Merlin series 5 episode 4 review: Another's Sorrow

Review Dave Adamson 27 Oct 2012 - 22:02

This week's Merlin tied up some almost forgotten loose ends. Here's Dave's review...

This review contains spoilers.

5.4: Another's Sorrow

Another's Sorrow brings us an episode that spans the seasons of Merlin, giving us the return of Princess Mithian, first seen in the Series 4 episode The Hunter's Heart, and a return for the Season 2 character, King Odin, an oft mentioned, though mostly unseen character who has been seeking revenge against Arthur for the death of Odin's son. 

Having captured King Rodor and his daughter, Princess Mithian, Odin and Morgana have teamed up together and plan to take the throne of Camelot and get revenge upon King Arthur. They plan to use Princess Mithian, forced to lie to Arthur about her 'escape', to wheedle their way into the kingdom before luring Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table into a trap.

As Arthur and Guinevere listen to Mithian's tale of escape, they are convinced of her story and seek to rescue her father from the clutches of Odin, barely batting an eyelid when Merlin speaks of his reservations and completely oblivious to the fact that Morgana is disguised as the old maid, Hilda. She is keeping Mithian close, preventing her from revealing the truth.

Whilst Arthur leads his men to rescue King Rodor, they don't realise the dangers that lay ahead on their quest into Nemeth. With Merlin the victim of Morgana's attack, the knights are separated from the wizard and Sir Gawaine, carrying on with their mission and walking straight into the trap.

Thankfully, Merlin knows the truth, racing the rescue Arthur and the Knights, whilst defeating Morgana once again.

Jake Michie's script ties up loose ends with the threat of King Odin upon Camelot. It's an effective way of handling a feud, except that this feud is probably all but forgotten by most casual fans. Much is made of the hatred that Odin holds for Arthur, however little is made of the brief engagement between Arthur and Mithian – Gwen mentions it at one point, but it's cast aside in exchange for a story of revenge.

Katie McGrath is on top form when Morgana disguises herself as the old maid, Hilda. Much more convincing than Colin Morgan's Old Merlin, McGrath gives a subtle performance that becomes quite chilling as she stalks Mithian with cruel delight and deceives our heroes.

When they're being deceived once again, a lot of time is spent on Merlin trying to convince Arthur that rescuing King Rodor is the wrong thing to do. It allows Colin Morgan and Bradley James ample screen time to explore aspects of the two key characters; Merlin's thoughtful approach versus Arthur's headstrong attitude. In the end, it's Merlin's moral belief that prevents Arthur from bringing more attacks upon his kingdom and Arthur, once more, discovers that Merlin isn't a coward. There's nothing wrong with these interplays, but there is a sense that, by now, we should know what each character stands for; perhaps it's time to lessen these exchanges in favour of more character development. Replaying the same motif over and over will eventually become tiresome.

Guinevere is, once more, relegated to the background, as are most of the knights. Mordred doesn't make an appearance, despite now being a knight, whilst Gawaine plays second string to Merlin. Percival is shown as the man-mountain knight in the big fight scene, though gets very little dialogue, whilst the other knights are seen but not heard. It's a strange state of affairs to have such a large principle cast, most of whom say very little.

On the topic of fighting, Colin Morgan wields a sword and some powerful magic, whilst the knights get to duke it out against the enemy in a sword battle that is woefully too short. The fight choreography has improved over the years and it's about time the directors and script writers showed it off more often! The final confrontation between Odin and Arthur really shows what they can do and allows Bradley James to demonstrate a sense of brutality.

For the first time in quite some time, it feels like the bad guys could get the upper hand. With Arthur in the hands of Odin and Morgana, there's a moment that leaves you feeling that Arthur could be executed (as ridiculous as that may sound!) as we get to navigate the bloody politics of Albion. The episode doesn't end with Odin and Morgana betraying each other, but with an uneasy truce between kingdoms. As the old saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

This sense of danger is a good thing for the series and will hopefully keep viewers gripped to see what happens as Series 5 progresses. Once again, children may not appreciate what is on screen as the script is light on humour and heavy on a sense of foreboding. For everyone else, Another's Sorrow is Merlin at its most tense.

Read Dave's review of last week's episode, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

Think it would have been odd to make any great deal of Arthur & Mithian's engagement - for them it was three years ago, and the kingdoms are obviously allies, it's unlikely that they haven't all seen each other at some point in between then and now.

For a moment, when Morgana attacked Merlin I really thought she was going to find out who he was...alas, twas not to be. Though I would rather Arthur found out first. Although...she's gonna know that was magic that knocked her back as the others were fleeing the collapsing building. Does she know who did it? Clearly the old man she knows as Emrys wasn't there...

