We’ve got the knights being super mean to Merlin, a rogue octopus from hell, Arthur wrestling with his feminist side, and a creepy girl who’d like to suck all the boys to death (not like that). All that and Gwen getting her sword skillz on, this week on Merlin.
What’s the easiest way to get you to care about John and Mary, two characters you’ve never seen before in your life? Why, make them an adorable couple happily married for 30 years, and then make John go outside into the darkness to see what that ungodly scream was, yo. Don’t go out there, John! He does anyway, because he’s obviously responsible like that. He investigates all over the damn place, and finally bumps into one of the village kids…who’s dead as a plank. Looks like we have a creepy creature of the week on our hands!
The next time we see Mary, she’s knocking on Gwen’s door. It turns out they’re all from the same village, and she’s hoping Gwen can help her. As luck would have it, Gwen’s on snogging speaking terms with the king, so she arranges a little get-together. It seems some inexplicable force is killing the villagers, and they have no doctor to help them. Woe! Arthur immediately agrees to help, because he cares deeply about his subjects. Otherwise why would he be wearing a peek-a-boo shirt for everyone to enjoy his chest like that, am I right?
Gaius is much too busy treating his own patients to go to the village, so he suggests that Arthur send Merlin to take a quick look-see in his place. Arthur is flabbergasted that anyone could believe Merlin capable of such an important task, which is hilarious. Merlin’s saved Arthur so many times you’d think he was a Microsoft Word file. How quickly Arthur forgets!
But we shouldn’t be too hard on Arthur, because even Merlin doubts he can do it. Gaius isn’t about to let him get away with such stinkin’ thinkin’, and assures him that he has intelligence, courage, compassion – all things a good doctor in the making needs. A rudimentary knowledge of the musculoskeletal and circulatory systems in the human body probably wouldn’t hurt either, but let’s not quibble.
The next morning as Merlin packs to go, Gaius gives Merlin his medicine bag. Aw, Gaius is the best not-dad ever. Merlin is terribly grateful, and you can see he wants very much to live up to Gaius’s high opinion of him. Merlin, Gwen, Mary, and few random knights make it to the village by nightfall, where the villagers are waiting for them in an anxious knot. John is excited to see them – until he realizes that they got Merlin instead of Gaius. Poor Merlin. Sir Elyan steps right up to defend him; the knights love their mascot, I’ll give them that.
They take Merlin to the men who were struck down, and they’re either dead or dying from whatever got ahold of them. Merlin rattles off some official sounding medical jargon, then tells Gwen and John to go get some belladonna. The nanosecond they’ve left the room, he zaps the first fellow with some magic, about which Merlin knows slightly more than medicine I dare say. Uh oh, his spell does exactly nothing to the man. Not a good sign.
Deep into the night while Merlin is watching over his patients, something ominous whooshes by the window. Merlin goes out to investigate, grabbing the first weapon he can: a fishing rod. Hee. He’s not out there five seconds before he runs into Gwaine, who scares the crap out of him. “I could have killed you!” Merlin gasps. Gwaine thinks he meant with the fishing rod, which makes them both laugh. Whatever was there, it’s gone now, so they both go back to bed.
The next day the sick people haven’t improved. Prompted by Merlin, John admits that he suspected there might be something supernatural behind their illness. Um, NOW you’re mentioning that tidbit of information? They decide to go back to Camelot and get Gaius’s butt out here ASAP.
On the way home, they come upon a girl being harassed by a band of bandits. The knights fight them off and rescue her. She tells them she was abducted, and her name is Lamia. Sir Percival, who’s usually such a warrior, holds her gently in his huge arms. She’s obviously traumatized; she won’t even let Merlin touch her to examine her. They take her with them, and when Merlin tries to help her off her horse at the end of the day’s travel, she actually hisses. And Percival actually shoves Merlin away from her so he can help her down himself. Hmm…if I didn’t know better I’d think Lamia might not be what she seems. That night while on watch, Percival finds Lamia bawling under a tree in the woods. He gives her a big old hug, which she gladly accepts – just in time for her eyes to go all snaky on us. I knew it! Merlin just might know it too, because when he interrupts them none of them take it well at all.
Back in Camelot, Arthur is freaking out because nobody knows where the rescue team went. He decides that it would be best for him and Gaius to go a-looking for them. Excellent idea!
Merlin and Gwen are stunned the next morning when the knights inform them that they’re not going to Camelot because ’tis a silly place. No, wait. I mean because they’re going to take Lamia home instead. But what about Gaius, and the villagers? Fuck them, Lamia comes first! The knights apparently find her inherent creepiness irresistible.
On the way to the village, Arthur and his band of Red Cloaks (and Gaius and Agravaine) happen upon a group of slave traders who are randomly dead for no apparent reason. Their prison wagon is overturned, with all sorts of human scratches on the door where someone wanted very badly to get away from whatever was inside with them. Curiouser and curiouser! One of the dudes is still alive, so they drag him with them.
Sirs Leon and Gwaine are so anxious to help Lamia, I don’t know, go pee or something, that they decide to fight to death for the privilege. The other knights separate them, but not before Leon gets his arm sliced open. Gwen goes to get the medicine bag while Lamia stands there fondling her hair and looking modest while it happens, a victorious smile on her lips. Okay, I’m ready to choke this ho with my bare hands, but obviously the knights don’t agree with me, and are perfectly willing to gouge my eyes out for saying that.
Arthur and the rest have arrived at the village, only to find the others had left the day before, and were obviously led astray before they reached Camelot. Gaius confirms Merlin’s diagnosis that whatever is wrong with the villagers was caused by sorcery rather than, say, mono. Good call!
