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TV Review: Camelot

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“What if he isn’t the one?” sighs poor Guinevere, on the eve of her marriage.

Seriously, Guinevere? In the second episode of Starz’s series Camelot, titled “Guinevere,” the young princess (Tamsin Egerton) is having doubts about her upcoming marriage to Leontes (Philip Winchester) because of studly young Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower). You want to be conflicted girl, just wait until Lancelot rides into town.

Meanwhile, on the more interesting side of town, Morgan (Eva Green) invites Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) and Arthur for dinner — she’s given her father Uther’s castle “the woman’s touch.” Merlin doesn’t have much of an appetite until Morgan tastes their food herself. Morgan, the perfect hostess, shows up in shirtless half-brother Arthur’s bedroom to tuck him in and tell him a bedroom story. At least that’s what he thinks, as she “accidently” gives him a scratch and exits with a blood sample for later use.

Busy Morgan then slips Merlin a mickey, which also stirs Merlin’s visions — he sees the truth of Uther’s death at her hands. Dopey Arthur has another sexy dream about Guinevere and takes off without telling Merlin or Morgan (what a bad guest). He shows up in Guinevere’s bedroom a la Morgan, trying to mess up Guinevere’s life (and mess around).

The sex scenes are less gratuitous and more necessary to the story in this episode. I’m still not very convinced by Arthur or Guinevere or their supposed dilemma — Merlin and Morgan are a much more interesting pair. The series does use the beautiful settings of Ireland to full advantage, and I still like its limited color palette. The “enlisting” of Gawain to serve Arthur was a fun side story and probably closer to how it might have played out then in some of the more flowery versions of the tale. Gawain was always my favorite knight of the Round Table. He is hot-headed and a true individual. He is also supposed to be Arthur’s nephew, but I’m not sure they’re following the genealogy so strictly here.

Arthur left Merlin at the mercy of Morgan and her spells and potions and the wizard wakes up to find himself tied down to a sumptuous bed. If you’re going to be held hostage, at least it should be in velvet and silk. I doubt Arthur would have been of much help anyway, as Merlin quickly Houdini’s himself out of her clutches. Guinevere has a lovely wedding, by the way. But from the look of the scenes from next week’s episode Arthur may not let something like a little marriage between friends deter him. It also looks like Morgan’s magic may have some pretty bad side effects. You need to read the small print on that eye of newt, Morgan. Merlin and Morgan have good chemistry and an interesting rivalry and are the main reason to keep tuning in to Camelot.

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  • cindy

    Your review made me smile. I’ve been a fan of Arthurian Britain for a long time and I can’t understand why they are changing the story?