Merlin Club: The Labyrinth of Gedref or The One Where I Keep Reading Geldof and Now, “I Don’t Like Mondays” is Stuck in My Head (if you’re hearing the opening piano riff in your head…you’re welcome!)

The episode opens with Arthur, Merlin and a hunting party wending their way through a mist-shrouded forest. Why Arthur’s wearing metal bracers is beyond me. Are you planning to do a little hand to hand combat with the woodland creatures, Arthur, or what? Weirdly, the other knights are in chain mail. Who wears armor to hunt?
Arthur has Merlin go deeper into the thicket to flush out whatever animal is hiding in there. Suddenly, Merlin gets this totally dreamy look on her face (and Jess’ panties fell off) and the camera pans over to show the viewer a beautiful unicorn. 
And Arthur shoots it.
Yep. Straight up kills a unicorn and is totally gleeful about it. Merlin is horrified and knows there are going to be consequences. This is confirmed when he sees a sorcerer in the woods that no one else does. You can totes tell he’s a sorcerer because of the elaborate robes and wizardy looking staff.
After the credits roll, we see Arthur proudly showing off the unicorn horn to Uther and the other courtiers and Uther is so very proud. This seems like super not subtle subtext for: “Look father, my dick is huge!” Followed by, “Yes, son. Your dick ishuge. You clearly get that from me.”
Uther shows Gaius his son’s large penis unicorn horn, and Gaius makes a face. Uther gets all eye-rolly and says, “What is it, Gaius?” Gaius is all that’s bad luck, man. And Uther pooh-poohs him and says they’ll be the envy of every kingdom, because clearly big dicks unicorn horns aren’t magical or anything. Really, Uther!? Where do you live, again? And Arthur is happy to have approval from his bitter, distant father. 
Merlin is still pretty distraught over the death of the unicorn and Arthur mocks him for it, then bitches him out because there’s rat shit in his chamber. Meanwhile, Uther summons Arthur. It seems all the crops have died everywhere in Camelot and now food must be rationed. Considering the way they waste food on a daily basis, this is going to be a problem. 
Gaius does some sciencey things to try to figure out what killed the crops. Merlin suggests it must be magic, but Gaius is still clinging to his experiments. The people of Camelot are lined up outside the castle for food rations. People are panicking and there’s been some looting, so of course, Uther’s answer to looters is execution and Camelot will be under curfew from here on in. 
Merlin runs into Gwen in town. She begins pumping water and all that comes out is sand. The well and the underground reservoir are completely dry and full of sand and it’s the same throughout the kingdom. Merlin tries to use his magic to turn the sand back into water and has no luck.
Arthur sends the guards to the lower town to enforce the curfew as Merlin is wandering across the courtyard. Arthur scolds him until they see the sorcerer, Anhora, in the courtyard. He plays magical hide and seek with them before ending up in the crypt. Like you do…

Anhora tells them that he’s the Keeper of the Unicorns. Lemme tell you, this dude has some serious eyebrows. They are so amazingly hairy that you could probably bead them. Anyway, he tries to tell them that Arthur is responsible for the misfortunes that have befallen Camelot and that he’s going to be tested. He needs to prove himself and make amends for killing the unicorn. Until he does that, Camelot will damned for all eternity.
Merlin tells Gaius about Anhora and the curse and thatArthur doesn’t believe that he’s responsible, because, hellllllllloooooooooo denial! Cut to Arthur – he discovers that the rat has eaten though his boot and he’s furious. Merlin tries to convince Arthur that he’s responsible for this. Arthur is still having none of it.
That night, Arthur and Merlin are keeping watch in the grainary when they catch a thief who was there to steal food for his children. Arthur ends up having mercy on the man and gives him the grain. Miraculously the water is restored to Camelot. Arthur is puzzled by it. Merlin explains it’s because the curse has begun to lift. Arthur tells Merlin to find him some food and as soon as Arthur’s gone Merlin spots the rat and magics it to death.
Meanwhile, outside Camelot, people continue to line up for rations. Arthur’s feeling guilty and decides to seek out Anhora while Merlin is feeding him a lovely rat stew. Arthur figured it out and makes Merlin have some, too. Morgana comes to the door looking for food and the little bastards feed the rat stew to her.

The next morning, Arthur and Merlin leave to seek out Anhora. He and Merlin go back to the forest and get separated. Arthur finds the man who stole the grain. He’s got a ton of food there and no kids. He insults Arthur and they have a sword fight because Arthur’s pride was wounded. Anhora is all kinds of pissed and says that Arthur fails the test. When they get back to Camelot, they discover that all of the food that they had in storage has rotted. 
Uther tells Arthur that they must stop distributing food to the people. Arthur won’t have it and refuses to give the order and tells Uther to go fuck himself. (Not in so many words as this is a family show.) Arthur is feeling super remorseful and Merlin goes to the forest and begs Anhora to give Arthur one more chance, so he’s all, tell Arthur to go to the Labyrinth of Gedref to face a final test. If he fails, Camelot will be destroyed. 
Merlin tells Arthur about the test and insists that he go with Arthur. Arthur, of course, won’t allow it. And in typical Merlin fashion, he follows Arthur anyway. Okay…here’s what I don’t get. It’s not like this Labyrinth is a secrety place. Arthur rides straight to it like he knew right where it was. So what…there’s just this big old Labyrinth within riding distance of Camelot? Is that where kids go to party? Does everyone know about it?
So anyway, Merlin follows Arthur inside and Anhora traps him and when Arthur finally makes his way through the Labyrinth, he finds Merlin and Anhora on one of the most gorgeous rocky beaches I’ve ever seen and I want to go to there. Arthur tells Anhora to let Merlin go but he can’t because Merlin is part of the test.
Arthur and Merlin are seated at a table at the sea shore with two goblets – it’s all very Princess Bride. One has poison, the other has harmless liquid. The rules are all the liquid must be finished and one person can only drink out of one cup. Arthur and Merlin argue over who should drink what and Arthur distracts Merlin, dumps everything into one cup and slams it. He slumps over and Merlin thinks he’s dead. He freaks and begs Anhora to let Merlin take his place. Then Anhora is all, he’s not dead, just drugged and explains that because unicorns are pure of heart, if one is killed, the killer must prove that s/he is pure of heart to make amends. Because Arthur was willing to die for Merlin that proved he was pure of heart.
They go back to Camelot to find that the crops have been restored, it’s harvest time and everyone is walking around with giant zucchinis.  It’s all big smiles and big zucchinis. Arthur decides that they needs to take the unicorn horn to the woods and give it a proper burial – Arthur even apologizes to the dead unicorn. Once they do that, the unicorn comes back to life. Warm, fuzzy feel-good ending. 
Now, for the questions!
 1.    If I’d written this episode…I would have had Gaius not dismiss Merlin’s suggestion that the crop failure was due to magic. Come on, people! It’s obviously magic because UNICORN!!!
 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved Arthur standing up to his father and refusing to give the order to starve the people. I also love that he was willing to die for Merlin and his people to lift the curse.
I hated the fact that Uther was so willing to starve his people instead of asking for help. 
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  How plasticy the plants looked on the forest floor. 
4.    Favorite Costume. This week, I’ve gotta give to the horse. That spiral horn really brought out the unicorn.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I didn’t create it, but there’s some definite Merthur moments. I would call the scene where Arthur tries to force Merlin to eat the rat stew rife with sexual tension. 
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? See above. I also think Jess was sighing about both of them being willing to die for the other. 
7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? I think it would have to be when Uther and Arthur’s extravagant/wasteful eating style catches up with them. 

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

Please join us Monday nights on Twitter at 8PM EST for #MerlinClub!

Merlin Club: Excalibur or The One Where Uther Momentarily Grows the Ability to Parent

This episode opens with our favorite villain, Nimueh, in the burial vaults beneath Camelot casting a spell over one of the sarcophaguses – the only words that aren’t in Old English are Uther Pendragon. So you know *that’s* not gonna end well. And as if to underscore that fact, up pops an armored hand through the stone lid.

