Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I would rather chew glass wrapped in tinfoil than do any of these things.

This week for our Random Wednesday blogging, the topic is "You Couldn't Pay Me To..." which dovetails really nicely with this picture Corwin, my youngest son just drew for me. (Click to Embiggen.)

I'm thinking this has the potential to be a fairly endless post, because there's a fuck-ton of things you couldn't pay me to do. But let's see how it goes, shall we?

You couldn't pay me to...

Work in a slaughterhouse. This seems pretty self explanatory. I just couldn't do it.

Climb mountains. - I'm real lazy. And also clumsy. This seems like a terrible combo.

Work high steel. - See above.

Spend time with clowns or spiders. - I can't begin to imagine the amounts of anxiety I'd have if this was my lot in life.

Work for the Republican party. -- I'm guessing this would just end in tears and recriminations on everyone's part.

Do math. - It's really better for everyone if I don't.

Do anything that involves me putting my hands in other people's mouths. - Nope. Nope. Nope.

Home sales of any kind. - I'm horrible at selling things. And I'd feel guilty if people impulse shopped and couldn't afford it.

Be a paparazzo. - I can't imagine how shitty it would feel to invade people's privacy like that.

Listen to Van Halen, Hall and Oates or Huey Lewis and the News.  I don't know that there's any way to adequately explain how very, very much I loathe these bands. Possibly more than Nickelback.

I'm sure there are a crapton more things I rather not do, but this is my list thus far. Check out all the things my lovely blog mates couldn't be paid to do by clicking on their names. And let us know what you couldn't be paid to do!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Merlin Club: The Curse of Cornelius Sigan or The One Where Uther Doesn't Listen to Gaius Again and Puts Camelot in Danger Again

It's time for another recap of the BBC's Merlin!

The episode opens with a work crew laboring with pick axes in the tunnels deep beneath Camelot in the dead of night. Because the dead of night seems like a great time for hard labor. As a side note, this whole things seems like a terrible idea because A.) aren’t they worried about weakening the foundation until the castle, and B.) Isn’t anyone in charge worried about them finding the dragon down there? In case you’re wondering, the answer to both of these questions appears to be no. 

One of the workers busts through a wall and a terrible stench is released. He continues heaving his pickaxe until he makes the hole big enough to crawl through. Inside is a crypt – hence the smell. Meanwhile, upstairs we see Arthur tossing and turning in that giant four poster bed while the sounds of pickaxes are echoing from beneath the castle. He immediately yells for Merlin, who comes running because apparently he sleeps in Arthur’s room now? (Ow! I think Jess just cuffed me across the back of the head from MN.) He tells Merlin to go down there and tell the workers to stop.

Meanwhile, the workers are checking out all the gold and gems in the tomb, and one of them triggers a trap and dies. The rest of them run screaming from the burial chamber just as Merlin makes it downstairs and finds the body.

The next scene opens with Merlin and Gaius inspecting the tomb when Gaius triggers the trap and almost gets hit with a small poisoned dart, but Merlin saves him with magic. And a silver platter which falls to the floor and Arthur and Uther nearly trip over it which prompts Arthur to bitch about Merlin’s clumsiness. Uther is all pleased with himself because there’s treasure to be had and orders Arthur to secure the tomb and guard it. 

At the local pub, we see one of the workers heavily and telling this weasely looking dude about the tomb. The weasely dude is the wildling warg from Game of Thrones, by the way, but anyway, the weasel is pumping him for information about the giant heart shaped gem that was inside and who has the keys to get down there. It’s Arthur. Arthur has the only damn set of keys. How is this possible? What if he loses them? What if someone steals them? What then, Camelot?

The next morning, we see the weasely looking dude watching while Merlin is helping Arthur onto his horse. The saddle slips right off and Arthur goes with it. The weasely guy, or Cedric as we find out, brings Arthur’s horse back with the saddle properly secured and confesses that he’s come to Camelot looking for work, so Arthur hires him to be a beater on the hunt. Merlin is jealous.

While the hunting party is gathering, Gaius is doing research on a signet ring found in the tomb and determines it to be the burial chamber of the great sorcerer Cornelius Sigan. And he also makes notes about some rune type letters found around the giant gem on the sarcophagus. 

Back in the forest, a giant boar comes rushing through the trees at Arthur who readies his spear. His shot glances off the boar and it continues charging them. While everyone is freaking, Merlin slays the beast by magically whipping a fallen spear into the side of its head, saving Arthur’s life.
He wants to know who threw the spear and saved him. When no one fesses up, Cedric steps forward and claims to have done it. Arthur rewards him by giving him a position in the royal household. Merlin returns to Gaius’ chambers all morose because that cute boy at school that he has a crush on doesn’t know he’s alive he saved Arthur’s life and someone else took the credit. Again.

