MERLIN CLUB: THE DIAMOND OF THE DAY, PARTS 1 & 2
OR THE END OF IT ALL
OR #MerlinClub? More like Merlin's Sub...or at least Jess Is (Because @Tamsin_Frost tweeting this made me laugh so hard it gets to be part of my final Merlin Club post title 🙂 )
I have put off writing this all damned week. It really is, as the lovely Merlin Clubbers said, like leaving summer camp... I'm not ready to say goodbye to Merlin Club. But alas, no more avoiding. It's time to get to it.
RECAP - We open with Morgana, with Mordred by her side, having a druid, Ari, demonstrate his magic. She then proceeds to take away that magic by having some big booger looking thing attach itself to his face. Bam, magic gone. She plans on using this on Merlin.
But now we know the war can be won. For Arthur is nothing without Emrys, and Emrys is nothing without magic.
One of her minions sneaks into Camelot and leaves the giant booger in Merlin’s room—after knocking Gaius out. Meanwhile, king and manservant are in the tavern, playing dice. Merlin manages to win every time with his magic. After, he sneaks back into his room and is attacked by the booger. (The creature is actually called the Eancanah, but it’s a booger, people). He throws it off and a now conscious Gaius clobbers it. But the damage is done—Merlin has lost his magic.
Morgana and Mordred attack an outpost of Camelot—magic fireballs flying through the air and everything. During the fight Gwaine saves a pretty girl, Eira, from being taken by a Saxon. Leon calls a retreat as they are vastly outnumbered.
Merlin is overwhelmed as the wounded pour into the city—without his magic he feels useless. Gaius tells him he still has skills as a physician and puts him to work. Merlin helps Eira. Gwaine already has it bad for the woman who has lost her whole family in the attack.
In a meeting around the Round Table, Arthur proposes going on the offensive—rather than just waiting for Morgana’s next attack. It is decided they will make their stand at Camlann. Merlin is freaked hearing that name as it’s there the prophecy says Arthur will die. Merlin prepares Arthur’s things for the journey but tells Arthur he will not be joining them—giving him the excuse that Gaius needs him to gather supplies for the wounded. Arthur doesn’t react well. (and the crying begins)
Merlin is determined to get his powers back and enlists Gwaine’s help in getting to the Crystal Cave. We see Eira in the dark woods, meeting with Morgana and Mordred—she’s a spy! Dammit. Poor Gwaine. She tells Morgana that Arthur plans to ride to Camlann and that Gwaine is traveling with Merlin to the Valley of the Fallen Kings before he goes to the battle. Mordred mentions the Cave and it being the birthplace of magic. Well, Morgana isn’t going to risk Merlin getting his powers back.
In the Cave, Morgana taunts Merlin then traps him inside with a—SURPRISE *Jazz Hands*--rock fall that blocks the entrance.
Defeated, Merlin is visited by Balinor’s spirit, who encourages Merlin...
Merlin, you are more than a son of your father. You are son of the earth, the sea, the sky, magic is the fabric of this world, and you were born of that magic. You are magic itself. You cannot lose what you are.
He tells his son to rest. When Merlin wakes, he finds he’s regained his powers. Through one of the crystals, he sees Arthur sleeping and speaks to him—telling him of Morgan’s plan to outflank and ambush them. Arthur wakes and trusting what Merlin told him—even mentally—orders Gwaine and Percival to take men to meet Morgana’s. He gives a rousing speech to his forces...
Tonight...we do battle. Tonight, we end this war; we end a war as old as the land itself. War against tyranny, greed, and spite. Not all will greet the dawn - some will live, some will die. But each and every one of you fights with honour, and with pride. For not only do we fight for our lives, we fight for the future. The future of Camelot. The future of Albion. The future of the united kingdoms. For the love of Camelot!
...and the battle begins. Merlin magically busts out of the cave—full on Emrys/Dragoon—and rides for the battle.
