TV REVIEW: Merlin Series 5, Episode 13 – The Diamond of the Day (Pt 2)

Merlin VThis is it folks – the moment we’ve been all been waiting for (and dreading) has finally arrived: the end of a fantastic 5-year story about two young men who become one of the world’s greatest and most enduring legends.

The Prophets did not lie as the greatest battle facing Camelot rages on Camlann’s mighty plain. Merlin finally faces his moment of destiny but can he find the strength to save the man he made a King; the Camelot they fought to build; and the brotherhood they shared?

Though it will hurt, you most definitely should tune in. Cry while you open your presents if you must or wait until after – either way, there are so many beautiful scenes that they are a present in and of themselves. I’m not one that typically cries at movies or TV shows but I will say this: bring a box of tissues to the party because you’re going to need them!

Read on for the last review of Merlin here on Geek Syndicate.

The fighting continues as both Arthur and Mordred fight their way through crowds of soldiers as we see Emrys riding to Camlann. Morgana eases the way for Aithusa who attacks with fireballs galore. In a nice touch to series one, the infirmary where Gwen is helping gets attacked and she uses a sword to kill him. Back in the meley, we get more slow-mo shots and right before Arthur is surrounded and outnumbered, they are all knocked flat on their backs over and over again by lightning bolts from – Emrys. The now old Merlin is in the distance, using his staff to wield the lightning to take down Arthur’s enemies.

When Morgana realizes it’s him – she screams before he knocks her out while Arthur looks on in wonder and disbelief. Even though he clearly realizes it’s sorcery, he ignores it, chanting for Camelot and running after the remaining army. Gwen & Gaius also look on from a distance and when he says that the sorcerer is truly remarkable – Gwen asks if he knows him. Gaius just states that they should be grateful to him for protecting them. She’s been asking a lot of questions about Merlin – in one form or another.

With that, Emrys makes his way through the bodies as Arthur still fights. Arthur checks on a knight before he dies but that turns out to be the moment Mordred’s been waiting for. The druid comes up behind him to strike a death blow. Arthur parries it but then it’s truly the moment I was hoping wouldn’t happen: Mordred stabs Arthur in the gut, which has the King falling to his knees. Thinking he’s won, Mordred tells Arthur that he gave him no choice. He’s down but not out as he stabs Mordred in the heart with Excalibur. The young druid dies with a smile on his face – Arthur walks away and looks to be ok until he starts stumbling.

Leon delivers the news to Gwen that they’ve won but are still searching for Arthur. Merlin finds him and carries him to safety. Arthur awakens in the forest to a young Merlin – looks like he can go back & forth in transformation now. Keep that nugget in mind for later.

Arthur isn’t bleeding anymore but is still wounded and a worried Merlin finally does what we’ve all been waiting for…reveal that he has magic. I never thought we’d actually see it happen but it is! At first, Arthur is incredulous, thinks its a stupid idea but when Merlin uses his power to create a dragon out of fire – Arthur slowly blanks out in disbelief. The racing of emotion going across his face at the betrayal is amazing work by Bradley James and the pure fear and emotion from Colin Morgan make this scene truly incredible and everything I’ve been waiting to have happen since series one finished.

I don’t think anyone expected Arthur to have a good reaction to this and he doesn’t: Arthur tells Merlin to leave him alone. Merlin doesn’t understand at first – doesn’t want to leave his friend who’s hurt but the King demands he leave him.

Back in Camelot, Gwen waits by the window for any sign of her husband as the knights return. Leon comes to tell her that there’s no sign of Arthur. She refuses to believe that he’s gone – Gaius is also missing. We see that he’s traveling through the forest to find Merlin & Arthur with a few herbs that he has. Arthur isn’t asleep, just pretending and he tells Gaius that Merlin’s a sorcerer only to realize that he already knows.

Gaius tries to tell him that Merlin isn’t to be feared but Arthur wants him gone – tries to get Gaius to send him away to send word to Camelot but Gaius won’t budge. He tells Arthur that some say that Merlin is the greatest sorcerer ever to walk the Earth and if he’s to win the battle ahead, he’ll need Merlin, not a physician.

By the horses, the old man then tells Merlin what he’s feared – a piece of Mordred’s sword is stuck in Arthur’s chest near his heart, slowly killing him and Merlin’s magic can’t change it’s course. He needs to go and take Arthur to the source of the Sidhe’s power, an island in the middle of the Lake of Avalon to have a chance at saving his friend. It hurts to watch Arthur being unable to even look at Merlin with anything but detachment and betrayal. Merlin says that he can’t let Arthur die and while Arthur believes it, he says it doesn’t change anything about the way he currently feels.

After burying Mordred, Morgana stares into the distance and when some of her men tell her that Arthur can’t be found, she flips out screaming for his death. Nice acting by Katie McGrath here and she seems completely off her rocker.