After the credits roll, we see Uther crowning Arthur Prince of Camelot. I thought that he already wasthe prince, but an awesome Tweep let me know that it’s really not official until the ceremony. And they still do this little song and dance today. I was not aware. Have I mentioned that I love Twitter?
So anyway, Uther give Arthur a super snazzy bedazzled crown and before the applause fades, a knight on horseback in scarred black armor bursts through the stained glass window at the back of the hall because this is a BBC show, shocking everyone. Arthur and the rest of the knights draw their swords while Uther and Gaius look like they’ve seen a ghost.

The black knight throws down his gauntlet, and Arthur moves to pick it up, but before he can, Sir Owain scoops it up off the floor. The knight announces that it’ll be single combat, noon tomorrow and to the death, then calmly rides from the great hall with everyone staring after him in open-mouthed shock. 
Later that evening, Merlin quizzes Gaius about the black night and asks if Gaius recognized him. In this scene, we discover that Gaius is a terrible liar. Just dreadful, really. Clearly, Gaius has a very good idea of what’s up, and it don’t think Merlin was buying it either. 
Meanwhile, Morgana is trying to get Arthur to put a stop to tomorrow’s challenge demanding that Arthur either stop it or fight in Owain’s place. Arthur explains that that won’t happen because of the knight’s code. Morgana is freaked because it’s a fight to the death and Arthur isn’t thrilled about it either. 
Liar-Liar-Pants Gaius rushes into the library to meet with Geoffery the castle historian and they urgently discuss the black knight. Geoffery confirms that it’s Tristan Dubois, exactly who Gaius feared it was. Gaius goes to Uther’s council room where Uther is sitting at the table with his sword out looking completely wigged out. They discuss how the knight bore the crest of Tristan Dubois and Uther says that’s impossible because he killed the man himself. 
Cut to the next morning and Merlin is helping Owain dress for battle while Arthur is pacing around giving him pointers and Owain for his part is being a little cocky. He gets cockier when Gwen comes in with a token from Morgana for him to wear. Also Owain’s eyebrows are so faint that it looks like he doesn’t have any which is very disconcerting for the viewer. At least, it was for me.

They enter the arena where the black knight is already waiting and a violent fight ensues. Owain is holding his own even though the black knight is the superior warrior, but Owain gets a belly thrust in and it looks like he’s going to win. Except that it doesn’t. The black knight doesn’t even have to walk it off and shaken, Owain loses the upper hand and the knight knocks him to the ground and kills him. He immediately takes off his gauntlet and tosses it down on the ground again asks for another challenger.
Arthur leaps up, but Uther grabs his arm and stops him and in that brief pause, Sir Pelinore jumps into the ring and accepts the challenge. Arthur is pissed. Merlin makes the comment that the knight should be dead and Gaius says, “Perhaps he already is.” (Pssst, Merlin. Gaius is totally keeping info from you.)

Arthur follows his father into the castle where they argue about Uther stopping him from accepting the challenge and Uther gives him this total line of BS about letting the knights prove themselves. He knows that there’s no way to kill this dude, but he’s apparently willing to sacrifice another knight to him. In fact, he says it’s Pelinore’s fault that he’s going to die because he volunteered – not his. Hellllloooooooo, douchecanoe.
Merlin and Gaius go down to the burial chambers and discover that someone has broken out of Tristan Dubois’ crypt. Then Gaius does some handy dandy expository dialogue explaining to Merlin that Tristan was Ygraine’s brother (Arthur’s mom/Uther’s wife) and when Ygraine died in childbirth, Tristan blamed Uther and rode to the gates of Camelot to challenge him. Uther won, and cursed Camelot to suffer his return. Gaius suspects that they’re dealing with a wraith – even points out a picture of one in one of his super useful research books.  Gaius says that no mortal weapon can kill it and it won’t stop until it gets what it came for – revenge. 
The next morning, Pelinore is fighting the black knight and doing well. He even gets in what should have been a death blow. But it does nothing, and the black knight kills him. The knight is about to issue his challenge again when another gauntlet hits the field and Arthur challenges the knight to fight. Uther looks horrified, and the knight accepts with the favored phrase of bad guys everywhere, “So be it.”
Uther reams Arthur a new one and demands that he revoke the challenge. Arthur refuses because of the knight’s code. Uther says this is different because Arthur is crown prince. Arthur points out that there can’t be one rule for him and another for the rest of the knights. Uther forbids him to fight. And Arthur says that Uther wants him to prove he’s worthy of the throne, but he can’t do that by being a coward.
Merlin is freaking the hell out about Arthur fighting and is trying to figure out a way to save Arthur. Meanwhile the black knight is standing out in the yard, staring up at the castle, just waiting. Gaius goes to Uther to tell him that Tristan’s tomb is empty and Gaius believes he’s been conjured from the dead. Gaius tells him he can’t let Arthur fight – no weapon forged by man will kill a wraith. Gaius tells Uther that he needs to tell Arthur the truth about who the knight is. Uther says, rather petulantly, “I am the king. You can not tell me what I can or cannot do.” Uther says that no one must ever know the circumstances of Arthur’s birth and reminds Gaius that he swore an oath. Gaius leaves. 
Meanwhile, Merlin tries to use some fire magic on the black knight, but it goes out and then the knight looks at Merlin and he runs. Merlin goes immediately to Arthur and begs him to pull out. Arthur refuses.

Next we see Uther drinking himself into a stupor when Nimueh appears and through some more expository dialogue we discover that the big secret surrounding Arthur’s birth is that Uther had Nimueh cast the spell that allowed Ygraine to conceive Arthur. And that magic requires a life for a life and that if Nimueh had seen the destruction of her people following Ygraine’s death, she never would have cast the spell in the first place. And Uther rather remorsefully says, I wish you hadn’t. Guilt and recriminations are a bitch.

Merlin lets himself into Geoffery’s library and Geoffery is not pleased to find him in there after hours. Merlin tells him that he’s looking for a book for Gaius that will help them find a weapon that will kill a wraith, and Geoffery tells him about an old fable involving a dragon forged sword. And Merlin gets a great idea and shows up on Gwen’s doorstep. He asks for her father’s strongest sword to save Arthur.
Morgana goes to Arthur’s room and asks him not to fight. He says it’s his duty and leaves looking all sad and dejected. 
Then Uther goes to Gaius’ chambers and actually utters the words, “I’m sorry.” Wait. I’ll repeat that in case you missed it. Uther apologizes. Of course, he wants something from Gaius, but he still says he’s sorry and seems to mean it. Uther can’t let Arthur die and says that he needs to take Arthur’s place. Ygraine died for Arthur and he will, too. Once he’s dead, the wraith will leave. But Uther demands that Gaius honor his promise not to ever reveal the secret of Arthur’s birth. Gaius reluctantly agrees. 
Gwen gives Merlin the sword and Merlin runs back to the castle and down into the pit to see the dragon. He asks him to burnish the sword in order to save Arthur. Dragon tells him that only Arthur can wield the sword. The dragon breaths fire on the sword and letters appear on the blade. The dragon reminds him to heed his words.

Gaius goes to Arthur’s chambers and gives him something to take the edge off his nerves. Apparently it took ALL the edges off, because it drugs him into unconsciousness. The next morning, the knight is out in the field bright and early waiting to wreak havoc while Merlin is hanging out in the armory admiring his super awesome wraith killing sword. Uther enters and admires the blade, too then tells Merlin to prepare him for battle.

Merlin says that Arthur was to fight, but Uther is all screw that – the knight’s grievance was with me, I’ll do it. So Merlin helps ready him for battle. And Uther decides that he’s going to use the dragon forged blade because it will likely make any difference. Merlin tries to talk him out of it, but typical Uther, he does what he wants. After all, he is king.
Uther acknowledges for once that Merlin is a good servant to Arthur, and tells him to look after Arthur. Uther strolls out on the field dressed for battle and looking exceptionally hot. Uther tells the wraith he can have what he came for – the father not the son. And the fight begins. Meanwhile, Arthur wakes up, drugged and headachey and quickly realizes he’s been screwed over. His door is locked from the outside and he can’t get out. He throws himself against the door repeatedly. 
Uther and the wraith are still going at it. Uther knocks off the wraith’s helmet revealing his decayed face to the crowd. They fight some more and Uther eventually runs him through with the sword and the knight explodes and disappears. Uther drops the sword and the crowd goes wild.

