TV Review: Camelot Season 1 Ep. 3- Guinevere

Here’s my review of Episode 3, in which Guinevere loses her virginity (but not to her husband), Merlin gets shackled to a bed, and Gawain learns how to read…Caution: Spoilers Ahead.

Episode Summary:

Guinevere and her family are driven from their home by raiders just days before her wedding to Leontes.  When Arthur grants them refuge at Camelot, Merlin decides that a wedding is just the thing to lift spirits after King Lott’s attack.

In their own effort to boost morale, Leontes and Kay go off in search of Gawain, a solitary warrior whom they hope will come back to Camelot with them to train Arthur’s army.  Gawain wants no part of it, until he and Kay bond over Marcus Aurelius.  Gawain ultimately offers to come to Camelot in exchange for Kay teaching him how to read.

With wedding preparations in full swing, Arthur receives an invitation from Morgan to feast at her castle.  After the feast, Arthur escapes back to Camelot after dreaming about Guinevere.  Elsewhere in the castle, Morgan drugs Merlin and shackles him to a bed so she can obtain hair and toenail samples, presumably for use in some kind of dark magic.

Arthur and Guinevere meet on the beach, where she agrees to be with Arthur just once before she’s married.  Upon their return, Leontes asks Arthur to preside over the ceremony.  At the same time, we learn that Morgan is trying to figure out what’s truly in Arthur’s heart.  Using magic, she “sees” through his eyes as he’s watching Guinevere marry Leontes.

Review:

First, a few notes on the subplots. I really enjoyed the scenes between Merlin and Morgan.  The dynamic between them is very interesting; they are obviously on different sides of the fence, but to call them enemies feels incorrect.  There’s tension between them, but there’s also familiarity and, at times, concern on Merlin’s part.  Morgan’s magic is taking a physical toll on her, making her ill and weak, and Merlin continues to warn her against using it.  I am looking forward to learning more about their past relationship, and more about whatever it is that’s driving Morgan to win the throne at any cost.

We also meet Gawain, played by Clive Standen.  He’s a bit unlikeable at first, preferring to live alone in an abandoned church to returning to Camelot.  But as the episode goes on he becomes a bit more complex; he’s teaching himself how to read Marcus Aurelius, but struggling.  Kay has also read the book, and it’s Kay’s promise to teach him to read that ultimately convinces him to go to Camelot.  His journey from loner to Knight of the Round Table should be an interesting one.

But, as the title suggests, this episode is primarily about the budding relationship between Arthur and his future queen.

Let’s face it: it’s hard to get behind a romance when you already know how it’s going to end.  If there’s a danger in relying too heavily on the audience’s familiarity with the legends, it’s that characterization suffers. We all know that Arthur and Guinevere have this big romance and that she ultimately becomes his queen.  But just because the ending is a given doesn’t mean there isn’t a story to tell.

Thus far, the romance feels very rushed.  Arthur, while he has his moments, is still very young and very naïve.  He has a long way to go before he really understands what it means to be king.  Guinevere is beautiful, but other than the fact that Arthur’s dreamt about her, there’s nothing about their interactions so far that really convinces me that she should be so conflicted about marrying Leontes.  In fact, Leontes is very likeable: he’s handsome, brave, and intelligent—he’s the king’s champion.  I found myself more worried about what was going to happen to Leontes so that Arthur and Guinevere could be together than I was interested in the romance itself.

This is only the third episode, though, so there is a lot of story left to tell. I am hoping they continue to develop the relationship between Arthur and Guinevere, rather than leaving us to accept it based on its inevitability.


Rating:
3/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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