So this recap is actually two episodes long and the first two parter of the series. The first episode begins in a mountainside cave where a toady-looking little dude is muttering and stirring something in a cauldron – always a winning combo.
He scoops out some of the disgusting looking goop, puts it into a bottle and gives it to an equally disgusting looking troll who’s rocking back and forth in the corner of the cave. (Not that caves actually have corners, mind you.) The troll mutters something about all of Camelot’s riches being hers, downs the potion, hollers, and passes out from pain.
The next morning, we see the toady-looking little dude riding with a hooded woman toward Camelot. The woman pulls down her hood to reveal that she’s the gorgeous Sarah Parish – the troll has been transformed.
Meanwhile, back in the lower town Merlin is bitch-bitch-bitching to Gaius about how much work he has to do and how put upon he is when the toady little dude grabs his arm, hands him a royal seal and asks where to find Uther. Gaius recognizes the seal as belonging to the House of Tragor. So of course, Lady Catrina and her toady little servant are shown to Uther’s hall where he receives guests. There’s a lovely little reunion because Uther used to be buds with Catrina’s father and she tells him that she and her servant are the only survivors while Gaius looks on skeptically.
Merlin shows Catrina and Jonas (for that is the toady dude’s name) to a chamber and charm him by being so kind to him, a lowly servant. As so as he leaves, Catrina starts bitching that the place is too clean and proceeds to breathe her troll breath on one of Camelot’s endless trays of fruit to rot it so she can eat it – maggots and all.
Later that evening, Catrina is having supper with Uther, Arthur and Morgana where she doesn’t touch her food. There’s some hardcore flirting going on between Uther and Catrina and the look on Arthur’s face is just priceless. Arthur and Morgana feign exhaustion and beg off the rest of dinner to give Uther and Catrina some privacy.
Back at Gaius’, Merlin is waxing poetic about the Lady Catrina while Gaius is mixing up a potion for Catrina that he wants Merlin to deliver. Catrina is eating yet another tray of rotten fruit and sends Merlin back to Gaius with the medicine. Gaius admits that he’d treated Catrina before for an incurable disease and the tonic was a test of sorts and he wonders if she’s who she says she is.
The next morning, Uther has invited Catrina out for a ride before breakfast – followed by a servant bearing a fuckton supplies. Who needs supplies for a pre-breakfast ride? Merlins sees them ride out and goes to Catrina’s chamber where he begins gagging on the stench. He snoops around but Jonas catches him and he’s forced to forego the search. However, he does notice that Jonas has a tail.
Alongside the river, Uther and Catrina are lounging on a mountain of pillows and eating breakfast. Catrina tosses hers in the water when Uther isn’t looking. There’s more meaningful flirting and when they return Merlin attempts to point out to Arthur that it’s odd how close Uther and Catrina have become in such a short time.
Gaius goes to talk to Uther about Catrina’s incurable bone disease. Uther knows that Gaius is passively aggressively trying to point out something about Catrina and he’s not having it. Later that evening, while lying on another mountain of pillows, this time in front of a roaring fire, Uther questions her about her illness and she’s all ‘cured now’ and goes in for a kiss and Uther turns away. I’m not sure if it’s performance anxiety or if he’s still in love with Ygraine. But either way, Catrina ends up disappointed.
Merlin sneaks into Arthur’s room while he’s sleeping and magically lowers a mirror down to Catrina’s window and sees that she’s a troll. Unfortunately, Arthur wakes up and catches him and accuses him of a being a perv. Merlin creeps around and follows Catrina to some filthy unused room in the basement of Camelot and discovers that she is, indeed, a disgusting troll.
Unfortunately Jonas knows that Merlin knows but Merlin doesn’t know that Jonas knows that he knows. This will prove to be even more problematic than the previous sentence. Merlin reports back to Gaius who tries to confront Uther with the truth, and as we all know, Uther doesn’t listen to shit that Gaius says (I’m not even sure why he keeps him on the staff) and it ends up like everyone expects. Uther dismisses Gaius and threatens him.
