This episode opens with Uther waiting patiently for the kings from five other kingdoms to arrive so they can have a peace summit and all sign a peace treaty. But one of the kings has other plans. His name escapes me, and I’m real lazy, so from here on in, he shall be known as Evil King. Anyway…Evil King has a plan and it involves his magic using jester with whom he seems to have a sort of D/s relationship and the jester’s name is Trickler. I’m sorry, but that just sounds like a sex toy with questionable features. Like, maybe you’re using it and everything is going well but then you get a horrible, horrible surprise. But anyway, (look, fair warning, this post will likely involve a lot of digression by me) Evil King isn’t down with a peace accord at all because I guess his kingdom is both small and poor and war works out really well for him
There’s this other king – Olaf – who looks like he was probably one of those hardcore rugby players in a past life, and he’s brought his daughter along to Camelot, the Princess Vivian. Now, Vivian is awful She’s just an awful freaking person who’s was in one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who – well, two of them really, and she also happens to be David Tenant’s wife and I adore her. Her comedic timing is just lovely. Anyway, she’s awful – she’s rude to Arthur, rude to Gwen and has a sense of entitlement that rival’s my former SIL’s. King Olaf is pathologically overprotective of Vivian and anyone who so much as looks at her is likely to get beheaded.
There’s a celebratory banquet where the jester performs wonders, using magic, of course. And Uther just claps and smiles not even once suspecting sorcery is in his midst. You’re off your game, Uther. The Trickler, in the course of his performance, steals a lock of Vivian’s hair and uses it in a love spell to drug Arthur later that night in an attempt to start a war between Olaf and Uther.
The next morning, Merlin heads into Arthur’s room to wake him (bearing a platter of fruit, of course) to find him, up, dressed and waxing poetic about his one true love. Arthur tells Merlin to send her flowers and a heartfelt note. Merlin delivers them to Gwen’s house and leaves them for her to find. Gwen is touched and hopeful. Merlin realizes his terrible, terrible mistake when Arthur goes to Vivian’s room and attempts to woo her with a romantic supper and one of my favorite lines of the show, “It is destiny, my love…destiny…and chicken.”
Vivian is all go the fuck away and Arthur slinks off morosely. Merlin quickly figures out that Arthur is a victim of an enchantment and stays up all night hitting Gaius’ books to figure out how to break the spell.mWhen Evil King realizes that his plans aren’t going, well, according to plan, he sends the Trickler into Arthur’s room that night to steal a lock of Arthur’s hair to enchant Vivian. It works and Vivian is the most delightfully, giddy, derpy princess that ever was.
She goes to Arthur’s room in her jammies, jumps on his bed and starts sniffing his pillows and bedding then arranges herself in a sultry pose and waits for him while Merlin flips his shit and tries to get her to leave. I love this scene. The exchange between the two of them cracks me up.
Meanwhile, Gwen and Arthur have a discussion about second chances and Arthur thinks she’s talking about him and Vivian, but she’s talking about her and Arthur. The Trickler tells one of the knights guarding the counsel that Vivian is in Arthur’s room. The whole counsel storms up there to find only Merlin. He’s magically knocked her ass out and hid her in the wardrobe. They search the room and find nothing because Merlin has also magically sealed the wardrobe.
Gwen sends Arthur a note giving him another chance and Arthur thinks it’s from Vivian. He goes to Vivan’s room, wakes her up and they start making out. Merlin is trying to get them to stop when Uther, Olaf and everyone else busts in. Olaf throws down the gauntlet and challenges Arthur in a duel to the death in a tourney. Meanwhile, Gwen is at home waiting…for hours…alone and heartbroken.
Merlin tries to disenchant Arthur, but nothing is working. Uther tries to talk him out of fighting. That doesn’t work either. And Uther is just DONE with Arthur and his bullshit. The tourney takes place the next morning and Arthur is woefully unprepared. In fact, Olaf beats the shit out of him because he’s busy mooning over Vivian.
Merlin goes to the dragon to get advice, and as is the dragon’s M.O., he laughs his ass off at Arthur’s predicament. He eventually after much guffawing, tells Merlin that the only way to break the spell is for Arthur’s actual true love to kiss him. Merlin goes to Gwen and begs her to help. She’s not happy about it, but she does what needs to be done because even as a lowly servant, she’s still a queen, damn it!
She kisses Arthur and breaks the spell. Arthur has to go out and fight the last round, and despite being injured, he manages to beat Olaf, but he spares his life because death matches aren’t the best way to achieve peace. The peace treaty is signed by all and Vivian (still under the love spell is dragged home by her father) while Arthur wave awkwardly and Evil King forces the Trickler to run in chained to the king’s horse all the way home.
Gwen returns home that evening to find a rose and a note from Arthur. And Arthur waiting semi creepily in the corner. They talk about how hopefully things will be different when he’s king so they can be together.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Don’t really have anything this week.