This week begins, like so many others, in a village. The precise village in fact, where Gwen works caring for the pigs. Bandits raid the village and she tries to run. One of the men raises his weapon to kill her, but another stops him. Sounds like he wants to have his way with Gwen. Uh-oh.
Merlin is talking a mile a minute at Arthur, until at last the king tells him to shut up. Arthur comes in front of the assembled knights of Camelot to tell them he plans to marry Princess Mithian of Nemeth as a method of cementing the union. After the announcement, Merlin suggests it’s too soon to consider marrying someone else after what happened with Gwen. And then Merlin points out Arthur still loves the girl, which makes the king threaten him with exile should he ever say it again. I suggest silence, Merlin.
A man named Owen shelves some scrolls, locks a cabinet, and then is stopped by Agravaine out in the hallway. Agravaine the siege plans for Camelot from Owen, but the boy doesn’t want to betray his master. Agravaine stabs him direct in the heart and then drags the body aside. Agravaine arrives at Morgana’s hut, where he tells her he was unable to get the plans. She is most unhappy with this development. And of course threatens Agravaine because he failed.
Helios greets Gwen as a gentleman, which is a bit of a surprise. I suppose she didn’t expect a warlord to be so courteous, especially since he spent the afternoon kidnapping villagers to add to his army.
Arthur meets Mithian of Nemeth and her retinue at the gates of Camelot. A veiled Mithian rides up, and Arthur prepares himself for an ugly woman. Except she removes the veil, and she’s rather gorgeous. Arthur freezes a bit … and even more so when she compliments him. Merlin’s still not happy about this. Sadly there’s nothing he can really do.
Helios leads Gwen into a room with a sumptuous spread on the table. Another surprise here, since she didn’t expect this. And then Helios asks to know about her. She spins a story about her family being killed, and using that as an explanation of why she was in the village. Then a soldier comes in and says Morgana’s there. Gwen excuses herself before Morgana can come in, despite Helios’s pleading for her to stay. She throws a veil around her face, and that allows her to walk past Morgana unrecognized.
Morgana tells Helios she doesn’t have the plans yet, and this does not please the warlord. Without those siege plans the attack on Camelot cannot possibly succeed. She shoots back that his army’s not quite ready yet either. And then there’s a teensy bit of flirting because she promises to let him indulge at will when she’s crowned queen of Camelot.
Leon brings the dead Owen to Agravaine’s attention after finding him near the wall. Agravaine, by the by, had dragged the body outside to make it look like the boy had fallen from the parapet. Leon then goes to get Gaius so he can examine the boy.
Over dinner, Merlin and Gaius discuss the impending marriage of Arthur to Mithian. Gaius wonders if it’s perhaps arrogant to assume Merlin should do anything to prevent Arthur from marrying Mithian so he can marry Gwen. Leon brings Gaius to the dead body, and Gaius discovers a letter from Odin’s court.
Agravaine brings the letter to Arthur, who orders the guard doubled down on the vaults and that his uncle do a survey to see if anything’s missing. This allows Agravaine to take the siege tunnel plans to Morgana. She copies the plans and then sends him back to Camelot, where he enters on the banquet in honor of Mithian’s presence. During the banquet, Merlin tries to make Arthur look an idiot by casting a spell that makes him spill soup on himself. However, this only helps to have Arthur and Mithian grow closer.
While Arthur walks Mithian back to her chambers, he apologizes because there’s going to be a hunt in the next few days. But it’s OK … he’ll have Merlin arrange a tour. And then Mithian reveals that she loves hunting. Arthur kisses her hand, and it takes her asking for it back before they separate. Then Arthur stammers through an invitation to a picnic the next morning. It’s kind of nice to see the king of Camelot stammer when talking to a beautiful woman. Makes him human.
Morgana brings the siege plans to Helios, and Gwen overhears them talking about Agravaine’s treachery. A rock falls from Gwen’s hiding place, and she books it out of there just before they find her. Morgana sees the gown on the rock, and demands to know who the woman is. Helios tells her Gwen’s name, and Morgana orders them to search for her immediately. Gwen gets away by diving in the lake and proceeds to swim away.
