Bronwyn Green

The Corner of Quirky & Kinky

So, this week’s episode is one that’s pretty universally loathed, but more on that as I go. 
It opens with Merlin and Arthur running away from a giant hoard of marauders/bad guys/ what-have –you with no explanation to why. Obviously, it’s a plot device to for Arthur to be shot with an arrow and conveniently knocked unconscious so Merlin can learn nifty new mystical things and further the plot of the show. 
Merlin has a tender moment with Arthur, calling him dollophead and clotpole while trying to wake him. He even uses the forbidden magic to try to heal Arthur, but it doesn’t work. A mysterious, robed man shows up and heals Arthur then insists that Merlin go with him to the Crystal Cave. He wants Merlin to look into the crystals and see the future. Merlin wants nothing to do with it, after his last experience of seeing the future in a crystal. But Taliesin insists. 
Merlin sees horrible images of Morgana sitting on the throne of Camelot, fighting with her horse, holding an ornate dagger and killing Uther. He flips shit and goes back to Arthur. Taliesin disappears. Arthur and Merlin head back to Camelot and Merlin lies to him about what went down.  Happily, they’re home in time for Morgana’s birthday celebration the next day.
Merlin is super freaked and paranoid about Morgana and tells Gaius about it. In typical Gaius fashion, he dismisses literally everything that comes out of Merlin’s mouth. I’m not sure if it was to reassure Merlin or if he really wasn’t buying it. Also, he tells Merlin that Taliesin has been dead for centuries, so how cool that Merlin saw him. So really? Dead dude shows up to reveal mystical shit, and you’re not believing it? Whatever, Gaius. 
Events that Merlin saw in the Crystal Cave are coming to pass and he freaks some more. When he tells Gaius about them, Gaius again blows him off and dismisses Merlin’s fears. Merlin’s paranoia ramps up an extra notch when Arthur tells him that he got Morgana a dagger for her birthday present. But Merlin is relieved when he sees it’s not the dagger he saw in the visions. Then he tells Arthur that he would have thought Arthur would have picked something else since “girls like pretty things.”
Later, at the feast, Morgana is opening her presents and when she opens Arthur’s, it’s a dagger. But not the same one he showed Merlin. It’s the ornate one from the vision. Arthur thanks Merlin for his advice about pretty things, and Merlin freaks once again. 
After the party, Gwen brings more presents sent to Morgana from other kingdoms. One of them is a mirror that has a message from Morgause about meeting her in the darkling woods. Morgana sneaks out and Merlin follows her, magically slamming a door in her face. Startled, Morgana falls down the stairs and suffers a massive head injury. 
She’s brought to Gaius’ room. He stitches up her wound, but she’s still unconscious and now dying. Everyone is upset, but no one is more fraught with grief than Uther. He begs Gaius to make her well again, even not-so-subtly hinting that magic is just fine by him. Well, you know, Uther…as long as you stand to gain from it, it’s cool. 
Uther also confesses that he had an affair with Morgana’s mother, and Morgana is his daughter. (This, my loves, is where everything goes to hell in a huge way.) He begs Gaius again to do whatever must be done to save his child. Never mind that he wasn’t willing to do the same for Arthur when he was dying. But whatever. I digress. 
Merlin calls the dragon for advice. The dragon is super happy that Morgana is on death’s door and is pretty vocal about it. Merlin commands the dragon to give him a spell to heal Morgana. The dragon is pissed, but is compelled to obey because of that whole Dragon Lord issue. 
Merlin casts the spell and heals Morgana. Everyone is overjoyed. Morgana tries to get Uther to admit to her that he’s her father and public claim her as his child, but Uther sidesteps it all. Morgana is furious and hurt.
Morgause sneaks into the castle and kills a wine bearer (like you do) and meets with Morgana wanting to know why Morgana didn’t meet her the other night. Morgana tells Morgause that she now knows that Uther is her father. Morgause is thrilled at the news and counsels her not to do anything rash. 
But we all know that rash is what Morgana lives for. So when Merlin sees the dead wine guy, he knows something is up with Morgana (dead wine guy was also in the Crystal Cave vision) he goes to find her. She magically knocks him out and knocks over a candelabra, setting the room on fire then heads out to murder Uther in his bed. 
Merlin wakes up in time to avoid burning to death and races to Uther’s room where Morgana is holding her birthday dagger over Uther preparing to stab him. Merlin sneaks in just in time, and unable to stop her by confronting her (because she’ll frame him for it and Uther will believe her- this is my interpretation, btw) he magically blows out the window and the blast knocks her backward into a wall and wakes up Uther. Morgana lies and says that she was there for comfort because her room caught on fire while discreetly kicking the dagger under the bed. 
Later, Gaius and Merlin are talking and Merlin explains that he thought he could alter the future, but he ended up causing it. I don’t think this is necessarily true. However Gaius must because he doesn’t disabuse him of this notion at all. His attitude is very, yeah, you really did, but done is done and now we have more important things to worry about like Morgana knowing that the Uther is her father which means she has a legitimate claim on the throne and Arthur is in danger. 
Okay…now for the questions. 

1.       If I’d written this episode…Ugh. So many things. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have Uther confessing that Morgana was his daughter. Not after the previous couple seasons where they acted more like lovers than anything else. I’m still furious about this. The writers had so many other options they could have taken and they blew it. Completely blew it. I would have had Gaius take Merlin seriously instead of blowing him off and then basically blaming him for what happened.
  2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. Loved Merlin trying to wake Arthur up after he’d been shot. So sweet.  Hated Uther’s obvious preference of one child over the other.
 3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.That Morgana gave Gwen one of her birthday presents to basically distract her and get rid of her.
4.    Favorite Costume. When in doubt, Morgana’s jammies.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. None for this episode.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I think it was when Merlin was tenderly calling Arthur dollophead and clotpole while trying to wake him. And his fear and sadness when he couldn’t.
7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in a bad way? Hands down the Uther/Morgana father/daughter storyline which makes the last couple seasons seem super incesty. 

Jess’ take on the episode is here, and Jen’s is here.

4 thoughts on “Merlin Club: The Crystal Cave or The One Where the Writers Failed the Show Completely

  1. anny cook says:

    I didn't make it past the very first episode so I can't imagine watching the rest of the show (but the hunk and my eleven year old granddaughter lapped it up so that pretty much tells you about the level of writing/acting/etc.)

  2. Jenny Trout says:

    Where did you find that awesome picture of Morgana in her jammies? I never noticed how detailed they were. It's a shame that the entire series wasn't filmed in HD.

  3. Jess Jarman says:

    As much as I love this show, this episode pissed me off so, so much.

    And LOVE Morgana's jammies. They are glorious.

  4. Renn says:

    I always did find it so weird that in early episodes everyone was itching for Morgana and Arthur to get married like wow no thank you!

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