“Merlin” Recap: “Arthur’s Bane Part 1″

Previously on Merlin, the series, realizing it will soon be entering its last season, quickly ticked off the mythical legends of Tristan and Isolde, the Sword in the Stone, and a Congress able to actually make a decision on anything (now that’s really fantasy fiction!), Arthur had yet another crisis in confidence (I’m sorry, but if I had Bradley James’ body my crises would be more likely to involve public nudity than waning confidence). Nonetheless, he rallied in time to defeat Morgana (again) who had invaded the kingdom (again) and restored Camelot (again) to its usual air of peace and prosperity (again, until next week.) Arthur married Guinevere/Gwen (which means Kate Middleton will be the second commoner to be Queen of England) and an injured Morgana was saved by being breathed on by a deformed hairless Chihuahua (funny, when my dog breathes on me all I get is to smell his Puppy Chow breath.) Finally, Merlin was left pretty much where he started: in brown corduroy and fabulous Ugg boots and a red ascot that always, without fail, makes me think of Freddy Jones from Scooby Doo

Three years later, Camelot is enjoying a brief respite from Morgana’s wily ways, so apparently Arthur has done little during this time except practice his continuous flirty banter with Merlin (Arthur to Merlin: “Is there anything you are capable of doing?” Merlin to Arthur: “Putting up with you.” Oh, you silly boys…) But, just in time for the season premiere, a crisis has arisen: it seems Gwaine (and not Gawain, for whatever reason,) still more goofus than gallant, something Dame Ragnell would approve of (and if you get that referent you really are my kind of nerd,) has gone missing with several of Camelot’s finest warriors in the frozen wastelands of the north. Then again, judging by the wintry, wolf-strewn, barren landscape Gwaine is struggling through, he could just be lost in my backyard.

But it appears that Morgana is back and up to her wicked ways, which apparently included moving to the North Pole, where she cooked and ate half of Santa’s reindeer. (I have a recipe for Rudolph chili that can make anyone magically fly…) I half expect to the see the Winter Warlock running around scaring people until Merlin gives him a choo-choo train. Seriously, though, Morgana has taken over an old fort and has a mine full of hunky elves searching for some kind of key. Without it, she’ll never get Arthur’s diary open, and if she can’t read Arthur’s deepest, darkest secrets, she may never know why his floppy mop of blond hair always looks so shiny and fresh, even in the darkest of ages…

The Knights of the Round Table gather and Arthur decides that he will go on a quest to save his men. Seriously, am I the only one who has noticed how many knights Arthur Pendragon goes through on a weekly basis? He goes through knights like I go through clean underwear on a roller coaster. I think the only job more dangerous than being a knight of Camelot is being Lindsay Lohan’s personal assistant. (I shudder to imagine the horrors that person has experienced.)

Guinevere suggests the group approaches Morgana from the West, since apparently Morgana only believes there are three points on a compass, not four. This means they have to go through Queen Annis’ lands, but she probably won’t mind a large group of well-armed men romping through her woods—it’ll be just like the first day of deer season in my hometown, so as long as she wears a fluorescent orange farthingale, she’s all set. On the way Arthur and his knights find a small group of slaughtered villagers, and Merlin chances upon a Druid seer who presents him with a most horrifying vision. In the vision Merlin spies a great and terrible battle in which an emo-knight with One Direction hair slowly approaches Arthur. Merlin is terrified he’ll kill Arthur; personally, I’m worried emo-knight will break into a boy-band inspired forgettable pop song, because that’s what I watch Glee for. The vision ends and Merlin gets all broody and worried about Arthur.

Or, in other words, what happens in just about every episode of Merlin.

Merlin, worried about his love interest king, uses his “dragon talking” powers to summon the Dragon for an emergency therapy session. Seriously, I hope that poor dragon charges $75 per hour for these little encounters. Can you imagine flying halfway across England every time some nervous sorcerer gets worried over his favorite slab of blonde beefcake? And, by the way, I love Merlin’s “dragon talk” language—it’s like a cross between German and my dog choking on a chicken bone. The dragon tells Merlin it is up to him to keep Arthur safe. Merlin looks constipated.

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