He asks Gaius what he’s doing and Gaius, in a burst of explanatory dialogue, gives Merlin the rundown on Sigan aka The Greatest Sorcerer Who Ever Lived. Also, he was pretty evil. Gaius goes to warn Uther about Sigan and ask that they seal up the burial chamber and all its contents. But Uther is all don’t be ridiculous! You warn me of dire magical shit ever week, and I ignore you and terrible things go down and I act as if it’s a surprise every fucking time. So, let’s go with that again.  That night, Morgana dreams of a raven and wakes up screaming. Gwen runs in to comfort her, because apparently, she’s sleeping in Morgana’s chambers.

The next morning Merlin brings Arthur’s breakfast to him, only to find that Cedric already brought him a bigger, better breakfast. Then Cedric apologizes for not have had time to clean out the stable and Merlin gets sent to do that. Meanwhile, Gaius is examining Morgana and asking about her dream. She tells him it was about a raven – the symbol of Sigan. Instead of offering her any real comfort, he just goes ahead and let’s her think she’s going crazy and offers her stronger drugs. Real nice, Gaius.

While Merlin’s mucking out the stables, Cedric tosses a smoke bomb that’s apparently filled with some sort of sleeping compound, because Merlin falls asleep on the job and ends up passed out face first in a pile of horse shit. Cedric sneaks in and sets all of Arthur’s horses loose. Arthur sees the horses tear through the town and goes to the stables to confront Merlin and finds him asleep in the manure. 

He berates Merlin and is threatening to punish him, but Cedric suggests that Arthur give him the night off because he’s exhausted and volunteers to take on his duties for the evening. Merlin tried to point out that Cedric is just trying to get rid of him and also calls Arthur a “clotpole”  - by far my favorite insult of the entire show. 

Merlin returns to his chamber all dejected because Arthur doesn’t trust him or see him for who he is, and Gaius cleans him up and comforts him. Gaius warns him that Camelot is in grave peril because  Sigan’s soul is in that glowing heart shaped gem and whoever removes it from the setting will set the soul of Sigan free. That night, as expected, Cedric steals Arthur’s keys and goes down to the tomb, steals the gem and gets possessed by Sigan. You can tell because his eyes turn black. 

Merlin is woken from a sound sleep by the cry of a raven and the next morning, Arthur, Gaius and Merlin discover that the heart stone is missing from its setting. Arthur leaves, the warning bell is sounded (DRINK!) and Merlin figures out that the only one who had access to Arthur’s keys the night before is Cedric. He races off to warn Arthur. He tries to tell Arthur that Cedric is possessed by an evil spirit and it goes over about as well as you’d think it would. Arthur doesn’t believe that Camelot is in mortal danger. Merlin attacks Cedric and a super awkward fight commences between two really gangly guys. Finally, Arthur jumps in to stop it and has Merlin thrown in the dungeon.

That night, accompanied by the sound of ravens cawing, the camera pans over all the gargoyles on the castle’s parapets. Now, I could be very, very wrong, but I don’t remember ever seeing gargoyles on the castle before. It’s true that I might have just been distracted by Arthur in that long leather riding coat. Look…it happens. But I really don’t recall seeing gargoyles.

Anyhoo, we see Cedric out in the courtyard and he’s sporting a spiffy new raven feather cape because apparently you get a wardrobe upgrade when you get possessed by a long dead wizard. He incants a spell and all of the gargoyles come to life and start terrorizing the villagers of Camelot, who, I’d like to point out rarely ever seem to venture out after dark, so it’s quite odd that they’re all going about their business now, but whatevs.

Gargoyles attack people. People panic and scream. Including Gwen who runs back into the main courtyard while lots of other people are fleeing the town. Uther orders that the creatures are hunting down and killed, because, you know…that’s his answer for everything, so Arthur and his men head out to the courtyard to battle the monsters.

Merlin hears the screaming from the dungeon and freaks out, but not as badly as Uther who’s completely flipping shit and being irrational. Gaius does manage to get a little “told ya so” in there, so good for him. Arthur and the knights battle one of the gargoyles, but it has no effect. Meanwhile, we see Gwen in a makeshift infirmary inside the castle tending to the wounded and Gaius tells her that they need more bandages. Morgana is helping tend to the injured, too.

