Merlin 4.10 – A Herald of the New Age

We’ve got enchanted lingerie, stew face, a creepy leaky dead kid, Arthur says he’s s-s-s…s-s-s, and Elyan wets himself more than once. This week on Merlin.

The knights of the round table are hanging out in the forest on one noble quest or another, as knights are wont to do. They’re taking some time to tease each other, as these knights are certainly wont to do, I suppose in place of making out with each other, alas. They’re playing keep-away with Sir Elyan’s water bag, but he’s taking it in stride. Especially considering the king just tossed his sister alone and penniless out of Camelot forever…but what’s that to him, am I right? He’s still got his job, I guess.

They happen upon an ancient Druid laundrette, where bits of clothes are hung up to dry, and oh yeah, also appease the restless spirits who might not like intruders intruding upon their cursed clotheslines. Merlin freaks out enough to get teased by others for being a fraidy cat, but they still get the heebie-jeebies to decide to high-tail it out of there — all except Elyan, who lags behind (DRINK) and happens upon a well. And guess what? He’s thirsty because of the earlier frat boy shenanigans, so bonus! He drinks his fill, and takes one last look down into the well. A reflection of a dead, drowned boy looks back at him, scaring the stuffing out of me. I mean…him. Naturally, he jumps up and runs to find the others.

Back at the castle, Merlin wants to know how Arthur is. You know, really is. He does NOT want to talk about Gwen, or his feelings, or any other Oprah interview question. Gwaine tosses Merlin a bag of salt and tells him to pour it in a circle at the foot of his bed to ward off evil spirits, seeing as he was such a baby in the forest and all. Ha, ha, very funny. It is sort of funny since Merlin is the only one who can break the spine of all but the most powerful ghosties. Little do they know.

Merlin tells Gaius about the spot they found in the forest, and Gaius agrees it was best to skedaddle away from it. He tells Merlin places like that were built for souls who were so badly wronged in real life they couldn’t rest in the afterlife — so, like Rue, and Snape, and Wiley Coyote. Gaius adds that magic holds the spirits at bay, but the ribbons and flags (oh, not pantyhose and bras after all) are to warn strangers that the magic is easily undone, and so beware. But as long as nobody touched anything while they were there, everything should be just fine. Oops.

Arthur is sitting by himself, not eating the supper that Gwen didn’t serve to him, dreaming of happier days. Not Elyan — he’s already in bed ready for a good night’s sleep. Too bad he hears the “drip-drip-drip” of the well from that day. He’s shaken up, demanding to know who’s there, getting out of bed to investigate, but there’s no one. He finally goes back to bed, where the dead kid is standing waiting for him. Elyan screams, but not as loudly as me. I hate these scary episodes! And by hate I mean love. Elyan leaps out of bed and cowers on the floor, shouting in terror. Gwaine, no doubt on his way to some lucky damsel’s bed, hears him and comes to investigate. He finds Elyan on the floor and kneels down to say hey, only to reveal drippy dead boy hiding behind him. Elyan is about to dish the secret to Gwaine when the boy puts a watery finger to his lips: shhh. OMG SO CREEPTASTIC. Elyan tells Gwaine everything is just peachy, then after Gwaine leaves rushes to get a sack of salt so he can lay down a magic-repelling salt circle under his bed. We shall see if that works; my gut is telling me: no way in hell.

The next morning, Merlin finds Arthur asleep with his head in a plate of stew. He gently wakens Arthur by crashing his fist on the table, then makes sure not to tell him about the stew all over his face. “Someone got up on the wrong side of table,” Merlin jokes. Arthur isn’t amused, although we are. Especially when Arthur gets a load of himself in a silver platter. Merlin!!

It’s time for some sword practice, and what better way to thank Merlin for being a loyal friend than using him as a target? Poor Merlin and his abused rotator cuffs. After Arthur has a turn with Merlin (not like that), Elyan goes next. And by “goes” I mean “goes insane.” He hammers Merlin to the ground and basically tries to beat him to death with his sword. Arthur stops him from succeeding, but just barely. All in a day’s work for a servant of Camelot!

After practice the knights are putting their royal stuff away, when the watery boy from hell shows up, reaching out for Elyan — perhaps for a hug. Elyan isn’t going to find out the hard way what a hug from this kid is like, and he backs up right into Gwaine, who doesn’t think twice about punching him and knocking him out cold. These knights have short fuses, I must say.

