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Nov. 15th, 2009

Merlin 2.08. Hm. Hm.

I really don't know what to think about this one. The first 35 minutes were rather average; the rest was brilliant, but also... a bit fucked up?

Merlin was right, most likely Arthur wouldn't have forgiven himself, or worse, he would, and either way it would have changed him. I thought after Excalibur that it was a good thing that Uther had the sword to fight with, prophecies of doom notwithstanding, because the consequences of Arthur blaming himself for his father's death and believing his father hadn't trusted him enough would have been worse, and while the SV parallels aren't as obvious as they were in S1, The Sins of the Father does recall a bit how the moment Lex managed to defeat his father at the end of S3 he'd also taken the essential step towards becoming the son Lionel always wanted. So, in a way, it might have been right, it might have been necessary. But for Merlin to deny himself so absolutely for Arthur's sake... I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that. And I'm not sure if it's really such a happy ending that the truth is once again swept under the carpet.

Putting the life and happiness of the person you love above your own is all very well, but it's not just about Merlin himself; in a way that makes Merlin partly responsible for whomever Uther will condemn to death for using magic in the future, and in some ways he also made that decision for Arthur, making him, too, an accomplice.

What makes it even worse is that this episode made it rather obvious that Arthur has been... maybe feeling more than thinking that Uther's cruisade against magic was wrong for a while now, because there clearly was a lot of pent-up anger and outrage in this respect that suddenly found an outlet. I don't think Arthur really wanted to have it confirmed that magic was evil, either; he says he's grateful, but he doesn't sound like it.

In S1 there were enough moments where it was shown that Arthur and Merlin's relationship was different from Uther and Gaius's in that it was much more equal, much more based on genuine friendship and honesty, despite Merlin having to conceal his magic. What Merlin did in this episode was in some ways a very Gaius thing to do, and I'm not sure how much I like that, or if Gaius being proud of Merlin is such a good thing. And the interesting question of course is, would Gaius have saved Uther, especially after last episode? How many years of self-denial and watching people like yourself getting executed does it take before you're so bitter that you'll stand back and just watch destiny taking its course, like Gaius already had done in To Kill The KIng?

Maybe Arthur at some point will recall what Uther actually did swear, and what he didn't, and think about why he was so extremely ready to forgive Arthur. And in any case this won't be the last we've seen of Morgause...


Also, there goes my S1 theory that Arthur actually already knew about Merlin's magic. *sigh* Time to finally admit I was wrong for once.

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