Arthur and Mithian head out on their picnic. Arthur makes Merlin cart the picnic gear between two spaces, until at last Mithian chides Arthur for being mean. During the picnic, Merlin casts a spell to make Arthur burp. However, this just makes Mithian join in … and they grow closer still.
Gwen hides out in the wilderness from her pursuers. Morgana pushes Helios to continue the search for her despite this. She’s too dangerous to their plans! Oh snap, Morgana. Best find her.
Merlin walks into Gaius’s lab and suggests he quit and let Arthur make his own mistakes. Gaius, however, ignores him because there’s something about the letter from Odin’s court that doesn’t make any sense.
Out in the hallway, Mithian stops Merlin and asks for the wizard to give her a chance. She really likes Arthur, and she knows he doesn’t really approve of her. Merlin agrees to let her be from here on out. Of course, it helps that Mithian tells him how much Arthur cares about his opinion … despite the fact the king would never admit it.
Morgana catches up to Gwen in the forest. Gwen tries to run, but Morgana uses magic to hurl her into a tree. The hunt goes on with people rushing through the forest with sticks to flush the game out. Morgana hears the horn blast. Gwen’s ring falls off her neck, and Morgana casts a spell to turn the other woman into a deer.
Merlin suggests they call it a day because there isn’t any game. Arthur offers to give Merlin a five minute head-start so he can act as the prey. Then Merlin separates from the crowd and finds Gwen the deer standing in the middle of the forest. A brief spurt of magic and he realizes precisely what he’s looking at, then sees her reflection in a puddle of water as she walks away.
The hunters charge past Merlin though. Leon starts to aim, but then gives the shot to Arthur. Merlin casts a spell to make the bolt go wide. Then Mithian fires and strikes the deer before Merlin can do the same to her crossbow bolt. Gwen however vanishes, and they find deer tracks near her ring. Arthur picks up the ring and toys with it, realizing he still has feelings for Gwen. Mithian comes into the clearing asking about the trail, but Arthur only responds with the order of no more sport today.
That night, Merlin re-enters the woods on horseback. He finds Gwen unconscious and injured in a clearing. He sits with her until morning after healing her wound. When she wakes up, Gwen is overjoyed to see Merlin. She tells him of the plan Morgana and Helios devised to attack Camelot, and of Agravaine’s betrayal. Merlin sees a Camelot patrol ride past, and suggests they head back to Camelot with her information. However, Gwen doesn’t want to go back–she can’t see Arthur again after all.
Merlin barges into Arthur’s study in defiance of an order to stay away. He tells Arthur of Agravaine’s betrayal, and so they head into the vaults. Arthur doesn’t believe that Agravaine could do such a thing; when he finds the siege tunnel plans precisely where they’re supposed to be he again threatens Merlin with exile. Agravaine, who’d been called down, smirks at Merlin as he leaves.
Later, in Arthur’s bedroom, the king asks Merlin how he can love someone who betrayed him. He outright asks Merlin what to do, and the wizard says all he knows is the only person who’d sacrifice more than him for Camelot is Gwen. Arthur still seems unsure, but Merlin says he’s sure the king knows what to do.
What to do turns out to be turning Mithian away. She’s of course not happy about this, but in recompense he offers her the disputed lands between their kingdoms. She asks him what sort of love trumps a princess, and Arthur tells him it’s the blacksmith’s daughter. Mithian is amazed that Arthur would risk his kingdom for this woman, and he answers that without her they’re not worth anything. She says she would give up her kingdom as well to be so loved.
Arthur is still not sure if he did the right thing, but Merlin manages to convince him that he did. He’s Arthur after all … the once and future king. Merlin further says that Arthur and Gwen will find each other, and then the king wonders if Merlin’s really wise or actually an idiot. And then Merlin kicks the chamber pot over. Snerk.
Next week: Morgana attacks!
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Merlin: A Herald Of The New Age’ recap to catch up.