It’s that time…time for another installment Merlin Club! This week, we’re on episode 8.
This episode opens with an attractive (in that scruffy kinda way) druid and his young apprentice wandering through the open air market at Camelot. They’re accompanied by what sounds to be Tibetan throat singing. When they stop at a stall to pick up their supplies, the shopkeeper apologizes (after taking the dude’s money, of course) and looks toward the Camelot guards that are coming to arrest them. The shopkeeper sold them out.
The druid and the boy duck under the table and run through Camelot trying to escape the guards. One of the guards jumps out and slices open the boy’s arm. Eventually, the druid realizes there’s no escape. He tells the boy to run toward the castle and hide. He does, and the druid uses his super “evil” magic to close the bailey doors allowing the boy time to hide.
After the credits, we see Merlin wandering the castle halls and he hears a cry for help in his head – not unlike how he hears the dragon. He goes in search of the voice, finds the child then herds him into the castle with the guards running after him. In a fit of desperation, he busts into Morgana’s room where she’s chatting with Gwen. Morgana agrees to hide the child – at least for the moment and lies to the guards sending them on their way.
Arthur confronts Uther and points out that the druid was only in Camelot to collect supplies and that he meant no harm. Uther is having none of it. None of it, I tell you! He goes on yet another tear about how if someone has magic, their ultimate end game is the destruction of Camelot. Uther is bent over the table signing official looking documents while wearing his leather gloves – the druid’s death warrant, I’m guessing, while Arthur continues to try to reason with him. As Uther wanders away to deliver his edict, he demands that Arthur find the boy. Arthur looks super conflicted about this. I’m especially fond of this episode, because Arthur shows some real growth as a person in conjunction with his conflicting feelings about Uther’s laws.
The boy is still hiding in Morgana’s chambers while Merlin and Morgana stare out the window, listening to Uther announce the druid’s sentence. Arthur follows somewhat reluctantly. Morgana decides she can’t watch the execution and moves to comfort the boy. When the axe falls, the boy screams psychically in Merlin’s head and manages to shatter Morgana’s mirror.
At this point, the child is looking downright evil and a little possessed and very much like one of my former daycare children I used to refer to as “The Young Prince” – never within his hearing, of course. Never have you seen a more sullen, spoiled, obnoxious child… This kid would break stuff and hide it, lie about everything and smash things in fits of temper. He even took a baseball bat to his mom’s computer screen because he lost a video game. But I digress…a lot.
As Merlin moves his food around on his plate that evening, he asks Gaius what he knows about the druids. Gaius, as usual, warns Merlin against getting involved. Merlin, also as usual, lies his pants off (Jess wishes) and says he’s not, but he does cop to hearing the kid telepathically. Gaius is super intrigued. And doesn’t believe Merlin at all, by the way.
The guards are still searching the town while Merlin checks in on the boy and Morgana. Merlin and Morgana have a conversation about Uther and magic – I really like this exchange, but more on that, later. They decide, well, Morgana decides really, that they need to get the boy back to his people.
Later, we see Morgana having a creepily intimate dinner with Uther with far more food than two people could conceivably eat in a week. He’s wearing his leather gloves. While eating. Uther asks her what’s wrong, seemingly overly solicitous. Before this uncomfortable moment can get any more uncomfortable, Arthur enters and Uther quizzes him about the hunt for the druid boy and then disparages his son’s hunting skills. Arthur once again sticks up for the druids. Morgana, clearly trying to throw Uther off the scent, sticks up for Uther and things get a little tense between Arthur and Morgana.
When Merlin goes to Morgana’s room the next day to check on the boy, he finds out that the child has a fever. He decides to treat the boy himself rather than involve Gaius as Morgana urges him to do. Meanwhile, Arthur shows up to search her chambers and she harangues him about messing up her stuff and arguing with him about whether or not he should even be there. Meanwhile, Merlin is hiding with the boy behind the screen and he spots the boys’ boots out in the open. Using magic, he has the boots tiptoe over to where he’s hiding while Morgana continues to mock and goad Arthur until he gives up and leaves. He’s very susceptible to Morgana’s manipulative teasing.
