Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.
Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.
Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.
So, here’s a quick rundown of episode three: Some guy who doesn’t get along with Camelot rolls in to sign a tenuous peace treaty, but Nimueh fools everybody by putting on a turban and sneaking in and alleging that the opposing king dude is trying to murder Arthur with poison. Merlin tries to stop Arthur from drinking the poison, and Uther is like, well, prove it, and he makes Merlin drink from the poisoned cup. The cup is poisoned, by not by the opposing king dude, but by Nimueh. But Uther doesn’t know that, so he throws the other king guy into the dungeon and prepares for war. Arthur wants to go out and save Merlin by getting this flower thing, but Nimueh traps him in the cave with a bunch of spiders. Merlin, in a deep coma, telepathically communicates with Arthur to help him retrieve the flower, and Merlin lives and war is averted and Nimueh is piiiiiiiissed.
If I had written this episode, I would have changed: Literally everything about Nimueh’s motivations. Spoiler alert, but she’s really mad at Uther. So, why does she go after Arthur? Okay, I can see that. But then Gaius is like, “She was trying to kill you, Merlin.” Wait, what? Why would she kill Merlin to get back at Uther? Is it Camelot she hates, and that’s why she set up a war? Is this a side quest? Get your shit together, Nimueh. Focus on one task. Stop getting sidelined by shit that doesn’t matter and kill Uther and make us all happy.
The thing I loved most about this episode: That Arthur is willing to defy his father and his king to save the life of a servant. Also, Merlin’s hat.
The thing I hated most about this episode: When Arthur returns from his quest, Uther imprisons him, takes the life-saving flower and crushes it, and throws it on the floor. And he’s like, “you can get another servant,” and I’m all… but you have the flower. You can save the kid’s life. You could banish him from Camelot or make him not Arthur’s servant any more. But what’s the point of killing him? At this point, you’re just being a dick.
Oh. Right. Never mind.
Something I never noticed before: At the banquet, when everyone thinks other king dude is trying to poison Arthur, all the knights of Camelot draw their swords… and Morgana pulls out a knife. It’s super subtle, and I never saw it before. Morgana = BAMF.
Here is proof of some random headcanon I created: Okay, I can’t do this without spoilering. So warning, the next sentence is going to be a spoiler. I cannot truly believe that they had planned for Morgana to be Uther’s daughter. Why? Because this was the first episode I ever watched, and because of the scene where Morgana and Uther talk about Arthur running off to get the flower, I thought she was the queen and Arthur’s stepmother. It’s just in the way the lines are written, as though Morgana is talking about a child and not her peer, and, as a few tweeps have pointed out, the weird chemistry between the two actors that creates this slightly off-kilter sexual tension. It severely grosses me out that she’s later revealed to be his daughter, because it only gets worse as the series goes on. I believe the Uther-is-Morgana’s-father storyline is a really unsuccessful retcon.
What object would Bronwyn steal from this episode?
What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I bet you anything it was the mental telepathy thing. I bet she has all sorts of half-finished fanfics about that.
Check out Jessica Jarman’s take on the episode here
Check out Bronwyn Green’s take on the episode here
Or check out The Merlin Club drinking game, which, you know. I’m sober, so I can’t endorse it. But it’s still funny.
That’s it for this week. Join us on Monday as we watch S01E05, “Lancelot” at 8pm EST on the hashtag #MerlinClub.