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I don't even want to know what it says about my life and my priorities that I actually had a moment this morning, sitting back, thinking, oh, good, free Sunday, as in, won't be writing and editing insanely!epic!TW post. *facepalm*

I guess it was my way of getting closure, and I must have needed that, but... crazy. Completely, utterly crazy. Note to self, next time get angry, rant a bit & then get over it, like everyone else does. Stupid brain.


What with all that & niece's birthday last weekend, cake making, Russian class, belly-dancing class and yet another of those all but obligatory seminars about avoiding stress and how positive thinking will boost sales (Woman loves books like The Secret, and apparently positive thinking also heals cancer etc., unless you aren't thinking positive enough, but then it's better if you die anyway, and did you know that antipsychotics kill more people than... Gah. Two hours of my life that I'm not getting back, and didn't get anything for except a squishy yellow stress relief ball. But apparently we're all too negative...), I never got around to posting about last week's Merlin, which was the first episode this season that I really did like all the way. Genuinely funny, especially the scenes with Uther and troll!Catrina, but also with some lovely serious moments for Arthur, who's always at his best when he's defining himself in opposition to his father. BJ manages to project a quiet dignity in these scenes that gives a very good impression of the king Arthur will be. (Also, Arthur trusting Merlin with his life without a second thought. Awww.)


And this week's episode was really good, although I think it was even better before it took a turn towards the fixable and funny, but, well, family show.

Even the beginning was quite lovely; not that it wasn't a completely careless and stupid thing to do, but you could see what a strain it is on Merlin always having to hide such an important part of himself, something that made him happy like that.

And it was a very interesting episode for Gaius; he's done some questionable things over time, but with this episode his absolute paranoia when it comes to magic and the necessity of hiding it became so much more understandable, considering what he lived through and how precarious his own situation was. Until the witchfinder arrives and Gaius actually gets arrested one could see that Merlin still was treating the situation much too lightly, whereas for Gaius, who is speaking from traumatic experience, it was already deadly serious. Loved the confrontation between Gaius and Uther in the end, and the whole tangle of loyalties in this episode. Uther's unexpected humanity in the face of someone who manages to make him look almost moderate, even if in the end it doesn't sway him enough. He can't watch Gaius burn, but he can't bring himself to pardon him, either. There were things damaged in that search that aren't replaceable, and I wonder where Gaius' loyalties will be from now on.

Arthur is, I think, actually trying to put himself in a position where he can help people, attempting to put himself between the witchfinder and his potential victims, although especially after last episode he's clearly unwilling to expose himself too much by standing up to his father. And his reaction when the witchfinder accused Merlin—either Arthur will be very surprised, or he's one hell of a good actor. Still undecided which it's going to be.

What did bother me a bit in this as well as the last episode is that so much of Arthur's character development is now hung up on trying to please and impress Gwen, and her having to shove him in the right direction so much. I wonder what this is saying about their relationship ...

And the preview for the next episode looks quite promising, too.


Also watched Girl No. 9 yesterday, which was gruesome and depressing, and personally I'd have changed the ending, because the bit where he talks about the other police officer's wife IMO actually lessenned the impact of the story; it's such a trope, really. Also, and I'm appropriately ashamed about that, right now I'm having a hard time seeing GDL in something else and taking him very seriously.

It's not just him, though; I watched the first two episodes of Emma yesterday, and I never quite got over the oh, it's Dumbledore! factor either. Not that I even liked the HP movies all that much. Rather enjoyed Emma otherwise, even if it's all a bit squeaky-clean and over-picturesque (but at the same time a bit modern?), but then I haven't read the book literally in ages and barely remembered the plot at all...

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
alba17
Nov. 10th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Hey, just read your TW analysis and happened by this. I'm totally into Merlin now - probably will friend you - need people who watch Merlin on my f-list! Anyway, I thought this was great episode. I haven't posted anything about it yet as I've been sick, but totally agree with what you said about Arthur and Gwen. They keep using Gwen's approval as the thing that spurs Arthur to do the right thing and it's sort of grating. It looks like the next episode will focus on Arthur and Uther's relationship, which should be interesting. Did you not think Arthur was genuinely surprised when Merlin was accused of being a sorcerer? I did. I don't think he's supposed to know anything about Merlin's magic at all at this point.
solitary_summer
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC)
Did you not think Arthur was genuinely surprised when Merlin was accused of being a sorcerer? I did. I don't think he's supposed to know anything about Merlin's magic at all at this point.

I honestly don't know any more. I vaguely suspected he might know since The Poisoned Chalice, what with the glowing light and everything, and thought he couldn't not know after The Moment of Truth, unless he was completely, wilfully, blind, but I've been going back and forth on this ever since. I suppose we'll eventually find out this season...
jakwezst
Nov. 29th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
What did bother me a bit in this as well as the last episode is that so much of Arthur's character development is now hung up on trying to please and impress Gwen, and her having to shove him in the right direction so much. I wonder what this is saying about their relationship ...

You know I read this post about a week ago and started composing a response slightly disagreeing with this view. HOWEVER after the latest episode I am pretty much wholly in agreement!

Let me say from the outset that I tend to watch Merlin with one eye on the epic fic I'm writing (epic in scope more than anything) and that fic encompasses Arthur/Gwen as a reality (even though it is a Merlin/Arthur fic) because that relationship in no way negates the primary relationship. This broadly means that I really have no problems accepting that Arthur and Gwen eventually marry etc etc since in my fic the meaning there is probably not the meaning the majority of people would lend this event/relationship. That's why I LOVE this show so much - the scope of the thing in terms of fic really is second to none.

BUT I think that the show is getting this a bit...wrong...shall we say - from my POV at least. I think their imagination has failed them in this respect whereas it has served them well in reimagining other aspects of the thing. Once again we see how this need to put romance front and centre in many ways serves only to hurt the writing and indeed the overall concept of the project. I don't blame them for this, but I can't help thinking that their nerve failed them after season 1 and IMO it shows. There is so much scope with the Gwen/Arthur/Lancelot relationship and it's slightly disappointing that they chose to take the obvious route.

The Gwen/Arthur bothers me on a number of levels, but that's for another comment. Let's just call it...disappointing... but understandable, for now.

Totally in agreement with your latest post re DW and TW. I love the bleakness of both DW and TW and not because I'm an angst junkie (the opposite tbh) but because I like good writing; writers taking risks and remaining true to their vision despite everything else. See I don't have to buy what their selling, I'm just interested in being presented a coherent and cohesive view that both entertains and stimulates me intellectually. Just because RTD sees the world a certain way doesn't mean I have to, but I do like seeing his vision presented well and consistently. I'm actually really, really easy to please.
solitary_summer
Nov. 30th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
I think their imagination has failed them in this respect whereas it has served them well in reimagining other aspects of the thing.

I don't blame them for this, but I can't help thinking that their nerve failed them after season 1 and IMO it shows.

*nodnod* I've been trying to put my finger on it, but S2 has lost something of the mixture of lightness, charm, but also depth that S1 had. It feels like they're trying too hard to consciously recreate something that somehow just worked before.



I'm not an angst junkie either, but I love shows that have a bit of a broader vision and don't exclusively deal with either relationship dramas, or solving the crime/curing the disease of the episode, and, like you said, engage both the emotions as well as the intellect...


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