MERLIN CLUB: THE DARKEST NIGHT, PARTS 1 & 2
Or the One Where Everyone Tries to Be Lancelot - The Noblest of the Noble
Happy Halloween. How appropriate to be posting about The Darkest Night today as they are celebrating Samhain and have to deal with ghostly things.
All right, so the episode opens with Sir Leon, Sir Elyan and a couple other knights coming across Morgana pulling a cart.
Not exactly sure where it is, but the place is pretty barren. They end up getting knocked around by Morgana magically...
then we see that it’s Morgause in the cart. Seriously, wtf happened to her? Her face I sall deformed—that was not how we last saw her!? Sure, she got slammed into that pillar but it didn’t cause that! But there is no explanation really what’s going on with her, but apparently she’s in a bad way.
Back in Camelot, we find Uther is not in the best way either. Apparently, your daughter—who who flirted and (I swear) carried on with just to keep your secret (Thank you, Jenny Trout—I fully accept this head canon)—stealing your throne and ruling tyrannically until your son saves the day with the help of people who have every right to hate your ass is hard on a king. He’s been unwell ever since—and it’s been a year since all that has happened. We meet greasy Agravaine—and we do NOT like him. Just trust me on this.
So Leon and Elyan warn Arthur about Morgana, and that night there is a feast. Celebrating Samhain. Because that’s not confusing in a kingdom that abhors anything magic and/or related to the Old Religion. And I have believe celebrating when the veil between worlds in thinnest is somehow connected to the Old Religion.
While the feast is happening, Morgana and Morgause arrive at the Isle of the Blessed, where Morgause, who is apparently dying, convinces a hesitant Morgana to sacrifice her so the veil is torn open and horror is unleased upon their enemies. When she does this, Morgana is thrown back and knocked out. Back in Camelot, Merlin feels the power of the act and passes out himself. Both Morgana and Merlin see the Cailleach—the gatekeeper of the veil.
She calls Merlin “Emrys” a few times all creepy-like. She tells Morgana that her enemies my suffer, but she has to beware of Emrys, who is her destiny and her doom. Oooooh.
Gaius suspects because of the timing of Merlin’s fall out of consciousness, that the veil has been torn, most certainly by Morgana since she was seen traveling to the Isle of the Blessed. A girl arrives from outside Camelot and tells Arthur about deaths in her village, people killed by screaming things with no faces. Encyclopedia Gaius informs them they are the Dorocha—the spirits of the dead.
Of course Arthur takes some knights to this village. And Merlin too. This is where we discover Merlin’s magic doesn’t work on the Dorocha, and actually seems to fade in their presence.
The Dorocha attack Camelot—they can be repelled by light it seems. Soon, the bodies are piling up. The corpses look frozen from the touch of the Dorocha. People are coming from everywereh fro protection in Camelot. We get to see Sir Percival of the Biceps save three children and nearly pay with his life—because he had to put down his torch to carry them all—but Elyan jumps in and saves the day. Merlin becomes quite scared since his magic doesn’t work, and tells Gaius he’s never felt so week. There’s some banter between prince and manservant about how scared Merlin is...but Arthur admits he is too.
Arthur learns there is a way to close the veil—go to the Isle of the Blessed and make another sacrifice. Arthur volunteers himself—obviously—and goes to sit with his father before leaving. As he stands to go, Uther grabs his hand and asks him not to go, but of course, he must and tells Uther this through tears.
As Merlin prepares for the journey, Gaius asks him not to go. His magic doesn’t work. Merlin says he plans to take Arthur’s place.
Next, we see Greasy Agravaine going to a hovel in the woods to meet…da da dum, Morgana. See? Told you we didn’t like and trust this guy. He tells Morgana of Arthur’s plan.
Arthur and his knights—Leon, Gwaine, Percival, Elyan, and Lancelot—and Merlin head out. Lancelot keeps trying to get Merlin to leave, to protect himself, but of course the young warlock will not. They arrive at some ruins and gather wood for the night even though they can hear the Dorocha around them. When they inevitably run out of wood, Arthur and Merlin go to collect more, and are attacked by the ghostly creatures.
