Friday, January 24, 2014

MERLIN CLUB: The Dragon's Call

or The One Where Merlin Finds His, Purpose

THE RECAP- So we open with Merlin traveling to Camelot. When he arrives, the first thing he witnesses is the beheading of a man accused of sorcery, overseen by King Uther, who then orders a festival to celebrate 20 years without magic in the kingdom. The man’s mother, who is a bit upset (shocker), threatens the king’s son ("An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a son for a son."). But before Uther can have the woman arrested, she uses magic to get the hell out of there.

Later, when Uther confronts his ward, Morgana, about not attending the festivities, she makes it clear she sympathizes with magic users and disagrees with Uther's persecution of them. She warns him that the more brutal he is the more enemies he'll make. Uther, of course, is too cool to listen to this.

Merlin goes into the castle looking for Gaius, the court physician and the man Merlin's mom sent him to. When he arrives in Gaius’ chambers, the older man falls from the balcony, and Merlin saves his life—using *gasp* magic.

Gaius questions him, but Merlin denies anything to do with magic (and, hello, can you blame him? He just saw a dude’s head chopped off for magic—don’t think I’d be rushing to confess either!) Eventually, Gaius gives Merlin a room to stay in and says he can help Gaius until they figure out what to do with him.

Meanwhile, the witch who threatened Uther is seen killing Lady Helen—a singer who is travelling to Camelot to sing at Uther’s festival. She then takes on the likeness of Lady Helen, though her true form can be seen in mirrors/reflective surfaces.

While sleeping, Merlin hears a voice repeating his name. The next morning at breakfast, tricksy Gaius knocks over a bucket of water and Merlin, without thinking, stops it from falling. Gaius warns Merlin against using his magic because of Camelot’s laws. Then he sends Merlin to deliver medicine to people. While out, Merlin sees a knight bullying a servant and steps in to defend him. After a bit of back and forth, such as this:

(Nope, no sexual way to take that....:-/)

There’s a good amount of sass from Merlin and he takes a swing at the knight, which ends with his arm twisted behind his back and the knight threatening to have him thrown in the dungeon. Turns out the knight is actually Prince Arthur. *jazz hands* SURPRISE.  He does, indeed, get thrown into the dungeon—where he hears the same voice from the previous night calling his name.  The next day, Gaius arranges to have Merlin released, but it comes at a price—the day in the stocks. Merlin seems to take it well and laughs and smiles while having produce thrown at him. There, he meets Guinevere (Gwen), Morgana’s handmaiden. After being released, Merlin happens upon Arthur in the marketplace (I guess that’s what it is since there’re booths and stuff) and more totally innocent, no-way-to-take-that-sexually-at-all banter happens....

and Merlin lets himself get pulled into another fight—this time with maces. While Arthur is clearly more skilled a fighter, Merlin uses magic to avoid getting hit and he so would have won the fight if he hadn’t seen Gaius watching….clearly unhappy.  Even though he bests Merlin, Arthur stops him from being arrested again saying Merlin is brave and that there is “something about” him.

“Lady Helen” (aka crazy witch mama) has arrived in Camelot and dines with King Uther. There’s a lot of talk and Uther is clearly into the woman and making eyes at her. They talk about how difficult it must have been for Arthur to grow up without a mother—how the bond between mother and son is impossible to replace.

Merlin is awoken that night by the voice calling his name. He sets out to find out where it’s coming from and ends up in a cave beneath the castle where he meets The Great Dragon (Kilgharrah) who is imprisoned there. The dragon says Merlin has a great destiny—to use his gifts to protect Arthur, help him become a great king and unite all of Albion. Merlin is less than impressed.

The next morning, Merlin is delivering more medications for Gaius. When he brings Morgana something for the nightmares she suffers, he finds her behind the screen changing. She mistakes Merlin for Gwen and he helps Morgana around the screen (who is totally unaware a strange man is in her room) until Gwen comes in and Merlin scoots out, all embarrassed. 

He then delivers a potion to “Lady Helen” for her voice. She’s not in her room and he discovers some magical stuff on her table. “Lady Helen” returns and he is able to leave without arousing her suspicions. That evening, a maid isn’t so lucky when she sees the witch’s true reflection in the mirror and is killed by the witch’s touch and apparently some deadly humming.

At dinner all the boys drool over Morgana before they sit to eat. Once everyone is seated, “Lady Helen” begins to sing, which enchants the entire court and puts them to sleep and, I don’t know, ages the Castle? There are cobwebs all over everyone and everything, so whatevs. 

Merlin, realizing there’s something amiss, covers his ears and sees the witch getting ready to throw a dagger at Arthur. He uses magic to drop a chandelier on top of her. The enchantment is gone and everyone wakes up. But wait! The witch, now in her true form, throws the dagger at Arthur before dying. Merlin uses magic again, slowing time and pulling Arthur out of the path of the blade. Uther, grateful that his boy was saved, insists on rewarding Merlin. His reward? A position in the royal household, as Prince Arthur’s manservant. As expected, neither Merlin or Arthur is particularly thrilled by this development.

Back in Gaius’ chambers, the older man gives Merlin a book of magic to study (in secret of course!) then Merlin is summoned away to begin his duties as manservant to the prince.

If I'd written this episode, I would have changed... There's nothing big I'd change, really. Some little things? The whole cobwebs and whatever happened to the castle during the enchantment. I don't really know what that was about. It's like the castle and everything were aging (like fruit on the tables going bad etc.), but the people weren't aging or anything. What the hell was that? What was the point? I think it would have been enough just to enchant people to sleep.

