Third Season … Ep 1-13

The first two episodes reveal to us how Morgana’s year with Morgause has influenced her.  She was drawn to Morgause on first meeting without knowing why.  Now, she knows they are sisters, and her hatred of Uther is shared.  The two conspire to bring down Camelot and wrest the kingdom away from Uther … to be in power and bring magic back.  Morgana has realized that Merlin is an obstacle.  This is the beginning of every effort to rid themselves of the problem … but with the aid of Kilgharrah, Merlin escapes this time and returns to Camelot.  The very obvious conflict between Merlin and Morgana has surfaced … each wary and determined against the other.

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The next episode is pure fun.  For a wonderful, laughter-filled morning, visit the farfaraway site for Season 3 and scan through the pictures.  Merlin’s expressions alone will leave you with delightful, memory filled moments.   🙂

As you will remember, Merlin’s curiosity results in his freeing a goblin from its imprisonment.

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This lively creature causes all kinds of havoc, both before and after he inhabits Gaius’ body.

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The mis-adventures proceed to involve almost all of our favorite characters: Sir Leon, Guinevere, Prince Arthur, and even King Uther.  Goblin-Gaius exhibits no hesitation in creating embarrassment for any of them, as well as having some cryptic words for Morgana.  Though the humor in the Throne Room is aimed at the youngsters in the audience, I had no problem enjoying it thoroughly … relishing Uther’s considerable, uncomfortable predicament!

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Merlin really does need a buddy now that Lancelot is off pursuing his goal of becoming a “loyal knight of Camelot”.  Traveling with Arthur is borne with good humor and an occasional jibe.  The first meeting with Gwaine points to adventure ahead, as this man tends to invite trouble along the way.

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Being a bit of a rascal, still Gwaine has a good and generous heart.  He’s just  not one to live quietly, but he is a great friend and he and Merlin develop a fondness for each other.  Gwaine undoubtedly challenges Merlin’s serious side.

During this episode, Gwaine saves Arthur from harm, not once, but twice.  The second time being in the Melee. Uther’s unreasonable treatment of Gwaine causes Arthur to challenge his father … and so Gwaine’s ability to upset the status quo leaves its mark on Arthur.  That same questioning of the ‘status’ or caste system becomes evident again when Gwaine attempts to charm Guinevere.

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Certainly, Merlin takes the opportunity to drive the point home with Arthur.

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Episode 5

Where Merlin meets Taliesin and learns of The Crystal Cave … the place where magic began.

As he exhausts his abilities trying to save Arthur’s life, Merlin is experiencing a great sadness.  His face reflects this grief-stricken sorrow.  (Here, once again, we are stunned by Colin Morgan’s ability to devastate our hearts with a look, a change of facial contours, a cloud of mist in his eyes … this indescribable sensitivity to his character’s plight.)

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And then Taliesin introduces Merlin to The Crystal Cave.  This is a turning point for the young sorcerer.

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Many things will change for Merlin as a result of this meeting.  He sees the future.  He sincerely believes he can change what is to come.  He valiantly strives to do what he feels is right, even going as far as commanding Kilgharrah to help him heal Morgana, though he knows what kind of a threat she is becoming.  Torn between staying innocent by saving everyone, and finding a way to save Arthur, he still believes he can do both.  But Merlin must now also contend with the revelation of Morgana’s birth, and all the changes that new knowledge will likely bring.

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Have you ever wondered about a “Changeling” ?  We are about to encounter one.

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This episode is not only adorably clever and filled with delightful fun, it also includes a very wise intervention by Merlin advising Arthur on marriage.  “I think you’re mad; I think you’re all mad!”

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Along the way, Gaius is romanced by a pixie, enthusiastically played by Marion Margolis.   And a more entertaining seduction has never been our pleasure to witness.  😉

changeling.6  changeling.5                      “She likes you?”                                         “You will rescue me!”

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The Castle of Fyrian

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Gwen is kidnapped.  Morgana and Morgause have hatched a new plot to get rid of Arthur.  We meet Elyan, Gwen’s long estranged brother, and learn more of their back-story.  Tension between Merlin and Morgana is accelerating …. animosity is clearly on display, although Arthur’s lack of discernment keeps him completely oblivious.  The story progresses.

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The Eye of the Phoenix

A very important episode.  Morgana is relentless in her attempts to rid herself of Arthur.  Merlin, ever wary, is watchful of her every move.  Even though Arthur’s quest is to be completed “alone and unaided”, this does not keep Merlin from enlisting Gwaine’s aid and the two follow Arthur into the Perilous Lands.

Eye of Phoenix.1    Eye of Phoenix.3

In the meantime, Gwen is also becoming very suspicious of Morgana’s behavior.  Gwen knows better than to raise Morgana’s caution and will not confront her.  She does, however, seek Gaius’ advice.

Despite all the intrigue surrounding Arthur’s quest, and the rescue attempts by Merlin and Gwaine, far and away the most important part of this episode is Merlin’s meeting The Fisher King.

