stbacchus (stbacchus) wrote,

Merlin 4x10 - "A Herald of the New Age"

Mm, the feelings, they are mixed. Also, this is the second episode this season with no women at all. I'm starting to think there's a queen bee somewhere hatching knights out of eggs. That would explain a lot, really.


On the one hand, I love me some past-haunting-the-present, vengeful-spirits-of-the-wronged-dead ghost stories. This episode was a good'un, as far as that goes. I especially liked how they laid off the heavy score for once and let the images speak for themselves. Arthur admitting his fault, his heartfelt apology and promise to do better, and the spirit's forgiveness, all wonderful. Heck, there were even a couple nods to continuity - Gwaine has a sister, apparently?

On the other hand, I can't help feeling like we've seen all this before. Camelot's Greatest Hits! With such favorites as:
  1. The King Must Die (This Time for Sure)
  2. Druid Kids are for Drowning
  3. Arthur is a Clotpole/Merlin is a Punching Bag
  4. Drink it All, Sometimes the Poison's in the Bottom
  5. The Dungeons (Just Walk Out)
  6. Where the White Women at?
And that timeless classic:
  1. Everything is Uther's Fault Forever
I enjoyed the horror aesthetic, but everything else was a bit ho-hum. And let's talk about Arthur's clotpoleness. He started out the series as a sincere clotpole, using Merlin as a training dummy, making him polish all the things, scrub the floors, muck the stables, and so on, just to be a clotpole. As Arthur and Merlin's friendship grew, Arthur started reserving the worst chores as punishments, often as a sign that things were back to normal. Occasionally he also uses chores to put Merlin in his place, but that's because he often allows Merlin more latitude than other servants. In this episode, I believe the point of Arthur's clotpoleness is that he is projecting his guilt onto Merlin. That would be thematically sound, anyway. But they botched it by having Arthur treat Merlin exactly the same way he did when he wasn't feeling guilty, just clotpoley. Ugh.

It was nice to see Elyan in the lead, but like Lancelot last week, it wasn't really him. :P to that. I think this series suffers from having short British-style seasons when they're trying to tell a long, American-style story. In theory, I love the idea that we'll have some episodes where the gang just goes and does King Arthur stuff, like finding the holy grail or whatever. In practice, I hate that those episodes waste time that should be used to tell the serial story. Every season feels like we're missing half the episodes, so it rankles me extra when they waste precious screentime on dumb stuff like Arthur getting stew in his hair. Meanwhile, Elyan was on screen almost constantly in this episode, and we still don't know a damn thing about him. Or Percival. Or Gwaine. Or even Agravaine!

Oh, Agravaine. I like you, but you are not quite filling the Uther-shaped hole in my heart. So I picked up an old Buffy video game, and I'm off to slay some vamps!
Tags: merlin, merlin review

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