So since I became employed full-time I have not had nearly enough time to write reviews on TV shows I keep up. In fact I have not had enough time to even watch said TV shows. I have only managed to keep up with one or two TV shows a week, however Merlin was first on my list to catch up fully on. The only reason I have not managed to watch it on TV is scheduling conflicts with The X Factor. So now that I’ve FINALLY caught up, I thought I’d write something about how the series is progressing so far.
It is fair to say that Series 5 has definitely been the best season of Merlin so far, full of drama, suspense, action and that classic Merlin humour. The series has progressed with Merlin keeping a watchful eye on Mordred, as his true loyalty is constantly questioned. Whilst Merlin believes he is a threat, an even more real lies outside of Camelot in the form of Morgana, constantly cooking up schemes to get to Arthur to finally reclaim her throne. It seems this series Morgana is coming closer than ever to finally getting what she wants, and the series takes unexpected twists and turns, playing out the classic Arthurian legend.
Some stand out moments from this series include the third episode where we see the welcome, brief return of Anthony Stewart Head as Uther Pendragon, terrorising the inhabitants of the castle as a ghost, and the episode ‘The Dark Tower’ which sees Morgana capture Gwen and haul her off to the mysterious Dark Tower. After the events of this episode Gwen is different, and it doesn’t take long for Merlin to realise that something terrible happened to Gwen when she was with Morgana. Now that Morgana has her very own puppet in Arthur’s circle, the attempts on Arthur’s life are far more perilous and the last episode saw Merlin and Arthur journey to try and break Morgana’s powerful spell. With the help of magic and the power of true love, Gwen was reversed back to her true self however with only 4 episodes left of Merlin; the path is certainly being laid out to an explosive finale.
This series has seen everyone up their game – from the effects, to the writing and also the acting. Colin Morgan has blossomed into the young sorcerer Merlin, he now has a maturity and presence on screen and he effortlessly carries the show’s lead role. Bradley James is also much more regal and serious in his role as King, but still shows some vulnerability; he and Colin Morgan still have a great chemistry and they both bring an excellent comedy factor with their timing, facial expressions. Katie McGrath oozes anger and frustration as Morgana, but does so understatedly to added effect, making her an excellent villain and a pleasure to watch on screen. Angel Coulby also has a chance to really shine, especially during the episodes Gwen is under Morgana’s control – you barely recognise the sweet natured Gwen that viewers know and she does a tremendous job in those few episodes. Supporting cast including Gaius and all the knights are a joy to watch (particularly as some of the knights are quite fit.)
Sadly, 2 weeks ago it was announced that this series of Merlin would be its last; the creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy always said that they felt Merlin was a 5 series story arc that they could tell and they have stuck to their guns and brought a series to a dramatic close with the 2-parter which will air over Christmas. It didn’t mean I wasn’t wholeheartedly disappointed (I’d grown to really love Merlin as a shoe, and was even looking forward to this series more than the start of Doctor Who) however, I respect their decision to leave now bringing the story to its natural end, rather than being pushed out. I look forward to the final few episodes of this fantastic British series (and also for when X Factor ends so I can watch Merlin as it airs).
“If I lose her, I lose everything” (Arthur, Merlin 5.09 ‘With All My Heart’)