Onwards and upwards, the best season yet - tone ever darker, threats ever more real. Time and time again Camelot faces danger as Morgana, now openly evil, conjures up ancient forces to help her secure its throne. Here are thirteen episodes crammed with excitement, witchcraft and seriously scary moments - not least those screeching, swirling Spirits of the Dead. (BBBC1 screened the series later in the evening than before, a hint to parents of more adult content.)
Thankfully there is still humour, much of it in the banter between Merlin and Arthur - a great double act. Many sequences are also very moving - as when Arthur and knights mourn those dead or believed to be.
As the young Merlin, Colin Morgan is superb - totally likeable and self-effacing, conveying so much with just a look. Arthur increasingly appreciates his loyal (if clumsy) servant's worth. (Not before time, many would say.) Bradley James impresses as Arthur strives to be the king Camelot deserves, he winning over those who previously held him in contempt. (Lindsay Duncan and Ben Daniels are excellent as two of those converted.) How splendid Gaius (Richard Wilson) is still around, his scenes with Merlin a particular pleasure. One to hiss is Arthur's seemingly devoted uncle (Nathaniel Parker) - he in fact plotting much villainy. (The actor features prominently in out-takes.)
Bonuses include commentaries, deleted scenes and an interesting feature on the making of this season.
The series' continued success owes everything to the converging of talents - crackling scripts, so ingeniously plotted; a fine cast doing them full justice; breathtaking special effects; music that even further enhances. Full marks also to whoever had that brainwave of making Merlin and Arthur the same age! The device works a treat, at once allowing the old legends to be shown in a refreshing new light.
In short, the series is a triumph. No wonder fans the world over are under its spell!