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Merlin Club S03E01-02, “The Tears of Uther Pendragon” or “Good, he deserves it.”

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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 episodes one and two: Uther is sparing no expense, either money- or cost-of-life-wise to find Morgana. When Arthur brings her back, Morgana swears she’s seen the light, and she knows that her sister is evil. But she’s totally lying. She’s working with her sister Morgause to bring an end to Camelot. Morgause is teaming up with King Cenred, of a nearby kingdom, to attack Camelot from the outside, while Morgana undermines it from within. She uses a mandrake root spell to torture Uther with ghostly visions of his past, that I guess prey upon his conscience, even though I’m not sure that’s possible because then he’d have to have one. While Uther is out of commission in a king way, Arthur has to prepare for the oncoming siege. Merlin discovers Morgana is behind Uther’s madness, and he spends some time chained up in a pit full of scorpions. Good thing he’s a dragon lord, because he can make the dragon come save him and fly him safely back to Camelot. Cenred’s army is on the march. Morgana, fully aware that Merlin and Gaius know she’s evil, just doesn’t give a fuck anymore and raises an army of skeletons to comically, clumsily fight while Morgause and Cenred attack from without. Merlin beats Morgana, though, and her spell is fucked and the skeletons die and Cenred retreats. Also, Morgana totally sucks at killing people, as we discover in this story.

If I had written this episode, I would have changed: I would have maybe toned down the creepy Uther/Morgana incest vibe, which hits a feverish peak during these episodes. Yes, I realize that I ship half-sisters. But somehow, that’s less disgusting to me.

Also, Mr. Jen suggests no one be buried with their swords anymore, to prevent further skeleton uprisings, which do seem to be a common thing here in Camelot, now that I think about it.

The thing I loved most about this episode: It’s nice to see Morgause doing something effective for a change. That’s not me being bitchy, but it just seems like all of her other plans had some horrible flaw in them. This one was pretty solid, until Cenred acts like a scared little baby man. If he hadn’t retreated, Camelot would have fallen. It wasn’t Morgause’s fault that Cenred didn’t realize that he would lose soldiers.

The thing I hated most about this episode: I’m sorry, are we supposed to feel sorry for Uther? Because I think the whole “being haunted by your dead wife/the kids you murdered” thing could have gone on until he jumped off something tall, and I would have been fine with it.

Something I never noticed before:  I figured out why Morgana’s smirk pisses me off so much. It’s because she smirks even when she’s alone. What’s the point of the smirk? Smirk at someone you’re in cahoots with, or smirk to  really dig it in to Merlin that he can’t stop you. But when you’re alone, what’s the point of the smirk? It’s self-congratulatory, Morgana. Don’t do that.

Favorite Costume: Uther in armor. Pardon me, I seem to need a whole new couch. This one is absolutely soaked. Unfortunately, I coudn’t seem to get a good screen cap of this costume. 🙁

Here is proof of some random headcanon I created: Please excuse the twenty page thesis I’m about to write here.

At this point, the writers know that Uther is Morgana’s dad. So why does this happen?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.03 PM


Uther looks up from Leon being boring. This is what he sees:

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.06 PM

Morgana walks to him, breathless, in her low cut gown:

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.17 PM


Thrilled, Uther comes toward her…


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.18 PM


And Morgana runs to him:

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.20 PM

And they meet and embrace:

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.23 PM

You know, like how fathers and daughters usually do, with romantic music and soft light filtering around them. And he also kisses her hands and gazes adoringly at her.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.29 PM


And he’s moved to tears, so she gently dries them.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.47.36 PM

And none of this could be interpreted in any other way than just a love a father has for his daughter, and a ward in a low-cut gown has for her guardian.

And this toast that Uther makes to Morgana:

Uther: “I would have searched the entire world, the seas, the skies, the stars, for that smile. To have it stolen from me was a like a blade to my heart. Morgana, there are no words. You mean more to me than you will ever know.”

Sure. That could have been something a father might say about his recently kidnapped-then-found-again daughter. Or it could be the start to a proposal.

As with everything else we’ve already seen between them, this is just super creepy. Everything about their relationship is creepy. I blame the writers, and I blame the directors who weren’t see this when the actors were in scenes together.

Of course, they might have seen and did it on purpose, as they seem to have done with the incesty vibes between Morgana and Morgause. But if it was planned from the get-go to throw us off the track, that’s disturbing and gross and so, so wrong. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually mind a generally incestish older man/younger woman dynamic. If it skeeves my out, you know it’s messed up.

What object would Bronwyn steal from this episode? 

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.57.57 PM

Morgana’s staff. She will take anything that looks like it could be a part of a magic tree. That’s the theme of her home decor.

What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? These episodes are so rife with playful antagonism, I could pick one of those. But I bet the one she liked most was when Merlin reassured Arthur that he would be a great king.

Check out Jessica Jarman’s take on the episode here

Check out Bronwyn Green’s take on the episode here

That’s it for this week. Join us on Monday as we watch S03E03, “Goblin’s Gold” at 8pm EST on the hashtag #MerlinClub.



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  1. It’s a pretty safe bet that, whenever you know a character isn’t looking at Morgana’s face, she’s gonna smirk.

    Maybe the smirk is her actual resting face, and she has to fight to conform to other expressions?

    July 25, 2014
  2. Suzy

    I think part of the skeevy-ness of the incest in this show is that is is clearly meant to be as family show. For some reason the incest on GoT doesn’t bother me nearly as much as on this show. It just seems misplaced.

    July 25, 2014
  3. YES! That whole Morgana returns scene. Not okay! Not even a little. I really hate that it was written this way.

    Also, look…just because I have branches instead of curtain rods… Never mind. I can’t even defend myself. Just hand over the damn staff already.

    July 28, 2014

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