That night, Catrina enchants an amulet with her blood. The next day, at breakfast, Catrina is all lovey dovey and Uther is trying to pull the medieval equivalent of “let’s take a break” so she gifts him with the enchanted medallion and suddenly he’s quite literally under her spell. They announce their engagement with the wedding to be held the following day and pretty much all of Camelot is all “whoa…slow down there, Uther” but being under troll magic, he’s basically reverted to a teenager with the “none of you understand how deep and true our luuuuuurve is” attitude. I found it exhausting.
During the announcement of the impending wedding, Merlin uses his magic and tries to get her to change back into her troll self. But it’s not working. She runs off to her room and ingests more of the potion. Meanwhile, Jonas pretends to be crying when Merlin happens upon him. He tells Merlin that he’s a prisoner of the troll and tells him about the potion and if he gets it, he can expose her true nature. Merlin goes down to that weird filthy part of the basement and digs through Catrina’s smelly belongings. Catrina traps him down there with some kind of magical doorway crumbling rockslide spell that doesn’t affect the rest of the castle’s structure. Good thing it wasn’t a load bearing wall, I guess. Merlin tries and tries all night long to bust through the rubble, but doesn’t manage it until juuuuuuuuust after Uther and Catrina say their vows.
The next episode starts with Catrina not wanting to get it on with Uther because she so upset that Merlin stole her family’s seal. Of course, he didn’t. But Uther has never been one to listen to reason even when he’s not enchanted and enchanted, he’s a million times worse. So all the soldiers are out looking for Merlin to throw him in the dungeon. Arthur finds him first and convinces him to run and hide, saving his life.
Arthur tells Uther and Catrina that Merlin escaped and Uther and Catrina are quite assey to Arthur about it. Catrina later mentions to Jonas as she’s eating yet another platter of rotten fruit, that her plan to undermine Arthur is underway. And Jonas brings her a bucket full of steaming horseshit fresh from the stables – to celebrate. After rubbing it over her face, she eats it.
The knights and soldiers are still searching for Merlin, but Gaius cleverly has him hidden in a barrel of grain. Which begs the question, why the hell does Gaius have a barrel of grain in his workshop? Merlin sneaks around the castle and follows Catrina to her room where she’s itching furiously. Her troll skin is starting to show through. He watches through a grate in the wall as she drinks the potion and her skin immediately looks human again. He reports immediately back to Gaius.
Back in the throne room, Uther tells Arthur that they’ve decided to raise the taxes on the people of Camelot. Arthur protests and Uther basically tells him to shut up and do what he’s told. That night, Merlin sneaks into Jonas’ room and steals the potion from the hiding place and brings it to Gaius. He suggests that if Gaius makes her a replacement potion, she’ll turn into a troll, but that it has to be replaced before morning.
Meanwhile, it’s clearly morning – sun’s up, Uther’s waiting creepily in a corner of Catrina’s bedroom looking to have sexy times with his wife. She rebuffs his advances and tells him that she’s not sure she can keep up the pretences any longer – that she’s not sure he’s the man she married because he’s coddling Arthur or some shit. Then he tries to get all romantic with her and she breathes her troll breath on him and knocks him out.
Back in Gaius’ chambers, it’s very clearly later morning (sun is streaming through the windows) and Gaius is having Merlin taste test the two disgusting potions to make sure they taste the same. WHAT HAPPENED TO GETTING THE POTION BACK TO THE ROOM BEFORE MORNING!? Does before morning mean something different in Camelot? But anyway, Merlin sneaks back into the room, puts the fake potion in the hiding place, then quick jumps into the wardrobe to hide from Jonas who comes in.
Meanwhile, Arhur’s out wandering around the lower town and sees some of his knights shaking down an old man for more tax money. Arthur tells the knights to let the man go and to give everyone’s money back. Gwen watched approvingly from her front step.
