Merlin Club: The Diamond of the Day (parts 1 and 2) or The Ones That Make Me Sob Uncontrollably Every Time I See Them

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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.

Crystal Cave

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.

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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.

dead mordred

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.

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Percival gif

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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.

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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.

OMG MY HEART

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.

OMG

 

 

Realization

CRIES

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.

Throwing Excalibur

Excalibur

BOAT

Merlin Finale the Diamond of the day part 2 - 3

boat going to avalon

 

OUCH

The questions!

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.


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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.

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

Oh, and here. Because I’m a giver, and you can all suffer along with me.

 

Merlin Club: The Drawing of the Dark or The One Where it’s Too Little, Too Late

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In this episode, Arthur and the knights stumble upon a bunch of dead people that were headed to Camelot. They’d been on their way to Camelot with a load of weapons and murdered. Mordred takes off after one of the people who’d killed the people and discovers it’s his childhood friend, Kara. She’s injured and he lets her go. Merlin catches him doing it, and Mordred convinces him to keep quiet. Mordred sneaks out later with medicine for Kara that he stole from Gaius’ chambers.

Later Arthur and Merlin go out looking for clues, I guess, and Arthur find Kara. Kara who’s a follower of Morgana, tries to kill Arthur and gets thrown in the dungeon for her trouble. There’s a bunch of instalove. Mordred pleads for her release, Arthur gives her a chance, she won’t repent, Mordred breaks her out of the dungeon, they get caught, Kara is hanged in the morning and upon her death Mordred rage-magics out of the dungeon and joins Morgana’s team – too little, too late in terms of a decently motivated reason to betray Arthur. He also tells Morgana the thing she’s wants to know more than anything. Emrys’ identity.

The questions!

1.)  If I’d written this episode…I would have had the story arc of Mordred falling in love with Kara last a fuck of a lot longer than one episode. It was rushed and stupid and the waste of what could have been spectacular tension and betrayal. Instead, I don’t buy it, and it pissed me off.

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I hated the instalove and ridiculous of the whole thing. I also loved Merlin’s dawning realization that the train has left the track and there’s really no stopping it. I mean, it was awful, but I really felt for him.

3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. Jen pointed this out, but Kara is pretty badass. She’s standing up for what she believes to be right, going so far as killing to do it, even if it means her inevitable death.

4.) Favorite costume. I’m giving this week’s to Kara’s plum and olive combo (two of my favorite colors) because I like the simple cut of the costume. And also the color combo.

Kara3 Kara and Mordred

5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Nothing, this week.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Arthur pushing Merlin to his knees.

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? The utter inconsistency in Camelot’s death sentences.

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

Merlin Club: The Kindness of Strangers or The One Where We Meet Merlin’s Biggest Fan, and It’s Not Jess

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Okay, soooooo quick run down. Morgana captures the Catha aka Alator because he knows Emrys’ true identity and she’s gonna torture it out of him. Finna, a worshiper of the Old Region and also Merlin’s Biggest Fan, (I feel like she’d give Jarman a run for her money) finds Merlin and tells him Arthur is in danger and to meet her later that night and she’ll tell him all about it. (To be fair, I feel like this is a ploy Jarman would use, too.)

Merlin tells Gaius about Finna. Gaius thinks it’s a trap and warns Arthur that there’s a old magic lady (aka The Plot Lady thanks to Tamsin Frost) wandering around Camelot and perhaps Arthur should have her arrested. Finna sends a crow with a message to Altor where he’s being held and tortured by Morgana to assure him that she’s gonna warn Emrys.

Morgana’s flunkies find the message which Finna stupidly signed, she magically snaps Alator’s neck, and she and her minions set off to find Finna and torture Emrys’ identity from her. Meanwhile, Arthur has set the knights out to find Finna, and Merlin himself has gone to find her, too.

Merlin is wounded, Finna leads him to a conveniently placed tower in the dark woods and tells him to hide on the roof while she holds Morgana at bay. Before Morgana can capture her, Finna commits suicide to protect Merlin rather than risk revealing his identity, and Merlin calls for the Dragon to com rescue him and the dragon is uncharacteristically non-dickish.

The questions!

1.)  If I’d written this episode…Okay…what the hell!? Morgana can magically break someone’s neck? Please explain to me why she hasn’t utilized this damn skill, yet. WHY? Seriously, you want to rule Camelot so bad? Break your brother’s (and anyone else who gets in your way) neck, and be done with it. So, yes. Had I written this episode, I would have explained the fuck out of that, or I wouldn’t have had her do it in the first place. Because consistency is important.

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I appreciate Plot Lady/Finna’s devotion to Merlin. The inconsistencies make me nuts as always. I liked that Morgana can magically break necks, I just think it needed to be better explained.

3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. Plot lady’s terrifying eyebrows.