Speaking of which, loving the magic earthquake. Really hope we see more of that sort of magic from Merlin.

Nice to see a bit of Arthur & Gwen together, we really haven't seen too much of their relationship so far this year. Angel Coulby is doing such an amazing job as Queen Gwen, hope we do get a little more of the royal couple. Twould also be nice to see a bit of Gwen & Merlin...I really like that friendship, but it gets sidelined a lot. I'm not asking for too much, am I...? ;)

Not too much of the knights, but what there was great. I loved that little smile from Gwaine to Elyan too, and their heroic attempts to fight their way out of the trap was very cool.

Gaius is a legend. He just is.

And that's the second ep in a row that his magical past has been referenced...a build up to something? Me reading way to much into a coincidence?

As always, the Merlin & Arthur stuff was great, even if it felt like there wasn't much after the Merthur-fest that was ep 3 ;) Merlin stopping Arthur from killing Odin was a good moment for them, and Arthur acknowledging Merlin's influence on him to Gwen was quite a sweet moment too. I love how their relationship is developing...really want to see what the reveal does to it, if and when if ever happens. :P

Gwen only seems to have one outfit. A subtle dig at Kate Middleton's rotating wardrobe?

Gaius is totally a legend. Even with his freaky burst blood vessel in his eye.

Ooh, she's got at least two...poor Merlin's been in the same clothes for five years! I may or may not have let out a tiny little cheer when I saw him in a different shirt in the trailer for next week... :S

The Episode was ok But..Just need to know, I this site run by Americans in America for Americans, its not some British site obsessed with American TV ?

Ouch. Worst. Writing. Ever. You'd think Merlin would be able to see morgana has aged herself without needing someone to LITERALLY write it down for him, after all he's done it enough times himself. Merlin has the perception of a 10 year old that still believes in Santa. They really should stop writing him in so stupid.
I am english. So it pains me to say this, but, WHY ARE ENGLISH WRITERS SO DAMN BAD?! And we have the audacity to laugh at american intellgence.

I could honestly point out at least 3 pot holes still. The princess risks the entire kindgom and for her father, She could of killed morgana in her sleep. rather then taking the key and choosing the only time the castle doesn't have people around to go find someone to tell. Morgana could of killed athur in any hundreds of ways during the trip. This must be around the 30th time merlins "bad feelings" have come 100% true and still Athur refuses to heed his wisdom?

I'm sorry for my rant. But this is truly the worst writing to ever come out of England.

yes im aware i pointed out more then 3. I'm saying that there is hundreds.

I love "Merlin" and although this wasn't one of the best episodes, I thought it was OK.
One thing is bothering me: Arthur and Gwen have been very happily married for more than 3 years now, but they don't appear to have any children. You'd think there would be some reference to them if they had, and, if not, there would be general concern by now. Did Arthur and Guinevere have any children in th legend? - I can't remember.

I disagree with you. Old Merlin is much more convincing that old Morgana. She didn't have the posture of an old woman. Colin Morgan put much more work into his performance. I can't wait to see the return of old Merlin!

DoG is a British site with some American writers, which is how they are able to review shows before they air in the UK.

No they don't. Guinevere could not have any.

Agreed, Old Morgana was good (she was even able to lose her Irish accent) but Old Merlin is far better.

I thought they did...I'll have to check that, you may be right.

At least Merlin's same clothes are clean - (this next bit is true) - because in the village of Tintagel in Cornwall there is an establishment called "King Arthur's Laundry".

When and if Merlin's magical capabilities are revealed to Arthur, it will totally change the dynamic between them. It's not just the deception; even if Arthur forgives all that, from then on he will know that Merlin is more powerful than he and there won't be any more of this banter about Merlin's uselessness.
Also, once Merlin is outed as a wise and powerful magician, I wonder if Gaius will be written out; I don't think his character would have any function at that point. (I would miss him though.)
By the way, are we expecting the story to go into a 6th series or does it end with this season? Originally the writers talked about completing it in 5 series, but I haven't seen any reference to this being the last.

No official word yet either way. But it seems to be heading in the general direction of the end of the legend, I'd be surprised if it went on to a 6th. There was some talk about movies though.

Perhaps Morgana not just killing Arthur was down to the deal she had with Odin, that Odi would have Arthur 'to do whatever he wanted' with in exchange for Morgana borrowing his army for the war with Camelot that would ensue.

