This week begins right where the last episode left off–Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Tristan and Isolde are fleeing Ealdor through the woods. They stick together for a time, but then Merlin stays behind to cover their tracks. Instead of doing that, however, he summons the Great Dragon. In one strafing run, the dragon kills the majority of Agravaine’s troops.
Merlin rejoins his friends in some caves, which he says he grew up in. Agravaine follows them in with the remainder of his men, fleeing the second run of the Great Dragon’s flame. Merlin leads the way through the caves, assuring Arthur that they won’t be followed. At least until they hear Agravaine and his men in the caves.
Merlin goes back to lead them away, and assures Arthur he won’t do anything stupid. Except what does Merlin do right away? Pop out of a tunnel mouth in front of Agravaine and say “Oh, hello!” Like that’s not a stupid move, right?
Merlin leads their pursuers away, stopping only when he comes to a ledge. Agravaine demands that Merlin lead him to Arthur. Otherwise he’s going to have to kill him. Yeah … I don’t think so, buddy. Merlin throws a spell that kills everyone except Agravaine. Once the hated uncle wakes up, he realizes that Merlin is actually Emrys. And then praises him for such a good deception of Arthur. He attacks Merlin, which makes the wizard throw him back onto some rocks. And that’s the end of Agravaine.
Up ahead, Arthur decides to go back and look for Merlin. Tristan can hardly believe a king going back for a servant, to which Gwen replies that clearly he doesn’t know Arthur. The king finds Merlin returning, and they have a bit of a bonding moment before rejoining the others. They at last emerge from the caves and now have to decide where to go next; Tristan antagonizes Arthur again … but the group soon chooses to head into the Forest of Ascetir–closer to Camelot.
And speaking of Camelot, Gwaine, Elyan and Gaius are starving in the dungeon when Morgana and her cronies come to pull Gwaine out for a fight. This time he’s to use a small wooden stick against roughly 10 men. Those odds look perfectly fine for a knight of Camelot, eh?
Tristan mocks Arthur while the pair gather wood–first he goes back for a servant and then he gets his hands dirty. There’s nothing special about him after all, to which Arthur responds that maybe Tristan’s right and he doesn’t deserve to be king. This is good, according to Tristan, since Arthur isn’t king anymore. Gwen sees Arthur slouching away and tries to talk to him. But he cuts her off, saying the reunion in Ealdor was a moment of weakness. Cuts like a knife, don’t it?
Gwaine is thrown back into the cell along with a small loaf of bread. Morgana tells them to enjoy their supper, since it may very well be their last. Ruh-roh, raggy. Elyan then tries to give the bread to Gaius, but the physician says he’s not long for this world … and if Gwaine needs to fight again then he’ll need all the strength he can get.
Merlin sits with Arthur and listens to the king run himself down. Despite Merlin’s best efforts, Arthur refuses to believe he’s worthy of being king. Merlin runs to a field, summoning the Great Dragon to ask for advice. The dragon tells Merlin that the future of Albion in his hands now. Only the young wizard can give the king back his confidence. And to do that, Merlin has to make Arthur believe he’s supposed to be king. But how??
Merlin has an idea of what he can do, but first he asks the dragon to find the people who fled Camelot. The next morning, he wakes Arthur and leads him through the woods. While they walk, Merlin tells a story about the first king of Camelot–Bruta–who with his last ounce of strength jammed a sword into a stone in case his lineage were ever questioned. Only a true king of Camelot can withdraw the sword …
Arthur calls shenanigans, which admittedly is probably something I’d do too. Merlin’s fine with this by the way, because he just led Arthur directly to the sword. Excalibur sits there–in the stone–waiting. And then Leon, Percival, and the rest of the Camelot residents who fled appear from the forest.
Arthur freaks the heck out. The sword is stuck fast inside that stone, and he’s convinced there’s no way he’ll be able to pull it out. Merlin disagrees, naturally, so he pressures Arthur to try. He’s not going to let the king pull the sword out easily though … no, first Arthur has to believe that he’s meant to be king. When Merlin sees this, he uses a spell to allow Arthur to pull the sword from the stone. Thus proving his worth. Nice little pageantry work there, Merlin.
Helios informs Morgana about his discovery outside Ealdor. Agravaine and all men murdered, and the ground was even still on fire when they got there. Morgana realizes it was Emrys’s handiwork, because only he can command a dragon. She’s suitably nervous now … and she should be.
Arthur makes plans to take back Camelot with the help of Leon, Percival, and Merlin. Sure, Morgana’s forces outnumber the people of Camelot, but it’s only three to one. Perfectly fine odds. Leon tells Arthur the people will fight for him, to which he responds he wants them to fight for Camelot instead. Problem with that, though … our Arthur is a charismatic one. Leon, Percival, and Merlin all confirm they’d follow him to the mouth of hell if he asked. Awwww.
