It's time for Merlin Club! I can't believe we're almost done with season one!
The episode opens with a jaunty little marketplace scene. Tom, Gwen’s father, gives her a pretty pewter button then surprises her with a whole new dress. She’s immediately (and, as it turns out, rightfully so) suspicious about where the money came from. He brushes her off and tells her not to worry about it because things are looking up for them, now.
Late that night, we see Tom working his bellows with an iron crucible sitting on brilliantly glowing coals. A hooded figure asks, “Is it prepared?” from the shadows. Dramatically removing his hood, he steps from the shadows to see lead melting in the cup. Then he removes this giant hunk of amber that’s set in silver and covered with carved runes and does a little magic. The stone starts glowing, Merlin wakes up from a sound sleep and Tom starts flipping because MAGIC.
Hey Tom…not to be The Conductor of the Spoiler Train, but if someone wants you to uses your blacksmith skills late, late at night, he’s probably not gonna be on the up and up. Also, a really good way to bring down Camelot’s guard on your head is to be plying your trade in the middle of the freaking night. Think, Tom! Think! (Bad choice.)
After the spell, the lead turns to gold and in busts Arthur and the city guard. The magic user runs off, but not before dropping his pouch with the magic rock in it. He disappears into the night and Tom is left holding the gold. Literally. Arthur arrests him because apparently having gold is crime, I guess. The rules of Camelot aren’t the clearest.
After the credits, Merlin stumbles sleepily from his room where Gaius is awake and working on some papers on an easel. Merlin says that he was woken by the feeling of powerful magic in Camelot just as Gwen throws open the door freaking out because her father’s been arrested and charged with treason.
Cut to Morgana in her jammies questioning Uther about the charge against Gwen’s father. Uther says that Tom was forging weapons for sorcerers and consorting with a known enemy – Tauren, the leader of the band of sorcerers who’ve sworn to bring down the king. Morgana defends Tom and begs Arthur to help. Arthur tries to be the voice of reason, but to no avail. Morgana tells Uther that if he executes Gwenn’s father, she’ll never forgive him and flounces from the room. Uther tells Arthur to find Torin and anyone who helped him.
Meanwhile, Gwen is visiting her father in the dungeon. She assures him that she’ll get him out of there, then reports back to Gaius and Merlin that Tom wasn’t making weapons for Taurenbut was helping with an experiment and used some kind of stone. Gaius and Merlin put Gwen to bed in Merlin’s bed (and Jess is jealous) and discuss that Tauren was using alchemy to turn lead to gold.
The next morning, Morgana goes to Tom’s workshop to look for Gwen. What she finds is Torin’s stone. It immediately starts its magical glowing thing and again wakes Merlin from another sound sleep. Morgana pockets it and hides it in her jewelry box. (Bad choice.)
She then goes to Merlin’s room to check on Gwen and she and Merlin discuss all the ways Uther sucks. Then she sneaks into Arthur's room and steals the key to the dungeon and slips it through the bars to Tom. (Bad choice.)
That night, in the midst of a thunderstorm, Tom uses the key Morgana gave him and sneaks out. (Bad choice.) The alarm bells sound and Uther demands that Tom's killed on sight. He's eventually caught in the only unsuccessful prison break ever, and killed.
The next morning Morgana hears Gwen wail and looks out her window to see Gwen following the body of her father on a cart that guards are pulling. Morgana is enraged. She storms into whatever the medieval equivalent of Uther's office is and reams him out. (Bad choice.) She and Uther have it out and let me tell you, friends, this scene is rife with sexual tension between these two. Uther has Morgana chained up in the dungeon. (Bad choice.)
Merlin tries to comfort Gwen and Arthur comes to speak with her. He assures her that her job and home are safe and tells her that if she needs anything, she should ask. He also apologizes. That night Gwen returns home (Bad choice.) and Tauren grabs her from the shadows and tells her that if she doesn't go to the Darkling Woods and return the stone in two days, he'll kill her.
The next morning, Gaius is looking through one of his many, handy, magical encyclopedias and find the mage stone - reputed to be able to transmute things. They both agree it must be the stone Tom mentioned.
Meanwhile, Arthur goes to the dungeon and Morgana is pretty acidic toward him and he finally tells her that he convinced his father to free her and that she'd learned the error of her ways and wouldn't challenge Uther's authority again, etc. (Bad choice.) She thanks him and tells him he's a better man than his father and he always was.
Morgana returns to her room and finds Gwen waiting for her. Gwen immediately notices Morgana's scrapes and bruises and Morgana confesses to spending the night in the dungeon. Gwen quickly figures out it was because of her father and feels bad. Morgana tells Gwen she needs to go home and get some rest. Gwen explains that she can't because of the stone and Tauren wanting to kill her. Morgana tells Gwen that she's going to send the knights of Camelot to meet him.
