TV From The Crypts: Season 5 of Merlin
All shows must come to an end, or at least a break until they are remade in another format. So this past week I enjoyed finishing up Merlin, a BBC series about a young Arthur, Merlin, and Camelot that I have enjoyed quite a bit.
The series has followed Merlin as he assists Arthur in coming to power as well as becoming one of the most famous kings of all times, all while hiding his magical powers. Magic has been banned from Camelot, and only a few individuals know the true secret that Merlin’s sorcery is probably more to thank for all of Arthur’s achievements than all his knights and skills combined.
Throughout the series we have met several magical foes, and most commonly seen Arthur placed against Morgana, his half sister witch who wants him dead. This season completely embraced that story line and the whole season dealt with Morgana’s attempts at killing Arthur and taking over Camelot.
One thing that I liked about this season was the costumes and make up they used for Morgana. She was always beautiful, but this season they also made her terrifying, and I loved it. They must have had a better budget to go out with a bang too, since there were a lot better special effects and CGI than in previous seasons.
And Arthur finally seemed to have grown up. He became king a couple seasons ago, but this was the first season he started making lots of decisions in that roll on his own. He no longer looked like a teenage boy, and instead played the roll of moral and just adult.
A couple of episodes dealt with Gwen, Arthur’s peasant queen, being tortured with mandrake root in to being Morgana’s slave. Gwen spent several episodes trying to bring about Arthur’s assassination, which was painful to watch. But what was wonderful was when Arthur and Merlin discovered this and went on a life-threatening mission to bring Gwen back to them. It made me feel like all was well, but that was sadly temporary.
So here comes the big spoiler of my review: the ending. I don’t know how I was kidding myself for so long. I wanted Merlin’s secret to be revealed, for him to get all the credit he deserved as he has been so humble for so long, and for Arthur to declare magic legal again. I did get the first part of my wish: Merlin saved Arthur’s entire army from Morgana and revealed his secret to Arthur. But Arthur was terrified rather than elated. The entire last episode deals with Merlin slowly gaining Arthur’s trust again and Arthur coming to the realization that Merlin has been the true reason for his success and safety his entire life, and that Merlin is the most incredible friend anyone could ever ask for. He makes this realization, and then guess what: he dies. I mean, anyone familiar with Arthurian legend would have known that would happen. They would have known that Morgana and Mordred would bring about the death of Arthur, but I still didn’t want it to be so. I had these hopes that Gwen and Arthur would live happily ever after with lots of kids, and Merlin would be the godfather. Instead, Arthur dies and Merlin must continue to spend his life protecting the legend of the man that he made. How sad!
If you are looking for some fantasy fun, this series is light and happy until that last episode, so I would recommend it to you. But be warned, don’t get too invested in characters that you know the outcome too. It would be like getting engaged to Heath Ledger in 2008. Just not worth the emotional investment to some degree.
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