Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

We didn't start the fires

The penultimate Merlin episode of the season, everybody. I apologize for the lack of gratuitous screencaps, since iPlayer is refusing to work for me tonight, but since Arthur kept his shirt on this week, you're not missing too much.

So, here are some thoughts on The Fires of Idirsholas:

  • Yep, this is another in the Merlin tradition of awkwardly named episodes, being apparently based on pulling letters randomly from a Scrabble box, or perhaps an inability to spell the name of that bloke out of The Wire. It might have made more sense to name it after the Knights of Medhir, although part of my brain really wanted to call them the Knights of Madeira, M'dear.

  • Morgause reawakens a long-dead meeting of the local Doctor Doom Appreciation Society, and asks them if they fancy taking part in a little Lord of the Rings re-enactment that she's planning. They don't exactly squeal with excitement about the prospect (or about anything, really), but they tag along since it beats standing around in a corridor and letting spiders use you as a holiday home.

  • Despite claiming to disown Uther last week, Morgana is still loafing about Camelot, but this week has decided to express her rebellion with the time-honoured tradition of wearing too much eyeliner. Her disillusion is then conveniently exploited by Morgause, who sends her a message using Ye Olde version of Twitter - personalized messages in an ornate silver casket delivered direct to YOUR window ledge (140 characters or less, fancy illuminations cost extra). If Morgause can make #utherfail a trending topic, her evil work will be done.

  • Just a tip, Morgause, but you may want to tell Morgana you're her half-sister at some point. There she is, getting all excited about your little presents and face-touching interludes in the woods, and it's only going to lead to disappointment later. This IS a family show, remember.

  • This episode has a lot of mystic mumbling of spells in it, even by Merlin standards. I was particularly enchanted by the one Morgause used to put the mojo on Morgana, which sounded for all the world like "A cannon slips Wiltshire deer" (whatever that means).

  • Uther falls sick, but it's okay because Sir Leon Regular-Speaking-Part is coincidentally hanging around in the king's bedroom and is able to report to Gaius regarding Uther's early morning welfare. Oh really, Sir Leon? Clearly you aren't the only one getting the benefit of your regular part...

  • Arthur gets so excited by Merlin's first battle wound that he rips his own clothes off on the spot. Rather disappointingly, it's just a little bit to make a bandage, but at least he ties it on prettily.

  • Back in Camelot, everyone's fallen asleep, ostensibly due to dark magic but possibly due merely to the tedium when Merlin and Arthur aren't around. To their credit and our disappointment, the boys' first thought when they discover this is "We must save the king" and not "Let's shag in the throne room while nobody's watching".

  • Meanwhile outside, the Lord of the Rings re-enactment is going quite well, but Morgause really ought to tell the Knights to keep their heavy breathing under control -- not only is it not very covert, but it adds a Darth Vaderish air to proceedings that slightly dents the period authenticity (hem hem).

  • Grinning!Gaius was quite possibly the scariest moment of this series so far. It's a shame there wasn't a moment at the end with him quietly wondering why he had cramp in his cheeks.

  • Just because everyone else is unconscious doesn't mean there's no fun to be had in Camelot, but the extensive game of let's-drag-Uther-around did wear rather thin after a while (as did the seat of Uther's pants, I imagine). Still, Arthur was amusingly startled at Merlin's eagerness to dress Uther up as a woman: even when you're two sides of the same coin, there IS such a thing as too much information.

  • What do we do in Camelot when we hit a plot impasse? Yep, we go down to the basement to see the Slash Dragon. Unfortunately he's in a bad mood this week, complaining about the repetitive dialogue in his scenes, engaging in some gratuitous Morgana-bashing, and claiming that Merlin and Arthur will never find their true homoerotic destiny unless Morgana DIES DIES DIES. (Oddly, the Dragon never objects to Gwen in the same way, but maybe he ships her with Lancelot.)

  • Despite Morgana's apparent centrality to this week's plot, she mainly hangs around rather helplessly, not knowing what's going on, and having other people do stuff to her without her knowledge. Frankly, I'd much rather she had some power and will of her own, but will this ever happen? As it is, I half expected Arthur to suggest that the reason she was the only one still awake was that she'd bored everyone else to sleep.

  • Arthur and Merlin's half-asleep farewells to each other were kind of cute, although the blotchy face make-up was not the most flattering look on either of them.

  • There were several moments in this episode when I was almost positive that Merlin was going to reveal his magic, either to Morgana or (vaguely possibly maybe) to Arthur, but of course he didn't. And given Morgause's "who the heck are you?" reaction at the end, any Merlin-based fightback at the end is going to come as a surprise to her, too.

  • Morgause sweeps Morgana away in her mini tornado/TARDIS, presumably to her nice ruined castle full of fairy lights and sparkly dresses. Hopefully she'll teach her that it is in fact possible to use magic AND make the set look pretty at the same time (look at Merlin, he manages).

  • After all that, what a shame that Uther didn't wake up in a dress. Nor does he ask any questions about all the friction burns he's now got, but perhaps Sir Leon will raise the topic in his chambers tonight, hem hem...

  • "I fear that, unlike you, Morgana chose not to use her gift for good." - Hmm, the problem with this is that Morgana hasn't chosen to use her gift: in fact, she hasn't used it at ALL, for anything. She hasn't joined the dark side: she's just had a bit of a sulk and been passively pushed into a ditch marked "EVIL".

  • At last, Merlin wields his phallic symbol and frees the Slash Dragon. I fear the Dragon is now going to turn into a huge diva, demanding his own spin-off show, an enormous dressing room, Cristal champagne by the barrel and an unending supply of fresh cows with all the brown ones taken out.

  • In conclusion: wins some points for continuity, both in bringing back Morgause and exploiting Morgana's disgruntlement, but loses most of them for not giving either of them anything much to do. Arthur and Merlin fared better, but Merlin really needs to stop allowing his career to be controlled by some giant reptile with a shedload of ill-defined grudges. Fortunately, it seems he may be about to learn that lesson in the non-too-distant future.

  • Next week: Drama! Tears! A mystery hairy man! And most importantly, the last of the series (at least, until next year)! How will we cope? I shall have to replenish my gin and tonic supplies and try to manage as best I can...
Tags: merlin
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