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Merlin: “Excalibur”

August 2, 2009

Keep reading for my live-blog of Merlin 1×09. Spoilers for the episode, obviously:Uther

  • Nimueh (played by Michelle Ryan) returns, as gorgeous as ever. She does some weird magic that results in a hand coming out of a tomb. Ah, the Black Knight referenced in the preview, I believe.
  • Prince Arthur is now “of age,” and as heir apparent is crowned prince of Camelot. Shocking. I just can’t believe this turn of events. At the ceremony, Gwen teases Merlin about being proud of Arthur secretly. Um, proud that he was born the only son of the king?  Yeah, he had a lot to do with that.  Just then a man on a horse leaps through the window. He is in all black armor, with a black horse. He throws something down on the ground, and one of the young knights accepts his challenge … to the death.  Dun dun dun.
  • Merlin and Gaius discuss the events of the ceremony. Merlin is rightfully suspicious of the knight. Gaius scolds him, because … that’s what he does. They both look doubtful about the young Camelot knight’s luck.  That poor boy is so dead.
  • Meanwhile, Arthur is mad that said young-looking knight picked up the gauntlet. He and Morgana are very dramatic about the whole situation. Sigh.
  • Gaius lied to Merlin.  Turns out he knows more than he’s saying. He goes to talk to the records guy, and reveals that the crest is of Sr. Tristan DuBois. But he’s been dead for 20 years. He goes to talk to King Giles, who knows about all this, since he was the one who killed DuBois. Well, who hasn’t he killed, really? DuBois shouldn’t take it personally.
  • Arthur is harsh with the young knight, who is undeservedly cocky.  Morgana sends him a token for luck. There’s something about Gwen’s face that reminds me of Allison Mack (Chloe on Smallville)–am I crazy?
  • Fight begins. We can’t see any bit of the Black Knight’s face because of his crazy mask. Why didn’t King Giles stop the fight on account of the extremely dead knight? Ooh, the Black Knight does have eyes, I can see them. BK is winning, and strikes a killing blow. He is not sated, however, and throws down the gauntlet againt. Sir Pellinor takes up the challenge. Sir Pellinor is cute btw. Too bad he will die.
  • Merlin is unaccountably concerned about the Black Knight’s health, wanting to give him medical attention. He says that he saw a blow hit him and he should be dead. Gaius: “Perhaps he already is.” Care to explain, Gaius?
  • Gaius and Merlin go to the tombs, and find that someone has broken out–Tristan DuBois to be specific. Tristan was Uther’s brother-in-law (brother to Uther’s wife/ Arthur’s mother), who was pissed that Uther let his sister die in child-birth. (There’s more to this story, as we will learn later) Gaius thinks Tristan is a wraith. No mortal weapon can kill him, blah blah blah.
  • Fight. Sir Pellinor stabs BK in the chest, but nothing happens. BK takes advantage of the stunned pause, and kills Pellinor. Arthur challenges him for the next day. Oh, Arthur. Now Merlin will have to help him.
  • Merlin and Gaius have a predictable conversation about how to help Arthur. “We don’t have a choice,” etc.
  • Gaius goes to see King Giles, and tells him what’s up. Tristan is a wraith, and he hates Uther. “No weapon forged”… etc. King Giles pulls a Locke: “Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.”  Hee. Giles reminds Gaius of his oath. Arthur must never know the secret of his birth. Hmm. What is the secret? That his mom died in child-birth? There has to be more.
  • Merlin tries to use magic fire to kill the Black Knight, but it can’t be that easy, so it doesn’t work. The Knight turns to look at him and Merlin runs to go see Arthur. He tries to get him to back out, but Arthur is stubborn. Merlin xplains that the BK’s no ordinary knight. Arthur will not listen to this, and gets super angry. Hmmm, someone is stressed.
  • Nimueh pays a visit to King Giles.  Exciting!  Nimueh used magic to give his barren wife a son. Nimueh says that the woman’s death was not her choice–that is the law of magic.  We know that’s true from Buffy, so I believe her.  Nimueh says that if she had forseen her death, she never would have granted Uther’s wish. It’s nice to get a more human side of Nimueh. She has watched so many people die at Uther’s hands, now it’s his turn.  Lesson: Don’t piss of powerful sorceresses.  So many bad things would be prevented that way.