Plot Lady's Eyebrows

4.) Favorite costume. Plot Lady’s costume looks like something my mom would wear. I rather like that.

Plot Lady's costume

5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Nothing, this week.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? The discussion of “rutting season”.

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? Morgana’s sudden magical neck breaking skills.

 

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

Please note: Jess’ blog has been experiencing a lot of technical difficulty this week. You may need to check back periodically for her post.

 

 

Merlin Club: With All My Heart or The One Where Gaius Again Shows His Willingness to Roofie Just About Anyone

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The episode opens with Arthur learning that Gwen is betraying him with Morgana. Merlin and Gaius convince him that she’s under Morgana’s spell and Merlin does his aging spell and goes to the creepy old lady in the cave – the one with her eyes sewn shut – to find out how to break the spell. Gwen senses that something is wrong with Arthur and there’s some awkwardness.

When he returns to Camelot, Gaius prepares a roofie potion for Gwen, and they drug her and hide her in a wheelbarrow, covered with laundry. Mordred and Gwaine get super nosy and Morderd spots Gwen’s arm flop out from under the sheet.

Merlin and Gaius get her outside the castle walls and meet Arthur where he’s waiting with two horses. They ride toward the Cauldron of Arianrhod, but eventually, they’re forced to walk. Merlin falls down a cliff and Arthur has to go down to save him but gets trapped. Happily, Mordred was nosy and followed them and is able to help.

Unfortunately, Morgana, using Ailthusa, attacks and Merlin has to control Ailthusa with his Dragonlord voice and Mordred confronts Morgana. It doesn’t go well, but Morgana is knocked out.

Merlin uses an aging spell and disguises himself as an old sorceress and helps breaks the spell over Gwen.

The questions!

1.)  If I’d written this episode…That exchange with Gwaine and Mordred being so oddly nosy about what was in the wheelbarrow was strange. And awkward. I would have found a different way to clue Mordred in that Gwen was under the sheets.

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I love when Merlin as the old crone refers to himself as “that gangly boy”. Also seriously love the voice Colin Morgan uses when talking to the woman whose eyes are sewn shut. Dear god, I love that voice…  I also adore scrunchy Arthur face.

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3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. @practicalstyl the ridiculously large amount of eggs competing with the fruit on the king’s breakfast table.

4.) Favorite costume. I rather fancy Morgana’s blue and black dress.

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5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Nothing, this week.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I’m going with Arthur rushing to rescue Merlin after he fell of that cliff and got knocked out.

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? Colin Morgan’s sexytimes voice.

 

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

 

 

 

Merlin Club: The Hollow Queen or The One Where We Learn More of Jess’ Strangely Specific Fetishes

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Gwen uses a young boy to lure Merlin away from Camelot while she sets up a Medieval style hit on Arthur. The boy leads Merlin deep into a forest and Morgana attacks Merlin and poisons him with a slow acting, torturous poison and then kicks him down into a ravine.

Meanwhile, Gwen is arranging Arthur’s murder with a visiting king whose name kinda sounds like Sauron, and he was also the one who held Morgana and Aithusa in a pit for two years. He’s planning to screw over Gwen and take Camelot for himself. Arthur is worried about Merlin because he’s been missing for so long and Gaius suggests sending out a search party, but Gwen quashes that with a lie about Merlin sneaking off to see a girl.

The boy who led Merlin to his doom feels way guilty and does his best to save him, mixing up a cure that Merlin rattles off to him. After Merlin is sufficiently recovered, he and the boy head back to Camelot to save the day, but they meet some brigands on the road and Merlin is all “I don’t have time for this shit” and magically throws them around.

He and the boy get back in time to prevent an assassin from shooting  Arthur with a crossbow, but the boy takes a knife to the chest and Merlin magically throws a spear at the assassin and kills him as the assassin’s shot goes wide and kills the king who’s name isn’t quite Sauron. Gwen has a terrible time hiding her disappointment that both her husband and Merlin are still alive.

Oh, and Jess’ Strangely Specific Fetishes featured in this episode: Merlin’s hands, forearms, purposeful stride, his “do-not-fuck-with-me expression”, Arthur’s use of the royal we.

The questions!

1.)  If I’d written this episode…I’m not sure that I’d really change much. But I have a screaming headache right now, soooooo this may not be the best time to to answer this question.

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved how jealous Arthur was of the thought that Merlin was with a girl. Didn’t like how idiotic Arthur was being unable to dress himself.

3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. @practicalstyl pointed this out, but why doesn’t  Arthur ever go to the tavern (or send someone to the tavern) to fetch Merlin?

4.) Favorite costume. I think Arthur and Gwen look particularly lovely in this scene.

