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Merlin Club S02E02: “The Once and Future Queen” or, “Dickbag Redemption”

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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.

(This week’s alternate title comes from the file name Bronwyn Green used when she sent me a file of one of my book ideas. So I guess the hero needs work.)

So, here’s a quick rundown of episode two: Arthur throws a hissy fit because the totally unfair power imbalance between him and his men is leading to them not giving him enough of a challenge in skirmish. Probably due to fear of being beheaded for accidentally hurting their future king, but whatever, whatever. Meanwhile, there’s a really scary assassin after Arthur to revenge some dude’s son because Arthur accidentally killed him in a tournament or something. Arthur, Merlin, and Gwen try to pull of this plan where they dress up a random farm dude and pass him off as nobility (something that didn’t totally backfire in season one when they did that,” and Arthur will fight in his armor to prove himself in an anonymous way. Arthur stays at Gwen’s house and he’s basically the worst house guest alive, until Gwen snaps and tells him to stop being such a spoiled brat. There’s also a subplot about cleaning Gaius’s leech tank, which I’m assuming is there because it’s in the actor’s contract to get a certain amount of lines per episode or something, because it’s beyond unimportant. The assassin dude tries to kill Arthur at the tournament, Merlin kills the assassin dude, Arthur lets his stand-in take the glory for his achievement because he actual learns some fucking humility, Arthur and Gwen fall into a love that is literally hopeless.

If I had written this episode, I would have changed: Okay, Arthur doesn’t know about this specific assassination attempt, but he does know that people have tried to kill him at tournaments before. So why would he endanger someone in that way? Tournaments in Camelot mean one thing, and that’s an evil plot. No matter which way you slice it. Neither Arthur, nor Merlin, nor Gwen raise any objection to this stuff before enlisting this dude.

The thing I loved most about this episode: I am the only Arthur/Gwen shipper on the planet. Spare me your feeble Merthur-tinged arguments, for I shall not hear them. I love Gwen and Arthur, so this is one of my favorite episodes, because THIS!:


Also, I LIVE for Uther’s enthusiastic tournament clapping. And when I said I needed a .gif of said clapping, Jess was right there with that .gif, which I will use right now:

uther clappingYou have to hand it to Uther, at least he’s consistent. Because he’s exactly this psyched at every single tournament. And these are like, semi-monthly events at Camelot. So he’s either really into tournaments, or he has some crazy bad short term memory problems.

The thing I hated most about this episode: What is with all the freaking subplots?! Our main plot is the whole Prince and the Pauper thing going on. But aside from that, we also have:

  • Gwen and Arthur falling in love
  • An assassin
  • Merlin being stressed over the many hats he has to wear
  • Gaius needing his leech tank cleaned.

That is too fucking much going on in the episode. TOO MUCH!

Something I never noticed before: Everyone sits way too god damn far away from each other at dinner.



There are two of you at that table. Why not sit slightly closer so that you don’t have to awkwardly converse around those way too tall candle sticks? Also, what is up with the amount of fruit these people eat? This is dinner. This is one meal. Are you really going to eat six apples and five pears between the two of you? That’s madness!

Favorite Costume: Still Gwen’s blue/lavender/whatever dress. I love this dress so much. If I ever cosplay Gwen, this is the dress I will use. But this week, it’s showing up again because of her accessories:

Amazing hair.
Amazing hair.

Here is proof of some random headcanon I created: None. At this point, Morgana is starting to become window dressing to sit next to Uther and clap at tournaments. Next week is a Morgana-centric episode, though. Oh, and for those wondering what I’m going to do for headcanon after “The Crystal Cave,” let me assure you, I have some Sir Leon headcanon I can’t wait to share.

What object would Bronwyn steal from this episode? These way too tall candlesticks from the impossibly long dinner table:

candlesticks for bron


they will go well with her surplus of fruit, should she acquire one.

What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I’m assuming it’s any of the scenes in which Arthur shows what an utter twat he is to Merlin, and then one day Buttercup comes to realize that when Arthur says, “Polish my armor,” what he really means is, “I love you.”

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. Also, there’s a banner that shows you what I’m like when I’m not sober, which I never will be again, so enjoy the snapshot of an era gone by.