Merlin goes to Gaius’ chambers and searches Gaius’ books for potential treatments for the child. Just as he’s collected all the medicines he needs, Gaius enters, sees him studying and is overjoyed and decides a lesson on anatomy is exactly what Merlin needs that very minute.
When Merlin finally gets away to treat the boy, it’s very late. The boy speaks to Merlin in his head and calls him Emrys, telling him that’s Merlin’s name among his people and then passes out again. Merlin goes down for a dragon visit and the dragon confirms that Emrys is his name. He also says that Merlin should not protect the boy, but basically flies off without telling Merlin jack.
The next morning, Gwen is begging Morgana to get some sleep and the kid’s fever is getting worse. He speaks telepathically to Morgana saying her name. Merlin comes in and she demands that he ask Gaius for his help. He goes back to Gaius and tells him that Morgana is hiding the druid boy in her chamber. Gaius lecture about harboring someone with magic and Merlin lobs that one right back at Gaius, and begs Gaius to help because the boy is dying.
Gaius goes to treat the boy. Morgana, Gwen and Merlin are in the market together and Merlin offers to take the boy out of the city through a secret door in the armory. Morgana vetoes it because it’s too dangerous and decides to do it herself. They argue a bit, but Morgana eventually wins and Merlin’s job is to get the key from Arthur to open the secret door.
After Merlin serves Arthur supper that evening, he uses magic to lift Arthur’s keys from his belt. They’re floating behind him jangling as Arthur tries to figure out what that sound is and Merlin acts like Arthur is crazy and drops the keys into Arthur’s soup as soon his back is turned. When are leaves he fishes them out.
Meanwhile, Morgana, dressed in Gwen’s clothes prepares to leave Camelot with the boy. Merlin arrives with the key and tells Morgana that the door is behind the shield at the far end of the armory. So she and the boy creep through the castle to the armory, but they make it down there and open the door. Unfortunately a servant saw someone enter the armory with a boy and the warning bell is sounded. DRINK!
Morgana meets Merlin and Gwen at Gwen’s place to grab provisions. They argue again about who should take the boy and Morgana wins again. Eventually, the soldiers capture Morgana and the boy and Arthur unmasks her, so to speak. They’re brought back to Camelot and Uther. Is. Pissed.
A furious Uther bitches out Morgana and even gets aggressive with her. I’ll be honest, this scene is positively rife with sexual tension between the two of them. Or…that could just be me due to a certain fanfic I read… Morgana tells Uther to punish her and spare the boy (again – the vibe here is very not ward/guardian) while Arthur stands silently looking increasingly uncomfortable with the whole direction everything has taken. But anyway, the boy is thrown in the dungeon and Uther demands that Arthur make arrangements to execute the child the next morning at dawn. Morgana chases Uther grabbing his arm and whipping him around while she demands to know why Uther is so full of hate. Uther turns on her, grabs her by the throat (still wearing those leather gloves) and backs her up against his throne and tells her not to speak to him until she’s ready to apologize to him for what she’s done.
Merlin is in Morgana’s room, they’re both crushed that their plan didn’t work. Morgana vows not to let the boy die and asks Merlin if she can count on his help. He agrees. Meanwhile, Arthur is trying to talk Uther out of executing the boy, suggesting alternative methods of punishment like imprisonment. But as usual, Uther isn’t budging. Arthur asks him again to spare the kid for Morgana’s sake. Uther flips out and is all, “She betrayed me.” And Arthur points out that Uther is sparing her life and Uther shoots back that he made a promise to her father, blah, blah, blah.
Uthur storms off and Arthur goes back to his room with that stunning leather coat that I covet billowing out behind him. I want that coat. Anyway, when he enters his room, he sees Morgana sitting in his chair, waiting for him. They argue about whether or not it’s too late to save the boy, and Morgana does her taunty thing again asking Arthur if this is how he’ll rule when he’s king. She then asks him to save the boy for her.
