TV: Merlin S5 – Episode 12 Summary + Review

“Surprise attacks”

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(Giving Morgana styling tips are not well received)

Airing on: BBC

Genre: Magic, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Family, Drama Age: All ages

Released: 6th October 2012 – onwards (UK Version)

From the previous episode, finally Morgana has Mordred as an ally, and knows the identity of her fated nemesis, Emrys. She launches a plan to relieve Merlin of his magic, and bring her army to Camelot.

The magical showdown is about to begin.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Merlin is caught unawares by a snake that can drain the victim of all their magic. Although Gaius reassures Merlin that he may heal in good time, Merlin instinctively knows that his magic has gone for good.

With Morgana’s attack expected any day now, he is left unable to protect Arthur.

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(Merlin falls down for the umpteenth time in his life)

Morgana attacks a nearby garrison of Camelot, causing the destruction of an entire area and villagers.

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(“Quick, someone get the buckets! We can still put it out!”)

Only one woman makes it back to Camelot, who manages to seduce Gwaine.

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(“I’m too pretty to be single.”)

With Morgana’s army approaching ever closer to Camelot, Arthur proposes taking the battle away from crowded areas. Camelot’s army will ride out to battle in the open.

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(“That’s great Sir Percival. We can use Gwen’s dresses as a disguise”)

Morgana creates a sword for Mordred, forged in the fires of a dragon, using her own small dragon.

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(The sword now reads: ‘One Sword To Rule Them All…’)

Merlin knows to get his magic back her must travel to the Crystal Cave, instead of riding out to meet Morgana’s army with Arthur.

Breaking the news to the king doesn’t go well, and he is accused of being a coward.

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(Merlin asks for the pay owned to him for years of service…)

Gwain’s woman turns out to be a spy for Morgana, and tells her about Gwaine accompanying Merlin to the Crystal Cave.

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(“Two men walking alone in the woods. Easy pickings, eh Mordred.”)

At the entrance of the cave, Merlin tells Gwaine that he must enter on his own, and that Gwaine must return to Camelot.

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(Merlin wasn’t interested about Gwaine’s new girlfriend.)

Inside the cave, Merlin meets Morgana, who attacks him.

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(Morgana taunts Merlin about the same old clothes he wears)

Although Merlin is usually stronger than Morgana, in his magic-less state, he is helpless and is buried within the cave. Now he faces a slow and gruesome death, trapped in the darkness, with Arthur fighting another losing battle far away.

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(Merlin thinks of a retort long after Morgana has left)

Arthur and Gwen confront Gaius about the whereabouts of Merlin. Although Arthur is still angry, Gwen realises that Merlin must have an important task, otherwise he wouldn’t have left Arthur’s side.

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(Merlin has magic. He has MAGIC! Spit it out!)

The Knights of Camelot scout out a battleground where they will face Morgana.

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(“Okay, chaps. Let’s pose for one more epic shot this series.”)

Merlin is trapped inside the cave, but is unimpressed by the beauty of the contents.

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(You can practically hear David Attenborough narrating this.)

He is thinking about the events, when his father appears before him and tells him to believe in his own abilities.

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(“I’ve come back with a cheesy speech to help you, my son”)

The night before the battle, Gwen and Arthur promise to always be together, even if this is their last night.

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(Evil-Gwen’s plan to put a queen on the throne might just happen by itself)

At the cave, Merlin draws on the powers of the cave to release his own magical abilities. He enters the mind of Arthur during a dream and tells him that Morgana is planning a surprise attack while his army sleeps.

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(“Arthur! Don’t worry. My magic hand is on its way!”)

Arthur quickly prepares his men for battle.

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(“Some of you may die… Some of you may live. …I’m not good at speeches…”)

Morgana’s army can be seen approaching from a hidden path. Although they believe it will be a surprise attack, Arthur’s army is waiting for them.

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(Morgana’s army approached on tippy-toes, to make less noise)

A fierce battle starts between the two sides, and Arthur and his Knights must slay many men.

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(“YOU. I will kill YOU. And then… YOU! You’re next!”)

Morgana watches on from a cliff, safe that Merlin is disposed of, and that she will win.

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(“Finally, all my evil plans have paid off…”)

The episode ends on a cliffhanger.

Overall, this episode starts off with a great pivotal moment, and just carries on with strike after strike. A lot of interesting conversations occur; my particular favourite is the one between Arthur and Merlin. It’s heartbreaking watching the pair separate.

The addition of Gwaine and the “pretty lady”, who I never really caught the name of, was tedious and boring. As much as Morgana needed a spy, couldn’t she have one that was less…. womanly? The abundance of one-episode female characters is already too much.

I thought it was interesting that Gwaine accompanies Merlin to the cave, and yet doesn’t try to help him with the quest. Does he simply go back to Camelot? Don’t the Knights try and bust into Merlin’s plans as much as they can? This time, when Merlin actually needed help, nothing happened.

It’s also annoying that Gwaine wasn’t let into the ‘Merlin-has-magic’ secret that Lancelot was. Gwen, incidentally, brushed past this in her conversation with Gaius, but she didn’t press the issue. Why not just ask ridiculous questions? If your world was about to rain swords and dead men, ask any question you want. Seriously.

Morgana practically steals the show now that she knows about Merlin! Although her character is actually feeling pretty smug right now, can you just picture a Merlin that has burst out of the cave, ready to smite her?

The actual battle wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be. The two armies seem rather small-scaled. Maybe that was budget issues, or maybe there were only small armies in those days, but I felt underwhelmed. The directorship would make it seem like they were trying for an epic scale thing, and yet Arthur only slashes people in front of him. There isn’t any real tension within the battle, and I felt like  they were just having random men being slaughtered.

Everything is a little bit up-in-the-air at the moment. It’s no surprise, since this is a two-part episode, and the first cliff hanger in the Merlin series for a very long time.

Arthur spots Mordred at the end, so it will be interesting to see how he will handle Mordred’s betrayal.

Rated 4.5/5 – Epic build-up to the final episode.

See the next episode!

See the previous episode!

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