That’s it for this week. Join us on Monday as we watch S02E03, “” at 8pm EST on the hashtag #MerlinClub.


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  1. Sigh, I miss Merlin Club. I love this episode simply because of the Arthur and Gwen goodness (I may ship Merthur, but Arthur and Gwen are THE SHIP).

    That Uthur gif though… I don’t see Uthur, I see Neil applauding because Sophie is wearing something sexy. Because reasons. REASONS!

    May 2, 2014
  2. Omg, I have theories and head canon about Leon too!

    An you are not the only Arwen shipper, silly. Lots of people are; hell, I like the pairing. A lot. I just do not particularly like how the show develops their relationship. Could have done better and done the pairing more justice, IMO.

    May 2, 2014
  3. Suzy

    I feel the need to stress that all of the jousting in this and all other episodes is REAL! They had these fancy french horsemen who did all that stunt work, and all that was not stunt work. How awesome is that! DVD extras are cool.
    Also that kiss. I love how Gwen kept leaning into it after Arthur broke the kiss. And the look on Arthur’s face, look he wanted more but wasn’t sure why or of he should. That look made me fall for Bradley.

    May 2, 2014
    • Suzy

      Sorry that second sentence made no sense. What I was trying to say was they did the riding and it was not all stunts. What you see is dudes getting hit with lances and being drug around by their horses and stuff.

      May 2, 2014
    • TayciBear

      I think Angel and Bradley have great chemistry together.

      May 3, 2014
  4. I have, in fact, acquired a surplus of fruit for I’ve recently been to Costco. I’ve also acquired a surplus of kale salad. I’m sure I can make it work with the candlesticks.

    I did really love that kiss. *swoon*

    May 2, 2014
  5. Leeanne

    While I’m by no means computer illiterate I cannot seem to find anywhere here to send a private mail. Perhaps there is none, so I will just hope this is read. I was hoping to just speak through some stuff with Jenny regarding a book of hers I have just finished and for some reason cannot stop thinking about. Reading really can be the ultimate form of escapism sometimes but I fear in this case I’m a bit lost and can’t find my way back. I know you must be totally swamped but if you had a minute I would really appreciate an email? Many thanks, L x

    May 5, 2014
    • JennyTrout

      Hey there! I think the email thing is under Contact, but I honestly don’t remember and I feel like that’s something I probably should remember if I were being as responsible as I could be, LOL. Anyway, you (and anybody else) can email me at It might take a little bit to get a response depending on how nuts it is at my house, but I try to get back to everyone! 😀

      May 5, 2014
  6. Desolace

    I once gave up all hope and just started to ship EVERYTHING, so i’m not a little conflicted to love both Arthur/Gwen and Arthur/Merlin 🙂
    (It was really necessary after I got into the Avengers-fandom, because I ship everyone/everyone… *awkward laugh* )

    May 6, 2014
  7. Siobhan

    Just FYI: the drinking game link is broken, and keeps taking me to the Labyrinth of something episode, and I’m starting to think I’m supposed to drink every time a unicorn dies…

    May 8, 2014
  8. […] Uther’s tournament clap.       Bron’s Merlin Club: The Once and Future Queen Post Jen’s Merlin Club: The Once and Future Queen Post   Until the next episode – The Nightmare Begins – which we’ll be watching Monday, 5/5, at […]

    February 12, 2018
  9. Shades

    In fairness, the fact that Morgana is sitting beside Uther at the tournament in less a “I am his ward” and more “I am his lady” way might lend credence to your headcanon. Honestly I kinda was rooting for Arthur/Morgana before you spoiled their relation for me (I’m not there in the show yet), but you… may have sold me on arranged-marriage-Morgana/Uther, in the AU where the writers didn’t decide to make them related after all. Did you ever publish that fic you were writing?
    Gwen/Arthur was obviously going to become canon, but you can’t seriously be opposed to Gwen/Morgana. They would have been so very cute. Of course, Gwen/Merlin had potential at some point, and Morgana/Merlin will probably become ripe with enemies-to-lovers tension if Morgana goes the villain route the way she does in canon, so… the real OTP is a foursome where Morgana is actually Uther’s best friend’s kid.

    December 1, 2019

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