Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) strolled into dinged-out Camelot looking all bummed, like “Dude, someone stole my sex wax.” Apparently his one-night stand with Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) didn’t change everything. At least not the way he wanted things to change.
And then he pulled himself together and barked some orders at a flunky to get his knights together for a little swordplay. After a little bit of training, dude-king’s sword was broken in half, so Merlin set out to find him a great sword and sword-maker. Rather than have the kid, you know, practice. But before Merlin set out, he told his charge that he better get his act together in regard to Guinevere — specifically, he should dump her and fast.
Guinevere got a more subtle but similar smack-down from Arthur’s mother Igraine (Claire Forlani), and then she in turn did the same to Arthur, rebuffing his advances when he tried to charm her by looking intense a la The Tudors‘ Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Dude, there’s only one Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I might be more tolerant of this callow kid if he were still Wart and not already King.
Naughty Morgan Le Fay (Eva Green) is having a bad time of it too, scaring her servant Vivian (Chipo Chung) and herself. She’s feeling sick and cold and going through some sort of magical withdrawal. She’s even frightened by a nun (Sinead Cusack). The nun, apparently her former teacher, may be the only one who can help her. “I have one thing left to teach you. You must learn to die.” Doesn’t sound so helpful.
The nun, or whoever she really is, created a sort of fun house hall of mirrors, and placed Morgan in the middle, where she and Morgan and are haunted by reflections, known and unknown. But she doesn’t seem able to exactly “cure” Morgan. Rather, she seems to have amped up her shape-shifting abilities.
On the road with Merlin, Caliburn the sword-maker sparred verbally with the wizard, “The new king sends a sorcerer for a sword?” but promised him a sword by morning. Merlin, feeling a little twitchy, probably from last week’s tangle with Morgan, jumped up and held a knife to an approaching young girl’s throat, “How long have you been there?” Caliburn ran out of the forge, telling him to back off and introduced his daughter, Excalibur (!)
Merlin is not the best at negotiation, or working with fire, but he’s great with ice. The story of the Lady of the Lake got a new twist that will befuddle Arthurian purists, but did make for a great television sequence, as Merlin created a frozen lake in moments.
Back in Camelot, King Dude, still all hung up on his lady love, started a rumble with Guinevere’s hubby Leontes (Philip Winchester). “If you have to fight dirty to protect your cause, so be it.” This is King Arthur? What happened to the code of the Knights of the Round Table?
Actually Merlin and Arthur may be well-matched. They both seem rank amateurs, for all of their bluster. Whether they will be able to grow together only time will tell. We all think we already know the story, but in this series anything can happen, as Camelot is using the tale of King Arthur merely as a starting point.