I can’t believe this is the last Merlin Club post. Seriously. How did that even happen!?
The two-part series finale opens with Morgana testing her Magic Hoovering Slug on some poor, but powerful, unsuspecting druid dude. Ones she proves that the man’s magic can be sucked clean out of him, she has someone sneak the Magic Hoovering Slug under Merlin’s bed while Merlin is out at the tavern with Arthur and the knights
having eye sex playing dice. When he gets back, he trips and falls, doesn’t notice Gaius unconscious on the floor and stumbles to bed where the Magic Hoovering Slug hoovers his magic right out of him.
Morgana and Mordred’s forces attack and it’s not going well for Camelot. Merlin readies Arthur’s armor and stuff and Arthur is all kinds of impressed, until he finds out that Merlin isn’t coming with him. It’s clear that he’s hurt that Merlin would abandon him when he needs him most, but he hurts Merlin in return by calling him a coward.
Meanwhile, Gwaine hooks up with some woman who’s village was destroyed by Morgana’s army, and Gwaine is a big old blabbermouth and the woman is actually a spy for Morgana and reports back to her about Arthur’s plans.
Merlin, taking Gwaine for protection, goes to The Crystal Cave in an attempt to restore his magic. Gwaine’s scheming lover reports that to Morgana, too, and she ambushes Merlin in the cave and traps him with a magical rockfall. Merlin is crushed. His magic is gone, and he can’t get to Arthur to protect him.
Everyone has to flee the citadel, and things are pretty dicey. Arthur decides to make his last stand at Camlan. Morgana, of course, already knows and moves in for a sneak attack. Meanwhile, back at The Crystal Cave, Merlin’s dead father appears to him and Merlin is eventually healed and his magic restored and as Old!Merlin/Dragoon, he escapes the cave and rides (where the hell did the horse come from!?) hell bent for Camlan.
When he arrives, it’s chaos. Blood, death, kinda like the mosh pit at a Cancer Bats (Canadian death metal – I’m told their mosh pits are pretty brutal) concert. Merlin, using Dragoon’s staff (where the hell did that and the costume come from, anyway?) starts magically zapping Morgana’s warriors and evening things up for Camelot’s forces. Morgana gets knocked out here somewhere along the line.
Mordred is searching the battlefield for Arthur, eventually finds him and pretty unceremoniously stabs him in the gut. Arthur, though grievously wounded, stabs Mordred and kills him. Gwen and Gaius are treating the wounded. There’s no sign of Arthur, but it’s because Merlin has spirited him away to a secret hidey spot in the woods. He ends up confessing that he’s had magic all along and Arthur is furious and hurt and betrayed and a million other horrible feelings because the one person he trusted above all others lied to him during their entire relationship. And Merlin! He’s so crushed. From here on in, my heart is utterly broken.
So Arthur won’t speak to Merlin. Gaius eventually finds his way to Merlin and Arthur and tells Merlin that there’s nothing he can do for Arthur because a piece of Mordred’s enchanted blade busted off inside Arthur and is traveling towards his heart. The only chance Arthur has to survive is Sidhe magic. So Merlin has to take him to Avalon.
Arthur gives Gaius his ring – the royal seal – to give to Gwen just in case he doesn’t make it back. And he and Merlin set off for Avalon. Arthur grudgingly gets over his hurt and anger and I continue to cry at the unfairness of it all, because of course, I know what’s coming.
Everyone is back at Camelot and Gwen is upset and she’s also figured out that Merlin was the sorcerer and knows he has Arthur’s best interests at heart. Gwen, because she’s the best King of Camelot also figures out that Gwaine’s girlfriend is feeding Morgana info. She has the raven deliver Morgana misinformation about Merlin and Arthur’s whereabouts and then she hangs the woman in the courtyard because Gwen does *not* fuck around.
Gwaine and Percival take it upon themselves to hunt down Morgana since they know where she’ll be. And like dumbasses, they go alone. Morgana captures them both and tortures Gwaine until he gives up Arthur’s location. Percival comes to, hears Gwaine’s anguished screams then busts out of his ropes in time to talk to Gwaine as he’s dying and we see the true depths of their feelings for one another and it made me cry harder. Look at these gifs. LOOK AT THEM.