They take him to Gaius for a look-see. Elyan is awake now, but not really aware of what’s happening. Gwaine tells Gaius that Elyan hasn’t been himself, probably because of Gwen. Yes, that would be hard on any brother, Gaius agrees. Except ha ha! Elyan didn’t even flinch when Gwen left, never mind help her pack. Elyan knows which side his bread is buttered on, apparently. Gaius agrees to “forget” to tell Arthur about Elyan’s strange behaviour. Always a good idea in Camelot, because there’s always a simple, non-magical explanation for everyone’s strange behaviour. That theory is tested instantly when Gaius finds the salt ring under Elyan’s bed. Midnight Margaritas, anyone?

Merlin tries to get Arthur to open up again regarding Gwen, but Arthur doesn’t even pretend to be interested in what Merlin thinks. He gives him the bum’s rush so he can curl up into the fetal position and dream of Gwen’s cleavage while softly stroking his crown. Merlin complains to Gaius how Arthur ignores him, but Gaius just ignores him, too. Not that Merlin cares! He’ll just stand over here talking himself, since he’s the only one who cares to hear what he has to say anyway. Gaius interrupts his pity party to tell him about Elyan and the salt ring. Merlin knows exactly what that means, but still isn’t thrilled when Gaius orders him to tell Arthur that Elyan is possessed. I’m sure Arthur will have an open mind, aren’t you?

That night, Elyan is woken by the drippy kid, who promptly talks to him. That’s enough to enthrall Elyan, who immediately wants to protect and love him. The lad tells him he wants Elyan to bring him peace. Of course! At once! Just tell him how! No biggie, just kill the king. Poor Arthur – everybody wants him dead.

Wasting no time, Elyan sneaks right to Arthur’s room. Unlike everybody else in this show, Elyan doesn’t mess about with poison tubs and confusing spells. He draws his sword without a word and goes all stabbity on Arthur’s pleasingly round ass. Arthur defends himself with a footstool until the guards arrive to save him. Elyan escapes, natch.

And here’s Agravaine at last, not sure where this bit of luck came from since for once it wasn’t Morgana’s naughtiness, but very much sure that Elyan has to die die die because he tried to kill the king. Which actually makes sense because he tried to kill the king, hello. The knights go in search of him, and give chase when he darts in front of them like a squirrel who waits until you’re practically on top of him before running in front of your car. They finally corner him and coax him into giving up. “We’re your friends,” Percival assures him, right before he coldcocks him. Heh, Percival, you big lug.

It’s the dungeons for Elyan, although pretty much every character but Arthur has been in those damn cells at one time or another. They’re the most popular spot in the castle! Needless to say, the little dead boy is there, too, chiding him for failing at his task. Elyan cries and begs forgiveness. I’d cry, too, given the circumstances. Shudder.

Agravaine’s on his usual rant, you’ll appear weak this and don’t believe Merlin that. Arthur is stuck once again between what is easy, and what is right. He kicks everybody out of the room so he can think it through. Merlin runs to tell Gaius that by god, he’s going to get rid of the restless spirit that possesses Elyan. Gaius points out Elyan is stuck in the dungeons under heavy guard. No prob; Merlin’s going to break him out first. Did he miss out that part? Gaius loudly brays his lack of confidence in that plan. However, Gaius still helps him because he loves him. Aw. He tells Merlin that Elyan must be asleep for the exorcism, and is not to be trusted under any circumstances. We’ll see how long it takes Merlin to forget that tidbit of information.

With a bit of magical sleight of hand Merlin evades the guards and has Elyan out of the cells and into the woods in a jiffy. He gives Elyan some drugged water to drink, but drippy dead boy is right there to warn him off of drinking it. Dammit! When Merlin refuses to drink first because “it’ll make me have to pee all the time,” Elyan knocks him out. Does no one understand what a concussion is on this show?!

Since Plan A failed so spectacularly, Gaius decides Plan B is in order, that being to go to the original haunted campsite to see what they can discover. Merlin gets the oogies just thinking about the place, but reluctantly takes Gaius there. They’re hunting around with spooky music playing, when suddenly a noise scares the daylights out of Merlin. And by Merlin, I mean me. Oops, Gaius just stepped on a twig. Sorry! Merlin soon hears whispered voices amongst the rags and flags, and follows them to the well that Elyan drank from. He peers inside, and whatever he sees as he listens to the screams and begging immediately makes him start crying in shock and horror. Oh, Colin – please let me kiss all the pain away. He pulls away from the well and calls out for Gaius, who comes running. It doesn’t take them long to figure out that Uther must have killed a camp of Druids at some point, and now they want payback.

