TV REVIEW: Merlin Series 4, Episode 4 – Aithusa

So the time has come for the first filler episode of the series! It couldn’t all be dramalama in Camelot now could it? A mysterious stranger named Julius Borden (Battlestar Galactica‘s James Callis) arrives at Gaius’ door searching for help to gain access to the last part of the key to the tomb of Ashkanar.  Why is it so important? The lost tomb holds the last remaining dragon’s egg.

Even though he should know better, Merlin throws caution to the wind and helps in the quest. But what does Borden really want with the egg? The young warlock must keep a promise he makes to a dear friend and protect the egg before it falls into the wrong hands.

Breathe deeply folks. There wasn’t a troll nor fart gag in sight during this week’s episode of Merlin. However, you may groan anyway at Merlin’s seemingly awful decision-making skills and James Callis’ extra gruff voice as Borden. I know I did!

We meet Julius Borden as he tries to steal the second piece of a key called the Triskelion of Ashkanar from the Druids. He thinks he’s successful…until he turns around. Surrounded, he runs for the hills threatening to kill a young druid but Iseldir, who fans will remember from last series two part finale, tells him he the key is useless as he won’t find the third part. But that’s where he would be wrong as Borden knows exactly where the last piece lies – in Camelot.

We then find out that Merlin hasn’t been Gaius’ only pupil – Julius once was as well but the two parted ways due to his duplicitous nature. We’re not told what caused their fallout but Merlin doesn’t really care as he eavesdrops on their conversation.  Gaius refuses to help his former student as he doesn’t believe his intentions. When Gaius warns Merlin – he’s too enthralled with the idea of saving the dragons. Sneaking out, Merlin hesitantly tells Kilgharrah the news and promises to retrieve the egg after the Great Dragon uses the memory of Balinor to convince the sorcerer to defy his mentor.

There are a handful of humorous moments between Arthur and Merlin as the latter tries to get the key to the vaults where the last piece of the triskelion rests. Sleepy Arthur is quite confused when he wakes to find Merlin looking for woodworm (that’s the excuse Merlin gives) not once, but twice! Between this and last week’s bladder gag, Merlin’s made to look foolish one too many times. The funniest scene is when the King and his council are discussing tactics and Merlin sees the vault key hanging on Arthur’s belt. So what is he to do? Well, he makes Arthur’s trousers drop and then they wrestle as Merlin “helps” to get them back on. Yes, you read that right! I’ve lost count at the shirtless and trouserless shots for Arthur so far – anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

While Merlin is helping Borden get into the vaults, I wonder why he trusts people so readily after all that’s happened to him. I guess it’s just part of who he is but it drives one a bit crazy sometimes. Why? Because Julius betrays the sorcerer and leaves him there to try and explain how someone broke into the vaults. Agravaine perpetuates Arthur’s views on magic who still believes in his father’s work and is now determined to destroy egg. Merlin goes along to stop him from doing so.

Arthur and the Knights play a mean joke on Merlin in the forest when they make camp – not a fan. When night falls, Iseldir warns Merlin about Ashkanar while informing him that Borden’s gone east. The next day, Merlin tells all the direction Borden’s gone in and Arthur immediately insults his servant, refusing to apologize when he’s right. I’m thinking Arthur will learn that particular lesson in upcoming episodes. They continue searching for Borden; we get gratuitous scenes with soaked men before Julius attacks with a crossbow. He tries again later on, putting something in their food to conveniently knockout everyone but Merlin.

In the tomb, Borden set off the booby trap, allowing Merlin to gets his hands on the egg. But before he can save it and run, the backstabber tries one last time to get it from him. Little does he know that he’s talking to the last Dragonlord – who promptly knocks him out. Booby trap number two? Crumbling tomb once the egg is removed – very Indiana Jones inspired. Merlin leaves Borden to die in the rubble, hiding the egg in his pack. But how does one hatch a dragon egg? We learn that only a Dragonlord can cause a dragon to hatch by calling their name. Merlin does so and crying happy tears, is now the proud papa to baby dragon, Aithusa! Congratulations Merlin! Be sure to send any gifts for the baby c/o Kilgharrah the Dragon.

Overall, an OK episode; you would’ve hoped that the focus on dragons would’ve gleaned more information on the Dragonlords but nope. Next week, we’re back on track with King Arthur having to prove that he’s able to rule when he incurs the wrath of the formidable Queen Annis. I guess we’ll see soon enough whether or not Arthur can step out from under Uther’s shadow.

GS Reporter:

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One comment

  1. Balinor /

    Well, I quite liked the knight’s joke, especially Merlin’s relieved face at the end. It meant for me he is considered part of the team, because this is surely one of those jokes the knights used to play on each other.
    The episode was very good for a filler. Not as good as The Eye of the Phoenix of course, but had much humour and adventure, and I’m constantly amazed how good this series looks with all the landscapes and clever visual effects.
    Aithusa should return next year. 🙂

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