Back in the throne room, Uther and Catrina are bitching out Arthur for not enforcing the tax collection. Uther again demands that Arthur go to the town and Arthur refuses. Uther tells him to get out of his sight and Catrina convinces Uther to make her the heir of Camelot. Afterward, she goes back to her chamber where Merlin is still in the wardrobe hiding.
Later that day, there’s a ceremony where Arthur is stripped of his title as heir and it’s bestowed upon Catrina. Pretty much everyone in Camelot seems to think Uther’s lost the plot, but they all clap politely nonetheless. There’s a big costume change for Catrina and she gets crowned, but she runs out of the ceremony because she feels the potion wearing off.
She’s followed by Uther, Morgana and Arthur who watch in horrified fascination as she transforms back into her troll self.
This does not sway Uther. He’s still madly in love with her despite the fact that everyone else is horrified. In fact, he’s soooooooooooooooooooo besotted with her, they finally consummate their wedding. Look at the picture. I’ll just quietly wait here while that sinks in.
Gaius, Sir Leon and the rest of the council come to Uther to make sure he knows he’s married to a troll. He continues to be oblivious to this. At a loss for what else to do to fix this situation, Gaius sends Merlin to talk to the dragon and ask for help. The dragon, much like the rest of us, laughs his ass off at Uther’s predicament. But he does sober up and pass on some useful, non-cryptic (for once) info about how to defeat the troll. Uther must cry tears of remorse.
So Merlin pops out from under Arthur’s bed while Arthur is sleeping and says that he and Gaius have a plan to rid Camelot of the troll. But it requires Arthur’s help. Arthur must ingest a potion that will render him mostly dead unless he doesn’t get the antidote within half an hour. Then he’ll be all dead. Arthur, very reluctantly agrees to do.
Merlin leaves the room and is attacked by Jonas and rendered unconscious. The antidote bottle breaks on the stairway. Uther is brought to his mostly dead son and cries tears of true remorse while Catrina is trying to pull Uther away from Arthur. The spell is broken and Uther looks like he’s ready to vomit. Merlin wakes and finds the broken bottle. He sops up as much as he can with his neckerchief and wrings out a drop into Arthur’s mouth which is enough to revive him. Yay Team Mostly Dead!
There’s a fight and Arthur revives enough to kill the troll by running her through with his sword. Later at supper where there is an inordinate amount of fruit for two people, Uther embarrassed, thanks Arthur for his help. Arthur, meanwhile, can’t stop giggling over his father’s unfortunate bed mate. After supper, Arthur finds Merlin walking through the halls and (because hell has apparently frozen over) thanks him. Arthur moves to apparently clap him on the back in a manly type way and poor Merlin thought Arthur was going in for a hug. Things take a decidedly awkward turn. This scene makes me laugh whenever I see it. Particularly the expression on Arthur’s face.
And now, the questions!
1. If I’d written this episode...oh, so many things. But I would have changed the fixed that whole morning time line issue. I can't tell you how much that bugs me. I know it's little, but c'mon. Details, people. Details.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. Loved: Seeing awesome glimpse about what kind of king that Arthur is going to be in the way that he protected his people and stood up to his father. . Hated: The lazy Gaius has a barrel of grain in his chambers hiding place.
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. What the hell with all the thrones. I swear to you there are *at least* three sets of thrones in Camelot.
Also. You guys! This is important! I know I've been on Fruit Watch 2014, but in these two episodes, there are no less that 16 huge bowls/platters/plates of fruit!!! It's possible that I missed a couple, but there are at least 16. WTF, Merlin prop masters!?
4. Favorite Costume. This week, I'm going with Lady Catrina's elaborate 'do. Yes, I know it's a wig or hairpiece or whatever. But I'm pretending that it's real and that I have enough hair to do that. Sorry I couldn't find a better picture.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. The only this I have is that Uther is a fucking idiot. But I'm pretty sure that's show canon rather than mine.
6. What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I'm torn between Merlin under Arthur's bed and the hug-not hug at the end.
7. What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in a bad way? Uther sexing up a troll.