Merlin 4.02 – The Darkest Hour Part 2

This week we find Merlin dead and Arthur in mourning. No, wait! Merlin’s not dead from being entered by a ghost (not like that), he just has hypothermia, like a polar bear dip into a tormented soul from Dementia 5. So now he’s dying slow as really cold molasses, and Arthur wants to go back to Camelot immediately so Gaius can save Merlin with his Medieval medical arsenal of 4 leaches and some lungwort. I’m not saying Arthur’s anxious to get help because he’s secretly in love with Merlin. Except I totally am.

Don’t forget your bingo card!

The knights read Arthur the riot act, saying they must continue to the Isle of the Blessed to sew up the episiotomy of the spirit world, and can’t put the lives of everyone in the kingdom on the line for one skinny servant boy no matter how adorable he is. What’s a prince to do? Arthur is saved from making an impossible decision by Lancelot, who volunteers to take Merlin back to the castle via the sca-a-a-ry Valley of the Fallen Kings (I want to see him go through the Valley of the Fallen Queens next time…more glitter and Broadway numbers).

Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.

Merlin begs Arthur to let him go with them as Arthur ties him to a horse and apologizes for getting him almost killed, but Arthur doesn’t care about Merlin’s destiny…mainly because he doesn’t know about it. Off Lancelot and Merlin go into the spooky woods, while Arthur and the rest of the knights gallop off toward the Isle of the Blessed.  Sir Gwaine provides the comic relief trying to go all Winnie the Pooh on a beehive, but Arthur is too morose to laugh. He should have saved Merlin, dammit! But he didn’t, and Merlin is wasting away. Lancelot stops to get a drink from a babbling brook. No, really, the brook babbles. It’s the water droplet fairies, also let loose by Morgana’s shenanigans. They’re there to help Merlin get well so he can fulfill his destiny. She tells Lancelot to sleep, that they’ll protect them from the evil spirits with their wee LED lit souls. Yay!

To save time Arthur decides to go through a maze of tunnels under a mountain, which is filled with Wildren, those cool giant blind naked mole rats. They all file in, except Gwaine, who lets the others go on without him (DRINK) so he can turn and look all concerned-like into the gathering darkness. He’s promptly knocked down by Sir Percival who saves him from the spirit who’s somehow sneaking up behind up while simultaneously shrieking bloody murder. Whew! That was a close one!

They smear themselves with stinky berries so the Wildren can’t smell their yummy humanness, although that doesn’t stop this one Wildren (Rufus? Have you been taking HGH again?) from wetly snurfling all over him, and not in the good way. He runs it through with his sword, which brings all the other Wildren to the yard. Run away! Run away!

Meanwhile, back at Camelot, Agravaine has ordered the gates be closed at dusk to stop the citizens from holing up and eating all the food and bringing diseases with them. This actually sounds pretty logical to me, but Gwen tells the council that Arthur will soon prevail and save them all, so what’s the problem? The council agrees with her, because men of power are only too happy to listen to serving girls for advice on running the kingdom. And so the gates are left open, tuberculosis be damned!

Lancelot wakens to find Merlin missing. Did I say missing? I meant fishing. For breakfast. He’s well enough to engage in some witty banter and then it’s off to catch up with the others, dead fish in hand. Screw breakfast, there’s a prince to save! While everyone pushes on toward their goal, Agraivaine pays a visit to Morgana to complain about Gwen. They decide that if they can’t kill Arthur, they’ll settle for killing Gwen. How hard can it possibly be, right? Hello? Anyone?

Gwen tries to settle down Uther, who’s agitated that Arthur is gone. She tells him he’s out hunting, and he quickly falls back into his sad, yet creepy, silence. Agravaine is waiting for her outside. He quickly breaks her neck and hides the body until nightfall so he can dispose of it outside the castle walls. Problem solved! Okay, he really asks her to come to his room that night so they can speak in private, as he wants her advice on “the people.” She reluctantly agrees.

Merlin and Lancelot stop at a random home for the night. The owner is a serfsicle, so he doesn’t mind. While they’re warming up (not like that), Morgana is sneaking into the Camelot. She dispatches a Red Cloak with a magic push, which knocks him out cold (DRINK A DOUBLE), and hurries on. There’s evil to do, people to bleed, so no time to waste.

Gwen is instructing Agravaine on how to run a kingdom. He just about chokes her to death as thanks, but stops himself because there are still eleven episodes to go this season.  No, wait, it’s because Morgana wants to do the job herself. She gives Gwen and the guards escorting her home a magic push (DRINK) and leaves them unconscious to be taken care of by the spirits who are hunting people down at night. If only Morgana had some sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads, she wouldn’t have to resort to such convoluted schemes.

Arthur and the knights have also stopped for the night, which gives Sir Elyan a chance to tell Arthur that they would fight a thousand armies for him. Aww. Then he tells Arthur to get some sleep while Elyan keeps watch. But who can sleep when there are deadly ghosts partying down in the neighbourhood?