They manage to get away and hide themselves in a room. They tease each other and try to reassure each other.
He’s flung back and hits the wall. The knights, who’d been looking for the pair, rush in. They go to Merlin, and find him frozen. He seriously looks dead and I nearly died, too, because not my Merlin!
But, never fear, Merlin Clubbers, because our boy has survived. Of course it looks like he’s on his way to dying. Arthur plans on taking him back to Camelot and Gaius. Leon says they cannot abandon the quest. I have strong feelings about this.
SIR LEON, I’VE DEFENDED YOU AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY ME. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME #MerlinClub
— Jessica Jarman (@jessjarman) October 28, 2014
Lancelot voluneteers to take Merlin while the others continue on.
On the way, when they stop to rest at a river, Lancelot meets the spirits of the water—Valia.
They will protect the pair from the Dorocha and heal Merlin.
The next morning, Merlin is recovered and anxious to catch up with Arthur and the other. Lancelot protests, but Merlin wins, and off they go. They stay in a deserted house for the night. A Dorocha attacks, and they run. Merlin summons Kilgharrah (swoon) who drives away the spirits with his dragon fire. The dragon asks Merlin who his friend is and after finding out, calls Lancelot the bravest and noblest of them all. Kilgharrah tries to talk Merlin out of his plan to take Arthur’s place as the sacrifice, but cannot. He says that the world “will be an empty place without you, young warlock.”
As they continue on, they have this conversation…
It’s CANON, people. Merlin admitted, to him, Arthur is more important than anything else.
Meanwhile Arthur and the knights have to travel through Wilddeorren infested caves to save some time on their journey and barely survive. Because Arthur failed to inform the others the beasts hunt in packs and Gwaine slays one.
In Camelot, Greasy Agravaine (yes, I will prob call him that every time I have to talk about the ass. You’ve been warned) has closed the gates to prevent food running out, and Gaius calls him on it. Gwen asks to address the court and managed to convince them to open the gate. Greasy Agravaine tells morgan about this and she is furious, because of her vision of Gwen sitting on her throne, and wants to take Gwen out.
While Gwen is caring for Uther—seriously, writers, do you have to make her that freaking selfless and perfect? You go to far, really—Greasy Agravaine apologizes to her and asks her to go to his chambers later to discuss the situation. And Gwen sees nothing wrong with this! What?! No, no, no, no, NO! She even boasts to Gaius that she thinks Greasy Agravaine wishes to seek her council. Why can’t she see what a douche the guy is? She’s always been so smart before. This is disappointing.
Morgana enters Camelot secretly, and after Gwen leaves Greasy Agravaine’s chambers—after some really awkward moments and him looking down her (admittedly awesome) cleavage—and walks home, she uses magic to fling her former maid around. Gwen loses consciousness and Morgana leaves her for the Dorocha. Gaius finds Gwen and treats her, telling her someone’s wanting to get rid of her.
Merlin and Lancelot catch up to the others.
While the others are sleeping, Merlin and Arthur play their favorite game – No, I’ll Die For You… Oh No No, I’ll Die…
The group makes it to the Isle of the Blessed. There are Wyvern to be dealt with. And Merlin commands them to leave (more swooning...) but more move in. Leon, Elyan and Percival work to hold them off and the others continue on. And there is the Cailleach. Arthur tells her to close the veil. She protests saying she didn’t open it.
Gwaine steps forward, but she flicks him away like a fly. Arthur says he will sacrifice himself, but before he can, Merlin knocks him out (sensing a theme yet again). The Cailleach asks if he’s come to challenge her, after all. When it’s clear he’s sacrificing himself, she says his time among men has not ended, even if he wanted it. He looks over to the tear in the veil and sees Lancelot stepping into it. His friend looks back and smiles then enters—closing the veil.
They return to Camelot, and a funeral is held for Lancelot. Arthur says he is one of the bravest, most noble knights Camelot has had. Gwen tells him, as she cries that Lancelot didn’t sacrifice himself for Camelot but because he promised her he would protect Arthur with his life.
