TV Review: Camelot Season 1 Ep. 5- Justice
Posted by Mirjana on May 26, 2011
While Arthur struggles to keep order beyond Camelot’s walls, Morgan gains some ground in her quest for the throne…Caution: Spoilers Ahead.
While out riding, Arthur and Kay meet a young girl who stops them and begs for them to help her father. They arrive at her village just as her father kills the man he’s fighting with. Arthur stops Wade, the dead man’s brother, from seeking retribution, ordering them back to Camelot for a trial. When the trial starts, Arthur is frustrated by the father’s unwillingness to speak in his own defense. Sensing that his daughter may be the key, Arthur asks Guinevere to speak with the girl.
In an attempt to curry favor with the local merchants, Morgan organizes a feast. Unbeknownst to her, Sybil goes to a mercenary and pays him to attack her. She stumbles into the feast bloody and beaten, and then privately orders Morgan to take advantage of the situation. Morgan uses the beating to point out the lawlessness that’s infested Britain, and promises to send a messenger to her brother asking him to come to Castle Pendragon.
Merlin, meanwhile, has sequestered himself beneath the castle, caught up in dreams and visions of Excalibur, the blacksmith’s daughter. Igraine eventually finds him and tries to tend his wounds (and maybe a little more), but he pushes her away, warning her that those who get close to him get burned.
Guinevere learns that the villager was protecting his daughter’s honor when he attacked the other man. Taking this information into consideration, Arthur orders the man banished from the village, a decision that does not sit well with Wade. When Gawain takes the father back to the village to collect his things, Wade tries to interfere. Arthur arrives with Kay and Leontes, stopping Gawain from killing Wade. When none of the villagers move to help Wade, Arthur announces that the village is now under Camelot’s protection.
Morgan never sends a rider for Arthur, but tells the merchants that Arthur is too busy to meet with them. When Sybil points out that the mercenary she hired is in the crowd, Morgan pulls him up to the front of the room, identifying him as the man who beat the nun. Morgan cuts his throat, telling the merchants that she will protect them with her life’s blood, even if her brother will not.
I really enjoyed this episode; it’s probably my favorite thus far. There were several things I liked about it, but in the interest of time I’ll only go into the things that stood out the most.
First, we get a good look at the differences between Arthur and Morgan and how each would run their kingdom. Arthur wants to take a step back, to root out injustice without resorting to violence or brutality. He actually cares about making things better for the people, whereas Morgan’s quest for the throne is completely self-serving. She’ll use the people, manipulate them to get what she wants, but ultimately all she cares about is getting rid of Arthur. The last ten minutes does a great job framing this difference, alternating back and forth between Arthur’s speech to the villagers and Morgan’s murder of the mercenary in the name of “justice.” This was one of those moments where you really get a sense of the great king Arthur is going to be, and why the people will love him so.
I also liked the interaction between Arthur and Guinevere. They’re able to put aside everything that’s happened and to work together toward a common goal. This is the most I’ve liked Guinevere all season. She’s sympathetic and kind, and is genuinely committed to making things better for the village women. With this Guinevere, it’s easy to see how she would someday make a great queen.
The interaction between Merlin and Igraine was interesting (and surprising). Because he’s so powerful, I tend to think of Merlin as infallible; it was refreshing to see that he’s not unaffected by the consequences of his magic. Igraine is more complex here than we’ve seen so far. We learn a bit more about her marriages to Cornwall and Uther, and her desire for a partner that looks upon her as an equal. Merlin frustrates and fascinates her in equal parts, so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
I think “Justice” is the strongest episode so far. Hopefully, the momentum will continue into the second half of the season.
GS Reporter: Mirjana