The episode opens on a dark and stormy night (of course) with a mean looking bounty hunter pulling a cart with a cage on it into Camelot. Inside the cage is a beautiful young woman. The bounty hunter goes inside the tavern and leaves his prisoner out in the rain.
Merlin and Gaius who’ve been treating an ill villager spot the girl in the cage and Gaius basically tells Merlin to stay away from her. Our boy Merlin doesn’t listen (as usual) and sneaks out to free the girl. He finds her a hiding place in the basement of Camelot and leaves her with his jacket because she’s cold and wet and wearing rags…and also…castle basement.
The next morning he steals Arthur’s breakfast and gives it to Freya, the druid girl he rescued. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter has been brought before Uther and has to admit that his prisoner got away. Uther is *weirdly* relaxed about this. Like laid right back and tells the guards to search for her, but he’s not his usual MAGIC IS IN CAMELOT FIND IT AND KILL IT NOW.
Meanwhile, Merlin is impressing Freya with a dancing flames. He’s clearly smitten with her. As adorable as they are together, this is a serious case of insta-love. He continues to steal Arthur’s food, trying to convince Arthur that he’s doing it for his own good because he thinks Arthur might be getting fat.
Later that night we see a young couple in love who are clearly out past Camelot’s curfew, and they get mauled to death by a mysterious creature. Uther is concerned, but still uncharacteristically laid back.
Gaius tries to warn Merlin that the Freya and the maulings are related, but of course Merlin doesn’t believe him and continues to fall utterly and hopelessly in love with Freya, and he plans to abandon his destiny of protecting Arthur to run away with her. He even steals one of Morgana’s dresses for her.
That night, two of Camelot’s guards are mauled to death and Uther becomes a little more insistent about finding the creature. Merlin steps up his plans to get Freya out of Camelot but before he can, she sneaks out and is caught by Arthur and some other knights. The clock chimes midnight and she turns into a giant black cat with wings.
The men attack the creature and wound it. Merlin distracts the knights giving the creature a chance to fly away. He finds Freya in the basement mortally wounded. He’s absolutely crushed and heartbroken. I will say that he’s very pretty when he cries. He takes her back to the place she grew up so she can die there having seen it one last time. Then he sends her off in a boat cushioned with ferns and magically sets the boat on fire once it’s in the middle of the lake.
Back at Camelot, he’s depressed. Arthur attempts to cheer him up by giving him a noogie and more chores.
And now, the questions.
1. If I’d written this episode...I know it's only an hour show, but I would have loved to have seen the writers take more time to believably develop the relationship between Merlin and Freya - like even over a couple of episodes. Even though Colin Morgan does grief beautifully, it would have been more satisfying if it had been less insta-love.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. Loved: Actually seeing Arthur concerned about Merlin's depression. Of course, he ruins it right after that by giving him a crap ton of chores, but you know...it was there. Hated: The fact that the bounty hunter was all surprised the Freya turned into a giant, angry flying cat. Supposedly, he'd had Freya for several day and her curse causes her to turn into said giant, angry flying cat at midnight every day. How does he not know this?
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. Two things, this time: A. How out of character's Uther's response is when he hears that Freya escaped and is loose in Camelot. B. How the one time Uther actually asks for Gaius' opinion/help and Gaius doesn't want to give it.
4. Favorite Costume.This is a tough week for costumes...no wait! That's not true! Arthur's bath sheet!
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Don't really have anything this week.
6. What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I think it was when Arthur was concerned about Merlin's depression - mostly because in her head Arthur did something entirely different to cheer him up.
7. What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in a bad way? Merlin's treatment of Freya vs. his treatment of Morgana in regards to magic.