Tuesday, 4 November 2008

TV Snark - Merlin: The Gates of Avalon OR Arthur Fails His Saving Throw

I'm late once again, sorry about that but I've been playing Fallout 3 instead of watching substandard television. I was going to post a parody recap of Merlin using Fallout 3 instead but then I realised that would take away important Fallout 3 time. So you'll just have to settle for my regular attempt at recap humour. Fallout 3.

The episode begins with Arthur floating serenely underwater. There's a big lamp behind him so we can see him in the murky depths. There's a young lady standing above him but she's not helping Arthur, she's watching him drown. It's at this point I take a screen capture and realise I've made her look like a National Socialist. Oops.

We cut to Morgana suddenly waking up and crying out "Arthur!" Either the sequence we've just seen was her dream or we've intruded upon a very private moment. Before that thought can settle in, it's time for the titles.

After the titles we join Arthur and Merlin out on the hunt for wildlife. Merlin bumbles about and spoils the hunt for Arthur. Fortunately for Arthur he soon gets to hunt the most deadly prey of all - no not the orangutan - Man!

A group of bandits are menacing this week's guest stars so Arthur kills all but one of them. He totally shoots a dude in the back with a crossbow and then stabs another guy. There's no blood because this is family television but I think this is the most convincing fight scene the show has produced so far. That's still not saying a lot though.

Arthur takes the father and daughter (Aulfric and Sophia) duo back to see Uther who then grants them hospitality after hearing a sob story about displaced nobility. Morgana asks Merlin about them as the daughter is the girl from Morgana's prophetic dream. Morgana is suspicious so she visits Gaius Meldrew who is busy setting fire to something in the name of SCIENCE. Gaius accidentally sets fire to his desk but at no point does he say, "I don't believe it!" Very disappointing. After this bout of comedy pyrotechnics, Morgana tells Gaius all about her psychic dream but he brushes her off with a sleeping draught. Gaius warns Morgana not to inform Uther of her dream because he'll probably go mental and burn her.

Meanwhile Aulfric (who by the way is Kenneth Cranham, you may recognise him from lots of stuff) visits the surviving mook from the earlier bandit encounter. Aulfric staged the mugging! Gasp! Aulfric then does what all villains do, he murders his mercenary minion with magic (try saying that five times fast).

The next day Arthur decides to take Sophia out for a walk. Arthur asks Merlin to cover for him with the king. Merlin is understandably reluctant as Uther will probably murder him for lying to him. We then get a "blink or you'll miss it" appearance by Gwen. Morgana confides in Gwen about her precognitive dream but Gwen doesn't really offer much advice. That's it, thanks for stopping by Gwen. Merlin lies to Uther and gets thrown in the stocks. I guess Uther was in a good mood.

Arthur's date doesn't go well as his psychotic guards wander into the forest and shoot at him and Sophia. Arthur isn't in the mood after almost being shot through the head so they head back, much to Sophia's disappointment.

Gaius hears of Arthur's date and becomes suspicious. He breaks into Aulfric's room and finds Aulfric's obviously magical staff. I mean come on, it's got a big crystal on the top and runes carved into it. It's the most stereotypically magical staff ever. I would think that Uther could sense stereotypical magic at 500 yards so he could burn it.

Morgana bumps into Sophia and tries to warn her off Arthur. Sophia has none of it however and meets up with her father to dump some 'evil plan' exposition on the audience. Morgana visits Arthur to warn him about Sophia but he acts like a big jerk so she gives up.

Arthur arranges another date with Sophia and Merlin lies for Arthur again and ends up in the stocks, again. Ho ho ho. Sophia lures Arthur into the forest and casts a spell on him using her evil red eyes. She uses magic to suggest that Arthur ask for her hand in marriage the next day. It's not going to be a subtle use of mind control is it? Asking for marriage out of the blue isn't normal behaviour for Arthur. He's usually more interested in killing things made of CGI.

Gaius is concerned about Arthur's date and exposits all over Merlin (ewww) about Morgana's ability and seers in general. Merlin is suspicious so he follows Aulfric out of Camelot and down to a small lake. Aulfric begins to talk to fairies that look like this:

Snicker. Anyway Aulfric wants to broker a deal that will get him back into Avalon and retake his immortality. The fairies are actually sidhe and they don't want him back though as he's a sidhe murderer. The sidhe will allow Sophia to return to Avalon if Aulfric sacrifices the soul of a prince. Conveniently they know someone called Arthur. In a moment of pure ham Aulfric begins to laugh maniacally. Mwahahahaha!

Merlin meets up with Gaius and they check their big book of monsters to look up the sidhe. The book doesn't offer any advice though. Usually it gives them the creature of the week's weakness but this time, nothing.

Arthur asks Uther for permission to marry Sophia. Uther laughs it off and threatens to cut off Aulfric and Sophia's heads to stop the wedding. Awesome. Uther encourages Arthur to go out and enjoy himself instead. I think Uther should be played by Brian Blessed because then his mood swings would be even more hilarious than they are now. Morgana almost tells Uther about her psychic dream but she decides not to. It probably wasn't the best time, I mean the man had just threatened to execute a father and daughter for no reason other than to stop a wedding.

Merlin confronts Arthur, Sophia and Aulfric and tries to break the enchantment with reason. Reason fails in the face of a magic staff though. Aulfric uses Magic Missile to shut Merlin up and knock him out.

Aulfric and Sophia take Arthur down to the lake to drown him...very...slowly. Merlin has enough time to recover consciousness and run into the forest after them. He eventually catches the evil couple and uses Sophia's staff to disintegrate Aulfric and then Sophia. I guess they won't be recurring villains. Merlin then completes the hero act by diving into the lake and fishing Arthur out. What a guy.

Merlin and Gaius tend to Arthur who recovers the next day. As Arthur's memory is foggy, Merlin claims that Arthur tried to elope with Sophia and he had to knock him out. Arthur believes this unlikely tale and Merlin takes the blame again when Uther asks why Arthur wasn't at his post that morning. Merlin is placed in the stocks again. Ho ho ho.

Morgana is suspicious of Gaius and Merlin after these events. Does she suspect Merlin's magical abilities? She wakes from another dream at the end of the episode but we don't find out what it is...


Why does this show not have room for two female characters? It seems that if one of the girls is in a storyline, the other must be placed in a cupboard and forgotten about. Still, it was nice to see more of Morgana even if she didn't really get to do all that much apart from look concerned and sleep.


Jon Evans said...

I was particularly impressed with their interpretation of the sidhe, proud noble warriors, six inches high with wings and stupid fangs. They ripped off the fairies from Labyrinth and the dialogue was fucking atrocious.

I really can't believe they managed to make this, it's an embarassment to the country. Never mind how rude Jonathan Ross is, stop paying the writers of this shite!

Rev-Views said...

At least it's not Bonekickers!

Aaron said...

Bonekickers was much worse than Merlin. Merlin is merely 'meh' television to me, it's stupid but not in the deeply stupid way Bonekickers was.