Cut to Gaius tending Uther’s wounds and notices the fancy new sword. Then Arthur busts in looking piiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssed and gets into with his father for having him drugged. Uther says that he couldn’t risk Arthur’s life because he means more to him than the entire kingdom and more than his own life. Arthur is confused and says that he always thought he was a disappointment to Uther. Uther says that was his fault – not anything Arthur did. And we have Uther taking the blame twice in this episode. Then the heartfelt moment dissipates with the realization that they’re having a heartfelt moment.
Over supper, Gaius stares at Merlin and quizzes him about the sword. Later than night, Merlin is awakened by the dragon who wants know how everything went down. Merlin confesses that Uther used the sword and there is a dragon tantrum of epic proportion. He tells Merlin that he’s betrayed him. He has to take the sword and place it where no mortal man can ever find it. Merlin goes to the armory the next morning, sneaks the sword out and brings it to a beautiful lake and casts it in and it gracefully sinks to the bottom.

Now, for the questions!
 1.    If I’d written this episode, I would have have had more of an exchange between Morgana and Arthur when she goes to him and asks him not to fight. Something really seemed to be missing from that scene.

 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I think the part I loved most is when Uther admits he was wrong to Nimueh and tells Arthur how much he means to him. Granted, it won’t necessarily translate into future episodes, but I appreciated it here. I also really enjoyed the exchange between Uther and Nimueh. Oh! And Duh! I really loved this treatment of the creation of Excalibur! Nicely done, writers!
I hated the fact that Uther wasn’t concerned enough about Pelinore to do shit about it.
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  When Uther was sitting alone after Owain was killed, I didn’t realize he had his sword laying on the table just waiting for someone to attack.

4.    Favorite Costume. This week, I’ve gotta give it to the wraith of Tristan Dubois. That is not the armor of of a man…or an undead man…who’s fucking around.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. I’ve really got nothing in this episode. 
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Again, very little Merthurness in this episode. But, I’m gonna have to say when Merlin was giving Arthur the puppy dog eyes and begging him not to fight. I’m sure Jess was thinking of ways that Merlin could have convinced him…you know before Arthur pulled the sword on him.

7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? In a good way, it would have to be the almost wistful smile Uther gives Gaius when they’re talking in Gaius’ chambers. And I’m guessing her ovaries probably exploded when Uther strode on to the field of battle.

You can read Jess’ recap here and Jen’s recap here! And you can join us for Merlin Club on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST – #MerlinClub

Merlin Club: The Begining of the End or The One Where Bron Has Flashbacks to Doing Daycare for The Young Prince

 It’s that time…time for another installment Merlin Club! This week, we’re on episode 8.
This episode opens with an attractive (in that scruffy kinda way) druid and his young apprentice wandering through the open air market at Camelot. They’re accompanied by what sounds to be Tibetan throat singing. When they stop at a stall to pick up their supplies, the shopkeeper apologizes (after taking the dude’s money, of course) and looks toward the Camelot guards that are coming to arrest them. The shopkeeper sold them out. 
The druid and the boy duck under the table and run through Camelot trying to escape the guards. One of the guards jumps out and slices open the boy’s arm. Eventually, the druid realizes there’s no escape. He tells the boy to run toward the castle and hide. He does, and the druid uses his super “evil” magic to close the bailey doors allowing the boy time to hide. 
After the credits, we see Merlin wandering the castle halls and he hears a cry for help in his head – not unlike how he hears the dragon. He goes in search of the voice, finds the child then herds him into the castle with the guards running after him. In a fit of desperation, he busts into Morgana’s room where she’s chatting with Gwen. Morgana agrees to hide the child – at least for the moment and lies to the guards sending them on their way. 
Arthur confronts Uther and points out that the druid was only in Camelot to collect supplies and that he meant no harm. Uther is having none of it. None of it, I tell you! He goes on yet another tear about how if someone has magic, their ultimate end game is the destruction of Camelot. Uther is bent over the table signing official looking documents while wearing his leather gloves – the druid’s death warrant, I’m guessing, while Arthur continues to try to reason with him. As Uther wanders away to deliver his edict, he demands that Arthur find the boy. Arthur looks super conflicted about this. I’m especially fond of this episode, because Arthur shows some real growth as a person in conjunction with his conflicting feelings about Uther’s laws. 
The boy is still hiding in Morgana’s chambers while Merlin and Morgana stare out the window, listening to Uther announce the druid’s sentence. Arthur follows somewhat reluctantly. Morgana decides she can’t watch the execution and moves to comfort the boy. When the axe falls, the boy screams psychically in Merlin’s head and manages to shatter Morgana’s mirror. 
At this point, the child is looking downright evil and a little possessed and very much like one of my former daycare children I used to refer to as “The Young Prince” – never within his hearing, of course. Never have you seen a more sullen, spoiled, obnoxious child… This kid would break stuff and hide it, lie about everything and smash things in fits of temper. He even took a baseball bat to his mom’s computer screen because he lost a video game. But I digress…a lot. 
As Merlin moves his food around on his plate that evening, he asks Gaius what he knows about the druids. Gaius, as usual, warns Merlin against getting involved. Merlin, also as usual, lies his pants off (Jess wishes) and says he’s not, but he does cop to hearing the kid telepathically. Gaius is super intrigued. And doesn’t believe Merlin at all, by the way. 
The guards are still searching the town while Merlin checks in on the boy and Morgana. Merlin and Morgana have a conversation about Uther and magic – I really like this exchange, but more on that, later. They decide, well, Morgana decides really, that they need to get the boy back to his people. 
Later, we see Morgana having a creepily intimate dinner with Uther with far more food than two people could conceivably eat in a week. He’s wearing his leather gloves. While eating. Uther asks her what’s wrong, seemingly overly solicitous. Before this uncomfortable moment can get any more uncomfortable, Arthur enters and Uther quizzes him about the hunt for the druid boy and then disparages his son’s hunting skills. Arthur once again sticks up for the druids. Morgana, clearly trying to throw Uther off the scent, sticks up for Uther and things get a little tense between Arthur and Morgana.
When Merlin goes to Morgana’s room the next day to check on the boy, he finds out that the child has a fever. He decides to treat the boy himself rather than involve Gaius as Morgana urges him to do. Meanwhile, Arthur shows up to search her chambers and she harangues him about messing up her stuff and arguing with him about whether or not he should even be there. Meanwhile, Merlin is hiding with the boy behind the screen and he spots the boys’ boots out in the open. Using magic, he has the boots tiptoe over to where he’s hiding while Morgana continues to mock and goad Arthur until he gives up and leaves. He’s very susceptible to Morgana’s manipulative teasing. 
Merlin goes to Gaius’ chambers and searches Gaius’ books for potential treatments for the child. Just as he’s collected all the medicines he needs, Gaius enters, sees him studying and is overjoyed and decides a lesson on anatomy is exactly what Merlin needs that very minute. 
When Merlin finally gets away to treat the boy, it’s very late. The boy speaks to Merlin in his head and calls him Emrys, telling him that’s Merlin’s name among his people and then passes out again. Merlin goes down for a dragon visit and the dragon confirms that Emrys is his name. He also says that Merlin should not protect the boy, but basically flies off without telling Merlin jack. 
The next morning, Gwen is begging Morgana to get some sleep and the kid’s fever is getting worse. He speaks telepathically to Morgana saying her name. Merlin comes in and she demands that he ask Gaius for his help. He goes back to Gaius and tells him that Morgana is hiding the druid boy in her chamber. Gaius lecture about harboring someone with magic and Merlin lobs that one right back at Gaius, and begs Gaius to help because the boy is dying. 
Gaius goes to treat the boy.  Morgana, Gwen and Merlin are in the market together and Merlin offers to take the boy out of the city through a secret door in the armory. Morgana vetoes it because it’s too dangerous and decides to do it herself. They argue a bit, but Morgana eventually wins and Merlin’s job is to get the key from Arthur to open the secret door. 
After Merlin serves Arthur supper that evening, he uses magic to lift Arthur’s keys from his belt. They’re floating behind him jangling as Arthur tries to figure out what that sound is and Merlin acts like Arthur is crazy and drops the keys into Arthur’s soup as soon his back is turned. When are leaves he fishes them out. 
Meanwhile, Morgana, dressed in Gwen’s clothes prepares to leave Camelot with the boy. Merlin arrives with the key and tells Morgana that the door is behind the shield at the far end of the armory. So she and the boy creep through the castle to the armory, but they make it down there and open the door. Unfortunately a servant saw someone enter the armory with a boy and the warning bell is sounded. DRINK!
Morgana meets Merlin and Gwen at Gwen’s place to grab provisions. They argue again about who should take the boy and Morgana wins again. Eventually, the soldiers capture Morgana and the boy and Arthur unmasks her, so to speak. They’re brought back to Camelot and Uther. Is. Pissed.
A furious Uther bitches out Morgana and even gets aggressive with her. I’ll be honest, this scene is positively rife with sexual tension between the two of them. Or…that could just be me due to a certain fanfic I read… Morgana tells Uther to punish her and spare the boy (again – the vibe here is very not ward/guardian) while Arthur stands silently looking increasingly uncomfortable with the whole direction everything has taken. But anyway, the boy is thrown in the dungeon and Uther demands that Arthur make arrangements to execute the child the next morning at dawn. Morgana chases Uther grabbing his arm and whipping him around while she demands to know why Uther is so full of hate. Uther turns on her, grabs her by the throat (still wearing those leather gloves) and backs her up against his throne and tells her not to speak to him until she’s ready to apologize to him for what she’s done. 
Merlin is in Morgana’s room, they’re both crushed that their plan didn’t work. Morgana vows not to let the boy die and asks Merlin if she can count on his help. He agrees. Meanwhile, Arthur is trying to talk Uther out of executing the boy, suggesting alternative methods of punishment like imprisonment. But as usual, Uther isn’t budging. Arthur asks him again to spare the kid for Morgana’s sake. Uther flips out and is all, “She betrayed me.” And Arthur points out that Uther is sparing her life and Uther shoots back that he made a promise to her father, blah, blah, blah.
Uthur storms off and Arthur goes back to his room with that stunning leather coat that I covet billowing out behind him. I want that coat. Anyway, when he enters his room, he sees Morgana sitting in his chair, waiting for him.  They argue about whether or not it’s too late to save the boy, and Morgana does her taunty thing again asking Arthur if this is how he’ll rule when he’s king. She then asks him to save the boy for her. 
Meanwhile, Merlin is walking through the courtyard and sees the executioner sharpening his axe. He opens the door to Arthur’s room, sees Morgana and Arthur engaged in intense conversation. Arthur tells him to go muck out the stables to get rid of him, but Morgana says she trusts him, so Arthur includes him in the planning. 
Merlin says it’s too dangerous for Morgana to potentially get caught a second time. Arthur agrees with Merlin. Arthur tells her she needs to go apologize to his father and dine with him telling her she won’t be suspected of helping if she’s there with him. He also decides that Merlin will take her place helping Arthur.
Merlin goes down for another dragon visit and asks why the dragon told him not to protect the boy. The dragon explains (eventually and in the most roundabout way possible) that the boy will eventually kill Arthur.