As they prepare to leave for Avalon, Arthur gives Gaius the royal seal to pass to Gwen in case he dies. Merlin also tells Gaius that Eira betrayed them and hugs the young man before he goes. He has only two days tops before Arthur succumbs to his wounds.

In Camelot, Gaius tells Gwen that Arthur is alive but wounded and Merlin is taking him to a place where he might be healed. She tries to ready knights to go with them but he convinces her that two men can move more easily than many. I assume he also tells of Eira’s deception because when the blonde temptress tries to get information on the King’s status and whereabouts, Gwaine is evasive but has a knowing look in his eyes.

Continuing to make their way to Avalon, Arthur and Merlin encounter two Saxons. He disguises Arthur with a brown cloak and hides Excalibur telling Arthur not to speak. Merlin then calls them for “help” – telling them that a knight and another man stormed their camp far away where Merlin has created a fake fire to throw them off their trail. They question him again and check Arthur – revealing the sword and his true identity. With no alternative, Merlin uses his magic to blast them back only to have Arthur watching and stating that his friend has really been lying to him this entire time. Merlin says nothing.

At night, Merlin tries to start a fire the old-fashioned way – with a flint. Arthur asks him why he doesn’t just use magic – the young man replies that it must be habit but lights the fire magically when Arthur nods for him to go ahead. He says that it feels strange – that makes two of them. Arthur states that he thought he knew Merlin, thought he could trust him with the other replying that he’s still the same person and apologizes for keeping his magic secret. Arthur replies that he’s sorry too – for what, we don’t quite know. For trusting him? For not being more accepting of magic? When Merlin removes Arthur’s boots to dry, the King is perplexed that he’s still performing his duties as he normally would.

In Camelot, Eira steals through the night with a crow to send a message to Morgana. Gwaine catches her and we find out that he fed her false information. Gwen sentences her to death.

It’s morning in the woods and Merlin tries to feed Arthur food but he refuses to eat. Whether it’s because he still doesn’t trust Merlin or because he’s confused by his actions is unclear at first but he clarifies with asking why Merlin is still acting like a servant. It goes unsaid that he means that because Merlin has all this power, he could do whatever he wants.

Merlin explains that it’s his destiny to be by Arthur’s side and they reminisce about when they first met. It’s a bittersweet moment the two share as Merlin reveals he beat him with magic. Arthur says he cheated and they share a laugh. It’s the first lighthearted moment they have had since the reveal. Arthur continues to state that anyone could rule Camelot but Merlin disagrees – there will be no one like Arthur. Another reason why he’s taking care of him? Arthur is his friend and he doesn’t want to lose him. With that, Arthur now will take the food that Merlin has been trying to give him. It’s a touching moment between the two friends and starts to show the King’s acceptance of Merlin’s magic.

In Camelot, Gaius approaches Gwen and is thanked for discovering Eira. She confirms once more with him that he knew the sorcerer in the battle and then asks her last question about it; one I was suspecting she would. Gwen asks if she knows the sorcerer and instead of making up an excuse, Gaius tells her that she does. With her suspicions are confirmed, she states that she knew it was Merlin and is pleased that he’s with Arthur.

Morgana receives Eira’s note as the young lady is hanged. Gwaine & Percy go after Morgana to exact revenge.

Arthur is slowly fading and sadly asks why Merlin never told him. The young warlock smiles slightly and says that he would’ve cut his head off but Arthur says that he’s not sure what he would have done and is stunned when he realizes that’s what Merlin’s been worried about this entire time. He states that he was born to serve Arthur and wouldn’t change a thing. Arthur is amazed by this admission.

Saxons go with Morgana to where she thinks Arthur is as Gwaine & Percy lie in wait. Getting into position, they take out each of the men and while Percy holds her – stabs her in the stomach but it doesn’t do anything. She blasts them, ties them up and uses the truth telling snakes to torture Arthur’s location out of Gwaine. Percy hears Gwaine’s screams and snaps his restraints as he runs to save his friend but he’s too late – Gwaine succumbs to his wounds and dies.

Arthur looks at Merlin with wonder as he realizes that his friend never sought credit and later, as he gets weaker and closer to death, is about to tell Merlin something important – which Merlin doesn’t want to hear because it’s goodbye. However, Arthur says he can’t tell him to shut up, he’s the King. It’s another wonderful moment of humor and their friendship.

He continues – tells Merlin that he never wants him to change, that he wants him to remain himself and that he’s sorry for the way he treated him. He asks if he’ll get days off for this – he’ll get two! Merlin smiles but if fades quickly as Arthur passes out. He caresses Arthurs face telling him to get sleep but quickly gets a move on.

