Saturday, 13 October 2012
TV: Merlin Series 5 - Arthur's Bane Part Two
After lasts week's rather pedestrian opener, things pick up slightly in the second part of Arthur's Bane but this is still Merlin stuck in third gear. When last we left our heroes, Gwaine and Percival were impersonating male strippers in the caves under Morgana's castle while Merlin and Arthur had been captured by the newly grown Mordred who Merlin has seen possibly slaying Arthur in a vision.
This week was more of the same - Arthur and Merlin escaped in the fake snow and then snuck into Morgana's castle with the greatest of ease. Then the pair wandered around in full view, gave out one sword and suddenly all the knights were free. It makes you wonder why the dozy shirtless ones didn't try anything weeks ago. Morgana scowled and swished around looking all emo-chic while Gwaine continued to get chatted up by a truly dreadful bit of CGI that looked as if it had been drawn by a five year old with Josette Simon's head face stuck onto it. Bad CGI was a recurring feature of this week's episode with an appallingly realised white dragon as well. Best to stick to half seen beasties in the shadows from now on.
Back in Camelot, Gwen had set up a devious trap to lure Liam Cunningham's wizard into the castle to rescue his daughter, and yet left only a couple of guards on duty and then let him escape. Are the security forces of Camelot the ancenstors of Group 4? This did mean that the gimlet eyed Sefa (Sophie Rundle) didn't get hung and will probably turn up again. Oh joy. Despite her new found strategic skills, poor old Angel Coulby's Queen still looks lost in her new frock, and you want to give her back her old maid's dress and get her to bring everyone lunch - we all know she'd be far happier.
The most notable thing about tonight's episode was Mordred's betrayal of Morgana and his joining with Arthur, ending up with him knighted. Can we trust the baby faced one? Of course not, but Alexander Vlahos plays the part well, and is a good new addition to the cast. As an opening two parter, Arthur's Bane was more Arthur's Bore and the trailer for next time looks like it's trying too hard to be dark. Grown up scares are fine but dark in Merlin often equals slow. I'm hoping there's a couple of those much loved comedy episodes waiting in the wings as well.
GK Rating: ***