Gwen helps Morgana get ready for her apology meal, and Gwen questions whether or not this is a good idea. Morgana all trembling lips and shuddering breaths looking tearful with and stunning in a fairly cleavagey dress goes to where Uther is eating a ginormous fucking meal all by himself while wearing those leather gloves. C’mon, Uther!!! Who eats in leather gloves!? Who eats in gloves, period!?!? It just doesn’t seem sanitary. But anyway, Morgana begs his forgiveness and Uther invites her to dine with him. While staring at her boobs. 
Meanwhile, Arthur knocks out the guards and breaks the boy out of the dungeon, but it’s quickly noticed that the kid isn’t in his cell. They reach the grate that they need Merlin’s help with, but he’s not there. The warning bells go off and Merlin is in his bedroom torturing himself over his decision. The boy speaks telepathically to Merlin and begs him for help. Merlin finally caves and goes to help them. He pulls the grate off the tunnel and Arthur and the boy escape into the forest on his horse. The boy creepilyprophetically promises that he’ll meet again.

A guard reports to Uther that the boy has escaped. Uther demands that the boy and his accomplices be killed. Then he threatens Morgana telling her that if he finds out she had anything to do with this, the consequences would be severe and that if she crosses him again, he’ll break the promise to her father without a second thought. 
Arthur and the boy ride through the misty forest to the sounds of more Tibetanesque throat singing to meet some druids who are waiting for them. The druids are indebted to Arthur and Arthur warns them that they must never tell anyone it was him. As they’re walking back into the forest, Arthur calls after the boy and asks his name. He finally speaks aloud. His name is Mordred.

Cue gasps from all the Arthurian nerds.
Okay…the questions!

1.    If I’d written this episode, I would have had Merlin follow Morgana and Mordred down to the armory and shut the secret door behind them and rehang the shield so their escape plan wouldn’t have been so damn obvious. 

 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. This is actually one of my favorite episodes. I love the exchange between Merlin and Morgana where discussing magic and Morgana has the line, “What if magic isn’t something you choose, but something that chooses you.” I just love that line and the nonverbal communication between the two of them. As for the thing I hated, I really hated that I ended up dreaming about that daycare kid after watching this episode!
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  Merlin didn’t have his magical glowy eyes going on when he cast the spell on the boots.

4.    Favorite Costume.This is not the best picture of it (or Katie McGrath,for that matter) but I love this dress. It’s far simpler than Morgana’s usual fare, but the lines are gorgeous, the color is stunning on her, and I love the necklace that goes with it. While a lot of her dresses reappear during the course of the show, I don’t think this one does – actually, I think it does, but at that point, the costumers have embellished it quite a bit.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. This isn’t really head canon stuff…but the underpinnings of this argument again seem more lovers than ward/guardian.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Merlin and Arthur contact in this episode was almost non-existent…again. (It will pick up, I promise!) But I’m going to have to say in Arthur’s chamber when Merlin was in the process of teasing him while stealing his keys. I like to think that in Jess’ head this scene ended much differently.

7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?  I’m going to say it’s was the fight between Morgana and Uther. That room was just full of sexual tension. Weird, creepy daddy/daughter/lovers tension.

You can read Jess’ recap here and Jen’s recap here! And you can join us for Merlin Club on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST – #MerlinClub

Merlin Club: The Gates of Avalon or The One Where Morgana Gets Screwed Over A Lot

It’s time for this week’s edition of Merlin Club! Yaaaaaay!

This episode opens with Arthur in full armor sinking beneath some spectacularly lit water with a beautiful young woman watching him drown, followed quickly by Morgana waking from a nightmare looking exceptionally gorgeous and not at all like anyone I’ve ever seen wake from a nightmare. But we can’t all be as freaking gorgeous as Katie McGrath. And also acting.

After the credits, Arthur and Merlin are hunting in the woods when they hear a woman scream and they find brigands attacking an older man and a young woman. Arthur leaps into the fray and beats fights off (confession time – I actually typed beats off before I corrected it) the bad guys (Merlin helps with a magical falling branch) and Arthur takes the travelers back to Camelot where Uther agrees to take them in. Now, Uther is suspicious of literally EVERYTHING being magic – but the two very wizardy looking staffs Aulfric and Sophia are carrying don’t set off any bells? I’m so disappointed in you, Uther.

Arthur and Merlin have a discussion about where to place Sophia (the choices being in the room next to Arthur’s and across the castle) and Arthur waffles back and forth about where to put her – where he wants her (in the room next to him) or where she’d be warmest, safest, etc. (across the castle). Merlin, knowing Arthur is crushing on Sophia, convinces him that the room next door is perfect. As Merlin his putting Sophia in the room next to Arthur’s, Morgana rounds the corner sees Sophia and flips shit (quietly and regally, of course) and immediately questions Merlin about Sophia’s identity. Morgana goes to Gaius to tell her about her dream and that she feels Arthur is in danger. Gaius totally blows her off and tells her that she’s imagining things and offers her a stronger sleeping draught for her nightmares. At first the viewer thinks that Gaius is just a doddering old fool – but then he tells Morgana not to bother Uther with this. What’s up with that, Gaius – this seems a little sketch.

