TV REVIEW: Merlin Series 3 – Episode 4: Gwaine

A handsome stranger with long brown hair walks into a bar. No — this isn’t the beginning of a bad joke! Nor is it who you might think; In this episode of Merlin, we’re introduced to a future knight of the Round Table. No — not Lancelot but Gwaine (played by Irish actor Eoin Macken)!

I really enjoyed this episode a lot, even if it didn’t really move the storyline forward much at all. It reminded me a bit of a mixture of the episodes “Valiant” and “Lancelot” from the first series – where we get to meet a future knight, a tournament with lots of fighting where mysterious enemies try and kill Arthur, fun bantering and teasing, Uther being, well Uther and the girls reduced to being an object of affection (Gwen, who was doing so well last week having something else to do!) and clapping onscreen for a few minutes (Morgana).

Behind ye olde cut-tag lies spoilers! You’ve been warned 🙂

In the opening scene, we have Merlin and Arthur taking a bit of a break at a run-of-the-mill village tavern, but Arthur wants to go incognito, and asks Merlin to treat him as if he were just a simple peasant. Cue Merlin insulting Arthur’s intelligence, saying he’s got the simple part down! Haha! Merlin quickly covers up by talking about the one thing everyone always mentions…the weather.

Then our baddie of the week come in — a portly man that wants to take his “share” of the money but Arthur stands up and challenges him. Then Merlin insults him and we get our first glimpse of Gwaine, who helps out our gentlemen in a tavern brawl! It was fun to see Merlin getting to fight a bit, and also to see that Arthur isn’t some Superman-type that can beat everyone. Unfortunately for the baddie and Gwaine; the former gets put in the village stocks, the latter gets stabbed in the leg.

What’s with all the Future!Knight’s ending up sleeping in Merlin’s bed? I never understood that. Once Gwaine awakens, Merlin explains that he is to be rewarded by the King but the Green Knight doesn’t want any reward and certainly not a reward from nobility.

This episode had some great moments:

  • The barmaid coming over to the boys’ table and commenting”you’re a handsome fellow.” Arthur of course, thinks she’s talking about him — you could see his ego inflate! But she wasn’t, it was about Merlin! I’d have to agree, he is quite the handsome fellow 🙂
  • And the Gratuitous Scenes of Toplessness™ go to Eoin — taking over the duties from Bradley James, albeit temporarily I’m sure!
  • Continuity! Merlin talking about his father with Gwaine and how he wished he could’ve known him better.
  • Gwaine being a partying charmer — he’s similar to Lancelot in lots of ways but love this about him, he brought a bit of life into the castle! Well, that and a big drinking tab…
  • Arthur and Gwaine fighting together — I love fight scenes and they did indeed work well beside each other!

Things that were kind of “Oh God, not this again!”:

  • As in “Valiant”, the villains trick a sorcerer into giving them enchanted objects and weapons to aid in their revenge on Arthur during the forthcoming melee (which Merlin makes fun of in a previous scene.)
  • The new “knight” falling for Gwen — albeit Gwaine was just flirting whereas Lancelot is in love with her, but enough with having Gwen only be a pretty face!
  • People torturing Merlin (i.e. Arthur throwing armor at Merlin, Evil!Knights making him carry that chest all over), not so much with the funny.
  • Additionally, Merlin finding out the revenge plot, but not being able to accuse anyone because their knights.
  • Banishing the Future!Knight because he’s not yet a knight or known to be of noble birth – even when they’ve proved themselves honorable in saving the prince’s life (Curses! Uther Pendragon! Curses!)

The best part of this episode was the ending scene — Merlin teasing Arthur about being jealous of Gwaine & Gwen’s flirtation and then a real sense that they’re friends, the banter, the shoulder shoving and the chase! Too cute! I liked that we saw Arthur again rise to the defense of someone who deserves it and showing us glimpses of the King he’ll become. Wish there was some actual plot development though!



GS Reporter: Sharlene

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