They’re almost to Avalon when the horses get spooked off by Morgana. She blasts Merlin back and tells Arthur she won’t let him die alone, that she’ll watch over as his body gets picked apart but Merlin rises up behind her with Excalibur and when she says no mortal blade can kill her – he stabs her through and explains that it’s no ordinary blade. She dies near Arthur and it’s a pitiful end for the woman she was but fitting for the one she’d become.

I’ll pause here to say that I had to watch the rest of this episode a few times because I ended up crying the first go around and couldn’t type at the same time.

When Arthur realizes they won’t make it to the lake without the horses and begins to collapse, Merlin tries to continue but it’s not working. He soothes the frantic sorcerer to just hold him in comfort and tells him something he’s never told him before: Thank you. With that Arthur holds his friend’s head one last time before he dies.

Merlin distraught with sadness and despair, calls for the dragon to take them to the lake. Kilgahrrah does as he asks but tells him that there’s nothing he can do. Merlin screams in frustration – he can’t lose Arthur. The Great Dragon tells him to take heart – that Arthur will return as he is the Once and Future King. With that, he flies off, leaving Merlin to send Arthur off into the mist. But before he does that, he throws Excalibur back into the lake, where it is caught by what looks like Bradley James’ arm.

With one last touch, Merlin finally completely breaks down – Colin Morgan is perfect – the emotion doesn’t look like it’s just an act with this being the last time Merlin will see Arthur for now. He sends him off in his funeral boat to the Isle of Avalon and breaks down once more, body wracked with sobs.

In the throne room, Gwen stares at the seal and with heavy heart Leon finally proclaims “The King is Dead. Long Live the Queen.” Gwen must rule alone. We close with another look at the Isle as…a truck goes by and we see Emrys stop and pause at the Isle in modern day before the credits roll. And that my friends, is the end.

My heart grew 10 sizes (I’m not the Grinch, I swear) with all the emotion we saw between Arthur and Merlin – Bradley James and Colin Morgan were spot on perfect; just absolutely heartwrenchingly incredible. Kudos also goes to Richard Wilson’s Gaius for making it through this series alive, to Angel Coulby for bringing her best to Gwen and to Katie McGrath for turning up Morgana’s crazy to the Nth degree!

Of course, a show is also nothing without it’s supporting cast and I was sad to see both Mordred and Gwaine die – both Alexander Vlahos and Eoin Macken did such fantastic jobs with their characters. The only thing that would have made this reveal better is if it had happened at the end of last season or the beginning of this one so there’d be a whole 12-13 episodes to deal with the aftermath of what occurs.

But overall, it was a bittersweet ending to a show I fell absolutely 100% completely in love with from the moment I saw it on NBC (after ignoring all my friends in Sept 2008…whoops!) major thank you goes out to Julian Jones for so many wonderful scripts.

With that, so long Merlin and thanks for all the magic.

Rating: 5/5

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19 comments

  1. Colin Morgan was so heartbreaking in all his emotional scenes! What an amazing actor! I can’t wait to see him in his other projects. He’s totally the most talented actor of our generation.

  2. This series has been the best ever. Never have I bought any TV series, but I do have Merlin. Merlin has given me the opportunity to discover Colin Morgan, truely the best talent I have ever seen in all my years. Tho, living in the US, I fear I will not get to experience his future projects. I have seen him in PARKED, and THAT film has literally changed my life.

    Anyway, back to Merlin. Colin and Bradley’s scenes together have always been exceptional, but in this finale they were extraordinary. Every cast member has contributed to the great success of this series. Each put in 100%, with Colin’s 110%, to make this version of King Arthur’s Camelot a magical one. To put together some relatively non-big-name actors in the start of the series and take them to household names is no small feat! Every one of them grew and moved toward their perspective destinies brilliantly!

    I, too, started this journey from day one on NBC. Made my family watch the first one with me. Though none of them were as impressed with this show as I was, I continued to tape it and watch it on my own, never once missing an episode and keeping the tape until I could purchase the DVD’s. Merlin has become a part of my heart, and Colin Morgan (his Cathal in PARKED) has become a part of my soul and now that it is done I have to ask myself…. What will I do now?

    • Lisette /

      Je suis entierement d’accord avec tous vos commentaires. J’ai regardé la saison 5 sur internet(la série n’est pas encore disponible au Canada) et j’ai été très attristée de la fin de Merlin. Le jeu de tous les acteurs m’a ravie. J’ai acheté tous les DVD de la série et je les écoute régulièrement. Je suis une FAN des séries du Moyen-Age et particulièrement de Merlin et Arthur cette version de Merlin m’a particulièrement émue et touchée. Le 13 e épisode a été présenté la veille de Noel et c’était définitivement trop triste pour une telle soirée. Je vais définitivement m’ennuyer de ces fabuleux acteurs.