That evening we see one of the brigands sitting by a fire and Aulfric approaches and he apologizes for Arthur killing his buddies then he uses his super wizardy looking staff to kill him. Morgana wakes from yet another nightmare of Arthur drowning. Meanwhile, Arthur is telling Merlin he needs him to cover for him because he’s ditching the patrol with his father and the guard in favor of taking Sophia on a riding tour of Camelot. Merlin’s not down with lying to the king, but Arthur talks him into it. The end result is that Merlin cops to something that’s not his fault and ends up in the stocks being pelted with fruit and veggies.

While Arthur and Sophia are our on their walk, Sophia begins to cast a spell, but they’re interrupted by Camelot’s guard who’s out searching for the brigand’s that had attacked Sophia and Aulfirc. Arthur cuts their date short and brings her back to the castle. When Merlin explains to Gaius that it’s love at first site for Arthur, Gaius get suspicious and sneaks into Aulfric’s room. He gets caught by Aulfric checking out the wizardy staff and Aulfric is not pleased and his eyes change color.

As Sophia heads back to her room, she runs into Morgana who confronts her about her plans for Arthur. Sophia gets a little sassy and taunts Morgana about her attraction to Arthur. Sophia returns to her room and has an exposition-heavy conversation with her father about how she doesn’t want to be mortal a moment longer and he reassures her saying that once she has Arthur’s heart, the Gates of Avalon will open for them again, and they’ll be able to go home. Morgana talks to Arthur about Sophia and Arthur is Assy McAsserton to her, insinuating that she’s jealous of his affection for Sophia. Morgana says that she’s trying to protect him, then she tells him about the dream and Arthur actually laughs at her and then blows her off.

The next morning, Arthur decides to ditch a knighting ceremony – because Sophia. Merlin covers for him and ends up in the stocks getting pelted by food. Again. Cut to Arthur and Sophia running through the forest giggling. Then she turns on him and enchants him. Merlin goes back to his room covered in drying food and Gaius scolds him for helping Arthur – not because Arthur is ditching his duties, but because Sophia might not be who she says she is. Gaius tells Merlin about Morgana’s dream and that she’s a seer. And that he’d seen Aulfric’s eyes change color.

Sophia continues her enchantment of Arthur and convinces him that he needs to seek permission for them to marry. Merlin catches Aulfric sneaking out of the castle and follows him to a lake where Merlin sees the Sidhe – small, homely blue fae type creatures that rise up out of the water to talk to Aulfric. As it turns out, Aulfric is a Sidhe but he killed another of his kind and is now being punished by living in the world as a mortal. His daughter is being punished as well. Merlin, as always, almost gets caught, but manages to evade both Aulfroc and the Sidhe. The only way they can return to Avalon is to give the Sidhe a human prince’s soul. And of course, that soul is Arthur’s.

The next morning, Arthur seeks  an audience with Uther and tells his father that he and Sophia are in love. There’s this bit of eyerolling when Uther looks at Morgana – almost as if Arthur’s behavior is a shared joke. You know – as if Arthur were the child and Morgana was Uther’s partner. It’s…unsettling.

When Arthur says they’re going to marry, Uther laughs and then there’s a big old standoff between him and Arthur and Uther threatens to have Sophia and her father executed if Arthur doesn’t get his shit together and show him some respect. Arthur backs down and so does Uther. Morgana follows Uther out into the hallways as he’s giving a cursory glance at some super official looking papers.Morgana tries to explain that Sophia is dangerous Uther blows her off (are we seeing a theme here?) and completely dismisses her and her concerns.

Merlin goes to Arthur’s chambers where he’s in his armor and packing his bags. Merlin tries to talk some sense into him and Arthur isn’t having it. He’s nasty and belittles Merlin. Merlin tells him he’s enchanted and  intended to be a sacrifice. Aulfric and Sophia walk in and Merlin confronts them. Aulfric attacks Merlin with his super nifty wizardy staff and knocks him unconscious.

That night, Morgana looks out the window and sees Arthur riding away with Aulfric and Sophia. She runs to Gaius for help. Gaius convinces her not to tell Uther and goes off to find Merlin to fix this. He finds Merlin in Arthur’s chambers. Merlin leaves Camelot and runs endlessly through the woods.

Sophia is upset because she finds out her father can’t return to Avalon with her. But she leads Arthur into the water to sacrifice him and return home. Merlin reaches them while Aulfric chants a spell. Sophia kisses Arthur, he falls unconscious and she pushes him into the water where he does a nifty slo-mo fall to the sounds of swelling orchestral music.

He finally reaches the lake as Arthur has disappeared under the water. He sinks more slowly than you’d expect for someone wearing chain mail.  Merlin magics Sophia’s discarded wizardy staff into his hands and blows up her father with its magic. He quickly does the same to Sophia. Then he races into the water to save Arthur. After a few harrowing dives, he finally finds Arthur and pulls him up to the surface.

The next scene opens with Merlin and Gaius sitting by Arthur’s bed as he finally regains consciousness and wakes with a horrible headache. They convince Arthur that Merlin knocked out Arthur with a lump of wood to keep him from eloping with Sophia. And all of this ends up with Merlin in the stocks again.

The episode closes with Morgana going to Gaius for another sleeping draught and after she leaves, Gaius basically tells Merlin that Morgana can never know that her dream was true and the fact that she’s a seer must be hidden from her at all cost. Way to make a girl feel like she’s going crazy, Gaius. I know he thinks this will protect her – but nope. Not even a little.

Okay…the questions!

1.    If I’d written this episode, I’d have changed the Arthur confronting Uther scene. Actually, I would have deleted it altogether. Seriously, why do this? She’s enchanted him to leave with her so she can sacrifice him. Why have the big “Dad, you just don’t understand” scene when it serves no purpose?

 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. It’s weird – I remembered liking this episode more the first time around than I did this time, and I can’t think of anything I loved. There are lots of things I hated though, but the biggest is how everyone – literally everyone but Gwen discounted everything Morgana had to say and either reduced it to tricks of her mind or petty jealousy. That was for shit, people of Camelot. Okay, I guess I love that Gwen didn’t do that to her.
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  The eyeroll look Uther shoots Morgana in the aforementioned unnecessary scene.

4.    Favorite Costume. Sophia’s fancy hair wins favorite costume this week. 

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Since my head canon involves Uther and Morgana – what the hell is going on in this episode? Morgana is sitting in the other throne at Uther’s side as if she’s his queen. Again, their conversations are as peers and not liege and ward.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? This was yet another not very Merthur-y episode – but the interplay with Merlin and Arthur discussing Sophia in the beginning – basically because Merlin is all wide eyed and flirty. It’s possible that I’m seeing subtext where’s there’s none, but I stand by it. 

7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?  Gaius knowing exactly what’s going one with Morgana but refuses to clue her in and lies to her and attempts to drug her abilities away and make her think she’s losing it.

You can read Jess’ recap here and Jen’s recap here! And you can join us for Merlin Club on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST – #MerlinClub

Merlin Club: A Remedy to Cure All Ills or The One Where People in Camelot Are Super Passive-Aggressive

It’s time for Merlin Club – that time of week is when Jess Jarman, Jenny Trout and I recap the latest episode of the BBC’s Merlin.

The episode opens with a mysterious person who’s clearly being naughty and using magic. There’s also a box full of bugs. A box full of magical bugs. This seems like a terrible idea.

But the mysterious figure is undaunted and enchants one of the little bastards then puts it in a lily in a floral arrangement that then gets delivered to Morgana.

That night, the mysterious dude (whose face is all scarred up a bad burn) stands in the courtyard of Camelot looking up at Morgana’s room. And that horrid little magical bug crawls out of the lily, across Morgana’s face and into her ear because this is the episode that’s gonna give me bad dreams for decades to come.