Merlin, knowing that Arthur needs his help, uses magic to blow the door off his cell. Seriously, dude. Don’t you think someone is going to wonder about that later? One of the gargoyles in the courtyard has Arthur almost pinned, but Gwen pulls him away from danger. They stand and the creature swoops in again and Gwen knocks him down and lands on top of him and Arthur takes that opportunity to flirt with her. Like you do...

She brings him to the infirmary seeing as how he’s bleeding through his chainmail and Arthur thanks her. Uther comes in to quiz Arthur about what’s happening outside, because god forbid he stick his royal head out there. Gwen and Morgana wrap a bandage around the outside of the armor because clearly they don’t understand how bandages or armor works and I’m not more concerned than ever for the people of Camelot.

Uther decides to seal the citadel, but Arthur goes back outside to save the people trapped on the drawbridge even though Uther forbids it. Arthur tells him it’s his duty to Camelot and himself. Merlin is watching this unfold and calls to Gaius discreetly saying he has to help Arthur. Gaius tells him that the only one who can help is the dragon. And if you’ll recall, Merlin broke up with the dragon in the last episode and vowed to never speak to him again. 

Sucks to say never. So Merlin grudgingly heads down to the basement to talk to the dragon. The dragon is pissy, of course, but Merlin begs for his help and he comes out. The dragon agrees to give him a spell if he promises to free him one day. Merlin promises. The dragon breathes a super magic spell on him and I guess it soaked into his brain.

Arthur gets separated from his men by one of the gargoyles and he orders the knights to retreat inside the castle. Uther has a meltdown when he realizes that Arthur is out there and has to be restrained by some of the knights to keep him from going outside.

Merlin goes to the courtyard and finds Arthur unmoving. As a gargoyle begins its descent, Merlin uses the nifty new spell the dragon breathed into him and turns the gargoyle back into stone then smashes him into rubble. Merlin runs to Arthur and makes sure he’s still alive while Cedric-Sigan strolls out of the billowing dust.

Cedric-Sigan tries to convince Merlin to abandon Arthur and join him, but Merlin won’t. But here’s the thing – they’re having this super loud argument outside in the courtyard where things are all echo-y. It’s likely that people are staring out the windows because previously they had been. Seems like a questionable place to have a showdown.  So anyway, Cedric-Sigan threatens to become Merlin and harness his power for himself. Sigan’s soul begins to leave Cedric who collapses to the ground. The soul winds its way up Merlin’s body and inside him. His eyes turn black and a raven caws and we’re all worried. 

Gaius comes outside and calls Merlin’s name. The way Merlin looks at him is a little creepy and the viewer can’t help but wonder if he’s possessed. But then he smiles and shows Gaius the heart shaped stone and it’s glowing again. Merlin trapped Sigan’s soul back in the stone.

The tomb is walled back up with the stone inside, and Uther lectures Gaius about how he was right all along and magic is evil. Please note: there’s nothing in his speech about ignoring Gaius’ many warnings. Nope. Not Uther. No way. 

Arthur goes to Merlin’s chambers and admits that there was some truth to Merlin’s accusations against Cedric. He also says that he hasn’t forgotten that Merlin called him a clotpole. Then he dumps his armor on the table and tells Merlin he needs to clean it. Poor Merlin doesn’t get any appreciation in this episode either. 

Okay! On to the questions!

1.       If I’d written this episode...I would have made it clear what happened to Cedric. Did he die? Escape? Get thrown in the dungeon? What?

 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. In a word? Clotpole.

I hated that Uther once again, despite being proved wrong in every episode, doesn't listen to Gaius. Drives me nuts.
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. All the damn gargoyles. (Of course, I'm still not convinced they were ever there before.)
4.    Favorite Costume. Finally! A new costume! About freaking time. I just love this one. So pretty and springy. I just adore it.

5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Sorry, it's another week of no real canon here – none that I’ve created, anyway.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? I think it's when Merlin is throwing down with Cedric over Arthur. Then when Arthur gets involved and throws Merlin in the dungeon, I'm convinced that that narrative in Jess' head involves Arthur going down to "visit" his prisoner.

7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode – I'm thinking it's Uther dismissing Gaius' warnings AGAIN. Uther's an idiot.
Jess' take on the episode is here, and Jen's is here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Behind the Scenes of my Latest Project

This week, the Wednesday Random Bloggers welcome our latest member - the spectacular Gwendolyn Cease!
As a lot of you might know, Jess Jarman and Jenny Trout and I have been recapping the BBC TV show, Merlin. What you might not know is I’m an Arthurian lit junkie from way back - pretty much since childhood thanks to bedtime stories from my mom. It’s just a fascination I’ve never grown out of. And I’m cool with that. 

