Merlin series 3 episode 13 review: The Coming Of Arthur Part 2: series finale

In the final episode of this year’s Merlin run, the fantasy drama will never be quite the same again…

This review contains spoilers.

3.13 The Coming Of Arthur Part 2

The finale, then.

Morgana and Morgause have seized complete control of Camelot, while Merlin, Arthur, Gwaine and Gaius hide in the woods, defeated and alone. Sir Leon and the Knights refuse to swear allegiance to the new Queen and, if they don’t, the citizens of the city will not yield to her.

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In a quietly breathtaking opening scene, Morgana has all the Knights lined up before a death squad. The Knights defiantly await execution only for the archers to turn their attention on the innocent crowd of women and children and open fire.  This was one of the moments during the episode when I knew that, wherever this story was going, it would be somewhere completely unexpected.

Something I never thought I would do was sympathise with Uther, but the writers have imbued the character with multiple layers. Maybe next season he’ll return to the tyrant we’ve seen so far, though I doubt it. Watching him looking on defenceless as bodies are removed from the castle ground and Morgana taunting him was devastating and utterly bleak and Anthony Head should be applauded for his portrayal of a grief-stricken, broken man who has been betrayed by the daughter he genuinely loves. I got the impression that perhaps now Uther will see the error of his ways? 

It is Gwen who helps Sir Leon escape Morgana’s clutches and go in search of the others. But Morgause is one step ahead of her and uses a tracking potion so they can follow and eliminate her enemies.

Gwen is reunited with Arthur and they manage to evade Morgause and her men only to be trapped in a rock slide. Fortunately, Lancelot and Percival have heard word and come to their aid. They retreat to some caves where Merlin attempts to get some shuteye, only for him to accidentally break the vial of water given to him by the Fisher King. All is not lost, however, when he receives a vision of Freya and she tells him to go to Avalon and retrieve Excalibur. That this is the only way to defeat Morgana’s immortal army and save Albion.

Arthur makes a decision to knight Gwaine, Percival, Elyan and Lancelot, and so the Knights of The Round Table are formed in a well directed scene which is touching and moves the show out of familiar territory and brings it somewhere completely new.

The Knights, Gaius and Merlin return to Camelot to battle the wicked sisters and their army of immortals. Lancelot and Merlin quickly make it to the room where The Cup of Life is being guarded by half a dozen men. The men are easily despatched with one strike of the magical sword, but Morgause shows up and a battle between her and Merlin begins.

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Gaius intervenes just as she is about to take the boy wizard out, only for the witch to turn her attentions on the old man. But Merlin throws her against a pillar, killing her. The Cup is destroyed and the soldiers vanquished. A distraught Morgana cradles her dead sister in her arms, and with the full force of her magic, brings an avalanche of rocks down on herself as Merlin and Gaius escape.

It was a fitting end to Morgana’s ruthless reign. even if she wasn’t found amongst the rubble. I sincerely doubt there will be as much emphasis on her character next year. Whether Emilia Fox’s character is dead or not remains to be seen. This reviewer certainly hopes not.

An episode which introduced new characters and brought back old ones in such a short running time could have been a monumental failure, but everybody was given something to do which gave the entire episode a speedy momentum.

There probably should have been a bigger confrontation between Merlin and Morgana, but I expect they’ll meet again next year. I’m glad the show has been renewed, even if it is at a reduced ten episodes.

Perhaps the creators will concentrate more on the myths of the show and spend less time on tongue in cheek, run of the mill standalones. I, for one cannot wait to see what they have lined up for us next year. Overall, a great season!

Read our review of episode 12, The Coming Of Arthur Part 1, here.

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