The next scene opens two days later with Uther sitting on Morgana’s bed chastising Gaius for not having figured out what’s wrong with Morgana. Gaius tells him he thinks it’s an inflammation of the brain. When he leaves Morgana’s room, he tells Merlin that Morgana is all but dead. Merlin offers to use magic, but Gaius shuts him right down. 
Cut to Arthur leaving the castle and asking the mysterious dude what his business is. Okay, so in broad daylight someone asks, but no one can be bothered while he’s skulking around at night? Camelot, you need to train your guards better or something. Mysterious dude introduces himself as Edwin and begs an audience with the king. Arthur tells him to shove off; they’ve already got a court physician. And Edwin asks after Lady Morgana’s illness saying he may be able to help. 
Okay look, Arthur…Morgana is ill with a mysterious disease that’s not improving and there’s some strange dude skulking around the courtyard offering to help? Doesn’t that, at the very least, strike you as a little odd? No?  Not even a little? Okay. Maybe it’s just me.
That evening, Arthur is sitting in his chair (looking particularly yummy) while Merlin is pacing and chattering about how not worried about Morgana he is. Arthur basically tells him to sit down and shut up.


The next day, Arthur, Uther and Gaius are all in Morgana’s bed chamber, and Gaius tells them that she has only hours to live. Arthur tells them about the not-at-all-suspicious dude from the courtyard. It should be noted that Arthur is wearing his super sexy, long leather coat. Not because it plays into the plot. Just because it’s worthy of noting.

Anyhoo, Uther and Gaius are both super dismissive of Edwin, but Arthur argues passionately for him to be allowed to try since Morgana is about to die. They finally relent and Edwin arrives.  As soon as Gaius sees Edwin, he knows they’ve met before. Edwin insists they haven’t. Gaius is all kinds of suspicious. But Uther sets him up in a guest chamber and Arthur hands over Merlin as Edwin’s servant while he’s at Camelot.
Merlin helps Edwin set up all his scientific (alchemy) stuff and then they head out so Edwin can examine Morgana. As soon as he’s in Morgana’s room, he demands that everyone leave and Uther’s all, well okeedokee if that’s what you need. Seriously, Uther? You’re just gonna let some strange man that you’ve known for all of about five minutes be alone with your ward? Really? You don’t think that’ s a little sketchy at all? Okay, then. (Idiot.)

So everyone files out and Edwin prepares to magically calls the nasty little beetle out of Morgana’s ear. Only Gwen didn’t get the memo about everyone needing to be out of Morgana’s room and is immediately suspicious of him. He tells her to go get some water and she insists that someone should be with Morgana because apparently she’s the only one in this castle with any common fucking sense. But he bullies her into going saying that unless she brings his some water Morgana might die.

Spoiler Alert: Edwin is kind of a douche. 
He gets the bug out and plants some blood in Morgana’s ear. Then he tells Uther that it was a misdiagnosis (casting shade at Gaius) and of course Uther believes Edwin rather than the man who’s served him for decades, but you know, bygones. 
Morgana is looking perfectly fine, now and Gaius confronts Edwin under the guise of offering him his congratulations for curing Morgana. So it’s all passive-aggressive up in the halls of Camelot. Uther offers Edwin whatever he wants as a reward which Edwin graciously declines. Seriously, it’s extra-gracious. So much so, that you’re left kinda wanting to throat punch him because it’s not remotely believable. Uther then offers him a place in the palace as Gaius’ assistant. Edwin, graciously (of course), turns it down but says that he’ll stay until Morgana is completely recovered. 
Gaius goes to everyone’s favorite castle genealogist, Geoffrey, to ask for the record of The Purge. The Purge is the nice way of saying that time when Uther killed all the people of the land who had any kind of magic. The records are sealed and Geoffrey refuses to hand them over. Geoffrey is a pretty hardcore rule follower.

Merlin is poking around in Edwin’s chambers and discovers the disgusting magic beetles. Edwin comes in and catches him and realizes that Merlin has magic, too, and tries to convince him that he should be using his magic all the time and offers to mentor him.
Geoffrey shows up in Gaius’ chamber with the records, deciding to be a rule breaker after all. Meanwhile, Uther and Edwin are having supper and Edwin, with the bitchtastic skills of my kid’s vice principal, disses Gaius and completely undermines him to the point where Uther asks him to review Gaius’ previous cases.
Gaius has been up all night studying the records. He goes to confront Edwin about him lying to Gaius about his identity. Uther had Edwin’s parents burned to death during the purge and Edwin was scarred trying to save them – Gaius treated him. Gaius figures out that Edwin is there to take revenge against Uther. Gaius threatens to tell Uther about Edwin and Edwin threatens to tell Uther about Merlin and his magic. So they’re at an impasse.

Edwin works hard to discredit Gaius, and of course, Uther believes him. Uther considers relieving Gaius of his duties. Morgana defends him, but Uther is having none of it. That night while Merlin is asleep, Gaius sneaks down to the dungeon to see the dragon. He asks the dragon about Merlin and whether or not Uther must be sacrificed for Merlin.

Gaius is hurt, but isn’t terribly surprised when Uther retires him. He packs up his stuff and Merlin is upset. He volunteers to go with Gaius, but he turns Merlin down. They have a tearful goodbye. Gwen tries to talk Gaius into staying, too, but he refuses. But she tells him she doesn’t trust Edwin – that Morgana didn’t have blood in her ear – that Edwin planted it. Gaius leaves anyway.

In the meanwhile, Edwin offers Uther a new prescription for an old shoulder injury. That night Uther drinks the new medicine and finds himself paralyzed. Edwin comes in and reveals his evil plan of revenge and puts one of those damn beetles in his ear so it can eat out his brain and Edwin can return magic to Camelot.

Gaius has second thoughts and returns to Camelot where he again confronts Edwin. They fight, but Edwin’s magic is stronger than Gaius’ He throws him against a wall and then starts a ring of fire around him. Merlin comes in, figures out that Edwin is the big bad and demands that he release Gaius. Edwin offers Merlin a place by his side in ruling Camelot. When Merlin refuses, Edwin magically lobs an ax at Merlin’s head, but Merlin’s magic is stronger, and he sends it back and it kills Edwin.

Gaius and Merlin run to Uther’s chamber to save him and Merlin uses magic to get rid of the beetle. Good thing Uther is unconscious, huh? Gaius is proclaimed a hero and Uther reinstates him as court physician and awards him his freedom making him a free man of Camelot. 

 Okay…now on to the questions!

1.    If I’d written this episode, I’d have someone besides Gaius question Edwin’s convenient arrival coinciding with Morgana’s incurable illness. Good lord, Uther is suspicious of every other damn thing, but not this?
 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved Gwen having the common sense to insist that Edwin shouldn’t be alone with Morgana. I hated that no one really seemed to sufficiently check out Edwin. 
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  Uther’s leather pants in the second to the last scene.

4.    Favorite Costume. Morgana’s jammies are lovely. 

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Since my head canon involves Uther and Morgana – Uther seemed a little too familiar with Morgana sitting on her bed like that. More like a concerned lover than a father figure.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? This was another not very Merthur-y episode – but the interplay with Merlin pacing in Arthur’s bedchamber and driving him batshit crazy comes to mind. Mostly, because I assume Jess was imagining Arthur turning Merlin over his knee.
7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?  Everyone just blithely leaving Morgana alone with a complete stranger. 

You can read Jess’ recap here and Jen’s recap here! And you can join us for Merlin Club on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST – #MerlinClub

Merlin Club: The Mark of Nimueh or The One Where “Somebody Poisoned the Waterhole!” (And if you all have Toy Story songs stuck in your head now, I apologize.)

It’s time for another installment of Merlin Club! You can see Jess’ take on it here. And Jen’s here
This episode opens in a cave with Nimueh, an attractive young sorceress with brilliant blue eyes (and a bad crimp job) is standing in front of what looks like a Baptismal font making a homely little clay fetus of some sort. 

Then she puts it in a large egg, casts a spell over it in Welsh and the egg begins to pulse and glow with life. Then she flushes it down the Baptismal font and it shoots through the ground water system like it’s a pod in one of those vacuum tubes at the bank and ends up in a cistern under Camelot. It starts to crack open and Nimueh finishes her spell. 