Back at the castle the next morning, Arthur wants very much to know where Merlin was all night (not at the tavern!). He was…um…gathering herbs with Gaius. And he…um…tripped and hit his head and knocked himself out. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Arthur tells him that after a night of wandering in the woods, Merlin must be starving – why doesn’t he sit down and eat something? Merlin’s all, “Thanks, that would be so fab…you’re joking, aren’t you?” Arthur is, and instead of breakfast Merlin gets to clear away Arthur’s plates.

Not being a proud fellow, and ignoring the fact that Arthur eats whole chickens for breakfast, Merlin stops in the hall outside to eat Arthur’s leftovers. He’s interrupted by the fact that there’s a dead guard hidden behind the pillar next to him. And you know what that means. Merlin drops the plate of chicken.

Back in the meeting hall, Arthur notices that the extra guards are dropping like flies behind him. That’s because Elyan has gotten his mitts on a crossbow. Arthur dives out of the way of the arrow meant for him. Elyan abandons the crossbow for no particular reason and draws his sword. Arthur’s ready this time, and does the same. “Why are you doing this?” he shouts in frustration as they duel. That’s when Elyan gets the world’s worst flop sweats, as water begins to pour down his arms and trickle on the floor. “I must avenge my death,” Elyan replies in his best dead kid voice. Arthur then decides the better question is, “What have you done to Elyan?”

Merlin arrives, but the doors are locked. Meanwhile, Arthur knows he’s the better swordsman, and tries to stay alive without actually killing Elyan. Merlin uses magic to open the doors, which distracts Elyan long enough to allow Arthur to push him to the ground. He doesn’t run him through, though, and Elyan scampers away into the night.

The next morning, Agravaine reports that the castle is sealed and Elyan is being hunted down as they speak. When they’re alone, Gaius reports to Arthur that the boy is almost certainly a member of a Druid community that Uther killed. Furthermore, the only way to bring him peace is for the perpetrator to say sorry. Other than that, killing Elyan is the only way out of this pickle. Arthur mulls that one over.

That night, Arthur’s turning in early – and Merlin gets to polish Arthur’s armour as punishment for being a dork. He gives Arthur his best WTF face, to no avail. Myself, I would have pretended to polish the armour and slept on the floor instead, but Merlin dutifully does as he’s told. When he’s all done he heads home, only to spy a hooded figure skulking through the halls. Lucky he was there!

He follows the mystery person outside the castle and into the woods, where he finds out in a hurry that the person he’s following is Arthur. I do enjoy it that Arthur always knows when Merlin is following him, because Merlin may be a great magician but he sucks as a ninja. Arthur tells Merlin it’s time Arthur confronted the spirit that’s possessing Elyan. Merlin tags along so Arthur “doesn’t get scared alone in the woods.” Heh. A part of me likes to believe that Arthur WANTED Merlin to see him so he wouldn’t have to do this alone – that’s why he got Merlin to clean the armour instead of go to bed.

They go to the Druid camp, where Arthur lays down his sword. He calls out “I’m here!” and waits for something evil to show up. Merlin thinks Arthur’s gone crazy – until Arthur informs him that Uther didn’t kill these people, Arthur did. Ohhh. That’s not good. Elyan appears, dribbling everywhere. He tells Arthur he can’t rest because Arthur is such an asshole. Arthur agrees and kneels down, unprotected. He explains that he was young when he attacked the camp, and he was trying to impress his dad and men, and he told his men to spare the women and children but some didn’t listen and Arthur didn’t try to stop them. He’s on the verge of tears as he confesses this; it’s obviously weighed heavily on him since the day it happened. He says he can’t take it back, but he can promise that now that he’s king, he can make damn sure it doesn’t happen again, and people with magic will be respected if not encouraged. He panics a little bit when Elyan draws his sword, but doesn’t try to defend himself. Elyan drops the sword and hugs him, just as Arthur is starting to hyperventilate. “I forgive you,” Elyan/dead boy whispers, and then the boy exits Elyan to find peace in the next world. Yay! Arthur boo hoos like a baby.

The next day Merlin reports that Elyan is just fine, and wasn’t it hilarious to see Arthur all weepy and such the night before? Because in this castle there’s no important and emotional moment that can’t be ruined by some manly teasing. Arthur calls Merlin both stupid and ugly, and Merlin asks if he can get a hug, too. That’s when Arthur chases Merlin off-camera and presumably punches him in the kidney. Get a room, you two!