Wednesday, 3 December 2008
TV Snark - Merlin: The Labyrinth of Gedref OR The Labyrinth That's More of a Hedge Maze
Yeah, yeah, I'm late. Let's just get started shall we?
The episode begins in a forest, Arthur and some nameless extras pad through the forest in search of hunting trophies. Merlin tags along and is used to flush an unknown creature out of the undergrowth. As usual Merlin complains about the orders given to him by his master and prince, presumably because he still hasn’t grasped the whole feudalism concept.
The creature turns out to be a unicorn with an emo fringe, check it out:
If the unicorn dyed its fringe black and wore a checkered tie it could start its own band, ‘Blood All Over My Girlfriend’ or ‘Mythical Sadness’ perhaps?
Arthur ends the emo unicorn’s life with a crossbow bolt, despite Merlin’s protests. A stereotypical wizard briefly appears behind Arthur but disappears before anyone but Merlin sees him. Arthur is proud of his kill as he descends into the dickish behaviour he exhibited at the beginning of the series. This seems to be an episode that would have been better served appearing earlier in the show’s run, especially as it came a week after Merlin and Arthur declared themselves to be BFF after defending Merlin’s home village.
Arthur takes the unicorn’s horn back to Camelot to show off to Uther who is suitably impressed. Gaius Meldrew isn't impressed though as he's read the unicorn entry in his Dungeon Master's Guide and says that a curse is usually forced on those who kill a unicorn. Then the kingdom’s crops fail overnight. Oh no, come-uppance!
Uther says it's food rationing time and the citizens of Camelot promptly go batshit and start stealing looting. Because there's been no clear indication of the passage of time, it seems that the citizens start panicking about five minutes after the crops fail. Uther loves this as it gives him an excuse to execute people. Gwen makes a token appearance so she can operate the water pump to show that the water has been turned to sand. She also mentions that Arthur's great, so there's the seeds of the Gwen and Arthur romance. Merlin tries to use his magic to turn sand into water but he can't do it because this would be a pretty short episode otherwise.
Arthur and Merlin are wandering the streets at night when they see the stereotypical wizard appear in a doorway. After some tedious padding - sorry, frantic searching for the magic, teleporting wizard, he appears before them. His name is Anhora and he's the keeper of the unicorns. I guess he's not very good at his job seeing as he didn't stop Arthur from killing one of his charges. Anhora informs Arthur that the land is cursed because of his equine-icide. Arthur tries to arrest Anhora (because he's an idiot) but Anhora teleports away again.
Then there's a comedy scene that makes no sense. Gaius makes tea out of Merlin's bath water. What? Why is he having a bath during a drought?! Surely the water wasted in bathing could have been used to, hmmmm... let me see, STAY ALIVE?!
Later that night Merlin has been assigned to watch over the food stores, I assume because now he's been promoted to guard duty. Arthur catches him sleeping and tells him off but then they hear the sound of an intruder. It turns out to be a peasant called Evan who has an extremely bizarre accent. I don't know what it's supposed to be, Danish? Whatever it is, Evan manages to spin a story about stealing food to feed his children. Arthur decides to let him go with the grain because sometimes he's a nice guy but a bit of an idiot. Evan the mysterious peasant tells Arthur that mercy will be its own reward.
The next morning the water returns to Camelot. Merlin explains to Arthur that his merciful actions toward the peasant caused the water to come back. Merlin then convinces Arthur to wander back into the forest and look for Anhora. Before they set off, there's time for Merlin to catch a rat and feed it to Arthur in a stew and then they feed it to Morgana. Ho ho ho!
Arthur and Merlin wander the forest looking for Anhora and Arthur stumbles across Evan the strangely accented peasant. Evan doesn't have a family, he has a big stash of food! He was a dirty liar after all. Evan insults Arthur and declares him an unworthy heir. Arthur gets wound up by the taunting and challenges Evan to a duel. Arthur wins but Evan disappears before he can land the killing blow. Anhora appears and informs Arthur that he has failed the test. The test was pride, for those of you not paying attention.
Arthur has made the curse worse as the remaining food stores turn to dust. Uther decides to stop distributing food to the peasants as he wants to keep his army fed. I'm sure his neighbours will be desperate to conquer a land in the middle of a famine. Arthur refuses to give the order to stop distributing the food and Uther replies by blaming Arthur for not catching and killing the sorcerer. That Uther, he's all about the killing and being evil for no good reason.
Merlin visits Anhora in the forest and begs him to give Arthur another chance at passing the curse removal test. Anhora agrees to give Arthur a final test but failure will result in death. Dun, dun, dun....
Arthur seizes the chance to take the test again and rides once more into the forest (they're getting their money's worth out of that location this week). Arthur finds a giant hedge maze in the countryside. Strange that no-one's mentioned that place before, it's massive.
Arthur steps into the rather unimpressive on close inspection maze and wanders around a bit. Merlin goes in after him but gets captured by Anhora and his magic vines. Arthur eventually finds his way out of the not very perilous maze to find a beach with a table and two goblets.
Anhora informs Arthur that one of the cups contains poison and the other contains a harmless liquid (which could be anything, orange juice, milkshake, monkey semen). Arthur and Merlin must drink one of the goblets, one will live, the other will die! It takes the bickering couple ages to deduce that they can simply pour the contents of both goblets into one so that only one of them has to drink. Arthur insists on drinking the mixture of poison and the 'harmless' liquid and downs it in one.
Arthur collapses onto the ground - he's dead! Oh well, guess this series is over. I'd like to thank you for reading my recaps and - Oh, wait. Arthur is merely sleeping, it seems that the harmless liquid combined with the poison to make a sleeping draught. Arthur's always being drugged into unconsciousness, there's probably some horrible slash fiction out there about it. *shudder*
So Arthur passed the test, the land is restored, everyone can eat again, and the emo unicorn comes back to life. Emo unicorn probably doesn't appreciate that though, because well, he's emo. Hurrah for Arthur. The lesson is that it's okay to kill a rare creature as long as you're eventually sorry about it and not to worry because it'll magically resurrect itself anyway.
Next episode - Everybody hates Uther.