Lancelot and Merlin spend the night fighting over which of them is going to protect Arthur. Me! No, me! I made an oath to Gwen! It’s my destiny! And so on and so forth.

Gaius notices Gwen is missing and goes in search of her. He finds her and the guards out cold, and arrives just in time to save Gwen from a spirit. Whew! That was close! He takes her back to the castle, where they speculate who might have wanted to do her harm without drawing suspicion on themselves. Who indeed?

Lancelot and Merlin, exhausted from their cat fight, let the fire go out during the night. Merlin awakes to find a spirit doing a barrel roll toward them. Even though his magic doesn’t work around the spirits, he still manages to magically start the fire. He and Lancelot run for it out into the woods, Merlin shouting parceltongue dragontongue as he goes. And lo, here comes the dragon now, breathing fire and destroying spirits like a dragon boss. To say Lancelot is surprised is an understatement. The dragon knows who Lancelot is, because he knows everything. The dragon begs Merlin not to take Arthur’s place when he repairs the tear in the Veil, but Merlin feels he has no choice. He and the dragon say their sad good-byes. “It will be an empty world without you, young warlock,” the dragon says, then sweeps majestically into the air. Merlin swallows back tears, sorry for the life he’ll never get to live. You show us how it’s done, Colin! ::loves him to bits::

The next day as they near the Isle of the Blessed, Lancelot asks Merlin if he really means to take Arthur’s place. Merlin does indeed, and assures Lancelot that he’d do the same if there was some cause he cared about more than anything. Lancelot ponders this most sexily. When they catch up with Arthur and the knights that night, Lancelot thinks it would be hilarious if he made Arthur believe Merlin’s dead before Merlin shows himself. Ahahaha! Good one. But Arthur is so relieved he doesn’t care.

Arthur and Merlin stay up late talking. Merlin offers to sacrifice himself instead of Arthur. “What is the life of a servant compared to a prince?” “Good servants are hard to come by.” “I’m not that good.” “True.” Ha! Arthur refuses his request and tells Merlin to look after Gwen when he’s gone and make sure she’s happy. Merlin promises, but the look in his eye says he’s going to make sure by keeping Arthur around for her.

The next day they arrive at the Isle of the Blessed and are promptly attacked by flying lizard things that are distant dragon cousins. Merlin tells them to fuck off in dragontongue, which they do, complaining as they go. Some of the knights stay behind to keep the beasties at bay, and Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot, and Gwaine go on ahead to repair the veil. The Cailleach is waiting for them. When Merlin tells her innocent people are dying, she laughs like he’s Louis C.K. Gwaine is so pissed he tries to attack her, but she gives him the old magic push (DRINK) and BAM, he’s out for the night (DRINK). Arthur tells her he’ll pay whatever price she wants, which of course is a night of passionate sex with him. Wait, that’s me. She motions him forward to Ye Olde Altar of Human Sacrifice, but before he can get there, Merlin puts a sleeping spell on him. He walks forward to take Arthur’s place. Oh noez! Not Merlin! Oops, it’s really not Merlin. While he’s exchanging pleasantries about destiny with the Cailleach, Lancelot sneaks past them and with a final grin and a nod, strolls into the tear.

Merlin shouts in dismay, but it’s wayyy too late and the tear zips shut without a fare-thee-well. Merlin can’t believe it as he’s suddenly alone, so very, very alone. Except for Gwaine, who’s still passed out. Lancelot, we hardly knew ye. Dammit!


The crisis is over, and Arthur gives Lancelot a full military funeral, complete with burning pyre. You know what else is burning? Gwen’s heart. This is all her fault, her and her dumb oath. She sheds many bitter tears, and everybody immediately buggers off to do other non-funerally things, leaving her to it. Woe.

So to recap, tear between us and the spirit world? Healed. Arthur? Still alive. Gwen? Still alive. Morgana? FURIOUS.  Agravaine tries to explain that they almost killed them (DRINK), but it didn’t quite work, probably because of the lack of sharks with frickin’ laser beams. But she knows it wasn’t their own fault, it was that bloody Emrys! He’s the one who’s screwing things up for her! But she’s not going down without a fight. Her new plan is to find Emrys and destroy him before he can destroy her. Egads! One thing I’ll say about Agravaine, he loves a woman who takes charge. Which is why all this talk of murder and domination obviously makes him want to get into Morgana’s pantaloons or whatever medieval witches wear under their gowns. That also explains why he’s such a lapdog.

Case in point: here he comes asking Gaius if he’s heard of a warlock named Emrys. Gaius covers for Merlin, needless to say, but the truth is out. Morgana knows about Emrys, and Agravaine is in on it. The gauntlet’s been thrown, and now it’s more important than ever that no one ever finds out about Merlin’s magic. DUN DUN DUNNNN.