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The most significant scene in this episode is The Fisher King’s gift to Merlin.

The most poignant scene in this episode is Merlin’s respectful honoring of  The Fisher King’s request.

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Love in the Time of Dragons

Another beastly creature from the Netherworld enters our story.  The Manticore  has ensnared Gaius’ long-lost love, Alice, and now has power over her.                                          LiToD.1LiToD.2

We learn that Gaius was once engaged to be married to Alice, that his betrothed was, herself, schooled in the magic of healing, a knowledge that gave her the ability to help many who were sick but that also put her in danger of suffering Uther’s intolerance.   Merlin discovers that all is not well with Alice, and for the first time Merlin and Gaius are at odds with one another.  LiToD.3

Killing Uther is the Manticore’s objective.  Can he be stopped?  Is there a happy ending for Alice and Gaius?

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Queen of Hearts

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For Morgana this is intolerable.  Her prophetic dreams keep returning her to the image of her maid, Gwen, being crowned Queen of Camelot.  Already angry at being denied what she sees as her birthright, already plotting to get rid of Arthur, now there is this new obstacle before her.

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Morgana knows Uther well.  She finds a way to reveal to him the relationship between Arthur and Guinevere.  She plants in his mind that this can only be the result of Sorcery.  Gwen is accused and sentenced to die.  In the preview for this episode, we saw a new face.  And who, exactly is this?

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The Sorcerer’s Shadow

There is more than one opportunity in this episode for Merlin to exercise his growing wisdom.

Merlin meets a young sorcerer who has come to participate in a Camelot Tournament.  This young man is determined to win the Tournament, even though he will have to use his magic to do so.  Merlin is fearful for Gilli and tries in every way to dissuade him from this dangerous idea.

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In the meantime, Morgana, using flattery and scepticism, has convinced Uther to join the Tournament.  Perhaps Arthur or Uther will be fatally injured or killed, removing at least one of her obstacles.   Shadow.2

Arthur does understand the danger of his father’s participation.  In spite of his never ending disparaging remarks to his servant, a camaraderie has grown between them.  And when Arthur is facing a difficult challenge, he is starting to seek Merlin’s advice.  This is happening more and more throughout the series.

Convincing Gilli is becoming more difficult.  In a touching moment, Merlin decides to reveal his power to Gilli, letting him know he is not alone in feeling lost and disrespected.  Merlin’s words and the background music are very emotional.  “It’s lonely … to be more powerful than any man you know, and have to live like a shadow.  I know how it feels.  I understand.”

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But the revelation does not dissuade Gilli.  Merlin has more work to do to ultimately save this gifted boy from his own destruction.

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The Coming of Arthur, Part I

The Cup of Life … for Good or Evil?

Cenred’s troops have attacked a Camelot patrol.  Lying among the dead, and barely holding on, is our Sir Leon.   A cadre of Druids happen upon the scene and give him drink from a magical chalice.  Leon recovers and returns to Camelot where Uther questions him.  Determining that this powerful weapon must be secured in the vaults of Camelot, Uther sends Arthur to accomplish the task.

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Unsuccessful attempts result in the Cup falling into the hands of the enemy … and this gives Morgause the opportunity to create an immortal army.  Using this advantage, Morgause and Morgana storm Camelot and take Uther prisoner.

Camelot captured

Our three heroes, Arthur, Merlin, and Gwaine, head back to Camelot unaware of what has been happening.  Upon arrival, Elyan fills them in on the futile battle.  Arthur insists on finding his father and Guinevere, but his injury is getting worse.  It is time for Merlin to assert his strength of character.  He instructs Elyan and Gwaine to search the dungeons, and he then forcefully compels Arthur to Gaius’ chambers, completely ignoring the Prince’s commands.  (“The hell with your orders, you’re coming with me!”)

Morgana’s troops are everywhere.  After telling Arthur his father has been taken to the Throne Room, Elyan, and Gwaine are ordered to the woods.  Merlin and Arthur arrive at the Throne Room in time to see Morgana crowned Queen of Camelot, revealing her relationship to Uther … a devastating revelation for Arthur.

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The Coming of Arthur, Part II

Morgana proves to be just as cruel and unwieldy in her position of power as was Uther.  Merlin, Arthur, and the others who escaped Camelot are hiding in a cave in the woods.  Arthur is despondent.  Again, Merlin speaks truth to power, and sternly admonishes Arthur’s willingness to give up the fight.  Merlin’s words find their mark.  Meanwhile Gwen finds a way to release Sir Leon.  They are followed. The sisters and their army are once again on the path to finding Arthur.  Lancelot returns and we meet the  strength of Percival.

In addition to revealing the purpose of The Fisher King’s gift, this episode brings three iconic images to the story.  The Round Table appears, and brings with it the introduction of commoners being Knighted,

The Round Table.1

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the mystical Cup of Life,

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and the  legendary Sword in the Stone.

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