Positively medieval, in fact, which leads me wonkily into tonight's Merlin excursion.
Here are some thoughts on the rather literally named "Lancelot and Guinevere". Can you guess who this episode is about, viewers?
- Hey nonny, it's caption time again:
Merlin realizes that it's going to take more than a new novelty ear dildo to stop Arthur from mooning after Gwen.
- It's shallow of me to admit it, but I had a problem with this episode. I feared it when I saw the trailer, and lo, it came true. Namely, if you're going to hire pretty men to lure in the viewing public with their prettiness, you need to have them look pretty. Bringing back the lovely Lancelot is a theoretically very good thing, but all that good work goes for nought when you insist on a) covering him in lumpy chain mail (not even Arthur looks sexy in chain mail), b) smearing his face with muck, and c) constantly obscuring him with shadows, ironwork, cell bars or all of the above. Disappointing work, especially from a show with that usually has a firm grasp on the Aesthetically Pleasing.
Yes, someone failed to spot that the sexiness of El Lancerino did not lie in his sensitive-guy mitherings about nobility of heart and striving to better himself in an unfair and uncaring world (yeah, yeah, yadda-di-yadda), but in sexy linen shirts and lovely hair. While some of the ol' potential did shine through in the slow-mo sword fighting to a rousing orchestral backing track, it could have been so much more. After all, if you're filming a fight between two blokes, which one do you have shirtless and wearing a studded dog collar? Answer: the hottie. It's not rocket science, is it?
- James Cosmo does great mad-staring-eyes acting, doesn't he? I was also highly amused by the fact that despite his thuggish tendencies, Hengist did at least possess a concept of home entertainment, unlike Uther who prefers to sit alone in an empty throne room and brood into nothingness. In Hengist's living room, it's all dead animal upholstery, live two-boy cage-fighting and giant naked mole rats. Hey, it's a look, albeit a little on the messy side.
- Well done to the ladies for getting a bit of action in, albeit for about five minutes. I was suspicious about Morgana's plan to distract their captors by flashing her norks, but fortunately she got to flash her blade instead. What a shame that Gwen fell over, but I suppose if she'd kicked the kidnappers' butts and skipped away, there would have been no story.
- Still, they stick in a bit of something shippy for everyone, don't they. Gwen/Morgana, Uther/Morgana, Gaius/Merlin (PLATONICALLY THX). The lack of Lancelot/Merlin was disappointing, though, especially given that they were obviously sharing a bed last time around. And of course, in Arthur/Merlin land, we get Merlin being constantly sleepy, Arthur chucking water over him, rubbing each other with fruit (!), talking about their feelings (man), and of course, "You've still got me." Destiny and the Slash Dragon are still on your side, Merlin, even if mythology isn't.
- Poor Merlin, he's become the repository for everyone else's secrets this season: Morgana's magic, Arthur's love of Gwen. Whatever next, Uther's passion for crossdressing? Gaius's yearnings for Flossie the sheep? Do we even want to know? Would anyone really be surprised?
- So Gwen goes from two blokes to no bloke in the end, all because Lance is so bloody noble that he immediately quits the field in order to leave her with the arsehole who'll muck her around for decades, whinging that they can't go out with each other? Poor lass. While I did giggle at the bit where all the fighting is over and everyone is having a romantic sulk in the woods, it was as unsatisfying as keep-the-status-quo cop-out endings tend to be. If you ask me, Arthur and Lancelot should sort out their differences with a bout of hand-to-hand combat, preferably in some obscure warm-weather kingdom where wet-T-shirt swordfighting is the sport of choice. Gwen can sit on the judging panel and choose a winner based on who's got the most prominent talent. She'd enjoy that. And so would I...
- And in next week's episode.... nothing! The bloody Brazilian Grand Prix, that's what. But in two weeks, Uther fancies a troll. Well, throw in a few glasses of snakebite and we've all been there, eh Uther?