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Merlin Club S05E03: “The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon” or “Came Back Wrong”

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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.

So, here’s a quick rundown of episode three: Arthur saves a peasant from being burned at the stake, and she gives him a magic horn that brings Uther’s spirit back from beyond the grave. Which is, IMO, the shittiest way you could possibly thank someone for helping you not get burned at the stake.

If I had written this episode, I would have changed: The brutal destruction of Uther’s character arc. Uther was not a great guy, at all. He was the villain for three full seasons. But he ended his life sacrificing himself for his son. Why would he come back and try to kill the son he died for? We needed some line or explanation as to why this would be happening. The “Came Back Wrong” trope would have been super effective if they’d employed it here, but they didn’t. They were just like, “Remember this guy? Yeah, he was a dick. And now he’s an even bigger dick!”

The thing I loved most about this episode: The ghost!Uther effect blows my mind, because I can’t tell how they did it. I mean, I can think of all sorts of ways of how they could have done it, I just can’t figure out which way they used. Was it post-production? Was it a practical affect? It looks really eerie and slick, and they could have pulled it off a few different ways. I watch a lot, A LOT, of movies and television and I’m still on the fence as to how they achieved it.

I’m also really happy with the scene where Merlin tells Uther that he’s been using magic in Camelot the whole time. I bet that was super cathartic for Merlin.

The thing I hated most about this episode: The whole “Uther actually regressed, personality-wise, in death” thing.

Something I never noticed before: That the minute Uther comes back, so does the rampant fruit wasting. Oh, also that Arthur’s parents both died on his birthday. Well, technically Uther died a day after his birthday, but he was fatally wounded on his birthday. That’s pretty shitty.

Favorite Costume: 

I’m really excited to learn that you get new clothes when you die:


What object would Bronwyn steal from this episode? I struggled with this one this week, because I didn’t really see anything that caught my eye. And I feel like she has a problem with horns… I might be mistaken, but I thought like, antlers were okay, but horns and hooves freak her out. Is this the case, Bronwyn? Have I failed you?

What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? When Merlin’s first defense against suspicion is to say that he and Arthur were reading poetry to each other.

Check out Jessica Jarman’s take on the episode here

Check out Bronwyn Green’s take on the episode here



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  1. Hooves are way, way out. Nooooooo. Noooooo hooves. Horns…if they’re decorated all pretty like that one, I could get on board. But never would it touch my lips, because eww.

    February 6, 2015

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