TV REVIEW: Merlin Series 3 – Episode 6: The Changeling

Sigh. We’re about halfway through the 3rd series and we’ve got another comedic standalone story that I don’t think we needed at this point (maybe later in the series). I’m getting whiplash from trying to figure out what show I’m watching! While there were moments I found funny (thanks to Georgia King and Miriam Margolyes), but there were more that I wasn’t fond of.

The opening scene has us peering into the nursery of a baby, where a Sidhe casts some sort of spell over her. Fast forward 20 years and we see that the baby has grown into the klutzy and messy Princess Elena (Georgia King), daughter of Uther’s close friend and ally, Lord Godwyn (Simon Williams). Shouldn’t he be a King if his daughter is a Princess?

Anyhow, back in Camelot, Uther tries to convince Arthur that Elena is awesome and then when Elena and Godwyn arrive, reveals that he actually wants Arthur to MARRY her for political purposes. Uh oh! A not-happy Arthur tells Gwen after she asks why he’s upset, which in turn upsets Gwen.

During the night, Elena is having nightmares (similarly thrashing around like Morgana used to) and we find out why: Elena’s nursemaid is actually a pixie who has been keeping a parasitic sidhe dormant inside the princess, who has no idea whatsoever. After sprinkling some fairy dust and thinking happy thoughts, Grunhilda (Miriam Margolyes) sneaks out and goes to the lake aka entry point to Avalon to speak with the Sidhe King. She assures him that once Arthur and Elena are married, the Sidhe Queen will control Camelot.

There are moments of bonding between Elena and Arthur when she beats him at an impromptu horse race and the fact that neither knew their mothers, who both died when they were babies. Teasing between Merlin and Arthur, then with Gaius about their respective “romances” is amusing.

Lots of longing glances and discomfort at the arranged marriage situation occurs between Arthur and Gwen. Morgana drives the point home to Gwen later on and afterwards, a “rinse, wash, repeat” conversation between Arthur and Gwen about how they cannot give into their feelings. Same old, same old. Eventually, the sidhe parasite is forced out of Elena by a potion concocted by Gaius and killed with the Sidhe staff by Merlin as is Grunhilda (after multiple tries!)

As I do every episode, my “Woo hoo!” parts of the ep were:

  • Bradley James mouthing “WHAT THE F—” and then the shot strategically cuts away. HAHA!
  • Uther catching Arthur right as he throws a pillow at Merlin. The guilty expression on his face where you know your parent just caught you throwing stuff at your friend at a ridiculous hour….
  • Princess Elena. I love that she’s not perfect! Awkward, ramble, clumsy, a bit unkempt (ok ok..A LOT unkempt!) but can kick Arthur’s behind in a race and that he contemplated giving her a second chance at the end of the episode. She reminded me of a Series 1 Guinevere (did the writers forget that she can swordfight and probably pretty well having a father who was a smithy?)
  • Professor Sprout’s Grunhilda’s crush on Gaius! I had the same reaction as Merlin but really cracked up at Miriam Margolyes and Richard Wilson playing this up — hysterical!
  • Arthur asking for Merlin’s honest-to-goodness advice on if he should go through with the marriage….and TAKING his advice. He knew he would being defying and angering his father, another character-developing moment! I really enjoyed how Colin and Bradley played this scene – more of future!advisor and future!king rather than the traditional royal/servant role.

And my “Ugh, really?” parts of the ep:

  • Majority of the Arthur/Gwen scenes – The only scene I could really say I liked was the end where they were all cutesy and flirty. This and their awkward-avoidance-dance conversation in “Goblin’s Gold” were what we should’ve seen during all of S2 to make this relationship feel less…flat.
  • Morgana being bitchy to Gwen — I may not be the biggest fan of the way Gwen is being written, but I don’t understand what Gwen did to Morgana to incur her wrath. Yeesh!
  • Anyone else worried that Merlin’s killed someone else (human or not) and not felt any remorse about it so far? Even if the beings that are murdered are evil and deserve it.
  • Consistency what? #1 – So. The Sidhe have been planning for 20 years to get a Sidhe Queen on the throne of Camelot. But in Series 1, the Sidhe want Sophia to sacrifice Arthur. Someone in the Sidhe government’s getting fired for losing THAT memo!
  • Consistency what? #2 – All Uther wants is his children’s happiness in the last episode. Now, he doesn’t care if Arthur is happy or not? ARGH.

Despite what you may think from the above mentioned points, this episode wasn’t all bad! Fabulous casting of King and Margolyes make the episode worth watching just for their interactions with our cast of characters. As an aside, what happened with the photoshopping on this week’s episode picture? Something bad, that’s what!

Next week looks to be a bit more interesting and action-packed with (hopefully!) some development for Gwen with the arrival of someone from her past (dun dun DUN!).

 

Rating:

GS Reporter: Sharlene

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4 comments

  1. Sophie /

    You are hilarious! Reading this posts keep me coming back for more of your humor! Keep it up! 🙂

  2. Holly /

    I agree with many people’s complaints about the Gwen character. How she is just the character wrapped in romance and is not progressing or showing her own
    independant story. Even in the Castle of Fyrien when you meet Elyan you find a small amount of things about her but not much. Don’t get me wrong I am a closet
    Arthur/Gwen fan but Gwen needs a story of her own, like she sets out on a journey to find her mother. And (just because I like them so much) Arthur tags along
    and she unveals a few things about her past or something and then we can get some Arthur/Gwen action.
    But personally I loved this episode because of the Arthur/Gwen scenes. And I know I just said there needs to be more Gwen individuality but part of what makes
    this a great show is this forbidden love story between them. It’s so cute and sweet.

  3. I love this review but I must disagree just a tiny bit on that last part. Since this is set in the past when arranged marriages were the norm between royalty Uther probably believed this was for the best and that Arthur would eventually ‘grow up’ and realize this.

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