Merlin and Gwen begin to suspect Lamia might have something to do with the knights’ strange behaviour (insert Nic Cage you don’t say face here). Gwen can’t understand how a simple girl could do such a thing, and you can tell from his expression that Merlin is damn well going to find out.
Gaius learns from the wounded fella that the slave traders picked up a girl slave and immediately began killing each other over her. Good lord, so many guys are head over heels for her I’m starting to suspect she’s Bella Swan. Gaius explains that this is no ordinary girl, but a Lamia – a magical creature made from mixing human blood with Charlie Sheen’s blood. Heh, I mean serpent blood. Lamias can bewitch a man with just one embrace, then suck the life force right out of him. That’s not a euphemism for “blow job”, though. I don’t think.
Back at camp, Elyan finds out the hard way that it’s not a euphemism for anything fun. Lamia smooches him, and sure enough, there goes Elyan’s life force. Dammit! The next morning, the others find Elyan missing, and frantically search for him, leaving Gwen with Lamia, who seems massively unconcerned about him as she burps up a little bit of his soul. Urp. When they find him, Merlin and Gwen of course want to take him to Gaius, but Lamia says she knows of an abandoned castle not far from them that they could go to instead. Guess who the knights agree with?
But fear not! Arthur has found their tracks and is following them, even as Gwen and Merlin freak out that Arthur will never be able to find them because they’re in the middle of nowhere. They might as well be in the Mall of America during a power outage! Gwen decides to give him a little help and ties a scrap of her cloak to a tree. Good thinking, Gwen. It’s a brilliant plan, except Agravaine has decided to hide all the signs of them he finds, the better to be rid of Gwen. Agravaine, you derp!
They arrive at the castle, and before they enter the maze of passages, Merlin tries one more time to reason with Percival. Percival responds by threatening Merlin with bodily harm. Never mind, then. They get, like, ten feet in before the lights go out. By the time they light a couple of torches, Lamia is gone. The knights immediately rush off to find the poor girl. Ooh, this is going to be good.
They come to a room that is littered with human bones. The knights are afraid for Lamia, which makes Merlin so angry he yells at them that they’re the ones in danger, from Lamia, who obviously attacked Elyan. This enrages Leon to the point he shoves Merlin to the ground. Gwen thinks fast and begs him to consider her dying bother. He stalks off.
They find a room with a fireplace for Elyan, and split up so someone can go look for Lamia. The knights are getting more overtly threatening to Merlin, and seem to let him live only because of Gwen.
Arthur’s hot on their trail, but he’s slowed down a bit by Agravaine trying every trick in the book to talk him out of following them. Nothing works, and Arthur orders them to press on.
Gwaine leaves Merlin and Gwen (and unconscious Elyan) to go get more firewood, leaving Gwen to ponder why she and Merlin haven’t been enchanted themselves. Gwen’s a woman – that’s easy enough. But what about Merlin? What makes him different from other men? Other than being a powerful warlock, I mean, because that can’t possibly have anything to do with it, right? Merlin shrugs and hastily changes the subject by going to investigate a shout. He finds Gwaine in a passageway almost immediately – sucked dry just like the others. Again, not in the good way.
Percival finds Lamia shortly thereafter; I guess she’s going through them like a six-pack of beer. She kisses him to thank him for finding her, and…you know what happens next. Too bad for Lamia, Leon witnesses it. He shouts (no doubt the shout Merlin heard) and draws his sword. Lamia fights him off easily, as her magic push is so strong she doesn’t even have to use her hands to work it. Just her snaky eyes.
Leon is out cold with Lamia crouching over him to kill him when Merlin happens upon the scene. “You won’t find me such easy prey,” he tells her. Yay, hot magical Merlin! She ain’t afraid of no sorcerer, and claims she can kill him any time she wants. “Then what are you waiting for?” he asks. Well…nothing. She instantly body slams him into a wall. I guess he didn’t expect her to actually do it, because he doesn’t even attempt to defend himself. I swear, the actors in this show get slammed around more than Rhianna giving Chris Brown a second chance.
Merlin wastes no time – he sends Sir Leon’s dropped sword right through Lamia’s chest. Good job! He checks to see if Percival is alive, but is interrupted by Lamia, who’s turned into a big…a big…I don’t really know how to describe it.
Merlin brings down a doorway on top of her, but she just crashes through it and chases after him. Gwen isn’t going to just sit there waiting for everyone to die, so she grabs Elyan’s sword and runs to investigate. She’s very relieved to find Merlin alive, but that quickly changes when she sees what’s after him. Then she’s all:
They flee, but Merlin trips like he’s a horny teenaged blond in a slasher movie, and Lamia drags him back by his ankle. Gwen, exhibiting a nice bit of grrrl power, promptly runs Lamia through the chest with her sword. Merlin decides he’s going to have to use magic even if he has to reveal himself to Gwen when – ha ha, never mind – Arthur comes up behind Lamia and kills her dead with his own sword. Whew! That was a close one!
Gwen has never been more glad to see Arthur in her life, and climbs him like a tree to hug him. Merlin’s all, “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine, I’m fine.” But they’re obviously all glad to see each other alive and well. They toddle off together, leaving Lamia to rot I suppose, with Merlin giving her a final sneer before never thinking about her again.
Back home, Gaius has cured the knights and villagers with a “compound” that is conveniently never explained further, and all is well. Arthur even has enough time to tease Merlin about how hard it must be to have been saved by a woman. Better than being dead, Merlin rightly points out. Arthur isn’t so sure, and weighs them out; for him it’s a hard choice. Arthur Pendragon: he’d probably vote for Santorum.
But wait! He asks Gwen to come see him, so he can tell her how proud he is of her courage and daring-do with a sword. In fact, he finds it kind of hot. They kiss like whoa, the sunlight shining through their lips as per usual. Arthur Pendragon: he’s turned on by strong women. YAY!