Poor old Colin's lost his job
Quick, get the Kleenex out
In case we need to sob…
So, accompanied by the traditional interruptions from members of my family, here are my thoughts on the last episode of Merlin EVER, The Diamond of the Day: Part Two. (I apologize for the lack of screencaps: my parents don't have Photoshop so you'll have to make do with the strange pictures in your heads.)
- "He didn't have a horse before!" said my mother as Merlin galloped off to the scene of the battle. It took me a few minutes to remember that he and Gwaine DID get to the cave on horses, originally, didn't they? They did the last bit on foot but were riding earlier, is that right?
- Anyway, the plain of Camlann is so full of shoving, fighting and screams of agony that I was reminded of doing last-minute Christmas shopping on Oxford Street. Fewer dragons, of course, but just as many nameless casualties.
- I was pleased to see Gwen and Gaius auditioning for the potential spin-off series Camelot ER: it's just like modern ER, but with more leeches and stabbing! It was also good to see Gwen had switched to her action!outfit, rather than swanning about in an impractical frock like last week.
- But hark! Who's that standing badly superimposed on a hilltop, looking like a mid-70s prog rock album cover against a heavy metal sunset? Why, it's kick-ass Old!Merlin, able to wield bolts of lightning, lay waste to growling Saxon hordes and tell cheap CGI dragons to sod off with a single yell! "Who is that
maskedmankily-bearded man?" asks Gwen in awe. "He's totally my BFF," says Gaius proudly. Bless.
- OMG, it's Arthur's fateful/fatal stab-off with Mordred! Adios Mordy dear: you were wasted for much of the series but you always gave great face, even in your startled death throes. Here's hoping the BBC find you gainful employment elsewhere in future.
- OMG, Merlin's carrying Arthur from the battlefield! And then suddenly he's turned young again and has taken Arthur for a bromantic camping trip in the woods, because that's always been a surefire answer to any problem in this show. At this point, I fervently believed that stabbing Arthur early and letting him suffer over the course of the episode would SURELY mean that he survived in the end. I ought to have remembered that conveniently drawn-out deaths with weirdly specific parameters are a) not a sign of Quality Drama and b) rarely end well. Drat.
- OMG, it's tearful Magic Reveal time! Now, we knew this was coming at some point due to last week's teaser, but I notice that the sound clip in the teaser was a much calmer, less sob-filled reading of the words than the one that we heard here. Cunning editing people, hiding that nasty surprise up their sleeves.
- I'll stop saying OMG now, but suffice to say that the Arthur/Merlin scenes were painful in their helplessness and yet rather lovely in their warmth and faith in friendship. It hurts Arthur to think he doesn't know Merlin as well as he thought, but gradually he realizes that he DOES know Merlin in all the ways that count. Awww. My boys. My embracing, face-pulling, joking-in-the-face-of-disaster boys. I think I'll miss you most of all.
- I'll also miss Bradley James's endlessly expressive mug. His WTF expression when Gaius told him that Merlin could be the "greatest sorceror ever to walk the earth" was probably up there in his Top Ten Faces of All Time.
- Morgana, meanwhile, I will not miss, but her zombie-Bellatrix-has-a-really-bad-hair-d
ay act was relatively entertaining by her own low standards. "Do you think she's upset?" asked my mother mildly as Morgana squealed at her henchpersons and they awkwardly shuffled their feet and made plans to sign on with a better class of evil recruitment agency in the New Year.
- Gwaine's Evil Girlfriend getting her comeuppance was… well, it was a thing that happened. I suppose it gave Gwaine a chance to show he can do "eyes shining with tears of loneliness" as well as the next pretty boy. Always good to show you have range, especially when you'll be needing new employment soon.
- My absolutely favourite bit of this episode was Percival unleashing his Big Guns in the most literal sense. Grrrr! His biceps are forces of nature and his face-pulling was utterly hilarious. I couldn't help but wonder if he makes the same expressions at any other occasions in his life. Like, um, when he's doing a Sudoku, maybe. Ahem.
