Contributor: Gregg Wright
It seems obvious now, but at first I didn’t get why Morgana seemed so supportive of Gwen’s interest in Arthur. And that was after Morgana discovered that she was Uther’s biological daughter. And then it hit me. Gwen was Arthur’s weak spot. She could be used to somehow keep Arthur from taking the throne, so Morgana could take it instead.
An early plan (“The Castle of Fyrien”) involved a fairly straight-forward attempt to simply lure Arthur into a trap where he’d be killed, which completely failed. But this episode’s attempt was something Morgana and Morgause should have come up with a lot sooner. Use Uther’s obvious prejudices, against magic and against cross-caste romance, to force father and son against each other (unfortunately, Uther seems to have learned nothing from “The Changeling”). I’m actually a bit confused about the purpose of this scheme, now that I think about it. It was sparked off by Morgana’s prophetic dream of Guinevere marrying Arthur and becoming Queen of Camelot. So it seems the main goal was to get rid of her.
With Gwen banished, Arthur would give up the throne and leave Camelot with her for good. This would seem to serve the purpose of giving Morgana access to the throne. But this would also leave the door open for them to make a possible return at some point. The prophecy could still come true. So it’s decided that Gwen must be taken out of the picture permanently. But with Gwen executed by Uther, wouldn’t that lead Arthur to rebel against him? It seems like that would be pretty detrimental to Morgana’s bid for the throne.
I know it’s a different age, so perhaps this was the norm back then, but does Uther always ride around outside of Camelot with no armed guards protecting him? If I remember correctly, Morgana almost killed Uther in an earlier episode (before thinking better of it), on just such an instance. I suppose killing Uther off wouldn’t be in her best interests now, since Arthur is still next in line for the throne.
After hearing a bit about Merlin’s “old man” impression, I feared the worst. But I ended up feeling relatively amused by the whole scenario. It was good bit of foreshadowing of the more famous picture of Merlin most people have, which he will one day become. And it was fun to see Merlin really speak his mind to Uther and Arthur. At first it seemed like Merlin wasn’t going to be able to come up with a believable motive for his actions, but suddenly I remembered just how many atrocities Uther has committed, even in the amount of time that Merlin has been in Camelot. So I was glad to see that, after a moment or two, Merlin remembered too.
This season has been such a mixture of good and bad. If this season ends with yet another cop-out I’ll be extremely disappointed. The show has a format, and it seems to want to stick to it no matter what, which is probably the biggest flaw holding this show back.