Friends, Romans, Afterelton/Backlot.com-ers—lend me your ears. And if you have ears like Colin Morgan, you’ve got plenty to spare. No, seriously, I’ve been perhaps a bit harsh on Merlin over the past couple weeks—deservedly so, I’d argue—but this week I promise to present a more balanced look at the show and point out a few things Merlin does as well as anyone else on television.
And I’d like to start with crossbow crotch-shots. How many others shows on television so prominently and blatantly feature crossbow crotch-shots? I don’t remember that on Revolution or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Avengers’ Hawkeye never quite shot his load the same way as demonstrated on this week’s Merlin. And oh, yes, Hunger Games, you may have made bows and arrows trendy again, but even you would not pander to your happy gay demographic with such an awesomely cheap shot of a crossbow planted right in a dude’s crotch.
I got to hand it to you, Merlin; that was pretty cheeky of you. Or, perhaps I should say, that was pretty bulgy of you.
But on with the recap. We open with a young lad breaking his way into Camelot. It’s good to know that the crack Camelot security team is still on top of things. Seriously, Camelot has more visitors in the middle of the night than a 24-hour doughnut shop next to a 24-hour marijuana dispensary.
Anyway, this particular lad, Daegal, is looking specifically for Merlin. But first Guinevere and the Pips find the lad. He tells them he has been out catching frogs, and to prove it, he shows them all the frogs he caught. Which is none. Whoops! But Guinevere, who loves all things except her husband, his benignly despotic rule and his fabulously toothy grin, smiles sweetly on the lad, pats his head, and sends him on his way.
Daegal ends up in the castle, where he tells Merlin that his sister is very ill and she needs a doctor right away. He also shows off his Druid tattoo. Merlin cannot resist helping a fellow outcast in need. He tells Gaius that he is going to the Valley of the Fallen Kings, which is apparently the most crime-ridden spot in the kingdom—I guess that makes it the Detroit of Camelot. Gaius objects, but Merlin goes anyway.
In Camelot, Arthur Pendragon is calling for Merlin rather testily. It appears he cannot find his comb. Fortunately, his murderous wife swoops in to aid him:
Arthur: “It must have been under something.”
Guinevere: “Your nose.”
Arthur: “You have this way of seeing things.”
Guinevere: “Yes, two of them, they’re called eyes.”
Another point of praise for Merlin; this week’s episode featured a lot of enjoyably snappy dialogue. I like both dialogue and peas that snap.
Arthur is amusingly helpless without Merlin. He cannot comb his hair, he cannot dress himself, and as for who brings the Charmin after he makes a royal number two—well, you get the idea. Since Merlin is absent (Arthur believes him in the tavern,) Gaius is conscripted to aid Arthur in getting dressed. However, Gaius is as clueless as Arthur, and somehow they manage to put the king into the queen’s nightdress. (I’m sure that’s not the first time that has happened.) Poor Gaius! What does he know about fine attire and accoutrements? Have you seen what he generally wears? He dresses like a depressed Pope.