Some thoughts on The Witch's Quickening:
- Crikey, this show has a problem with sensible episode titles. This week's concept could probably be summed up as "Morgana Actually Does Something", but once it's been put through the Title-o-Matic machine, it comes out sounding more like a nasty skin disease.
- Alas, Sir Redshirt! Or should it be Redcloak? I could tell he was going to be killed as soon as he spoke, if only to prevent him stealing work from Sir Leon Regular-Speaking-Part.
- Unlike other famous fantasy locations I could mention, apparently you DO simply walk into Camelot. Mainly because the guards are so utterly useless.
- Merlin is woken by strange voices in his head. Did he eat too much cheese before bedtime again, or is it Gaius making use of his cheap-calls-after-dark tariff? Nope, it's actually Voldemort-style brain interference from Spooky Mordred Child. Fortunately Merlin is only forced to listen to the plot-relevant bit, and not to every single thought Mordred has about food, puppies, rude words, why ladies have bumpy chests, wanting to go to the toilet, and the continuing non-invention of the Playstation.
- In a fit of unexpected good sense, Morgana elects to wear the more discreet of her two cloaks for her nocturnal excursions, rather than the "Yoo-hoo guards! Here I am!" bright red one that she usually favours for secret missions. Could it be that she's learning something?
- The Crystal of Neahtid is the must-have accessory for every sorceror's living room this Christmas. It's a sort of cod-medieval iPod Nano, which shows YouTube trailers of your future and can also be used as an attractive paperweight. But considering the crystal's covetability, Uther doesn't take very good care of it. He stores it in an "impregnable" vault (= it has a lock on the door, whoop di doo), displayed on a big cushion that might as well have "valuable thingy, steal me!" embroidered on it. If he kept it inside a sock, it would be a lot harder for the casual burglar to find. Just a tip, Uther.
- Bloody hell, all the Camelot crew are in a bad mood this week. Firstly, Arthur and Merlin seem to have had a lover's tiff, probably because Merlin won't devote more than five minutes to
foreplaygiving Arthur a "taste sensation". Then Morgana snaps at Gwen, and the Slash Dragon is also in a stroppy and demanding mood. "When can I be set free? When? When?" he asks. Merlin patiently explains that this sort of important event needs to coincide with a big cliffhanger episode, and can't be just trotted out on any old Saturday night in case half the audience is watching X-Factor instead.
- For once, Morgana thinks she might get some love action with Alvarr, who is a sort of foxier version of David Thewlis. Little does she realize that he's got a bandit chick on the side who won't be happy about it. But given her backflipping skills later in the episode, she looks a pretty flexible lass, so keep your fingers crossed for a threesome, Morgana.
- Morgana tries to foil Arthur's mission with her Push-Up Bra of Distracting Bounciness. Its mystic attraction fails to work, which comes as a surprise to precisely no one. If only she'd gone for the loosely laced linen shirt option: that generally gets his attention.
When Arthur told Merlin to attack from the rear, this wasn't quite what he had in mind.
- Mordred swears that he will NEVER forgive Merlin for making him trip over a stupid sideways-pointing twig. How schoolyard of him. Let's hope Merlin vexes him even more at some point, because he's going to look pretty silly holding that as a grudge when he's 47.
- Arthur drops off to sleep and leaves Merlin with the tempting iCrystal full of illegally downloaded future knowledge. Despite his anxiety to avoid spoilers, Merlin just can't resist sneaking a peak at a trailer for next week. And what does he see? Dragon goes GRRR, Camelot goes BOOM, Merlin goes BAWWW. Oh. Is that it? Bah, that's barely a teaser.
- Much melodrama in the throne room as Morgana disowns Uther and he retaliates by... sending her to her room?? Call me a wet Guardian-reading liberal, but I think Uther needs to rethink his justice system to include some intermediate punishments between "you're grounded" and "you will be burned at the stake". He could start with confiscation of hair products: quite a lot of his household would find that very painful, I'm sure.
- Meanwhile, back in the basement, Merlin is terribly upset about the vague spoilers and the fact that his life seems to be turning into an episode of FlashForward (or even more worryingly, Paradox). Helpfully, Gaius tries to reassure him by explaining the Many Worlds theory (he's also been watching FlashForward, it would appear), and refrains from asking what's going to happen in the Doctor Who Christmas special.
- Down in the dungeons, Morgana slips something to the guards and hopes vainly that Alvarr will slip something to her at some future date. I fear you're setting yourself up for disappointment, dearie.
- Then Uther gets hardcore again and threatens a severe spanking for anyone who's naughty from now on. Morgana thinks "Bring it on" and gives him a Meaningful Look (TM). Then Merlin gives her a Meaningful Look (TM) in return. Meaningful Looks are what this episode has instead of action, it seems.
- The Slash Dragon uses the wireless hotline to Merlin's bedroom to yell at him and tell him to GET ON WITH IT. But whoops, we've run out of time.
- In conclusion: a meandering and strangely anticlimactic instalment with most of the usual wit and sparkle missing in action. Still, it's clearly building up to some Big Season-Ending Plotty Stuff, so let's hope there's some pay-off later, 'cause there certainly wasn't much this week.
- Next week: it's Morgause and her Synchronized Dark Knights of Doom! Plenty of promise there, thank goodness...