MERLIN CLUB: To Kill the King

MERLIN CLUB: TO KILL THE KING
Or the One With the Skeeviness and Not Enough Merthur For My Taste
 

RECAP – We meet Tom, the blacksmith and Gwen’s dad, in this episode. He gives her a gift. First, it’s just a button, which aw how sweet, but then he gives her the gown the button is a spare for. 

She asks how he could afford something so beautiful, and he’s all vague about it, but says things are looking up for them, and she deserves beautiful things. 

Tom then shows that he has some poor judgment and the job he’s taken is bad news. General advice, if someone is asking you to work your forge in the middle of the night and paying you large sums to do so, it’s very unlikely it’s on the up and up. 

In the forge, Tom melts down lead for his mysterious employer, who pulls out an obviously magical stone. He holds it above the lead and chants…and the lead turns to gold.

Merlin, sleeping in his bed (ROWR), awakes as this happens, sensing the magic. And that, of course, is when Arthur and the royal guard show up at the forge. The other man, clearly a sorcerer, escapes and Tom is arrested.

He is charged with treason – helping a known enemy of Camelot. Arthur recognized the man Taurin, the leader of a group of sorcerers who wants to destroy Camelot. Uther believes that Tom is supplying the group with weapons. Morgana questions that, and Arthur agrees that while Tom may have committed a crime by consorting with a sorcerer, but that isn’t proof he’s a traitor, that he was knowingly helping someone against Camelot. Uther doesn’t listen. (Shocker.) He says that Tom will be given a fair trial. Well what he actually says is “He will be given a fair trial, and he will be found guilty. Because that is what he is.” Riiiiiiight.

Hey, Uther…

Morgana tells him that if he executes Tom, she will never forgive him. Uther tells Arthur to hunt down anyone who has been seen helping Tauren and his group.

Gwen visits Tom in jail, understandably upset. He says he didn’t know magic was involved, that he was simply trying to earn more for a better life. Gwen swears she will free him. 

She tells Merlin and Gaius everything Tom tells her. That he wasn’t paying him to forge weapons as Uther suspects but for some experiment. Gaius deduces that Tauren was performing alchemy.

Morgana is looking for Gwen and ends up at Tom’s forge, where she finds a bag that contains the stone Tauren used. Which really goes to show how pants the king’s men are at their jobs. The stone was sitting right there in the middle of the floor, in plain sight and now one thought hey, what’s this? Really? And then Morgana takes the stone and stashes it in her room. Not quite sure her reasoning for this. Though perhaps she thought since it was clearly magical (it glowed and shit, people) that it was better hidden away as not to give Uther more ammuntion against Tom. Gwen, meanwhile, is resting in Gauis’ chambers. Morgana tells Merlin that Uther only sees enemies. Tom is guilty in his eyes and there is not changing that. Merlin says there’s little hope then; to which Morgana replies that there is no hope.

Morgana steals a key from Arthur’s chambers and goes down to see Tom. This begs the question… There are several keys on the key ring and they all look similar but she quickly removes one. How the hell does she know which key is to the dungeon/Tom’s cell? Anyhoo… She gives Tom the key, urging him to seize the opportunity. 

Merlin and Arthur are outside watching people being lead by guards. They are people who are suspected of helping Tauren and are to be executed. Merlin is appalled by this, that giving a man a bed for the night would be considered a serious crime. Arthur replies, not a man. A sorcerer. Damn it, Arthur. 

That night, amidst thunder and lightning (ah the mood setters), Tom uses the key to get out of his cell, and knocks ou
t a guard to escape. But it’s not long before the bells are ringing, announcing his escape. Further convinced of Tom’s guilt, Uther now gives the order to have Tom killed on the spot. 

Hey, Uther…

Tom is found, surrounded and run through.  The next morning, we see Gwen crying as she runs from the castle after the cart that carriesTom’s body.

Morgana hears Gwen’s cries and sees what has happened. She confronts Uther, saying he has blood on his hands, blood that can never be washed off, and says that Camelot is doomed with him as a king.