  • Merlin gets caught sneaking into the records room. Merlin learns something about the dragon’s breath being the key. Then he goes to Gwen to ask for a sword. Merlin and Gwen have a sweet moment.
  • Morgana goes to see Arthur and begs him not to fight. Arthur says that he must. She understands and walks away. OK, point of that?
  • Gaius and Uther: exposition about how Gaius had warned King Giles against making the deal. King Giles says that Igraine gave up her life for Arthur, so he must too. I’m glad Igraine is Arthur’s mom in this version, as she was in Mists of Avalon (great book by the way).  In that version, Igraine was Morgaine’s (i.e. Morgana’s) mom too.
  • Merlin leaves Gwen’s with a sword. What’s with that scarf thing that Merlin always wears?  Merlin goes down to see the dragon, and asks him to “burnish it.”  I assume that means “Make it into the magical Excalibur.”  The dragon says no at first, arguing that Merlin should let Tristan take his vengeance.  He finally agrees, but explains, “A weapon forged with my assistance will have great power.” Oooh, it has so got to be Excalibur!!!  So cool. The dragon repeatedly stresses that the sword must be wielded by Arthur alone.  Merlin promises.  Liar. The dragon proceeds to use his fire breath on the sword.  Guess Gwen’s dad isn’t getting that back.  Dragon: “Heed my words. The sword was forged for Arthur and him alone.” OK, we got it already. (Given Merlin’s lack of spine on this matter later, the repeated warnings were merited, albeit ineffective.)
  • Gaius goes to see Arthur, and gives him a tonic for his nerves. It’s gross tasting, as most tonics are.
  • King Giles broods. Oh isn’t it all so dramatic.
  • Merlin handles the sword. A little jealous it’s not for him? Uther comes in and compliments the blade, saying Arthur won’t need it because he’ll fight in his place. Uther wants to use the Dragon’s breath sword, and Merlin tries to talk him out of it. Uther insists on taking Excalibur. Hmmm.  Methinks he will get greedy and want to keep it. That won’t be good.  King Giles gets ready to fight. Fight begins. Boring.
  • Arthur wakes up. I just realized that Gaius drugged him, so that he would sleep in and miss the fight. Slow, am I.  Arthur is locked in his room, and struggles to get out. Nimueh looks on, happy that Uther is losing. The Black Knight’s helmet comes off, and he is gross looking.  Death has not been good to him. Excalibur does its job though, and the guy blows up like he’s a vampire in the sun. The crowd cheers for the king. He throws down the sword. Geez, treat it with a little more respect buddy.
  • King Giles questions Gaius about how he was able to kill a wraith.  There’s some discussion of the sword. Arthur strides in all righteous and angry. King Giles calls Arthur his precious. Awwww, sweet. Arthur: “I always thought that I was a big disappointment to you.” Tear. They kid around a little, and it’s very sweet.
  • Gaius and Merlin have a very silent dinner, until Gaius finally scolds him.. What else is new? Merlin denies having a role in attaining the magic sword. Gaius knows better.
  • Merlin wakes up hearing the dragon’s call. He goes down to the dungeons, the dragon freaks out when he hears that Uther wielded the sword. I never knew that a dragon could “freak out,” until now.  Dragon: “Blah blah blah […] You betrayed me.”  Merlin agrees to take the sword back to be destroyed, but the dragon says that “what was made can not be unmade.” The dragon says that Merlin must put it somewhere where no one can find it. He throws it into the lake!  Awesome!  I bet we’ll be seeing that again soon.
  • We have to wait 2 weeks for a new episodes, and then we get 2 in one night. Mark your calendars.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Francesca permalink
    August 3, 2009 5:41 pm

    i love merlin, i watched all the episodes so far online but not this one yet.. i’ll have to resist reading your recap till it comes up on the web for me to watch.

  2. heroine_tv permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:29 pm

    Hee. Glad you’re loving it. You can read the old ones–I’ve recapped most. I missed “Lancelot,” but what more is there to say about that ep except: “gorgeous!”

  3. Pae Pae permalink
    August 9, 2009 6:26 pm

    Hehe so true!

    • heroine_tv permalink
      August 11, 2009 10:12 pm

      Glad you agree 🙂 Now, why haven’t we seen the gorgeous Lancelot since then? Hmm, hope he appears soon.

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