Merlin series 3 episode 10 review: Queen Of Hearts

Merlin reaches episode ten, and it’s an instalment that starts with a hint of romance and plenty of promise. Here’s our review of Queen Of Hearts…

This review contains spoilers.

3.10 Queen Of Hearts

Finally, some much needed progress in the development of the relationship between Arthur and Gwen, two characters who’ve danced around one another over the last three years without either actually doing anything about it. This week sees the two finally admit their feelings for each other, and they’ve Morgana to thank for it.

Of course, Morgana, being a seer and privy to events that have not yet happened, consults Morgause after dreaming that Gwen will one day rule as queen by Arthur’s side. Morgause, certain that this is a prophecy, tells Morgana that she must do what she can to destroy their burgeoning relationship.

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Morgana orchestrates a picnic so Gwen and Arthur can spend some time alone outside The Citadel. Morgana, being rotten to the core, asks Uther to join her on an outing, and leads him right to the pair. Initially, Uther dismisses the romance as nothing more than a prince getting acquainted with a serving girl, but when Arthur tells his father his feelings are genuine, Uther is furious and decides to banish Gwen from his kingdom.

It is this which propels events outside of Arthur’s control, and we finally see Uther at his most monstrous. When Morgana plants evidence of an enchantment in Arthur’s chambers, Gwen must face the King’s wrath. A defiant Gwen is assaulted when she stands up to the tyrant, who then orders her execution. Gwen is to be burned the following day. A satisfied Morgana smiles as the distraught girl is dragged away.

In a nod to the Merlin of Arthurian legend, our boy wizard uses an aging potion to disguise himself as an elderly man and exonerate Gwen. This is where what began as a promising episode really fell short of what it could’ve been.

I suspect the creators where pandering to a younger audience in the direction they took the episode in. For the remainder of the episode, Gwen and Arthur barely have any more screen-time, and that infuriating reset button is pushed at the episode’s conclusion, with everything returning to just the way it was before after the fake sorcerer is unveiled.

We have Morgana sinisterly stalking corridors and offering her wicked smile, and I wasn’t entirely convinced she would stand by and watch a former friend die a gruesome death, yet she went out of her way to make sure the prophecy she dreamt of wasn’t fulfilled, and to hell with the consequences. Uther is a hateful monster of a character and I can only hope he does finally get his comeuppance after his actions during this episode.

The creators did have something to say about class and the divisions between those in power and those who aren’t, in a subtle, non-preachy way. They also explore just how easily a person can be persecuted for all the wrong reasons.

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Merlin’s Dragoon was irritating and Colin Morgan ended the episode covered in cow dung again. Another thing which annoyed me: why hasn’t Morgana figured out that Merlin is the person constantly thwarting her? Does she even have a master plan?

An episode which had one or two moments of brilliance, sadly overshadowed by nonsensical farce.

Read our review of episode 9, Love In The Time Of Dragons, here.

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