Merlin wakes in the middle of the night when Morgana pulls the stone out of her jewelry box and it starts to glow. She sneaks out of Camelot and heads to the Darkling Woods to meet Tauren. (Bad choice.) She finds herself surrounded my Tauren and his men. Torin tells his men to kill her.But she stops them telling them she wants Uther dead, too. Tauren doesn't believe it at first, but she shows them her scrapes and bruises. She also tells them that they need someone close to the king to get to him and she volunteers for the job.
Later, we see Merlin very distractedly eating supper and Gaius trying to find out what's bothering him. It doesn't work. Merlin goes down to visit the dragon. Merlin spills about Morgana's plan to have the king killed. The dragon tells Merlin to do nothing - just let him die. He points out all the good that would come of Uther's death.
Morgana goes to Uther and apologizes. She also plays him and makes him feel guilty about the death of of her own father. Meanwhile, Merlin's quizzing Gaius about whether or not Uther is a good king. Gaius defends him and goes on to say that Arthur's not ready to be king.
Uther creepily watches Morgana and Gwen from his window, then approaches Morgana later and tries to make peace with her. (Bad choice.) She invites Uther to visit her father's grave with her in the morning in an attempt to heal their wounds. He thinks this is a great idea. (Bad choice.)
That night, Morgana sneaks out to the outer walls and meets Tauren and tells him where he can find Uther the next morning. Merlin, creeper that he is, is eavesdropping.
The next morning Merlin watches Uther and Morgana ride for her father's grave when Gwen happens upon him. They have a conversation about Morgana and Uther and Merlin asks her if she'd ever want Uther dead - if she'd kill Uther if she had the power of life and death over him. She says no, because it would make her a murderer.
Merlin realizes she's right (Bad choice.) and goes and gets the wizard staff he lifted from the Sidhe and runs through the woods chasing Morgana and Uther. Meanwhile, Uther and Morgana have reached the cairn and Morgana asks for privacy. The knights comply. (Bad choice.) And Uther and Morgana head up the hill.
By the time Merlin makes it there, the guards are (I'm assuming) dead and Tauren and his men are creeping up the hill toward Morgana and Uther. Uther removes his sword from his sheath and thrusts it into the ground. (Bad choice.) I assume because it's hard to kneel while wearing a sword...? Merlin, at the bottom of the hill, zaps two of Tauren's men with the staff, leaving just Tauren.
Meanwhile, Uther puts his hand on Morgana's head and waxes poetic about her father, then kneels down beside her. He tells her that she challenges him like her father did. And she shoots back that when she does, he claps her in irons.He admits that there are things he regrets - including Gwen's father.
Merlin attempts to zap Tauren, Taurenabsorbs it with the mage stone and shoots it back at Merlin knocking him out.
As Torin is sneaking up behind them, Uther tells Morgana that she's the daughter he never had and without her, he can't hope to be the king Camelot deserves. Morgana folds and warns Uther at the last moment (Bad choice.) and Uther and Tauren have a knock down drag'em out fight. Tauren is getting the better of Uther and has him pinned to the ground.
Merlin wakes up, heads up the hill, but he doesn't have to save anyone,because Morgana does the saving by knifing Tauren in the back. (Bad choice.) Morgana and Uther embrace on the hill.
Merlin returns to Camelot and Gaius starts quizzing him about the assassination attempt and acting all proud of Merlin, because even though he's not admitting what he did, Gaius knows he did something to help.
Now, for the questions!
1. If I’d written this episode...I would have had Tom being less clueless. C'mon man...anyone who wants black smithing done at night might be a smidge less than trustworthy.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved Morgana standing up to Uther and speaking her mind, even if it ended with her in the dungeon.
I hated the creepy vibe between Uther and Morgana - again way more lover-like than ward and guardian.
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. That Merlin kept the fancy wizard staff from the Sidhe.
4. Favorite Costume. This week, it's Morgana's green velvet cloak. Looooooooooooooooooooove it.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Again, not my canon, but seriously, this Morgana and Uther is thing is WAY out of control. The way these two interact is not ward and guardian. Not even a little bit.
6. What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? Seriously, there are zero Merthur moments in this episode. I've got nothing.
7. What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode? I think it's the fact that Camelot's guards are so incredibly inept that they couldn't manage to find that pouch with the stone in it after they arrested Tom. Also, why did NO ONE question the fact that Tom used the key from Arthur's special key ring to open the dungeon door!?