I’ve even written a couple Arthurian based stories – Ronan’s Grail from Ellora’s Cave and Mist and Stone from Totally Bound. Now, I’m doing a new one. This one had started out as a young adult story, but it really wasn’t coming together the way I’d hoped. But, I realized if I aged the characters up, a little, it might work better. And so far, it is. 

The anthology, If Ever I would Leave You, was Jess’ idea – all of us using the Arthurian legends as framework with contemporary settings. Since I had this story I was already working on, it seemed like a good fit. I’m super excited about this project. I’m still working on it, so I don’t want to jinx myself, but I can tell you that it involves Avalon, a sailing accident and the heroine falling for someone she really shouldn’t. 

When I think of Liam, the guy our heroine shouldn't be falling for,  I think of Sam Claflin. To be fair, I think of Sam Claflin other times, too. If I'm honest, I 'd have to say that I think of Sam Claflin a lot. But he's who I picture for Liam. 

Look at those dimples! How could I not think of them!?

Oooohhhh. Serious Sam. I mean...Liam. Yes, that's it. My character. Nothing else. Just...inspiration.

It was harder to find the right inspiration for Tabby, but Laura Donnelly works quite nicely.

She's got that girl next door vibe going on, but she also looks like she could kick ass if need be.

And here's a peek at Avalon.

I really need to put a play list together for these two, but I haven't quite gotten around to it, yet, but given the angst in this relationship, I can't help but think that Damien Rice's Rootless Tree will be in heavy rotation.

Also, we'll be doing a big old cover reveal for the antho, so if you'd like in on that, or just want to help us out because you're awesome - please click here to sign up.

I can't wait to check out everyone else's projects. Just click on the name and it'll take you to their project.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Merlin Club: Le Morte d’Arthur or The One Where I Can't Get Songs from Spam-a-lot and the Holy Grail Out of My Head

I can’t believe we’ve finished season one already.  I also can’t believe I’ve been religiously blogging for thirteen weeks straight without missing. Yay, Merlin Club pressure! :D

This episode opens with Arthur, Merlin and four knights of Camelot creeping through the wood on a hunt as well as Arthur being annoyed with Merlin. Again. (And yet, he keeps him around – must be true love.) 

Anyway, this ginormous beast shows up – body of a Wampa sized snow leopard and the head of a snake – and everyone runs away screaming.  Which immediately got this song stuck in my head for the next three days. 

I digress. Back to the recap. They all run away and Merlin falls down. Right before the beast gets him, Arthur and another knight return for him, and Arthur lifts him up and drags him out of danger (and Jess’ panties fall off). Unfortunately, the other man, Sir Bedivere, we find out, gets ganked by the beast.
After the credits, we find ourselves in Uther’s council chambers where Gaius is telling everyone that it sounds like The Questing Beast. Arthur very disdainfully says that the Questing Beast in a myth. Really, Arthur? You just saw a giant snake-leopard thing in the woods, it eats your buddy and again, head of snake and body of snow leopard and you’re just gonna dismiss magic out of hand? Gaius warns that it’s an omen of the Old Religion and Uther dimisses, calling the Questing Beast an old wives’ tale, and I lost my damn mind.

Even though they refuse to believe it’s magic, Uther decides it must be killed and tells Arthur he rides at dawn. Gaius tells Uther that he’s seen the beast once before – the night Ygraine (Arthur’s mother) died. Uther shuts him right down and reminds Gaius that he’s been told not to speak of that night again. He goes on to say that warnings of the Old Religion mean nothing to him, because he’s conquered it.
Gaius, determined to be heard, warns Merlin that the beast carried the power of life and death – just like the Old Religion. (Side note: everyone in this show goes on and on about the Old Religion, but what’s replaced it. Other than the occasional reference to “God” we have no indication that there’s anything taking its place.)  Okay, back to the plot, Gaius tells Merlin that one bite from the Questing Beast, and the victim dies and there’s no cure.
That night, during a mood setting thunderstorm, of course,  Morgana has a bad dream about dragons, Questing Beasts, Merlin yelling and Arthur looking dead. She wakes on a scream and Gwen runs into the room and tries to comfort her. Doesn’t Gwen ever go home anymore?
The next morning, Arthur is giving the nights a pep talk about killing the beast when Morgana runs to him still in her jammies and flips out, begging him not to go. Arthur seems annoyed and has knights escort (read: drag) Morgana back to her chamber.

