This review contains spoilers.
9. The Battle Of Bardon Pass
With the title promising potential sword fights, slaughter, severed limbs and the deaths of a few pointless characters, hopes were high for this episode. Unfortunately, while it did deliver on most of the above, this episode still suffered from problems that have hampered the series throughout most of its run: moronic character decisions. A prime example from this episode is found in Guinevere.
Her tryst with Arthur has been revealed to the whole court, and as a result, the king’s knights are outraged by his betrayal and considering whether this is a leader they want to fight for. Her husband, Leontes, has been humiliated and, in a fit of anger, deems that she is not his wife, “but the king’s whore”, and the kingdom is facing an attack on a vital outpost that consists mainly of one house, a shed and two sheep.
So, what does Guinevere do during this time of disaster? She decides to ride straight into the middle of a battle, putting the king and her husband’s lives in danger, as they have to come rescue her, all so that she can deliver her husband’s lucky Bible.
I mean, really? What are the writers thinking? Can’t they just keep her at Camelot? She served no purpose at all by being there. Kay had pretty much figured it out already, thanks to Leonte’s moody silence. Gawain was also on the case due to Merlin’s order to potentially protect the king from his own champion. So, did we really need Guinevere there? Due to her presence, we had knights assigned to protect her during the battle, which, of course, meant they got themselves killed, including Camelot’s token ethnic knight, Orpheus.
Also, why is this outpost so important? We’re told it overlooks the trade route and therefore it’s of strategic value, but it isn’t so much a fort as a farm with two sentries. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Morgan’s men hadn’t just seized it by the time Arthur and his knights showed up, pretended to be locals and just killing them when they arrived? After all, they did outnumber them five to one. Also, how does standing behind a fence, firing a few arrows and swinging your sword make you an “incredibly well trained” solider?
It’s stupid things like this that make me really angry, but while Guinevere’s actions were ridiculous, Merlin’s were much, much worse.
Realising he has been played like a cheap fiddle by Morgan, after she assumed Igraine’s form, he and the king’s mother go gallivanting off to Castle Pendragon to confront her (without any knights, of course). Once there, despite seeing all the support Morgan has won from the local people, Merlin decides to perform a Dark Ages citizen’s arrest on her, accusing her of being a shapeshifter and kidnapping Igraine, who is babbling like a loon anyway. It’s no wonder no one believes him.
If you’re a warlock, who already has a dubious reputation in the kingdom, perhaps it would be best to get some sort of evidence before loudly accusing the people’s princess of kidnap, torture and sorcery? Of course it would be, which is why he, of course, does the opposite and is promptly thrown into chains.
Why is he even going after Morgan anyway? There’s a battle on and a high chance that the king could be abandoned by his own knights. If the king’s champion is contemplating regicide, perhaps your presence would be best suited at his side? Instead, Merlin simply gives Arthur a slap and gives him the age old advice of “Cover this up or risk losing everything.”
It seems Morgan is the only one with any brains, and this is a woman, who after a hard day causing devastation in Camelot, likes nothing better to lie back in the bath and smoke what appears to be a crack pipe.
So, now we’re left with one episode to go. Arthur, for some reason, has decided to make a last stand at the outpost, against overwhelming numbers while his knights (who are sworn to protect him!) bid a hasty retreat. Is it too much to ask for the finale to inject some sort of logic into the proceedings?
Also, was Arthur wearing eyeliner throughout that entire episode? Discuss below.
Read our review of episode 8, Igraine, here.