Later, Isolde sees Gwen staring at Arthur. She tries to tell her that love will always find a way. Isolde knows this from experience, so she’s confident Gwen and Arthur will get back together. Honestly, I’m kind of sick of them dancing around each other.
Merlin catches up with Arthur, and asks if the king really thinks they can defeat the Southron army. It’s not the army Arthur’s worried about though; it’s the magic Morgana has at her command. Merlin then finishes his story from before about the sword … there was a prophecy about the blade in ancient days. The first king of Camelot knew one day his sword would be pulled from the stone, and the man who did so would unite the land into the greatest kingdom the world had ever seen. Arthur is that man … and Merlin believes he can do it.
Sitting by the fire alone, Merlin gets an idea for how to counteract Morgana’s magic. He sneaks into Camelot, alone, and turns into his old-man form. Morgana catches sight of him as Emrys, but he walks through the castle mostly unmolested.
Sure, people try to get him … except he whips them about with magic. Until he gets to Gaius’s lab, where he’s able to cast a spell on a little figure. He transforms back into his young self and sneaks upstairs. Helios convinces the frightened Morgana to get some sleep, and that’s when we see the figure hanging under her bed. Uh-oh.
In the morning, Arthur is preparing for the attack when Tristan and Isolde come up to him. They ask, oddly enough, to fight alongside him. Apparently Tristan saw enough in how people reacted to Arthur that he came to the same conclusion as them.
Arthur and his allies easily sneak into the castle and are already into the main building before the alarm rings out. Helios bursts into Morgana’s room to tell her of the attack, to which she replies they need to welcome her brother home. Why do I get the feeling Arthur’s not going to like that welcome?
Percival and Leon free Gwaine, Gaius, and Elyan in the dungeon. Gwaine comments it sure as heck took them long enough to come. Percival asks Elyan if he’s all right, and the other knight replies that he’s been stuck in a cell with Gwaine for a week. Ooo … burn!
Arthur, Merlin, Gwen, Tristan and Isolde are stopped outside the audience chamber by a group of five guards. Arthur tells his companions to pick their man, then shouts “On me!” and attacks. After their enemies fall, Arthur comments to Merlin that his new sword’s not half bad right before he kicks the doors to the audience chamber open.
They find Morgana lounging in the throne, Helios by her side. She apologizes for Arthur’s difficult reception. After all, it’s difficult to know who to trust these days. Arthur sheathes his sword and tries to talk with his estranged sister. He did think they were friends … and apparently so did she. However, Arthur has made it very clear what he thinks of Morgana and “her kind.” This makes him not that different from Uther after all. To which Arthur replies that she’s not all that different from her dad either.
Morgana thinks she’ll enjoy killing them, and even laughs when they threaten her with swords. Then she tries to cast a spell. Aaaand it doesn’t work. That figure Merlin placed beneath her bed did its handiwork quite well. Helios at last pulls her behind him, allowing her to run. Gwen and Merlin give chase, while Tristan and Isolde help Arthur deal with the soldiers come to Helios’s aid.
Morgana strides through the castle, killing knights as she goes. Until she’s wounded by a wayward knight who comes from behind. She kills him, but the damage is already done.
Helios punches Arthur in the face, knocking him down. He’s already wounded the king twice, and right as he’s about to strike the killing blow … Isolde gets him from behind. Helios spins as he dies, slicing her across the stomach. She turns to Tristan, eyes wide, as she drops to her knees. Ah crap.
Gwen rounds a corner at the same moment as Morgana. They duel, and Gwen finally asks what she did to make Morgana hate her so much. Morgana replies it’s not what she did … it’s what she’s destined to do. Morgana disarms Gwen, and is about to strike, when Merlin causes the ceiling to fall. All that does, however, is get Morgana to flee.
Merlin and Gwen return to the others, and find Isolde dying in Tristan’s arms. Gwen and Arthur lock eyes across the scene. Something tells me they’ll get back together before the episode’s out.
And I’m right, because the bell rings to signal that Morgana’s army is routed from the castle. Arthur comes upon Gwen in her servants’ uniform tidying up. They talk over each other a bit, but at the end of it Arthur asks Gwen (again) to marry him. Of course she says yes. And this time, there’s no Lancelot to get in the way. So they get married, and then Arthur crowns Gwen the queen of Camelot.
The episode ends with Morgana alone in the woods. She collapses to the forest floor, near death. Until Aithusa, the white dragon, appears and heals her. Morgana comes to … and is truly grateful for the first time in a while.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Merlin: The Sword In The Stone’ Part Two recap to catch up.