Here are some thoughts on Lamia:
- In a picturesque rustic village, peasants are being distracted from their marital canoodling by weird noises in the night. No, it's not Gwaine eating their fruit; it's something Mysterious (TM) that makes non-speaking extras fall over with strange looks on their faces. Umm, has anyone checked to make sure that it's really NOT Gwaine?
- Conveniently, a valiant village lady (a.k.a. the former Mrs Sean Bean) knows Gwen and turns up on her doorstep asking for help. "No probs, I'll get my boyfriend the king on to it," says Gwen. "After all, we need a storyline for this week. And preferably one that doesn't involve any risk of seeing Agravaine's nipples."
- Unfortunately, Gaius can't come out today because he's got to stay at home and mop the brows of some sweaty young men who are lying around the place looking helpless. What a bummer, eh? But here's an idea, let's send Merlin instead! After all, he's meant to be an apprentice physician, remember? Yep, all that time he spends wrestling Arthur in and out of his clothes is ENTIRELY for educational purposes. A close study of the human body is SO important in medicine.
- "Findings? Merlin can't find his own backside most of the time." - Ha! No need to worry, Arthur, I'm pretty sure he has a firm grip on the location of yours...
- Aww, Merlin gets a bit anxious about whether he can hack the responsibility of wielding the healing arts in a public place. Thank goodness that this is the cod-Middle Ages, and therefore medicine doesn't really require much other than a serious expression, a box of leeches and the ability to state the bleeding obvious.
- And so they sally forth: Merlin, the Lovely Knights and Gwen, who gets to ditch her corset for once this season and work a fetching pink poncho and impractically pale-coloured boots. Soon they arrive at the village of John and Mary, where people evidently can't afford fancy names because all the money has been spent on CGI mountains. The locals are a bit disappointed at the lack of Gaius but Merlin tries to win them over by using his Serious Voice (TM) and recommending a poultice of patchouli oil, presumably because the smell of hippies is better than the whiff of ripe peasant.
- Merlin is disturbed in the night by a strange noise. This time it really IS Gwaine, exercising his duty as the one knight who's allowed to go to the toilet. However, I suspect that when Gwaine says "Nature calls", what he really means is "I'm going outside to get my penis out, do you fancy coming along, Merlin?" Unfortunately Merlin's a bit preoccupied this time, but they do manage a little flirt in the night, which is nice.
- Who's kicking up a fuss in the woods? Why, it's another crowd of bandits from Central Casting, bullying a raggedy girlie who is obviously the Villain of the Week, and who apparently has been dragged backwards through the same bush as Merlin's ex Freya. Time for the Lovely Knights to REPRESENT.
- Lamia finds it spookily easy to get snuggly with the knights, but when Merlin pops up, she screams the place down, and not just because she's a fangirl. In fact, she's more like a fanfic writer who wants to be the centre of attention and have all the hotties fall for her and her alone, while ignoring any women in the story and violently hating on the characters she has no time for. Hmm. Is this metafictional allegory, or sheer snake-eyed coincidence? You decide, viewers.
- Back in Camelot, the sweating sickness has all but passed, so Arthur, Gaius and Agravaine decide to ride off in search of the plot, just in case any interesting sweatiness is happening elsewhere.
- "Does anything strike you as odd about these bodies?" asks Arthur. Yes, they're all wearing matching purple scarves. We might not know what killed them, but we can make a good guess at what anachronistic football team they support. I'd plump for Italian side ACF Fiorentina, or maybe the brilliantly named Belgian team Beerschot.
- Meanwhile, Lamia stands twiddling her hair while Leon and Gwaine homoerotically scrap around her. Results of the match: Gwaine still has the best hair (of course), but Leon does get his shirt off (or half of it, anyway), so on points that's probably a draw.
- "Look at her, she's just a girl. How could she affect them this way?" - I think we can call FORESHADOWING on this one. Because blokes never knock seven bells out of each other over Gwen, do they? Err... except for in next week's trailer...