So the hunting party follows the beasts trail through the woods and into the cave (DRINK!)

 and Merlin and Arthur go in one direction while the knights go in another. Merlin and Arthur, after stumbling across a plethora of skulls and bones, inevitably meet the beast. Unfortunately, at that point, I had lines from the Paper Bag Princess stuck in my head – “He (the dragon) was easy to follow because he left a trail of burnt forests and horses’ bones.” Anyway, Arthur fights it, but the beast wins, biting Arthur and rendering him unconscious. Merlin magic’s Arthur’s sword right into the beast’s throat and it dies. Merlin, realizing that Arthur is injured calls for help and they frantically bring him back to Camelot.
Merlin and the knights carry him to Gaius’ chamber where they lay him on Gaius’ work table. The guards go to tell the king while Merlin desperately tries to cast healing spells on Arthur. They don’t work. Uther comes in the chamber freaking the fuck out because Arthur is dying – you know the same Arthur he sent out to fight the deadly beast. Uther, utterly grief stricken, lifts Arthur from the table and carries him to his chamber with heavy halting steps while weeping openly.

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you and tell you that grieving Uther isn’t hot as hell. Part of it is the beauty that’s Anthony Stewart Head, and part of it is the fact that this bitter asshole of a man truly does love his son. Of course, there’s also anger because why the hell can you show it other times, Uther!? Why does it take your son being at death’s door to be a fucking parent!? Finally, it’s too much for him and he falls to his knees sobbing and the knights came and take Arthur to his room while Merlin looks as though he’s going to cry and Morgana looks out her window, completely unsurprised, but still sad.

Merlin races down to the dragon’s prison to ask for help. The dragon tells him that he needs to use the powers of the Old Religion to save Arthur. Merlin says that the Old Religion died out centuries ago. Really, Merlin? I thought you were clever. What do you think the druids and other magic users you’ve been dealing with all season were all about!? Dumbass. (Sorry, Jess.)
The dragon tells Merlin to go to the Isle of the Blessed where those who still hold dominion over life and death are holed up. The dragon tells him that Arthur must live no matter the cost. Merlin goes to Gaius’ chamber were Gaius tells him to bring Arthur a potion to ease his passing. (Apparently, Gaius was ready to call it.) and Merlin is all, “No I’m going to save him,” and tells Gaius about his plan for going to The Isle of the Blessed. Gaius flips shit over the thought of Merlin going there and tries to talk him out of it by telling him that they’ll demand a life in return for saving Arthur. Merlin is determined and goes anyway.  Gaius relents and gives Merlin a map to the Isle of the Blessed.
Merlin rides through a mist shrouded wood while Arthur, feverish, suffers the effects of the Questing Beast’s bite. Uther sits beside him soothes him. It’s very sweet. Eventually, Gaius take Uther’s place and then Gwen. She takes care of Arthur, soothing his fever and talking to him about how he’s going to survive and be a great king.
Meanwhile, Merlin finds the lake that surrounds the Isle of the Blessed and takes a little rickety rowboat to get there – there looks not unlike the ruins at Glastonbury – but anyway, once he gets there, he runs into good old Nimueh.

She tells him that she’ll help, but that the balance of the earth must be restored and to do that, a life must be taken. He offers his life in return for Arthur’s. She says that it’s not that simple and he’s all, “whatever the price, I’ll pay it” still thinking they’re talking his life.

Nimueh pulls the Cup of Life out of thin air and tells him that if Arthur drinks water from that cup, he’ll live. She also creates a storm out of thin air and fills the cup with rainwater, then puts it in an ornate little holder. She says, all sultry-like, “The bargain is struck. I hope it pleases you.” Merlin shakes it off and returns to Camelot and shows Gaius the water. Gaius flips shit wanting to know what price he paid and whose life he bargained. C’mon Gaius. Why are you freaking now? You knew that was the plan from the beginning.

But he gives Arthur the water anyway, and Uther busts in and demands to know what Gaius is giving Arthur. Gaius totally lies then suggests that Uther allow Arthur to rest. Uther says he won’t leave him. Really, Uther? Really? Because where have you been the rest of the time your kid has been on his death bed!?