The battle isn’t looking good for Camelot—Morgana’s up on some cliff using magic and Aithusa is raining fire down on them. It’s not good. But then, Merlin/Emrys shows up. Brings down freaking lighting and stuff and turns the tide. Sadly, though, Mordred has found Arthur and runs him through with his sword—the one Aithusa breathed upon—but Arthur returns the favor and kills Mordred with Excalibur. Merlin finds Arthur passed out on the battlefield, but he’s still alive. He carries him off. When Arthur comes too, Merlin is young again and the first thing his king asks is “Where have you been?” Oh God, my heart! Merlin apologizes and then reveals his magic to Arthur. Who doesn’t take it very well at all, and pushes Merlin away.
Here....watch. It's... just...SOB
Back in Camelot, Gwen waits for word on Arthur from patrols searching for him. Gaius meets Merlin and Arthur in the woods. They tend to Arthur. When Merlin goes to see to the horses, Arthur tells Gaius that Merlin is a sorcerer, and quickly figures out that Gaius already knew this. Gaius tells him that Merlin is the only one who can help Arthur and he is loyal only to Arthur. Arthur's reaction is lovely though.
Gaius tells Merlin that a piece of Mordred’s blade is still inside Arthur and traveling towards his heart. That only the ancient magic of the Sidhe can heal him. He must take Arthur to Avalon. Arthur gives Gaius the royal seal to give to Gwen, and Merlin and Gaius hug and say goodbye.
Gaius returns to Camelot—tells Gwen that Arthur is in the best care with Merlin and hints that Eira should not be trusted. The girl is caught sending a message to Morgana—with false information as it was all a trap—and is executed. Gwaine—poor, poor, heartbroken Gwaine—and Percival head out to find Morgana. When they do, they fail in capturing or killing her and are taken themselves. Morgana uses the nathair serpent on Gwaine, and Percival hears his screams as he is tortured for information on where Arthur is. Percival breaks free and finds Gwaine who is dying. He says he has failed his king; he’s told Morgana where Arthur and Merlin are going. Then he dies.
As Merlin and Arthur journey to the lake of Avalon, Arthur begins to see what Merlin is capable of and understand that Merlin has been protecting him all these years. Here come the GIFs en force, because these are some of my favorite moments...
and dear God THIS...
Morgana catches up to them, and throws Merlin back with magic. She taunts Arthur.
What a joy it is to see you, Arthur. Look at you, not so tall and mighty now. You may have won the battle, but you've lost the war. You're going to die by Mordred's hand. But don't worry, my dear brother, I won't let you die alone. I will stay and watch over you, until the wolves gorge on your carcass and bathe in your blood.
He then turns his attention to Arthur and getting his king to the lake, but without the horses—that Morgana scared away—their progress is slow. Arthur can’t go on any longer and collapses. Merlin holds his friend, who acknowledges what Merlin has done and accepts him before he dies in Merlin’s arms.
Here...join me in my pain.
Merlin calls Kilgharrah who brings him to the lake. The dragon tells Merlin there’s nothing he can do, but he must have faith—when Albion’s need is at its greatest the Once and Future King will return.
In Camelot, Arthur’s death is announced.
Merlin throws Excalibur into the lake, returning it to the Lady of the Lake. He places Arthur on a boat and magically sends him to the Isle of Avalon
The show ends in modern times—an old Merlin walking by what was once the lake—clearly still waiting for the day Arthur will return.
If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… There's not much I would change, honestly. And the thing I thought I would change, I'm not so sure anymore. It's when Morgana is killed. When I first watched it, I thought it was way too anticlimatic. I wanted a huge magical showdow - Emrys v. Morgana.
But now, after watching several times, and listening to the commentary, I like the way they did it. Merlin holding her as she dies beautifully parallels when he poisoned her in season 2. So I've changed my mind about that.
OH OH! I do have something I'd change! WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T HE CALL KILGARRAH SOONER??!!?!?! Have that dragon fly your ass to the lake and save your man, Merlin? I get that Arthur had to die - I was expecting that from the beginning of the series but it doesn's make sense for Merlin to put off calling Kilgarrah for so long. It actually is pretty out of character for him, the man who is will to pretty much do anything for Arthur. So I'd have him call the dragon earlier or give a freaking reason why he doesnt.
Thing(s) I loved about this episode—I already put a lot of gifs of some of the scenes/moments I loved, so I won't repeat myself. But here goes...