Meanwhile, Merlin is walking through the courtyard and sees the executioner sharpening his axe. He opens the door to Arthur’s room, sees Morgana and Arthur engaged in intense conversation. Arthur tells him to go muck out the stables to get rid of him, but Morgana says she trusts him, so Arthur includes him in the planning.
Merlin says it’s too dangerous for Morgana to potentially get caught a second time. Arthur agrees with Merlin. Arthur tells her she needs to go apologize to his father and dine with him telling her she won’t be suspected of helping if she’s there with him. He also decides that Merlin will take her place helping Arthur.
Merlin goes down for another dragon visit and asks why the dragon told him not to protect the boy. The dragon explains (eventually and in the most roundabout way possible) that the boy will eventually kill Arthur.
Gwen helps Morgana get ready for her apology meal, and Gwen questions whether or not this is a good idea. Morgana all trembling lips and shuddering breaths looking tearful with and stunning in a fairly cleavagey dress goes to where Uther is eating a ginormous fucking meal all by himself while wearing those leather gloves. C’mon, Uther!!! Who eats in leather gloves!? Who eats in gloves, period!?!? It just doesn’t seem sanitary. But anyway, Morgana begs his forgiveness and Uther invites her to dine with him. While staring at her boobs.
Meanwhile, Arthur knocks out the guards and breaks the boy out of the dungeon, but it’s quickly noticed that the kid isn’t in his cell. They reach the grate that they need Merlin’s help with, but he’s not there. The warning bells go off and Merlin is in his bedroom torturing himself over his decision. The boy speaks telepathically to Merlin and begs him for help. Merlin finally caves and goes to help them. He pulls the grate off the tunnel and Arthur and the boy escape into the forest on his horse. The boy
prophetically promises that he’ll meet again.
A guard reports to Uther that the boy has escaped. Uther demands that the boy and his accomplices be killed. Then he threatens Morgana telling her that if he finds out she had anything to do with this, the consequences would be severe and that if she crosses him again, he’ll break the promise to her father without a second thought.
Arthur and the boy ride through the misty forest to the sounds of more Tibetanesque throat singing to meet some druids who are waiting for them. The druids are indebted to Arthur and Arthur warns them that they must never tell anyone it was him. As they’re walking back into the forest, Arthur calls after the boy and asks his name. He finally speaks aloud. His name is Mordred.
Cue gasps from all the Arthurian nerds.
1. If I’d written this episode, I would have had Merlin follow Morgana and Mordred down to the armory and shut the secret door behind them and rehang the shield so their escape plan wouldn’t have been so damn obvious.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. This is actually one of my favorite episodes. I love the exchange between Merlin and Morgana where discussing magic and Morgana has the line, “What if magic isn’t something you choose, but something that chooses you.” I just love that line and the nonverbal communication between the two of them. As for the thing I hated, I really hated that I ended up dreaming about that daycare kid after watching this episode!
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. Merlin didn’t have his magical glowy eyes going on when he cast the spell on the boots.
4. Favorite Costume.This is not the best picture of it (or Katie McGrath,for that matter) but I love this dress. It’s far simpler than Morgana’s usual fare, but the lines are gorgeous, the color is stunning on her, and I love the necklace that goes with it. While a lot of her dresses reappear during the course of the show, I don’t think this one does – actually, I think it does, but at that point, the costumers have embellished it quite a bit.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. This isn’t really head canon stuff…but the underpinnings of this argument again seem more lovers than ward/guardian.
6. What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Merlin and Arthur contact in this episode was almost non-existent…again. (It will pick up, I promise!) But I’m going to have to say in Arthur’s chamber when Merlin was in the process of teasing him while stealing his keys. I like to think that in Jess’ head this scene ended much differently.
7. What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? I’m going to say it’s was the fight between Morgana and Uther. That room was just full of sexual tension. Weird, creepy daddy/daughter/lovers tension.
You can read Jess’ recap here and Jen’s recap here! And you can join us for Merlin Club on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST – #MerlinClub