So here are some thoughts on The Sins of the Father, beginning with a silly screencap bonus.
Basically, was there anyone watching this particular scene who did not automatically hear this subtext in their heads?
- And now, on with the rest of this week's plot. Look, everyone, it's a woman in armour and she's tossing gauntlets around and being all bad-ass! And yet she still has lovely shampoo-advert hair and a load of eyeliner. Everyone is hugely confused by this development, but fortunately, Geoffrey of Bulletbaxter is on hand to say that girls ARE allowed to kick asses in the fake Middle Ages and there's nothing he can do to stop it. Clearly he admires a lass in tight breeches, that Geoffrey.
- So, can people just wander into Camelot off the streets, challenge the Crown Prince to a duel and then get shown to a nice room with clean bedlinen and access to anachronistic hair products? Well, that's a neat idea for a cheap weekend break, isn't it? And you can always cancel the duel the next day if you don't fancy it.
- "It's not in him to withdraw." - We won't examine what is or isn't in Arthur, let alone what Merlin knows about his approach to withdrawal. I'm sure you can imagine it for yourselves.
- Needless to say, Arthur does not take kindly to having his butt publically kicked by a girl with a big shiny phallic symbol, especially one that claims to know his mum. Merlin seemed to be quite entertained by it, though, although maybe that was just residual joy from bending Arthur over the tabletop and prising off his armour plating.
- Instead of waking up in a squealing tizzy, this week Morgana get to wake up NOT in a squealing tizzy. Does this count as character development? Also, for a moment it looked like she was developing a major girl crush on Morgause, but no! They are related, so all fanfics must be postponed. (The sound you hear is Gwen breathing a sign of Sapphic relief.)
- Many laughs at Merlin's rope trick. I shall refrain from asking WHY he happens to know a spell that apparently means "come over here and get into my trousers".
- "Are you sure you're strong enough to hold me?" - Oh Arthur, I bet you say that every night. And to every knight, too.
- Quick note to the writers: contrary to what you might believe, it IS possible to have too many horse manure jokes in one series. I reckon you're already over your limit, guys.
- Sweet to see Arthur and Merlin bonding over their mutual loss of a parent. Amusing as they are as a comedy double act, I really love seeing them find common ground.
- Hmm, I am somewhat unclear about Morgause's history, although I believe that's deliberate. She's Morgana's half-sister, but do they have the same dad or the same mum? What were the circumstances of Morgause's birth and why did Gaius give her away to high priestesses? I guess these things might be revealed if (or more likely, when) she comes back. The other mystery is why they were so unimaginative with girl's names in that family. We've had Morgana and Morgause: I'm picturing a herd of cousins called Morgella, Morgaretta, Morgensternia, Morganatica, Morganstanley...
- In their continuing exploration of cheap daytrips within the Camelot area, Arthur and Merlin take a leisurely ride to the Lake of Surprising Shallowness, where specially trained horses will lead the way and direct you to the nearest toilets. Please note that there's a fee of two groats per person if you want to go under the waterfall, and you'll need to bring your own towel. Go now before the tourist hordes descend!
- Rather like Nimueh, Morgause lives in a picturesque ruin in the middle of nowhere, yet which magically has access to dainty hair accessories and scented candles and dry cleaners who are good with delicate fabrics. Sorcery is so handy for little household tasks, isn't it?
- "Surely not everyone who practises magic can be evil?" - Oh no, is that the sound of Merlin getting his hopes up that Arthur can really
love himaccept his mystical ways after all? Don't do it, sweetheart, it will never last until the end of the episode!
- Arthur's mum was well cast for family resemblance, at least: her eyes look just like his.
- And then it's a massive scene with full thespian guns blazing. Uther does Acting (TM)! And so does Arthur, who can sound frighteningly grown-up when he wants to. And so does Merlin, who sees that the two of them have dual-handedly changed the entire status quo of the show and need to be put back on track immediately, for the sake of future plotlines. Tragically, of course, this involves Merlin having to lie, manipulate, and most sadly of all, give up his hard-won chance of being honest with Arthur. And aww, my heart almost broke at the sight of his little face falling when Arthur announced that he'd decided that anti-magic fascism was the way forward after all.
- Oh no, Morgause is watching a trailer on her medieval iPlayer crystal and she is NOT HAPPY! She wants none of this happy father-and-son bonding stuff, she wants ANGST ANGST ANGST. Well, it looks like she might well be back to cause some. Good.
- Overall, a slightly odd story this week, in that I had no idea where it was going when it began, but it certainly led to some interesting places. It's only a shame that the tease of "this revelation will change everything!" was whipped away at the last minute, but the way Merlin had to metaphorically shoot himself in the foot seemed suitably bittersweet and painful. I'm not usually fond of Emilia Fox but she was actually pretty good as Morgause, especially when in sword-fighting mode, so I'm keen to see her return. Hopefully it will happen at the end of a series and the writers will dare to give us a bit of permanent change to sink our teeth into. Come on, guys. We love this stuff, but we can handle a little more.
- Next week: an unexpected outbreak of rampant heterosexuality! But don't worry, viewers, I'm sure it won't last...