I accept the princess could have Morgana in her sleep, but you criticize her choosing night time to escape, but thats when Morgana sleeps duh. criticism but Arthurs dismissal of Merlins 'bad feeling' on this occasion was perfectly fine as Merlin had no evidence.
There are a few plot holes, there always will be in sci fi/magic shows. I mean surely Morgana could sneak in at any time to kill arthur, but that would make for a short series, disbeleif has to be suspended now and then. I will take plot holes over Losts ending anyday.

I thought S5E4 was good, but...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Old Morgana, I think McGrath did a fabulous job, and it makes me want to see her and Old Merlin (Emris) have another magic battle. What I think was off about this Ep is that Merlin should have figured it out sooner it was Morgana, and there should have been obstacles towards his getting to Arthur to tell him. There could have been more explication of Merlin trying to out/stop Morgan pre-travel to Nemeth, and then his attempts to catch up with them to stop Morgana could have driven the action of Ep with so much more tension. I felt the major challenge of the Ep, Morgana's disguise and deception, got underplayed.

One aspect I found interesting: I did not believe Odin in his agreement to a truce with Arthur. I think Odin will re-emerge as an enemy of Camelot, possibly the new villain of S5 that is plotting with Mordred..

I too was glad to see more scenes with Gwen, particularly with Arthur, still there was not enough of her presence as Queen. I don't think we've seen her fully in her new role/identity. To that end, I have toggled between her and Gwaine as Merlin's new 'I have magic' confidant. I thought it would be revealed to Gwaine as they fled to save Arthur and the Knights. I am hoping we will see more of Gwen with Merlin and Arthur outside of the castle. Whomever it is, I simply want Merlin to have a confidant, and soon.

And so, the ?Reveal? and ?S6?. I think for S5, a reveal would have to come in the finale, and the resolution of Merthur's relationship around the reveal would come in S6. However, if there is no S6, then it would be a huge cliffhanger, and a movie or two would have to satisfy the resolution. I'm hoping for a S6, where all of the bits and pieces of the legend will nicely tie up. We have yet to see Aithusa and Kilgara together, and I suspect Aithusa is healing and growing in his absence the last few Eps. A finale with them, Morgan, and Merlin's reveal would set the stage for an amazing Series Finale S6.

Well, for next week, we get to see Mordred return with a bit of anger and visible threat to Arthur,..

I love the actress who plays Morgana (Katie McGrath), but Morgana as bad guy (or girl) is getting a little bit too repetitive. It's getting annoying that Merlin is this über warlock, but is constanstly bested by far weaker enemies and is still alive because he is just extremely lucky.
Also can we get a love interest for Merlin or actually see Merlin doing something else than saving Arthur.

I think you also meant plot holes.

But I do agree with you. It's like how after proving himself 100 times by now, no-one ever believes Merlin's take on things or his intuition. It does get rather old.

I thought this week's episode was the poorest for a while, back to dressing up and running around a bit, with yet another overly complicated plan by Morgana.

Another episode of stumbling through the woods/over complicated attempt by Morgana to kill them/easily escaped by a bit of fighting.

I realise I am incredibly impatient but it would be good for Merlin's magic to be revealed to his friends. Whether this is at the climax of this season or not, its an important development to add in for future story arcs. Plus it would arguably make it all the more dangerous for all involved, as other magical folk come to Camelot to 'challenge' Merlin.

It depends which legend you reference. It is true that in some of the versions (i.e. Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur) Guinevere could not conceive. But in many others, particularly some of the Welsh ones, Arthur and she had sons. The fate of the three sons is another story- but they did have children. Llacheu, Gweir, and Amr- Llacheu being the oldest and usually the most well-known name when it comes to Arthur & Guinevere/Gwenhwyfar's sons.

However when it comes to Merlin, I honestly don't think the writers have considered it or plan to go through with this story-line. It's most probably the last season, and it appears that they want to draw the attention to as many different story-lines as they can before closing up the series- an heir apparently is not on the cards. JM & JC basically told us that they haven't even thought about Arthur and Guinevere having a child. Knowing Merlin, it probably won't even be addressed as a concern.

if this is the last season, the revelation of the power of Merlin is extremely delayed. I almost thought that they would reveal his power to Morgana, but once again the show was coward, it's time to move the show forward, if it's the last season, a revelation could increase the rivalry between Merlin and Morgana, instead of staying this obsession with Arthur, who seems to be stuck in his own "dangers of Penelope" episode after episode. Despite this I'm enjoying the season, but need to be a little more courageous.

I disagree with all the negative views. This was a fantastic episode and I absolutely enjoyed it. I enjoyed the inclusion of princess Mithian and I hope to see more of her.

Sponsored Links