Gaius and Merlin leave, but Morgana pulls Merlin into a little alcove looking all crazy-eyed and tells him that he must beware – that this is only the beginning. Later that night, Arthur wakes to find Uther slumped over and sleeping on the bed beside him. Gaius tells Merlin that Arthur lives and Merlin is thrilled, and Gaius is upset because he fears that Merlin will die.
Uther visits Arthur as he’s recuperating. Arthur says that feels like he had someone watching over him. And Uther says that maybe he has a guardian angel. Another very Christian concept. So is Christianity the New Religion? If so, why not come out and say it? The earliest Arthurian stories didn’t have Christian overtones, but many were rewritten to include them and those are the ones the general populace is the most familiar with, so why were the writers dancing around the topic?
Sorry…back to the plot. That night, there’s another mood setting thunderstorm – must be the rainy season in Camelot and Merlin is sitting on his bed, basically waiting to die. Later that night, a hooded figure schlumps into Camelot and heads to Merlin and Gaius’ chamber. It’s Hunith, Merlin’s mother and she’s wheezing and covered with horrible boils and is apparently dying from them.
Merlin wakes up and is all excited because he’s alive, then he discovers his mother on the floor and freaks the hell out. He’s gutted because he bargained his life, not his mother’s. Gaius says there’s nothing he can do because it’s not a natural illness. He promises his mother that he’ll make her better and goes down to see the dragon. Merlin is furious with the dragon because he knew what would happen. And the dragon is basically “too bad, so sad.” The dragon tells him that his mom won’t die in vain. And Merlin tells him that he’ll never release the dragon and he’ll never see Merlin again. Cue dragon temper tantrum. 
Merlin returns to Gaius’ chambers and tells him that he has to save her. Basically, he’s going back to the Isle of the Blessed to make another deal with Nimueh this time to heal his mother in return for his life – no one else’s. Gaius tries to talk him out of it, but Merlin won’t be budged and they have a heartfelt moment about all the things Gaius taught him. Then Merlin goes to say goodbye to Arthur without really letting on what he’s doing. It’s a sweetly amusing scene that really shows the depth of Merlin’s affection for Arthur. And Arthur knows that something’s off, but he’s not sure what.

He returns to his room to check on his mother and finds Gwen taking care of Hunith. She says that Gaius went for supplies. He says his subtle goodbyes to Gwen, too and his mom. When he leaves the room, he finds a letter that Gaius wrote to him about sacrificing himself to Nimueh because he’s old and has lived his life and Merlin has so much promise – blah blah blah. Merlin, of course, takes off after Gaius.

Gaius and Nimueh have a little chat involving some expository dialogue about the spell they cast for Uther and how he Gaius stood by and watched their friends burn. Nimueh toys with him some more then finally agrees to take his life to save Hunith.
Merlin shows up and Nimueh tells him his mother is safe. Gaius is slumped on the ground and Nimueh tries to convince Merlin to join forces with her. Merlin isn’t having it and he and Nimueh have a magic battle royale with fireballs and everything until Merlin summons lightning  and rain from the sky and fries Nimueh until she explodes in a pile of toasty sorceress bits.

Merlin runs to Gaius and cries and yells no a lot and weeps in the rain while hugging Gaius. Gaius eventually comes to – I guess because of the whole Old Religion life for a life thing and Gaius was revived when Nimueh went poof. And down in the bowels of Camelot, the dragon has another dragon tantrum.

Now, for the questions!
1.       If I’d written this episode...I would have had Arthur and Uther not be so dismissive of Gaius’ warning regarding magic and what not. Come the fuck on, people. I’m bad at math, but even I know that snow leopard + giant snake = a really bad magic-y thing.
 2.    The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. I loved the bit where Merlin was saying his secret goodbyes to Arthur and Gwen – it was actually quite touching. And I also loved Uther weeping over Arthur like an actual fucking parent.
I hated the dismissive-ness shown toward Gaius and also Arthur toward Morgana – it was more like he was embarrassed for/by her than concerned for her.  Also the whole Old Religion thing.
3.    Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before. The whole guardian angel bit between Uther and Arthur.
4.    Favorite Costume. Pretty much everyone is wearing the same old/same old. But I do like Arthur’s linen shirt that he’s wearing when he’s lying in bed. Also, it might be that Arthur is lying in bed…
5.    Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. No real canon here – none that I’ve created, anyway.
6.    What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? It has to be the sweet, heartfelt and slightly sassy goodbye when Merlin thought he was going to have to sacrifice himself.nBecause, I know in Jess’ head that goodbye ended up in bed.
7.   What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode – it’s got to be the whole Old Religion thing vs. whatever it is that the writers are avoiding.
Jess' take on the episode is here, and Jen's is here.