Morgana is royally pissed her plans have been ruin again. She believes it was because of this Emrys the Cailleach warned her of. She asks Greasy Agravaine to find this man and kill him. He goes to Gaius and asks if he’s ever heard of Emrys. Gaius does a piss poor job of lying, saying he’s doesn’t know who Emrys is. After Greasy Agravaine leaves, Gaius tells Merlin that Morgana had to have learned of Emrys from the Cailleach. He warns the younger man that Morgana can never learn the truth about his identity and his magic.
If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… Well, I’d just not have Greasy Agravaine. That would make things infinitely better. Seriously, I wouldn’t have had it being Gwen who was caring for Uther. I actually hate it. After all he did to her and her family, come on! I know, I know, she says she’s not doing it for Uther; she’s doing it for Arthur. Still, COME ON! She is written too perfectly and it’s kind of annoying.
Also, there’s no explanation given to why Greasy Agravaine is in league with Morgana. I’m trying to remember and I don’t think it’s ever explained beyond his hatred for Uther. I could be wrong, and I’m going to be watching carefully for this in the coming weeks. But even if he loathes Uther—he caused the deaths of his sister and brother (Uther killed Tristan in a challenge after Igraine’s death)—why would he side against Arthur. His sisters’s son. It doesn’t make sense, and I don’t remember it being adequately explained. Like, I said, I’ll be watching for it!
Thing(s) I loved about this episode—There's a lot...as evidence by my stuffing so many pics in this post! Merlin/Arthur banter. Loved. Lancelot’s sacrifice. Merlin trying to sacrifice himself for Arthur—admitting Arthur was the most important thing in his life. Worried!Arthur. Merlin and dragonspeak…twice in one episode. TWICE. It was like freaking Christmas!
Thing(s) I hated about this episode—Gwen trusting Greasy Agravaine and actually going to his chambers. That doesn’t fit her character at all. She wasn’t suspicious of him at all…until she was there. Then, it seemed she was getting a clue. Nope, this is not our smart Gwen.
And I hate that Lancelot wasn't in Camelot longer. I hate that he died. Sure, he was a knight - his dream - for a year, but we didn't get to see that. 🙁
Something I never noticed about this episode before—Poor Arthur getting Lancelot thrown in his face. I honestly don’t think Gwen should have said anything to Arthur about Lancelot’s promise. She could have confided in Merlin—they’re supposed to be good friends—or her brother. But Arthur is feeling enough guilt, I would think. He didn’t need to have that tossed at him. That Lancelot looooved Gwen so much, he took Arthur’s place, because she asked him to. Just my opinion though. 😀
And it wasn't just that. I mean, Lancelot taking his place and Gwen's admission would be enough to make a man feel poorly, but then he's the one who took Merlin to get help. And THAT'S thrown in his face by Leon. Dammit, Leon!
Just shut up, Leon. I'm not happy with you right now. And, look at Arthur's face. Breaks my heart. Freaking Bradley James, you KILL me.
Proof of some head canon I’ve created—Don’t know if this counts as head canon or not, but I’m putting it here anyway. Lancelot didn’t die to protect/save Arthur. Arthur was already safe because Merlin knocked his ass out. He sacrificed himself for Merlin, for his friend. He knew how important his friend was for Arthur, for the future of Albion, that he stepped forward to take Merlin’s place. So it drives me nuts when Gwen says he did it for her and her promise to her. Even though, to be fair, she has no reason to think otherwise. She truly believes that. But every time I watch these episodes, I end up yelling at the screen, “He died for MERLIN!”
Favorite costume—It’s a tie between Arthur’s red tunic and Merlin’s purple (the color of royalty, people!) one.
What would Bron steal from Camelot in this episode? Arthur’s bedding. And everything that goes with it.
What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?
That the bubble lady—the river spirit—talked so opening about Merlin and his magic to Lancelot. She totally outed him without knowing if Lancelot was trustworthy. Did she sense this, know he was? Does his noblest noble of them all radiate from him and all magical being feel it?
And that they’re celebrating Samhain in Camelot. Seems iffy
Next week 11/3 at 8pm EST, we’ll be watching S04E03, “The Wicked Day”. We’ll be on Twitter with the hastag #MerlinClub