 

Uther doesn’t react well to this and has her dragged to the dungeons and put in chains. 

UTHER!!!!

He says she will remain there until she has learned her lesson. As he leaves, Morgana yells says that he can release her know because the lesson has been learned. He cares nothing for her or the people of Camelot, only for himself and that he is a tyrant driven mad with power.

As Merlin tries to comfort Gwen, Arthur comes in. He tells her her job is safe and her home is hers for life.

I cannot express just how hot he is in this scene. I don’t know what it is… I mean, he’s freaking gorgeous anyway, but something here… I don’t know. Kudos to the lighting crew or something because hot diggity damn. *swoon* 

*ahem* Anyhoo, Arthur says he’s sorry and leaves. When Gwen returns home, Tauren is there. He says if she doesn’t return the stone, he will kill her. 

Gaius shows Merlin what he has found in his research. He believes Tauren used the Mage Stone, which give the bearer the power of transformation. 

Arthur comes to release Morgana from the dungeons. 


He requested her release and promised Utehr that she wouldn’t challenge him again. He warns her to be careful, that he may not be able to help next time. Before she leaves, she says he’s a better man then Uther was and always has been. I have to wonder, without Arthur stepping in, how long would Uther have left her chained up down there? 

Back in her rooms, Morgan finds Gwen, who is upset that her mistress has spent the night in the dungeons because of her. Morgan tells her to go home and get some rest. Gwen breaks down and says she can’t go home, and explains about Tauren and his threats. That he is waiting for her in the Darkling Woods and she has until noon the next day to bring him the stone. Morgana tells her not to worry about it, that she will send the king’s guards after Tauren. But she goes instead, with the stone. Merlin is awakened by the stone’s power again and follows her.

Morgana gives Tauren the stone and tells him she wants Uther dead as much as he does. Tauren explains that he’s turning lead to gold to have enough to bribe his way into the castle and be able to murder Uther. She argues that she is the better way to access Uther.

Having heard everything, Merlin goes to the Great Dragon, but the dragon is all, whatevs, let Uther die. He has persecuted all those with magic and his reign must end for Merlin to fulfill his destiny. Merlin protests. Even though he has no
love for Uther and hates what the king has done, he doesn’t think he can just sit back and let Uther die. Merlin doesn’t know what to do.

Morgana goes to Uther at dinner to apologize. She says Uther killing Tom reminded her of losing her own father. She says that too was Uther’s fault. He sent Gorlois into battle but didn’t send the reinforcements promised. Uther insists that he never meant for Gorlois to die, but she says that it doesn’t matter, he abandoned her father. Crying, she leaves.

Merlin, meanwhile, asks Gaius if he believes Uther to be a good king. Gaius says that despite his methods at times, Uther has brought peace to Camelot and tries to protect his people. Even though Merlin won’t explain the situation fully, Gaius says he trusts Merlin to make the right choice.

Later, Uther calls Morgana to him and admits he handled the situation with Tom poorly. She suggests they visit her father’s grave together and put the past in the past. Uther agrees. Morgan sneaks off to tell Tauren the plan, and Merlin of course is watching. He’s a sneaky little stalker.

The next day, Gwen finds Merlin watching Morgana and Uther riding out. She says the only reason she can think of that Tom would try to escape adn run was because he believed he wouldn’t receive a fair trial and was going to die either way. Merlin asks her if she had the chance to kill Uther, would she take it? She looks horrified. 

Merlin decides she is right and, after getting the staff that he kept after the Sidhe debacle, rushes after Uther and Morgana.

At Gorlois’ grave, Uther tells Morgan how her father was always there for him and treated him as friend first. That his greatest quality was he wasn’t afraid to question Uther’s judgment. Morgana snaps back that when she questions him he puts her in chains. Uther says she has many of Gorlois’ qualities and that he allows his temper to blind him sometimes. He says he is sorry for hurting her.