In the next scene we see Merlin and Gaius checking out a dead body laying in the middle of an alley in Camelot. The corpse is all gray with black veins. They load the dude up in a wheelbarrow that they just “borrow” from some poor peasant’s place and my kid chooses this point to look at the screen and immediately starts calling, “Bring out your dead.” And the other one hollers from the other room, “I’m not dead yet.” And chaos descends upon my house as the rest of the scene is reenacted because that’s what happens when you let your children watch Monty Python during their formative years. 
Back to Merlin. After Gwen gives her father his lunch for the day, she runs into Merlin and flirts with him a bit, gives him a flower and goes on her merry way to Morgana’s chambers where we see again that Morgana is actually good friends with her chamber maid. Merlin and Gaius study the corpse they brought home with them and Arthur summons them both to the King. And we see the opposite of Morgana and Gwen’s relationship in Arthur’s interaction with Merlin. Arthur is incredibly hot, but he’s kind of an asshat for 88% of the first season.
There’s another gray veiny body in Uther’s room where he does king things. (I can’t think of what that room is called because I’m mostly frozen and I cannot brain.) Gaius suggests that it’s SORCERY and Uther sends Arthur out on a door to door search through the town to root out the evil sorcerer. Merlin and Gaius head out, too and Merlin stumbles across a dying man and wants to use magic to cure him, but Gaius is all NO! SCIENCE! 
Gaius has mad autopsy skills and is able to test the contents of the first victim’s stomach. Meanwhile, Arthur and his knights bust in and start searching the room for evidence of magic. Arthur goes into Merlin’s room and calls Merlin in there. There’s some concern on the part of Gaius and Merlin because Merlin doesn’t pick up shit and they both know his spell book is likely lying around. Arthur goes into Merlin’s room and calls him in there, saying “Look what I found.” Spoiler alert – it was a cupboard to put away his shit. Not the magic book. But you know, moment of tension. Merlin and Gaius argue some more about Merlin wanting to use magic to cure people. 
Arthur tells Uther that he hasn’t found anything to identify any sorcerers. Merlin and Gaius figure out that the disease is water-bourn. Gwen wakes her father and discovers he has the sickness. Merlin demands to be allowed to heal Gwen’s dad. Gaius predictably says no. Merlin sneaks out that night and places a little poultice thingy under Gwen’s dad’s pillow and poof he’s healed. 

Hearing about the miracle the next morning, Arthur and his nights come to investigate and it’s determined that Gwen used magic to heal her father since she was the only one there with him. Gwen is arrested and thrown into the dungeon because she’s clearly the sorcerer that’s causing all the trouble.
Side note: Arthur is particularly hot in this episode. 
Anyhoo Uther sentences Gwen to death by fire and Morgana argues with him about it. And Arthur defends Gwen, too. It goes nowhere, because, well, you know how Uther is about magic. Gaius gets his angry face on with Merlin about healing Gwen’s father and Merlin figures out that yeah, that was a bad move. But here’s what I don’t get. WHY would Merlin leave the damn thing under Gwen’s father’s pillow. He knows they’re searching the town for magic-y things. Bad move, wizard boy. 
So now Gwen is in the dungeon, Merlin is vowing to save her. Merlin goes to Uther’s king type room where he’s doing king type things with his council members and confesses to being the sorcerer. There’s a pregnant pause and everyone laughs. Arthur immediately jumps into action to protect Merlin and explains that Merlin is in love with Gwen and also mentally ill. Of course, everyone believes him. So Merlin is left to figure something out.
Merlin and Gaius go on an adventure to find out what’s contaminating the water. They discover an Afanc – the clay creature who’s not a fetus anymore. It’s big and ugly and plague-y. Merlin goes to the dragon to get advice and gets riddles instead because the dragon gets off on being cryptic. But he hints that Merlin and Arthur must work together and use the elements. 
Gwen’s execution is moved forward because a ton of people are dying. Morgana gets Arthur to help with some well placed snark and they go with Merlin down to the water supply to search for the Afanc. Happily, they have torches and when the creature attacks Merlin uses his magic to suck some wind down into the tunnel and increase the flames to destroy the Afanc. Nimueh has a tantrum. 
After the Afanc’s destruction, people start getting better. Gaius brings Uther the Afanc’s broken egg and points out that it bears the mark of Nimueh. Uther flips shit. Merlin and Morgana go down to the dungeon to release Gwen. And Morgana tells him that she knows his secret. He of course thinks she’s talking magic. But she’s talking Gwen. 
The episode closes with Merlin and Gaius eating a ridiculous amount of food for two people and Nimueh deciding that she’s going to take Merlin down. Cue tense music for next week’s episode.
 Okay…now on to the questions!
1.    If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… Honestly? This is so petty, but I would have taken the crimper away from the hair stylist.  I can’t take a villain seriously who employs crimping as a style choice.

2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. The thing I hated was the love/hate flirtyesque banter between Morgana and Arthur because of later revelations. The thing I loved was how Arthur defended Gwen to his father and gave some thought to his own future as the King of Camelot.

3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.  The first time I saw this episode, I didn’t notice that the poultice was still all glowy when the knight picked it up from Gwen’s father’s bed.

4.    Favorite Costume. I’m gonna go with Arthur’s casual prince wear – long leather coat, breeches, boots…le sigh.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Yeah…I know. I’m lame. I still have nothing. :/

6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? The lovely meaningful look shared by Merlin and Arthur when Arthur tried to protect Merlin by convincing everyone that Merlin is all kinds of crazypants. 
7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? I’m gonna guess it was when Merlin uses magic to save Gwen’s father but can’t be arsed to take care of the evidence.

Merlin Club: Valiant or The One Where Arthur Fights Sir That-Annoying-Guy-From-Gym-Class

(Warning for my sister: Cait, if you were thinking about reading this post because of  possible pictures of Katie McGrath, I have to stop you right here. There are pictures of Katie McGrath, but there are also pictures of your biggest phobia. So you should probably come back to a later post. If you’re not Cait, sally forth, dear readers. Sally forth.)
It’s another installment of Merlin Club! Today, we’re recapping episode 2. You can see Jess’ post here and Jen’s post here. And you can join us Monday night, 8pm EST on Twitter when we watch the next episode. #MerlinClub  (You can click on the awesome art above to embiggen it.)
Okay, so the episode starts out with our boy Valiant a.ka. Sir That-Annoying-Guy-From-Gym-Class—you know the one—the guy who was waaaaaayyy too competitive for everyone’s own good and was a little too fond of eye contact? From now on, he shall be referred to as Sir TAGFGC. 
                                     I’m pretty sure I was in gym glass with this guy in high school.
Anyway, he’s buying forbidden magic from some shady dude who clearly doesn’t give a shit about Uther’s stringent anti-magic rules. The magical item in question is a shield that’s painted with three particularly vicious looking snakes. When one utters the spell, the snakes come to life and do one’s evil bidding. 
After the shady dude hands over the shield, Sir TAGFGC commands the snakes to kill the dude, and of course, they do. Okay, now let’s say you’re a shady dude and dealing in magic, wouldn’t you, ohhhhhh, I don’t know, enchant the stuff you’re illegally selling so it can’t be turned against you? After all, people who are willing to buy a magic item that can kill people probably aren’t too picky about who they kill, you know? Well, if you’re this shady dude, obviously the answer is no, and you’re dead.
So Sir TAGFGC travels on to Camelot for some tournament Uther is having to live vicariously through his son while making him fill utterly inadequate. (Parent of the Year goes to… UTHER PENDRAGON!) 
                            This was a flimsy excuse to post a picture of ASH. But Uther really is a dreadful parent.
So anyway, we see Merlin helping Arthur get ready for the tournament, including sparring with Arthur and Arthur’s being an ass because Merlin doesn’t know jack about armor and fighting. All the competing knights get to meet Uther and Morgana at the reception and there’s some eye sex between Sir TAGFGC and Morgana and bicker-flirting between Arthur and Morgana which frankly ends up weird later on – but that’s for another episode.


