TV Review: Camelot Season 1 Ep. 4- The Lady of the Lake

Merlin goes on a quest to find a sword worthy of a king…Caution: Spoilers Ahead.

Episode Summary:

While Arthur sulks about Guinevere, Gawain takes on the difficult task of training Arthur’s soldiers.  When Arthur’s sword breaks, Merlin sets off to find him a new one.  On Gawain’s recommendation, he goes to see the blacksmith Calibur.  The smith is reluctant at first, but when Merlin identifies himself, he agrees to forge the sword.  When it’s done, Calibur wants to deliver the sword to Arthur personally, but Merlin refuses.  They fight, and Merlin appears to lose control of his magic, killing Calibur with the fire from the forge.

Excalibur, the smith’s daughter, witnesses her father’s death.  She accuses Merlin of killing her father for the sword, so she rows it out to the middle of a lake, intending to drop it in.  Merlin starts freezing the lake so he can follow her, but Excalibur loses her balance and falls in.  Trapped under the ice, she tries using the sword to break through the ice, but only manages to get her arm free.  Merlin tries to save her, but she ultimately drowns.  Merlin returns the sword to Camelot.  Omitting the details of Calibur’s death, he tells Arthur that the Lady of the Lake gave him the sword, and that it is called Excalibur.

Meanwhile, Morgan falls gravely ill, a result of the dark magic she’s been performing.  When a mysterious nun shows up at Castle Pendragon, Morgan orders her removed but later relents.  We learn that Morgana was banished by Uther to a nunnery across the sea, and Sybil (the nun) was her teacher.  As her condition worsens, Sybil takes over her care.  Morgan appears to die at one point, but she comes back to life with the ability to take on Igraine’s appearance and to feel her emotions, giving her a useful tool in her plot against Arthur.

Review:

I’m starting to really like Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur.  He spends most of the episode in a snit about Guinevere, but it resolves itself in the end (for now) when they agree to try and put what happened behind them.  I think that JCB plays Arthur’s halves very well—half village boy completely in over his head, and half level headed young man destined to be a great king.  He was very much the former in this episode, but I suspect he’ll come around again soon.

Merlin’s quest for Excalibur is interesting not only because we get to see another piece of the legend, but also because we start to learn a bit more about him.  When Calibur guesses that Merlin doesn’t use his magic because he likes the power too much, Merlin’s silence is telling.  Then again, two people died because of it.  Merlin’s guilt is obvious; on the way back to Camelot, he picks a fight with two travelers and then allows himself to be beaten. I am looking forward to seeing what this means for Arthur—whether or not Merlin will continue to be reluctant to use his magic, or whether he will be willing to keep Arthur on the throne at any cost.

We also learn a bit more about Gawain.  Even though he’s in charge of training Arthur’s men, he still feels very much like an outsider.  He’s skeptical of Arthur and his ideals, and his training style is unorthodox.  He starts to come around, though, when he sees the loyalty that Arthur inspires in his men.  In the legends he and Arthur are close (sometimes even related), and it appears that they’ve taken their first steps toward that here.

Morgan’s “rebirth” really ramps up the tension, because it can only mean trouble for Arthur.  Now that the dark magic has technically killed her, is she stronger now?  Is she immune to its ill effects?  How will she use her new ability to pose as Igraine?  And why, oh why, is she so interested in meeting Guinevere?

Overall, a pretty enjoyable episode!

Rating: 3.5/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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