- In the woods, Elyan falls victim to Lamia's reptilian charms. Or maybe he just passed out in shock at becoming the first of the Lovely Knights to get some on-screen lip-lock action? Or maybe he's just faking it in order to get romantically carried away by Leon and Percival? It's hard to tell.
- Wardrobe WTF time. Possibly out of annoyance at his lack of involvement in the plot this week, Agravaine takes it upon himself to bring an evil change of clothes with him when he goes out! Suddenly the boring chain mail and red cloak disappear, and he's decked out in an outfit from the Severus Snape Boutique for Sneaky Gentlemen, ideal when you're giving misleading advice and unsubtly stomping on tell-tale hoofprints. But it's no use. Next week, watch in wonder as Agravaine grows a huge moustache and twirls it regularly while practising his Evil Laugh (TM), and Arthur STILL doesn't notice that his uncle's a bad guy.
- "She's poisoned your minds and you can't see it!" - Isn't it refreshing to find that there's an actual REASON for lots of people behaving ridiculously this week? If Lamia was a regular viewer, she might well have decided to save her energy and just wait for the stupidity to occur naturally. But I suppose she's doing a decent job, if she can walk a bunch of hot men into a castle filled with the corpses of her dead ex-boyfriends and nobody thinks this is even remotely fishy.
- Nice to see Gwaine making good use of his frowny face this week. He also stomps on a crate in quite a threatening manner, but this makes Merlin sad, because he wants flirting with Gwaine to be happy fun time, not snarly macho nastiness time. Well, don't we all.
- "Why haven't you fallen under her spell?" - a very good point, Gwen. Tell us, why IS that, Merlin? And don't claim it's because Lamia is classist, because she whomped those peasants earlier, remember. "Umm.... it's because I'm
gay magiclucky." Good thinking, lad, that was totally convincing. For a moment there, it looked like Gwen was going to be allowed to stay clever for long enough to guess your secret.
- Feel the RAGE of Sir Leon when he catches Lamia snogging
his boyfriendPercival! Noooooooo!!! But Lamia beats him up with the aid of her snakey contact lenses. Good job Merlin turns up before Leon gets to feel the power of her snakey tongue too.
- After having a few weeks off, the CGI beast-makers get terribly overexcited to be back in work and have a field day with Lamia's true form. A cross between a woman and a snake? Nah, that's boring. Let's have a cross between an octopus and an elephant! OCTOPHANT!!! Coming soon to the Syfy Channel! Cannot be destroyed by even the toughest of polystyrene rocks!
- Fortunately Gwen hears the racket and sets off with a sword in hand to sort the whole thing out, with a classic slow-mo run-up and a yell of "Get away from him!" Hooray!
A thrilling scene from the forthcoming motion picture event, Clash of the Symbolic Phalluses.
- Alas, Gwen doesn't get the final stab of the day, because Arthur finishes off the beast from behind (nudge nudge). Still, she does win a big hug, so that's something. And even Merlin gets a pat on the arm and a backhanded compliment, which in Arthur terms is virtually a declaration of eternal love.
- In the village, all is exactly as it was before. (I mean, exactly the same. They use the same establishing shot and everything.) And happily, Gaius has a few more young men with moppable brows to attend to, in the form of the Lovely Knights. Arthur briefly embarrasses himself with a laddish comment to Merlin about the shame of being rescued by a woman, but fortunately, he makes up for it by telling Gwen how massively arousing it is when she charges into action, so we know where his heart (and his groin) really lie.
- And somewhere in a hovel not too far away, Morgana sits moping and wondering why no one called this week. Not even Agravaine, the lousy splitter. Boo hoo.
- In conclusion: surprisingly straight-faced and suffering a little from "Wait for the characters to catch up with what the audience already knows" syndrome, but quite good fun nonetheless. Not stellar, mind you, but some great moments for Gwen (about time!) and several characters showing evidence of coherent reasoning (will wonders never cease?) added up to a definite improvement on last week.
- Next week: Lancelot is back... in black (linen)! The swoon queue starts right here...