- Aww, alas poor Gwaine! At least he gets Percival's biceps to himself in his dying moments. I'm afraid I was too full of Merlin/Arthur bromance feelings to be terribly sad at this point. (And in random other news, my parents' computer has auto-correct switched on and wants to change "bromance" to "bromine", rather amusingly. I don't think that putting bromide in their tea could stop the slashers now…)
- "No mortal blade can kill me." says Morgana, finally explaining how she survived Mordred's stab-fest earlier in the season. Unfortunately, however, she forgot to wear her dragon-forged corset today and thus gets thoroughly Excaliburred. Whoops. Fashion mistakes CAN kill, kids.
- So, that day, Merlin was amazed to discover that when Arthur said "Thank you", what he meant was "I love you". Treasure this moment, viewers, because this is about as good as this episode's going to get. In fact, why not switch off now and imagine that an anachronistic Sidhe ambulance turned up and cured Arthur's flesh wound, and they all lived happily ever after? Go on, you'll probably have a much merrier Christmas that way.
- Oh, so you didn't take the warning and kept watching? Darn, so did I, and thus had to watch Arthur dying in Merlin's arms, and then being shuttled to the edge of Avalon by the Great Dragon, who cuts all hope of a happy ending dead as Merlin stands around awkwardly supporting Arthur's body like a muscular sack of metal-clad spuds. "Take his armour off, he'd be easier to carry!" suggested my mother, but nobody was listening. Drat.
- "The story we have been a part of will live long in the lives of men…" says Kilgarrah, who has picked a particularly strange time to stop being the Slash Dragon and start being the Postmodern Self-Referential Dragon. He omits to mention that it will live even longer as a source of fangirl RAGE™, FEELS™ and general heartbreak and annoyance. Come to think of it: maybe that's the part he's been looking forward to the most, scaly shit-stirrer that he is. Last of the Great Dragons, first of the Massive Trolls!
- So we've had one of Bradley's greatest faces; now it's time for Colin's greatest tears ever. There aren't enough awws in the world for this moment; shame that my broken heart was shouted down by my sensible brain, which had begun to yell "Is that it? Is this the bloody ending? You can't end it here? You ARE going to end it here?? WHAT???"
- "If that's the end, that was crap," said my mother as Queen Gwen womanfully ascended the throne. Gwen, your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to reign over a country where such ridiculous plot developments are never allowed to happen again. Do you think that's something you can do?
- And the modern-day epilogue? Daft beyond belief, and yet somehow fitting. And hey, I suppose it's a place to start a gazillion reunion fix-it stories…
- A handful of the billion remaining plotholes: Why didn't Merlin call a Dragoncab earlier in the story? And when he finally did, why didn't the Dragon drop them off on the island? (I didn't hear Kilgarrah muttering "I'm not going south of the lake on Christmas Eve, mate" in mid-flight, did you?) What crazy adventures were had by Queen Gwen and her Slightly Diminished But Nonetheless Still Quite Muscular Knights of the Round Table? Did Merlin ever go back to Camelot, or did he just spend 900 years walking round and round that lake, waiting for something to happen? Perhaps we'll never know.
- Regular readers may know that I've been Ms Optimism this series, fervently clinging to the hope that everything would turn out happily even when the melodramatic skies were darkest and the pessimists were grumbling loudly in the wings. And was I correct? No, I bloody wasn't. Darn. Oh well, you televisually win some, you televisually lose some. Merlin-the-show is over, and I shall mourn its passing, and remember only the
dramatic brillianceATTRACTIVE AND GRATUITOUSLY SHIRTLESS MEN. Yes. Now THAT is a legacy to be proud of.
- Goodbye, Merlin-the-show. You were never great drama, but you entertained me far more than I could ever have imagined five years ago. I'll miss you and I'll miss writing these reviews. Sniffle.
- And to YOU, faithful readers, I must say thanks for reading and commenting and lurking and impatiently reloading and everything else that you've done! Somehow I managed to keep churning out the bad jokes, convoluted sentences and shameless double entendres, and your nice words and encouragement played a MASSIVE part in that. I hope I'll find other things to blog about in future, and that you'll be entertained by some of them. Avanti!
Yours sincerely and bedecked with a crown of anachronistic vegetables,
Your Once and Future Reviewer