The episode opens with Agravaine attending Arthur late at night. Merlin’s there too, cleaning some dishes while the others talk. Arthur tells his uncle that he’s made a decision he doesn’t think Agravaine will like–he plans to make Gwen the queen of Camelot. Agravaine tries to dissuade him from the move, but Arthur’s hearing none of it.
So instead Agravaine heads to Morgana’s hut, and she is highly upset by the news of Gwen becoming queen. It’s just like her dream! They have to stop it, but Agravaine is at a loss as to how. Morgana, on the other hand, knows how she can break Arthur and Gwen up very, very easily. Episode title should give you all a clue, eh?
Morgana heads into a super-creepy cave, where she meets with an old crone who tells her how to bring Lancelot back from the dead. Morgana travels to the last of the five gateways between the world of the living and that of the dead–the lake of Nemeah–where she hurls the coin Morgause gave her into the depths of the lake. The water bubbles and a naked Lancelot appears. He bows to Morgana and declares that he is her servant.
Back at Morgana’s hut, the evil sorceress explains to Lancelot why she needs his heart instead of his blade. And then the scene switches to Gwen and Arthur in Camelot, with a Morgana voice-over about how Lancelot was Gwen’s first love and now he’s going to be her last as well. Ominous, much? When the voice-over finishes, Gwen and Arthur are in a room lit by dozens of candles. Arthur takes off the blindfold he’d put on her, and they both sit at a table. Not one to muck about, Arthur immediately asks her to marry him. Then she hugs him and bursts into tears, which of course confuses our king because she hasn’t actually said yes yet, which she quickly does after being called on it. It’s all rather cute, actually. Makes me gag a bit.
Morgana tells Agravaine that soon Lancelot will convince everyone he’s the same man. The idea of molding his mind should make her happy, but instead she’s terribly sad about it. After all, Lancelot was once such a mighty foe and all.
Arthur’s held a two-day jousting tournament as an engagement present to Gwen. He and Percival both spear rings of flowers, which they then hand to Gwen. Arthur and Merlin stand off to the side when they see a strange knight appear. He hands the ring of flowers to Gwen, and reveals his identity. Suffice to say, Lancelot’s appearance shocks the entire kingdom.
At dinner later that night, Lancelot tells of how he finally made his way back to Camelot after stepping through the portal on the Isle of the Blessed. Merlin seems reticent about his appearance, however. The wizard does offer Lancelot his bed, and does the self-loathing thing about debating whether he could save Lancelot. He mentions using magic, and Lancelot comments if any of them had magic life would be a lot easier. This of course confuses Merlin, because Lancelot knew Merlin could perform magic. Merlin tells Gaius of his suspicions. Lancelot would never forget that Merlin had magic, and the wizard is certain something’s wrong. Gaius only says to give the knight time … his memory will come back.
Agravaine meets with Morgana in the woods, and tells her the knights were completely taken in. However if Gwen were flustered she didn’t show it. Morgana’s considered that though, and enchants a bracelet that can reawaken those feelings. Ruh-roh, Raggy.
Lancelot appears at Gwen’s door in the village. She’s reticent, and for good reason, but lets him in nonetheless. Gwen thanks him for what he did at the Isle of the Blessed; without him protecting Arthur, there would be no wedding. Lancelot then gives her the bracelet as a token of good fortune and leaves her house. Ay-yi-yi this is going to get bad fast.
Merlin finds something in a book that distresses him, and might also offer a clue to how Lancelot came back. But now we’re at the joust. Lances break and people cheer as Arthur and the knights participate in the games. And then we watch as Gwen’s expression softens when she sees Lancelot come around the corner. Yup … this is bad.
Merlin and Gaius are eating dinner later, and Merlin compliments the chicken and broth right before he asks about necromancy. This flabbergasts Gaius for a second, but then he finally tells Merlin what he knows. And of course we know why Merlin asks–he thinks Lancelot was raised from the dead. Sadly, Gaius says, they have no way of knowing for sure. And then Merlin reveals the book he was reading–The Art of Necromancy.
Merlin daubs a series of concentric circles on the floor while looking at the necromancy book for reference. He casts the spell and calls Gaius to hide and watch with him. When Lancelot walks across the circle, his face changes to that of a skeleton. This signals he’s a shade, which of course upsets Merlin … he really did want Lancelot back. But now they have to figure out why he’s back; whether it’s to harm Arthur or some other reason.