Morgana catches up to Arthur and Merlin, spooks their horses. Merlin and Morgana battle it out and Merlin eventually stabs her with Excalibur which kills her because it was a dragon-forged blade. And honestly, this killed me. I’ve said before that we wouldn’t have gotten to this place had Morgana not been gaslighted – or we still could have, but Gaius and Merlin would have been less culpable. And there’s something about the way Merlin sort of holds Morgana as she’s dying that breaks my heart. These gifs don’t show it, but the way he lowers her to the ground. *weep* And even though he did what he needed to do to save Arthur, it wasn’t like he was happy about it.
After that, Merlin tries to get Arthur moving again, and Arthur knows it’s too last and this goddamn scene happened, and yes, I might be crying while I’m typing this… Judge me all you want.
Merlin busts out his Dragon Lord voice and calls the dragon to fly them to Avalon. But it’s too late. Arthur dies and it’s one of the most gut-wrenching television series deaths ever. The first time I saw it, I must have cried off and on for a good forty-five minutes afterward. This time wasn’t much better.
Eventually, Merlin returns Excalibur to the lake, and the Lady of the Lake’s hand rises up from from the water and grabs the sword. We see Gwen very solemnly ascending the throne, and we know that she’ll be the best king Camelot ever had. Then Merlin loads Arthur into a boat and sends him off to Avalon. In the distance, we can see Glastonbury Tor. And as the shot zooms out, a modern truck whizzes past and we see Merlin walking along the road, past Avalon, actually old and still waiting for Arthur to rise. And my fucking heart breaks all over again.
Okay, that’s a lie. Before I get to the questions, I just want to say how much fun this has been. Every Monday night for the last year and a half, I’ve gotten to hang with two of my very best friends, Jess and Jen, and tear apart and squee over this show that we love so much despite many of the problematic issues.
But I also got to meet some fun, awesome, amazing people that I adore thanks to the wonders of Twitter and Merlin. Tamsin, Cat, Tayci, and Alice, it wouldn’t have been the same without you, and I’m so glad you found your way to the craziness that is Merlin Club. *HUGS YOU ALL REALLY TIGHT*
The questions for realz now.
1.) If I’d written this episode… Okay, so this is more of an If I’d written this series sort of thing. I wouldn’t have had Gaius and Merlin by extension gaslight Morgana about her magical abilities. I would have better explained the drastic shift in Morgana’s personality, priorities and subsequent drop in overall intelligence. It’s fine that she ends up being the Big Bad, but for fuck’s sake, let’s motivate that a little better, maybe. Morgana’s character is actually my biggest complaint in the whole series. She had so much damn potential, and then the writers broke her and turned into the vindictive woman/crazy bitch archetype with no real explanation. Fuck you, Merlin writers. And yes, I think I could have done better.
2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. OMG. Okay. These two episodes make me cry horrible, horrible tears every time I see them. The thing I loved best is Merlin and Arthur’s relationship. Merthur!Forever, aside, seeing the intensity of their friendship, the power that they have to hurt one another, be vulnerable to one another and to see the best in one another. Merlin’s pain at losing him. Oh fuck it here…just watch this and you’ll understand everything.
3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. Why not call the dragon from the beginning to get Arthur to Avalon in time for the Sidhe to help him. Also…the Sidhe weren’t terribly fond of Camelot and Pendragons in particular, I know Merlin and Gaius were desperate, but wasn’t that kind of a big assumption?
4.) Favorite costume. Old man Merlin…even though it broke my damn heart.
5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I didn’t create it, but so much Merthur. And also some Perwaine.
6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Naughtiest thoughts? All the eye sex in the tavern scene. But I promise you, that last scene up there? The video? GUTTED HER.
7.) What made Jen lose her shit – in a good or bad way? In a good way when Gwen figured out that Merlin was the sorcerer. And when she was in the midst of the battle and the aftermath treating the injured, and putting the spy to death, and pretty much all things Gwen, really.
Oh, and here. Because I’m a giver, and you can all suffer along with me.