some of the locations are stunning.

The relationship between Arthur and Merlin has remained one of the strongest and most enjoyable bits in the show.

Unlike some similar shows there has been character progression and change - Morgana went dark, Uther died, The Dragon was freed, Arthur married Gwen, and there is some bravery in changing some of the constants from the classic stories, Lancelot removed earlier than expected, Merlin a youngster etc, but it adds to the legend changing it again and again which is something that has been done since the stories began.

And of course (just for Mouse) there is Percival and Gwaine.
 

ctg

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Absolutely true, the writers has been bold and dared to challenge the old school Arthurian legend scholastics, who probably have burned the whole series at the Summer Solstice bonfire at Stone Henge. And they have done wonders in this series by taking the ideas and pushing the boundaries, when they could have just stuck to old and proven method of if-it's-not-broken-don't-fix-it.

You see lot of that in this particular episode, where the most brilliant moment lies Arthur's challenge to Merlin, when he asks: "What would you do in my shoes?"
 

Ursa major

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I have seen how you lot have torn down Doctor Who, and I have mostly stopped watching that series because of those comments.
Wouldn't it have been better to continue watching the series (if you enjoyed doing so, that is) and to ignore/downplay the adverse comments? (Particularly as many of those criticising the programme do continue to watch it.)
 

ctg

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Maybe I should have, but as I have already noted I was corrupted and couldn't see a point of continuing, when I knew what was happening in the board. But as I have gained wisdom from that point, then maybe I should take heed of your advice and go there to defend Mister Moffat and his crew.
 

Dave

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It's a strange thing - my kids (who are actually now young adults) still watch Dr Who (which I have all but given up on) while they have stopped watching Merlin (which I think has improved no end.) Unfortuantely or fortunately, I can't stop watching Dr Who since it is on TV anyway. Maybe there is something in what PM says though; if you have a core group of viewers, then you don't want to stray away too far from whatever it was that they originally started watching for.
Is it actually being called The Young Adventures of Merlin? I never noticed...
No it isn't, but that is the whole premise isn't it? - like the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles or Young Sherlock Holmes. The introduction at the beginning says it all.

All I am saying is (and given that the creators expect it to end soon) why can't we see a natural progression from boy to immensely powerful wizard with a little more progress each week?
 

Perpetual Man

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I'm not sure whether I'm imagining it, but I'm sure I read somewhere that the show has been given a sixth season. If so it gives them more time to develop the powerful wizard bit...
 
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