The other thing I really just don't get - Merlin is magic, yeah? He could move stuff around before he could talk. WHY THE HELL DID HIS MOTHER SEND HIM TO CAMELOT???? Uther's stance on magic is not a secret; it's very well known. Why would Hunith send her child to the place that is the LEAST safe for him. Sure, her letter to Gaius talked about how he was special and asked Gaius to take care of him, and it's clear Hunith and Gaius are old friends, and but there wasn't any explanation on the motivation to send him to Camelot of all places. And....AND when Merlin arrives and sees the execution of the man who used magic, he looks so shocked and horrified. Did he even know how dangerous is was? Was he warned not to use his magic? I mean, seriously warned - along the lines of "Hey, son, if you get caught using magic, you'll lose your head, be hanged or burned alive. Have a safe trip and have fun, honey!"

Of course, it's Merlin's destiny to be there with Arthur, blah, blah, blah, but if I'd written, I'd have put in at least a hint of why Hunith would risk her son that way.

The thing I loved and/or hated about this episode.  I love how Merlin doesn't kiss Arthur's feet, even after finding out he is the prince. He doesn't hesitate to call Arthur an ass if he's being an ass, and they've just met. And that is something Arthur notices...and likes, I think. AND NEEDS. Because if Arthur is going to be the king he is destined to be... Well, he needs some work, yeah?  And clearly, up to this point, no ones bothered to call Arthur out on anything.

And while it may not be as obvious, Merlin needs Arthur. He desperately needs to know that he has a purpose, and that his magic has a purpose. He says in this episode, without his magic he is a nobody, that he might as well die (that was the teenaged angst portion of our episode). He questions why he is the way he is and even asks Gaius if he's a monster because of his magic. Arthur gives Merlin his reason for being. He and his magic are to protect Arthur and help shape into the king who will unite the land of Albion.

It isn't exactly a secret I totally love the Merlin/Arthur (Merthur) pairing. *I* see the chemistry from the first time they see each other (and luuuuuuurve it!) But even if you take the whole Merthur thing off the table and look at their relationship in a platonic/friendship sense...(*sniffle* but why would you????) they still balance each other in the exact same way. Everything I said above, still stands.

Something I never noticed about this episode before - Honestly, the thing that made me think "I didn't notice that before!" was so minor but it's all I have... Merlin isn't wearing his neckerchief when he's delivering medicine for Gaius and ends up in Morgana's chambers.  I was all, oooooh, I see collarbone...*DROOL* Where the fuck is your neckerchief, MERLIN???? He always has it on. Now I'm going to be on the lookout every episode to see if there are other times he's without.

Favorite costume - I have to say the gown the witch ("Lady Helen") wore when she tried to kill Arthur. Girl was homicidal but she knew how to dress for a party. (Although the show's creators don't seem all that concerned with the fact that this dress and Morgana's don't really fit a show set in medieval-y times. Just an observation.)

Here is proof of some random head canon I've created - This one gave me trouble I admit. This episode is pretty early on so there isn't much that I can say "There, THERE, is proof of..." I mean, obviously, I ship Merthur pretty hard, and I guess the things I saw in the episode that support that head canon, I've already talked about above - the immediate tension between the two men, the sexual innuendos...  It's all there. I'm not imagining it, right? (And if I am? I'm not sorry...not even a little bit.)

What would Bronwyn steal from Camelot in this episode. I know there was a vase in this episode Bron liked, but I'm going to say, Bron would want Gwen's cape.

Maybe the dress, too, 'cause it's pretty. But I bet Bron would wear the shit out that cape while frolicking in the woods or on the moonlit shore of Lake Superior.

What made Jenny lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode. I know she questioned why the witch would bother going through enchanting the whole court and throwing a knife at Arthur when apparently she could "touch him to death". *Snort* Can't blame the questioning there. As proven with the maid, she could touch him and hum away and, bam, revenge had!

OH, and Uther's gloves. THE LEATHER GLOVES....that is a good thing that drives Jen to distraction.

RANDOM THOUGHTS - Both Bradley James (Arthur) and Colin Morgan (Merlin) look SO YOUNG! That didn't stop me from enjoying the view or anything because they are both extremely hot, IMO. I'd have to be dead not to notice and enjoy. And, OMG, those cheekbones... I could write odes to Merlin's cheekbones.

Oh, and I have to thank my awesome daughter who made us our Merlin Club banner. I asked if she could do something we could put up with our posts and she delivered the awesome banner at the top of this post. So thank you, my darling girl!

Bron's Merlin Club: The Dragon's Call Post
Jen's Merlin Club: The Dragon's Call Post

Now it's your turn! Comment and let us know what you thought of The Dragon's Call.

We want you to watch with us. Be part of Merlin Club - it's awesome. Seriously. Next Monday 1/27 at 8pm EST, we are watching Episode 2: Valiant. We'll be tweeting as we watch to the hashtag #MerlinClub

Until the next episode!


  1. I am apparently the only person who likes Morgana's dress. Whatever, it was fresh to death, no apologies. And I totally noticed the thing about the neckerchief. He has a really thick neck, so I bet the neckerchief is meant to disguise that and make him look a little more spindly.

    1. I actually like the dress, Jen! Just don't think it's very medieval-y is all. And I really, really like Colin's neck (shocker, I know!) Damned that almost-always-present neckerchief!

  2. I didn't notice the neckerchief! Now, I'll be watching for that. And yes. definitely *want* the cape!!!

    1. I know, right? The whole series I'll be on "Colin Neck Watch". :-D And you would totally rock that cape!

  3. Well, you know I'm a total perv right there with you, lol! I'll be watching with you guys. Brilliant idea!! xoxo

    1. YAY!!! On the fellow perv business, AND that you'll be watching. You won't regret it, Stace!