  3. godannotook /

    Thank you – a very good review. I have just watched again, and must confess that i have still only seen the last moments through a blur of tears. The whole cast have been wonderful, but here Colin Morgan & Bradley James truely took the level of emotion for the characters and the audience to a whole new level – they were superb.

    There will never be another series as magical – sorry to use such a corny word but it is the only one that will do – as “Merlin”

  4. Clover /

    I loved it. It broke my heart but in a good way. The end of a series should be an emotional moment and oh boy it was. One thing which this series had done better than any other version of the Arthurian legends that I know of is actually make Arthur an interesting character in his own right (ironic given that the main focus is on Merlin). Usually he’s so much of a goody-goody he becomes bland. Kudos to Bradley James for taking the character from being such a berk in the early episodes to someone whose death has us all blubbing our eyes out. And of course Colin Morgan was as wonderful as ever. I will really miss this show. It was never perfect but it was always enjoyable and somehow very lovable. I think the complete series box set will definitely be on order soon!

  5. The ending is so heartbreaking I nearly cry. I wish they have more epic fighting with Morgana and MOdred. And Arthur don’t even given time to unite ALBION! But it is a really great, emotional and beautiful ending! Though it doesn’t make sense Merlin don’t even try to call Kilgharrah help immediately, I know the dragon is dying but so is Arthur!

    Merlin have the saddest fate. He lose the people he is closest the most. In this ep he lost, Arthur, Gawain and later Kilgharrah and instead of being reborn when Arthur return he has to live for more than 1, 500 years and more. And he become old, they should made him still young if they going to make him immortal! Or maybe that is just a cover

  6. ekefre,edidiong Nse /

    This is d best,I haven’t seen a thing like this before. Kudos to colin morgan n Bradley James,tho I was heart broken at the end. What will I do now dat this series is finished???hmm!!

  7. If auther is dead then, to me, all merlin’s effort, arthur’s faith and the film itself is useless because,the film is all about magic and only the magic of merlin can save the one he made king and that is all about the film. The film is to proof to the people of camelot and arthur that, magic is NOT evil but the heart of men is. If merlin, who is the most powerful of all, born to help arthur become the king, is alive and always with him, yet could not save arthur from death, then what is the film about? Rmembr camelot believe in the king arthur wil become. Movies are for entertainment and not for pain. The story i just read about season5 has made all your effort in vain to me IF actually the king died.

  8. Kyla /

    Just watched the show on iTunes in Australia. Loved the story and the believable acting. Had the whole family enthralled. So sad it is finished so quickly.

  9. moses /

    kudos to colin morgan for such a perfect acting and bradley james too.

  10. Ruby Effanga /

    I don’t like d way the season ended, I just hope der will be a contnuation , but above all its a very imteresting Series

    • Sharlene Mousfar /

      According to Bradley, no spin-offs are happening – at least with the current cast of Merlin. Who knows if someone else decides to do another reboot series!

  11. phumi /

    This is definitely not the end of Merlin. The writers and producers stopped season 5 and left us with a cliff hanger because the full story will be told in the 3 part Merlin movie. Remember the dragon never said Arthur was dead and neither did Merlin cremate Arthur. He has always been referred to as the once and future king. The movie will tell of the future king as the series told us of the ‘one time’ king.
    I have my theories as to how the movie will play out but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

  12. phumi /

    Thanks for the joy of having to be part of this wonderful series, eventhough the only part i played was that of an avid viewer but i daresay it was all worth it. Love u guys especially my ABC – Angel, Bradley and Colin not forgetting Katie and Mr Wilson

  13. Merlin is one of best season firm,which is full of suspense with a very good god acknowledgment

  14. Noah /

    am happy i watch this series… ‘Oh dragron’ merlin first word i will remember merlin for…and i urge every person to be as loyal to our superior as merlin was to urthor pendragon. Luv u all the cast member. Shout out to John Hurt: the best voice ever, the dr(gaious).,merlin. I mean am happy so much happy i ended this series..am noah from nigeria and this is one of the best series i have watched for the past years.

  15. Sheri /

    I’m sorry to say that I was devastatingly disappointed with the ending, for such a well written and amazing show the finale lacked the depth of emotion and scale of epicness I had expected. The whole thing was rushed. The actors did amazingly well with the mediocre script but nonetheless I was left feeling betrayed by the team. This had the potential to be so much more and as a loyal fan it has genuinely left me scarred. I vow never to watch the end if another tv series lest it leave me feeling the way this has done.

  16. adeabbey /

    where this movie said to ends at hurt me small. If we are to look at the effort of all the socerers that helped merlin from the beginning. Is their effort suppose to be in vain? Some of them died for merlin’s mission. Also, merlin himself. I’m gonna miss the movie (Merlin), as it has declared ended.

  17. This is great information. Thank you for publishing this.

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