Gwen sneaks into Lancelot’s tent at the games, and helps him with his armor. She realizes she’s acting weird after he asks why she’s not wishing her future husband well instead. And then Gwen shakes herself and leaves.
Arthur and Lancelot both win their respective matches, which puts them in the final bracket. Percival tells Merlin not to look so worried after Arthur’s bout with Leon; the king won after all. I’m with Merlin on this one–bit worried about Arthur’s safety.
Arthur gets struck by Lancelot so hard he can barely sit up. Gaius comments Arthur should withdraw, but Merlin says the king would never do that. On the second lance, Lancelot yields rather than strike the king. And now Merlin is all kinds of confused. Arthur thanks Lancelot for his courtesy of yielding and the entire crowd applauds.
Gaius wonders aloud what Lancelot’s there for if it’s not to kill Arthur. Merlin then sees Gwen walking toward Lancelot’s tent. Inside, she locks hands with him and looks like a lovesick school-girl.
Merlin follows Lancelot to a meeting with Agravaine, where the knight tells the older man about his accomplishments in engaging Gwen’s feelings. Merlin hides to make sure the knight doesn’t see him. Gwen sneaks down a hall in the castle. Merlin casts a spell that throws Lancelot down a hallway. When he goes to investigate, Lancelot’s eyes pop open. The knight leaps up and knocks Merlin to the ground.
Arthur is awoken by Agravaine, who tells him there’s something the king needs to see. Lancelot hides in the throne room, waiting for Gwen to appear. She runs to his arms when they see each other. He assures her it’s safe there now. Meanwhile, Arthur and Agravaine march down a hallway. Merlin comes to and runs the direction Lancelot went. Go Merlin go!
Arthur sees Gwen kissing Lancelot and freaks out. He draws his sword and attacks, screaming bloody murder. They duel for a bit and both lose their swords. Lancelot grabs his first and is about to strike when Merlin casts a spell to knock the blade free. Arthur grabs his sword and is about to kill Lancelot when Gwen comes between them. Ah damnit woman!
Gwen and Lancelot get thrown in the dungeons. Gwen sobs uncontrollably, and throws the bracelet Lancelot gave her into the corner. At last she’s away from its influence on her.
Gwen stands in the throne room among the knights and guards, waiting for Arthur. When the king comes in, he orders everyone out of the room. Elyan gives his sister, who’s been forced to her knees, a death glare as he leaves the room. Arthur even tells his uncle to leave, and it’s only when the doors close that he finally speaks to Gwen.
They were happy, he says, and Gwen nods her agreement through the tears soaking her face. She apologizes profusely at her indiscretion, because she doesn’t know why she did what she did. After a heart-rending speech where she talks about what happened, Arthur tells her people are saying she’d be put to death in his father’s day. But he doesn’t want her dead. He doesn’t want to look at her either. So he banishes her from the kingdom.
Merlin wants to fix things, and wonders if showing Arthur that Morgana was behind Lancelot’s return will do it. Gauis reminds him that Gwen’s betrayal is what matters to the king. She has to pay the price.
Agravaine enters Lancelot’s cell, and hands him a note from Morgana. It’s one last command for him to perform. And I wonder if it’s asking him to kill either Gwen or Arthur.
Down in the village, Merlin waits for Gwen to emerge from her house. She grabs a cart of her possessions and though she sees the wizard she ignores him. Merlin then finds Arthur overseeing the removal of the wedding decorations. He tries to convince the king to forgive Gwen and call her back–the people will see him as merciful if he does. Sadly, however, Arthur says he may forgive Gwen one day but he won’t ever be able to trust her. And he doesn’t want to live like that as a king. Or as a husband.
Agravaine comes in and tells Arthur that Lancelot took his own life. The king orders a proper burial for the fallen knight, and Merlin obliges. At the river side the wizard casts a spell over the dead knight, and Lancelot comes to for just long enough to tell Merlin “thank you.” The episode closes with Merlin watching Lancelot’s funerary boat.
Next week: Elyan disturbs a spirit and goes cuckoo.
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read our ‘Merlin: Lamia’ recap.