Second Season Ep1-8, 10-12

The Second Season, of course, continues the story.  We find out that Merlin’s powers are becoming more impressive. (Ep.1)  We have an opportunity to see Arthur face his selfish behavior in Ep.2 … and wasn’t it a treat to watch Gwen stand up to him?!  The Once and Future Queen is a delightful episode and assures us that Gwen is a strong woman and can hold her own with the spoiled prince.  The romance begins with an emotional and back-lit kiss.

Kiss.1

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In the meantime, Morgana becomes even more frightened with what is happening to her.  She feels that Uther would have her executed if it came to light that her nightmares are prophetic and born of magic.  She feels very vulnerable.  It is impossible for her to live in fear and not have that alter her.  Gaius tries to protect her from accepting her magical ability.  Merlin is sure this is wrong and wants to help her understand that she has a power that can be used for good.   He feels that such great fear is a destructive force.   It is evident from the emotion on Merlin’s face that this is extremely difficult for him.  He is really struggling between wanting to be a friend and disobeying Gaius.

Nightmare begins.1    nightmare begins.2

Because he doesn’t want to cause Gaius any more concern he devises a trip for her to visit the Druids so that she can be reassured.  There have been several viewers who considered this another of Merlin’s mistakes.  I submit that he was taking all the people he cared for into consideration and tried to work out an answer that would help her without giving Gaius reason to worry.  Still in the end he blames himself as well.

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Lancelot and Guinevere – Arthur and Merlin attempt to rescue Gwen who has taken Morgana’s place as a hostage to bandits. On the trip, Merlin (in his own quirky, and to Arthur, annoying, way) gets Arthur to reluctantly acknowledge his feelings for Gwen. In the meantime, Lancelot is chosen to fight for entertainment at a banquet for the bandit leader. He and Gwen recognize each other, and he vows to rescue her. Merlin and Arthur are on their way to do the same thing. During this time, the bandits discover she is not the king’s ward and realize Uther will not be sending ransom money for a servant girl. Many tense moments occur as both Lancelot and Arthur attempt to rescue her. Once they are safely away it becomes clear to the two men that they both love her.

This episode introduces horrible beasts … the Wilddeoren, (possibly the ugliest creatures ever thought up by the arts department). These menaces will continue to be a problem for the rest of the series.

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Beauty and the Beast, I and II.  These two episodes do not tell us much about Merlin’s developing powers.  This is a show meant for everyone in the family and in these two episodes it supplies pure fun for viewers who love to enjoy trolls and their mischief.  Arthur does reluctantly acknowledge Merlin’s help at the end of the second part of this story.

Troll.1  Troll.2

Troll.3

Even though she is intent on destroying the kingdom, the actors seem to be enjoying

the gruesome fun of it all.

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The Witchfinder … Uther’s obsession to rid Camelot of any kind of sorcery causes him to hire a Witchfinder.  The actor Charles Dancer is truly menacing as the intimidating accuser, Aredian,  who strikes fear into the heart of anyone with special abilities.  Morgana is terrified.  She knows strange things are happening to her.  She also knows of Uther’s implacable hatred of all things magical.  She is sure he will destroy her if he ever finds out what is happening to her … and, of course, it is all beyond her control.  Aredian intimidates Morgana and Merlin, but first he wants to settle an old grudge against Gaius and sets out to have him executed.  Uther never questions Aredian’s accusations; he relies on the witchfinder’s word completely and needs no further proof.  Only Merlin and Gwen are brave enough to try to discredit Aredian and save Gaius from execution.

witchfinder.1   witchfinder.2

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The Sins of the Father …  A strange knight comes to Camelot to challenge Arthur to a duel.  Arthur accepts the challenge and finds that this knight is a woman.  Her name is Morgause and she is on a mission to discredit Uther in Arthur’s eyes.  This episode carries many meanings for the continuing story.  We learn the secret of Arthur’s birth; we learn that Morgause and Morgana are half-sisters, though Morgana is not yet aware of that fact; we learn that Merlin is willing to lie to Arthur to save him from a terrible act that could haunt him forever.

SoF.1   SoF.3

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The Lady of the Lake …  Not only is this a beautiful story, but Colin’s talent shines here.  There is a second page subtitled so that I can expand on his scenes and suggest why I believe there is a great actor developing before our eyes.

LoL.1

There will be two episodes with their own pages from this season.  The stories are wonderful.  The acting is excellent.  There is warmth, love, joy, secrets revealed, and tears shed … emotional and memorable.  The other is The Last Dragonlord.  You only have to watch Colin’s face to become a fan forever.

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Sweet Dreams is another bit of fun in which nothing very serious happens.

Followed by The Witch’s Quickening  with its visions of things to come.  Merlin’s first encounter with the crystal is frightening for him.  He doesn’t understand the gift of foresight, of seeing visions, of the magic of the crystal.  It shakes him, confuses him, and leaves him fearful.

Young Mordred is part of the Druid’s plan to capture the powerful crystal.  Together they persuade Morgana to help.  Morgana still has strong feelings for the boy.  She also develops strong feelings for this Leader, for his plan to do away with Uther’s reign, and after he is captured she aids his escape.  Tensions become stronger between Uther and Morgana … and, in the end, she angrily “disowns” him.

The Crystal.1

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The Fires of Idirsholas .  This is a very significant episode.

Morgause knows that Morgana is her half-sister.  She also knows that Morgana hates Uther, and enlists Morgana’s assistance in a scheme to bring down the kingdom.  When Arthur and Merlin return from investigating the incident at Idirsholas, they find all the residents of Camelot soundly asleep and the Knights of Medhir invading the stronghold.  Arthur attempts to fight off the invaders but is fast succumbing to the sickness himself, as is Merlin.

Fires.Idirsholas.1

Merlin’s only answer is to ask Kilgharrah for help.  The help is given, but at a price.  It is time for Merlin to keep his promise to free the Great Dragon.

Merlin.Kilgharrah

Kilgharrah tells Merlin he must kill Morgana to stop the invasion or Camelot will fall.  This is a terrible choice,  for Merlin still feels Morgana is a friend.  Here is the struggle for our hero.  Two choices, both of them terrible … one of them totally against his nature … and yet no other answer presents itself.  The sickness is taking over … neither he nor Arthur will last much longer … so it must be done.  And Colin’s performance here is filled with all the anguish of this unimaginable decision.  He is torn … he is in emotional pain … a part of him is damaged and the bloom of naive youth is shadowed.

Fires.Idirsholas.2

After he has done what had to be done, and the kingdom is safe once more.  The promise to Kilgharrah must be kept.  And so, the Great Dragon has his freedom at last … but what will he do with that freedom?

Merlin.KIlgharrah.1

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