MERLIN CLUB: THE LAST DRAGONLORD
Or the One Viewed With Tears, Squees, and Temporary Blackouts
RECAP—The Great Dragon is free, courtesy of a certain young warlock, and is currently terrorizing Camelot. Arthur and his knights are in the city as Gaius and Gwen treat the wounded. Gwen is worried about Arthur, and Gaius tells her to have faith him.
As Arthur and the men take posts with flaming arrows (really? Flaming arrows against a dragon…doesn’t seem like a good plan), Merlin says he’s sorry, and Arthur says it’s not his fault the dragon is free. The dragon flies over and the men fire on him, which does nothing and the dragon breathes fire on them.
Gwen heads out to the well to get more clean water to treat those with injuries, and is right in the middle of the danger zone. Arthur sees her and rushes to save her from the dragon.
They both survive, but Arthur is wounded. Merlin enchants a spear and throws it at the dragon, but it just bounces off. The dragon taunts Merlin then flies away.
While tending to Arthur’s wounds, Gwen says he shouldn’t have risked himself for her. He holds her hand over his heart and says he wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. Gaius clearly ships the two of them together, and smiles when he sees this tender moment. Merlin comes back, feeling pretty down about everything.
The next day, Arthur is reporting to Uther, giving him a run down of the damage to Camelot. The king is furious the dragon is free and determined Camelot’s forces will defeat this abomination. Gaius says a Dragonlord can end the attack. Although Uther all but wiped them out, one may still be alive. His name is Balinor. Despite Uther’s protests, Arthur decides he will go find this man. Before they leave Gaius shares with Merlin that he helped Balinor escape Camelot all those years ago, and the Dragonlord went to Ealdor and was given shelter by Hunith, Merlin’s mother. Turns out Balinor is, in fact, Merlin’s father. Merlin is pissed that he was never told. Before Merlin and Arthur leave, Gaius advises Melin to keep Balinor’s relationship to Merlin secret from Arthur.
Arthur and Merlin arrive at an inn where they inquire about Balinor. Later in their room, Arthur questions Merlin over his quiet mood. The innkeeper tries to steal Arthur’s gold as they sleep but is caught. He then shares what he knows about Balinor—the man lives in isolation, in a cave, and basically hates people. They set out for the cave, but Arthur’s injury is more serious than first thought and passes out. Merlin presses on with the unconscious prince. When he finds Balinor, he asks for help in healing Arthur. The older man agrees. Merlin lies at first, giving Balinor the name Lancelot when asked who Arthur is. But the Dragonlord isn’t fooled—he knows full well it is Uther Pendragon’s son. After some conversation, while Arthur is still out—Balinor refuses to come to Camelot to help. He says he understands the dragon’s—whose name is Kilgharrah—reasons as he has suffered at Uther’s hands greatly.
The look on Merlin’s face when Arthur moans his name while unconscious…it brings me great joy. He’s all like “Not in front of my dad, Arthur!”
When Arthur wakes the next morning, he feels great, but is disheartened to hear of Balinor’s refusal to help. Back in Camelot, Gaius reassures Gwen that Morgana is safe where ever she is and tells her he’s noticed the bond between Gwen and Arthur. When she says she knows they can never be together, Gaius say she should never underestimate the power of love.
As Merlin and Arthur prepare to return to Camelot, Merlin mentions Gaius to Balinor. The Dragonlord says that Gaius is a good man. Arthur calls Merlin, preventing him from telling Balinor who he really is. On their journey back, Arthur and Merlin have some playful banter mixed with some nice moments too.
Then they hear a noise. Turns out it’s Balinor who has come to help them after all. While they gather firewood, Merlin tells Balinor he is his son. They bond a bit around the campfire as Arthur snoozes.
The next morning, Merlin wakes to Arthur covering his mouth—with his leather-clad hand….
They are attacked by Cenred’s solders (as they are in his kingdom) Merlin is cornered and about to be run through but Balinor jumps in front of him, saving him. His last words to Merlin are how to defeat Kilgharrah, and he says he seen enough to know that his son will make him proud.
Arthur is upset that the Dragonlord is dead as it was their only hope against the dragon, but Merlin is gutted that his newly found father is gone. They return to Camelot, where Arthur asks his knights to stand with him against the dragon, even if their chances are slim, adding that anyone who refuses will not be looked down upon. Sir Leon (YES!!) is the first to volunteer and the others quickly follow.
Back in his chambers, Merlin mourns his father. He tells Gaius what happened. When he questions if he has the powers of a Dragonlord, Gaius said he would have inherited the gift upon Balinor’s death and time would tell hif he was strong enough to harness that power. Nice, Gaius. Throw the kid a bone, FFS.
Merlin prepares Arthur to face the dragon and tells the prince to be careful and to let things take their course. Arthur is surprised when Merlin heads out with him, ready to face the dragon with him.
When they face the dragon, the knights are quickly put out of commission (don’t worry, our favorite ginger knight—Sir Leon—survives as he always does). Arthur faces the dragon, trying to hit him with a spear as the dragon breathes fire on him. The dragon knocks the prince to the ground and Arthur is *SURPRISE* knocked out.
Merlin, with his father’s voice in his head, is able to speak to the dragon—in dragonspeak, people. DRAGONSPEAK! *fans self*
The warlock spares Kilgharrah’s live, but tells him to never return. The dragon swears to never forget Merlin’s clemency and flies away. When Arthur wakes, Merlin tells him that he dealt the Dragon a mortal blow. Yeah, seems legit, right?
They come back to Camelot. Gwen rushes into Arthur’s arm and they embrace. Gaius meets Merlin, clearly proud of Merlin.
If I’d written this episode, I would have changed…I don’t know. I hate that Balinor died, but I know it had to happen for Merlin to become a Dragonlord. I accept it, but don’t have to like it. I don’t think there is anything I would have changed. I love this episode.
Thing(s) I loved about this episode—So many things! Merthur moments & banter. The whole Dragonlord storyline. Arthur in the leather gloves…covering Merlin’s mouth. DRAGONSPEAK! And Colin freaking Morgan acting his ASS off. He makes me cry every single time.
Thing(s) I hated about this episode—I hate, hate, hate that after Balinor dies and Merlin asks Gaius if he thinks Merlin is strong enough to weild the power of a Dragonlord, and Gaius’ response is “Only time will tell.” FFS, Gaius!! Throw the kid a bone! He’s pretty damned low and you can’t even build him up a bit and say “yes, yes I think you’re strong enough.”
Something I never noticed about this episode before—I got nothing for this one. This is another episode I’ve seen an embarrassing number of times.
Here is proof of some head canon I’ve created—When no one else returned with Merlin and Arthur at the end, we assume the knights are dead. But, oh, nay, nay….we see Sir Leon again. I have theories that he can never die. More evidence of this later, but this is the beginning…
Favorite costume—BALINOR!! I know, I know, he’s all hermit-y and kinda dirty, but admit it, he’s rocking it just the same.
What would Bron steal from Camelot the forest in this episode? The dragon Balinor carved for Merlin
What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? That there is still no answer to what the “new religion” is.
Next week, 7/21 at 8pm EST, we’ll start season three with a two-parter “The Tears of Uther Pendragon”. We’ll be on Twitter with the hashtag #MerlinClub