Dress

5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I didn’t create it, but all Merthur all the time.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? It has be Arthur being all jealous over the possibility of Merlin having a girlfriend. Also how pissy Merlin seems to be when Arthur is kissing Gwen.

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? The British king in Persian style armor.

 

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

Merlin Club: A Lesson in Vengeance or The One Where Gwen Gets Stabby (Literally)

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Okay, so my life is spinning wildly and horribly out of control because of writing deadlines, editing deadlines, and life deadlines. You may be noticing a theme here. As a result of the seventh circle of hell that is now my life Merlin Club is gonna be super short this week.

Basically, Gwen is still under Morgana’s thrall due to an intense case of Magical Stockholm Syndrome™ and tries twice to murder Arthur and manages to frame Sam from Game of Thrones for the first attempt (then she straight up stabs him to keep him quiet) and frame Merlin for the second attempt. Merlin is thrown in jail, busts out of jail, saves Arthurs’s life, sneaks back into jail and is finally cleared. The End.

 

Okay, the questions…

1.)  If I’d written this episode… I would have make the evidence against Sam from Game of Thrones more damning than a spool of red thread. What? He’s the only person with red thread in all of Camelot!? I don’t think so, lazy writers.

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved Emrys bitching out everyone. That was delightful.

3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. How freaking obsequious Leon was toward Gwen when it looked like Arthur was going to die.

4.) Favorite costume. Gwen’s black cloak with the Kinsale style hood.

Gwen's Black cloak

 

5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I didn’t create it, but I still really think that Morgana and Evil Gwen are getting it on.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I don’t think she had naughty thoughts, but she was definitely moved but Merlin being terrified that he wasn’t going to be able to save Arthur.  (Actually, I  think pertinent body parts were moved when he said that spell in the almost Dragon Lord-y voice.) Oh, and I know she had naughty thoughts about Merlin waking up with his ass in the air.

Sadface MerlinMerlin Ass in Air

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? In good way, she loved when Merlin, in his Emrys costume lets everyone in Camelot know what he really thinks of them.

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Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s

Merlin Club: The Dark Tower or The One Where Magical Stockholm Syndrome™ is a Thing and Morgana Has a Plan that Actually Works

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Okay, so long story short, Morgana kidnaps Gwen from the middle of a bunch of knights while she and her brother, Elyan, were on their way home from a pilgrimage to their father’s grave. Leon and Percival get bitten by poison magical snakes and the knights return to Camelot sans their queen. Arthur is flipping out so they all go search for Gwen. Percival and Leon have recovered but now they’re having Twinsies Magical Poison Snake Dreams™ that give them a clue where Gwen is being held.

Grave Visit

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Meanwhile, Gwen is suffering some intense Magical Stockholm Syndrome™ thanks to sleep deprivation, Morgana’s magic and everyone’s favorite drippy slimy mandrake root. Well, plural – there are hundreds of them in the room Gwen is locked in.

Gwen mandrake time mandrake times

Arthur, Merlin and the knights battle their way through a fairytale style forest and get lost, but Merlin gets them out thanks to some help from a bitchy fairy named Mab, who she warns him that someone from their group won’t make it back.

Mab-

Desert in England

They eventually make their way out of the forest, then through the desert that somehow exists in England and to the Dark Tower. It’s all booby trapped Indiana Jones style, but Elyan, makes it through before anyone else and finds Gwen being held hostage by a magical sword that fights him without anyone holding it. He dies, Gwen grieves, Arthur and everyone else find her, they all go home to Camelot and late that night, Gwen sneaks out to meet Morgana in the woods outside the castle. Because thanks to Magical Stockholm Syndrome™, she’s evil, too.

Okay, the questions…

1.)  If I’d written this episode… I’d lose Mab in a heartbeat. I would have made the Dark Tower look less like it belonged in Middle Earth. Also, WTAF with the desert in England!?

2.) The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved that Morgana actually had a decent plan that worked this time. Also, it was pretty evil. Good job, Morgana! I really disliked the inclusion of the fairy, Mab. Okay, I know what you’re thinking – “But Bron! What the fuck, man!? You love fairies.” It’s true, I do. But this feels like trying to quick cram in some more traditional Celtic mythos before the show ends. See also: Tristan and Isolde from last season.

3.) Something you never noticed about this episode before. I’m not really sure there was anything in this one.

4.) Favorite costume. Gwen’s nightgown – this isn’t a shot from this episode, but she wears it.

Gwen's nightgown

5.) Here is some proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I didn’t create it, but I really think that Morgana and Evil Gwen are getting it on.

6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Arthur trusting Merlin when Merlin said he could get them out of the forest.

7.) What made Jen lose her shit  – in a good or bad way? In good way, I’m going with Morgana having an evil plan that actually worked and wasn’t easily thwarted before the end of the episode.

Here’s Jess‘ take on the episode,  and here’s Jen’s