Arthur's reaction when he learns of Merlin's magic. Notice he didn't say "Get away from me, evil sorcerer" or anything like that. When Merlin first says he has magic, Arthur's reaction is:
The first response is utter disbelief because HE WOULD KNOW. He would know something that important about Merlin. Even as they are journeying, as Arthur processes all of this, the anger he shows isn't about the magic. It's about the fact that Merlin lied and kept this from him for so long. He feels betrayed (again) by a person he loves.
I love that the episodes focus so much on Merlin and Arthur - not just because of my mad Merthur love, but because this has always been their journey. Watching Arthur process everything and finally come to accept Merlin just as he is.... beautiful.
And Arthur's first words to Merlin when he wakes after being wounded?
Where have you been?
Because despite Merlin saying he wasn't coming, Arthur expected his friend to be there and wanted to know where he's been. SOB
Colin Morgan and Bradley James - OMG, these two. They played this perfectly. Absolutely perfectly, IMO. Betrayed!Arthur is a fave of mine...always, and Bradley does it so well. But espeically in these episodes. And then the subtle changes, his expressions as Arthur begins to realize exactly what Merlin has done... FOR HIM. Truly brilliant. Another example...as Arthur is dying, he starts to fade, Merlin calls out to him and there's a brief moment when he opens his eyes and focuses on Merlin...the look on Merlin's face - that glimmer of hope - and him whispering "Don't leave me"... KILLS ME EVERY TIME! it's just perfect...and that line? Not even scripted. It was all Colin.
Thing(s) I hated about this episode—That Arthur died, but knew that was coming. The headache I get after the constant flow of tears that happen every time I watch these episodes. That it is the end of Merlin Club.
Something I never noticed about this episode before—I've seen these episodes so many times - they top the Jess Rewatch List. So nothing about this episode, but it was something I noticed from an episode WAY back, and have been holding on to until this very post. From S01E09 Excalibur - Arthur counseling his knight:
And fast forward to this episode and...
For once, I'm praising the writers. Well done.
Proof of some head canon I’ve created— So we have Arthur dying and he says:
I want to say...something I've never said to you before... Thank you.
Um no. That is not what you were going to say, Arthur. No. Because you've thanked Merlin before and you damned well know it. And it wasn't just one other time you said thank you to him, either... Let's just take a look, shall we?
That's at least 14 times you've said thank you to Merlin, Arthur! I don't believe that's what he was going to say. I think he was going to tell him he loved him. The way he looked at him, the way he cupped the back of Merlin's head, it all makes sense that he would say I love you. But realizing that he was dying and leaving Merlin, he couldn't bring himself to do it. And I will hold on to that head canon for as long as I live.
Favorite costume—BAMF!Gwen's outfit during the battle
What would Bron steal from
Camelot Camlann in this episode? Arthur's tent and everything in it. Seriously...I would camp all the time if it were like this - and it included people setting it all up.
What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? That Gwen put it all together and worked out that Merlin was the sorcerer in the battle - from not believing Merlin would leave Arthur's side for something like gathering herbs, to seeing the sorcerer at work... Well, I think she loved everything about Gwen in this episode but especially this.
Gwen's face at that moment, when it's confirmed for her that Merlin is a sorcerer... Perfection. #MerlinClub
— Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) April 14, 2015
And that is it, friends. The end of Merlin Club. I was almost as weepy doing this post as I was watching the episodes.
Special thanks to Bron and Jen... This was awesome in every way. 🙂 I'm so glad we decided to do this.
And thank you to everyone who watched along or read our posts - especially @volcat, @Tamsin_Frost, @TayciBear, @practicalstyl & @dylanbim, who watched and tweeted along regularly. As much fun as it is to just hang and talk with Jen and Bron, having more people along for the ride made it even more so!
So, what's next? Well over the summer, we're going to do some move watch-alongs. It won't be every week, and we won't be doing blog posts about the movies. We're going to take it a bit easy over the summer - at least as far as this kinda thing goes. 🙂 But we'll announce when it's happening on twitter so you can join us.
Then, in the fall (September), we'll be back to watching and posting weekly. We are going to be watching Rome. We'll have more details about that later, but it's going to be fun as hell. 🙂
Goodbye, Merlin Club.