It’s time for the tournament to begin and Merlin’s forgotten Arthur’s sword. He runs off to the armory to get it, and while he’s in there, one of the snakes on the shield hisses and winks at him. I assume this has something to do with magic recognizing magic. But before he can investigate further, Sir TAGFGC catches him and chases him off with the pointy end of his sword.
 Merlin grabs Arthur’s sword, brings it to him and the fighting begins. There are plenty of fight scenes and Sir TAGFGC and Arthur come out on top of their respective piles. In order to punish Merlin for forgetting his sword, Arthur orders him to clean and polish ALL the things, which gave the showrunner the leeway to have a “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in which all of Arthur’s belongings are scrubbing and polishing themselves while Merlin lounges on the bed reading a forbidden spell book. Everything comes to a grinding halt when Gaius busts in and loudly reprimands him for using magic. You’d think that since this is such a secret they’d be a little quieter about it. The next morning, Arthur is stunned by Merlin’s super awesome housekeeping skills and is almost nice to him. 
                Look, I’m not gonna lie…if I had magic, I’d totally waste it on cleaning so I could relax with a good book.
More tournament matches ensue and Arthur and Sir TAGFGC continue to be the awesomest knights in the realm.  In order to do that though, Sir TAGFGC had to cheat and have one of his magic snakes (doesn’t that sound like the most unfortunate euphemism?) bite his opponent. 
                                                          Deadly rubber snakes are the worst!
The knight, Ewan, I think falls unconscious and no one is the wiser until Gaius discovers a couple puncture wounds in Ewan’s neck and observes that his symptoms are that of poisoning. Merlin remembers that Ewan was fighting Sir TAGFGC and sneaks a peek inside the knight’s chambers. He sees TAGFGC dangling a mouse in front of the shield and the snakes in the shield come to life for chow time. Merlin runs back to Gaius and shares his discovery and Gaius helpfully points out that no one is going to believe a servant over a knight. 
The next day is another elimination round. More fighting. After the battles, Merlin goes to check on Ewan who’s getting worse. While everyone is at the feast, Merlin sneaks back to Sir TAGFGC’s room and manages to cut off the head of one of the snakes. Gaius makes a potion and Ewan begins to slowly recover.
Now that he has proof, in the form of a giant rubber snake head, Merlin goes to Arthur, shows him the head and tells Arthur everything he’s seen. Arthur, surprisingly, believes him and informs his father. An investigation is called and Sir Ewan plans to formally accuse the other knight of attempted murder via magic.  Sir TAGFGC, figuring out what’s going down, sends one of his snakes on a secret mission while he waits to answer his accuser. 
Everyone STUPIDLY leaves Ewan alone while this little accusation fest takes place, and, predictably, the snake bites Ewan and kills him this time. With no witness, the charges of magic are dismissed Uther is a total douchecanoe and  Arthur has to apologize and he’s furious with Merlin because he trusted him and now looks like a total asshat. He also fires him as his servant. Sir TAGFGC, as expected, is suuuuuuuuuuuuuper smug and Arthur still has to fight him in the morning. 
Merlin goes to visit the dragon to tell him that he’s got the wrong person – that Arthur isn’t his destiny (Oh, but he is, Merlin. ) He’s about to leave when the dragon makes a dramatic entrance and he delivers the half/whole riddle and flies away.  Gwen offers Merlin some comfort – well, not really, she wants him to fix things. Arthur gets a genius idea and carts a statue of a dog up to his room.
He works all night on a spell trying to animate the dog figuring he can use it on the snake and prove to everyone that Sir TAGFGC is using magic. Meanwhile, Morgana has nightmares about Arthur. Arthur stays up all night practicing. 
In the morning, Merlin (who still hasn’t mastered the spell)  goes to Arthur in the morning and begs him to withdraw, but Arthur won’t, because the people expect their prince to fight. No one will trust him to lead men in to battle if he doesn’t. It’s his duty – blah, blah, blah. 
The last day of the tournament begins, and Merlin, unable to abandon Arthur, goes back to his room to practice the spell some more. It finally works. He turns the statue into a dog then locks it in his room and tells Gaius not to open the door. 
He races to the tourney field and waits for what I think is a fuck of a long time – seriously not until Arthur is in mortal fucking danger and then he does the big reveal with the snakes. 
                                                                                 Snake surprise!

Everyone sees them, the snakes slither out of the shield and try to kill Arthur, who’s dropped his sword. Morgana tosses him a weapon (thus saving his life) and he lops off their slithery little heads. The battle between Sir TAGFGC and Arthur gets more intense, though I don’t know why Sir TAGFGC bothered. Magic = death and Uther was right the fuck there, but whatevs.

Arthur eventually kills Sir TAGFGC and there’s a giant feast. 
This is the important part. No. One.  Ever.  Apologizes.  Or.  Says. Thank. You.  Ever.
Now, I realize that Merlin is a servant and Arthur and Uther are royalty, but that servant just saved the life of your son AGAIN. Maybe a fucking show of gratitude is in order? And how about a big old thank you for Morgana. She saved your life, too, dumbass!
Okay…now on to the questions!
1.                   If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… Actually, it’s a casting thing – I would have chosen someone different to play Sir TAGFGC. I just had a hard time taking him seriously. He was so…weirdly smarmy.
2.                   The thing I loved/hated most about this episode.
I didn’t like the saucy banter between Arthur and Morgana because of what happens later.
3.                   Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.
How it looks like someone took a flatiron to Gaius’ wig.
4.                   Favorite Costume
Meh…most everything was chainmail and tabards in this episode, so I’m gonna have to go with Morgana’s blue dress.
                                For the most part, her wardrobe is pretty spectacular.
5.                   Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created.
I don’t really have anything in the head cannon spot yet, since it’s the only episode.
      6.)      What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about?
                The saucy look Merlin gives Arthur before sheathing Arthur’s sword when Merlin’s readying him    for the tournament.
     7.)       What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?
    Leaving the only witness alone and too sick to defend himself.

Goodbye to my old friend.

Sixteen years ago this month, I stopped some bratface neighborhood kids from throwing rocks at a skinny, ratty looking black and white cat. That cat followed me home and lived on my steps until I let him come inside. It seems like it was weeks, but it was really probably only days.

Every time I went out on the porch, that skinny cat would flop on my steps and roll around and purr until I came out to pet him. I was sure he must belong to someone since he was so sweet. A storm was headed toward us, so I brought him in to stay on the porch. In the meanwhile, I put up “found” signs and took out an ad in the paper. When no one responded, Matt looked at me from where kitty was laying on his chest and said, “Well, I guess we have another cat.” (Did I ever mention how much I love that man?)

We named him Merlin because I’m an Arthurian legend junkie…and also a Labyrinth junkie. He’s always been playful and loving and so grateful to have a home. He loved the kids – Killian was his boy and always tried to convince us that Merlin uses a monocle, wears a top hat and talks in a British accent when we’re not around. And Abby, my former daycare girlie, was his girl. No matter how evil she was, he always went to her. One morning, he flopped on the table while she was eating breakfast to be by her. We spent the rest of the morning chasing after him with wet wipes because in his desire to get petted, he laid in her waffles. Then he led us around the house with waffle pieces hanging off his ass. Silly cat.

He was super pissy when we brought the kittens home, and Morrighan wanted so desperately to be his friend. She’d wait until he was asleep and then go lay by him. He’d wake up, whap her in the head and then find someplace else to sleep. Wash, rinse repeat until he decided it was easier to just let her sleep by him.

He was a cuddler with people and cats. He was especially fond of anyone with allergies – like Brynn and my friend Di. Oh, he looooooved Di. He wanted to be her very best friend any time she was over.

After sixteen wonderful years with him, we had to make the extremely difficult choice today to put Merlin down. Early stage kidney failure eventually becomes late stage kidney failure. In the last couple weeks, he’d lost an alarming amount of weight. And lately, he couldn’t keep anything down on the infrequent occasions that he tried to eat. This morning, when he couldn’t even pee, I knew his body was shutting down and it wouldn’t be long until he was in a lot of pain.

After talking and crying with Matt and the boys, we brought him in to the vet and said goodbye to our beautiful boy. I’ll miss you so much.

Merlin and Morrighan when he’d finally realized he wasn’t going to get away from her.

Cat puddle – Rowan, Merlin, Morrighan and Herne all cwtched up on the couch.

Herne, Rowan and Merlin lounging together.

Yeah, I can almost picture a top hat and a monocle on this guy.

And this was my boy this morning. I’m going to miss you, Mr. Kittenbritches.