“Arthur’s Bane, Part Two” – Merlin Season 5, Episode 2 Review!

This just in:  Things heat up when Morgana shares her bed with a dragon!  A baby dragon, that is.  And she’s just petting it while laying in bed, so don’t get too excited.  If I just managed to surprise you even a little with that first sentence, then you are either easily convinced or you read too much fanfiction.  Either way, the second episode of Season 5, and Part 2 of “Arthur’s Bane”, is full of surprises.  Look out below for spoilers.

Mordred_Snow
Mordred looks great in a parka.

Merlin and Arthur continue to find themselves captured like a pair of bedraggled rabbits, forced to trek through the snowy North.  A conversation between Merlin and Mordred while they’re stopped for the night gives us reason to question whose side Mordred is on, as does his manner when he meets up with Morgana.  The show would like you to think he’s Arthur’s “Bane”, but the writers are tricksy.  I won’t tell you who or what Arthur’s bane is revealed to be, but Mordred is not all that the so-called prophecy would have him be.  Not at this point at least.  Keep your eyes open for a sudden turnabout in the plot involving Mordred at the end of this episode.

Queen Gwen continues to rule the kingdom with an iron fist, remaining merciless in her judgment of her servant girl Sifa… or does she?  Look out for a sneaky twist here as well.  Gwen has a plan up her sleeve and still has a heart of gold, I’m relieved to say.

Queen Guinevere the steadfast
Queen Guinevere the steadfast

The Game of Thrones nods (whether intentional or not) continue to prevail.  Two more images reminiscent of the HBO series appear–  Ruadan sends a message to Morgana by crow, and a low-angle shot of Morgana’s looming fortress looks very similar to The Wall.  If that weren’t enough, the actor Liam Cunningham who plays Ruadan, also plays Ser Davos Seaworth in Game of Thrones.  Any more of these this season and I suggest you start a drinking game.

Now remember the glowy alien-looking being?  We get a better look at it in this episode, and boy is it creepy.  While the CGI in general has gotten a lot better as the series has gone on, this tall reedy being with a misshapen head strays into Uncanny Valley territory.  Its thready voice doesn’t help matters much either.  I would have hoped that the character would make up for its appearance, but alas, it didn’t do much for me.  It is, like we have heard so many times before, the last of its kind, and seems to me to be a Deus Ex Machina sort of character device.  Hopefully it will provide a slightly more valuable addition to the plot in episodes to come, but I really don’t see the need for it when we have a kick-ass dragon voiced by John Hurt.  Watch the episode to find out what it is and then form your own opinion.

I have no words for this thing.  He's/It's a good guy though, so far.
I have no words for this thing. He’s/It’s a good guy though, so far.

There are some very juicy plot points that will carry you straight over into the next episode, wanting more.  The baby dragon– What’s the deal?  Why can’t he talk?  A connection between Merlin and Mordred is revealed– how will this affect Merlin’s role, and how will Mordred’s new role at the end of the episode unfold?  How is Morgana still walking around at the end?

I leave you this week with my favorite quote of the episode:  “The love that binds us is more important than the power we wield.”  Come back for more next week with “The Death Song of Uther Pendragon”.  How’s THAT for an episode title?

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Post Author: Amy Hirschman