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Pushing The Boundaries of Pre-Watershed*
on 20 October 2012
*Please Note, this is purely a review of THE EPISODES on this DVD, which I will be updating weekly, and then again when I have the genuine article.
MERLIN has come to the darkest part of the legend now, I've noticed, and It's not so much a family show anymore. In my opinion, this is a brilliant thing, as I much prefer the darker episodes to the light-hearted ones in the first series.
ARTHUR'S BANE - PART ONE kicks off the series brilliantly, and it's clear from just the opening two minuets that this series has got a lot, lot darker. However, this does not stop the friendly banter between Merlin and Arthur: "Is there anything you're actually good at?" - "Putting up with you!?" Very nice to see Liam Cunningham as well, after seeing him in Outcast, which I personally thought was very good, but it didn't do too well. Gwen seems to be settling in to the role of Queen very nicely too, even if a bit harsh. The episode, even though I found it slow in parts, was great entertainment, and really made me excited for Part Two. (8/10)
ARTHUR'S BANE - PART TWO continued the story, and let me say, it really delivered. Aithusa, Mordred, Slow-mo sword fights, Morgana going absolutely stark-raving MENTAL and a weird blue thing, I thought it was already a treat, but it was really the last ten minuets that got my brain going "WOW!" I know the writers said Mordred in series 5 would be 'complicated', but who's side is he really on? All I can say is, if it's Morgana's, then Arthur's in deep $#!% (9/10)
THE DEATH SONG OF UTHER PENDRAGON was an episode I had been looking forward to ever since I found out that Anthony Head would be returning as a guest. Arthur had done so many things to Camelot that everybody knew Uther would despise, and all these things are addressed in this episode, which I really liked, because, Paranormal Activity had NOTHING on it! It's one of those episodes that makes you jump and $#!% your pants at every conceivable occasion, and the ending - Oh, the ending! So many people were left shouting at the TV. We were SO CLOSE to the truth! Though, it can't be long can it? Please? (10/10)
ANOTHER'S SORROW was somewhat of a letdown after the first three episodes. Mithian returns, but she was a character I did not care for anyway, being thretaned by Morgana, who spends a lot of the episode under an ageing spell. There's a scene at the end between Arthur and Odin, but that's really all that stood out for me. And where has Mordred gone? I thought he was a knight now, but he wasn't in this episode at all! (6/10)
THE DISIR was a great, great improvement on the previous episode. For starters, the whole story is basically centered around Mordred, and since we have not seen him properly in action for two weeks now, this is a very good thing. This episode is slightly dark as well (though not as dark as episode three), and centers around the fact that fate says that Mordred will eventually kill Arthur, and Merlin spends most of the episode pondering on this. There is also a scene in this episode that really had me shouting very rudely and loudly at the TV, and I'm pretty sure everyone else was too. (9/10)
THE DARK TOWER is a prime example of pushing the boundaries of pre-watershed. A very, very dark episode that tops even The Death Song of Uther Pendragon - too dark for a family show. However, as I am the only person in my family that watches Merlin, it does not bother me. Another Mordred-less episode (again!), but this time, most of the screen-time is given to Gwen, who spends the episode locked in a 'Dark Tower' with mandrake roots hanging from the ceiling, which of course, creates twisted illusions of Merlin, Arthur and Elyan laughing manically, which even creeped me out a bit. The end of this episode was very unexpected, and in more ways that one. Something happens, but I won't say what it is in case of spoilers, but then, it's the last 30-45 seconds of the episode that really makes us go "WHAAAAAAATT!?" (10/10)
This series has been GREAT so far, and I believe it really has the capacity to be the best yet!
OVERALL MARK: 52/60 *****
GO TO MERLIN SERIES 5 VOLUME 2 NEXT WEEK (17/11/12) FOR MY VERDICT ON EPISODE 7 - 'A LESSON IN VENGEANCE'.