Merlin confronts Tauren and his men, using the staff to knowkck many of them out. But Tauren uses the stone to deflect the staffs power back at Merlin and knocks Merlin out. Taruen sneaks up on Uther and Morgana just as the king says he was wrong to execute Tom and promises to listen to her more. Tauren attacks, and Morgana screams. Uther shoves Morgan out of harm’s way and is knocked to the ground. The men wrestle and Morgana grabs Uther’s sword – which he had shoved into the ground….why? I don’t get it, but I digress – and runs the sorcerer through, killing him. Uther and Morgan embrace and forgive each other as Merlin, having woken, watches. Back in Camelot, Gaius tells Merlin he knows he helped Morgan save Uther and that he’d made the right choice.

If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… The romantic edge to Uther and Morgana interactions. Even with the tension between them (and tension is an understatement in this episode), when she asks him to go to her father’s grave with him, the way he looks at her… It’s not a look of friendship or guardian/parent and ward. It looked like he was in love with her and would do anything she asked if it meant a chance that she would forgive him. 

Then at Gorlois’ grave, after Tauren is killed, the ending image of them embracing, wind swept and tender, music swelling… No, just no. 

The thing(s) I loved about this episode – OMG, no question, the amount of time Merlin was with out his neckercheif. Le sigh. Collarbones…

I also really loved Arthur in this episode. Some may disagree with me here, and that’s cool, but I saw a lot of good in Arthur. It was clear he didn’t agree with Uther, about Tom and the others who were to be executed, and he DID question Uther on things. Here’s the thing, Arthur tries to do what is right, we’ve seen that, but he’s playing the game, playing the hand he’s dealt. And it can’t be easy. His father is the king, his word is law. Period. If he questions to much or presses too hard, he’ll end up in the dungeon, like Morgana and like he himself has in the past. And what good can he do from there?

The thing(s) I hated about this episode – No surprises here, folks. Uther pisses me off. His attitude about Tom and all the others who were executed (I’m assuming they WERE executed even though it didn’t happen on screen) for helping a sorcery. Whether they knew they were or not. 

Then, to lock Morgana up like that? I mean, it shouldn’t come as a shock; he did it to Arthur when he went to get the flower to save Merlin, but I’m seriously, how long would Uther have just let Morgana be in that cell if Arthur hadn’t stepped in? 

And I don’t believe for a second he was sincere when they were at the Gorlois’ grave. I don’t think he regrets what he did with Tom and the others. I think he wanted to have Morgana back on his side and was willing to say whatever she wanted
to hear. And honestly it was a bit skeevy. It was like he was besotted with her and didn’t want her to mad at him any longer so he said all that to placate her and make himself look better in her eyes. 


And, please, PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, please get the damned red jacket of Arthur’s to GO AWAY!! It is, without a doubt, a worse crime than sorcery. That beautiful man deserves so much better.

And he knows it!

So…sexy red tunics, yes. Long riding coats made of leather, oh yes. Bare chest…hmmm yeah. Just no more freaking red coat. Please. 

Something I never noticed about this episode before – It’s not a detail, really, that I didn’t notice before. It was how different my reaction to a seemingly innocuous scene. When I was watching this time around, I got really pissed off when Gauis was defending Uther so staunchly when Merlin asked if he thought Uther was a good king. Perhaps its from the perspective of having watched through to the end of the series, but seriously I had to talk myself down a bit. It was a bit unreasonable. LOL 

Favorite Costume – 

 
 

 

Here is proof of some random head canon I’ve created – I have nothing here. Unless it’s Uther had inappropriate thoughts about his ward. Grrr.

What would Bron steal from Camelot in this episode? I’m going to go with the Mage Stone. Bron loves her rocks and this is a beauty. 


What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? The Uther/Morgana dynamic, for sure. I know I’m not alone in this; Jen is with me. LOL 

 

 

Until the next episode – Le Morte d’Arthur – the finale for the first season! – which we’ll be watching Monday, 4/14, at 8pm EST. We’ll be on Twitter with the hashtag #MerlinClub

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