Merlin Series 2, Episode 7: Witchfinder


Before you till this soil, be warned of the spoilers growing like weeds.

Merlin, that’s an awfully small stack of wood. Wow. Looks like the kid’s having a really rough day. Feeling overworked again, Merlin? What are you–? A horse? A smoke horse? This seems like a not good idea. You’re surrounded by people. Still, it made you smile. For a moment. And back to reality. Unless some woman saw you make that horse. And runs to tell the king. Bad news, Merlin. This idea was a bad one. What about keeping your magic secret do you NOT understand?

The smoke was alive? You feared for your life? What sorta paranoia do you suffer from, lady? See? Merlin, now you’ve called the witch finder down on not only yourself, but Morgana. Can I say ‘bad idea’ one more time? It’s not just you anymore, remember. If you start a witch hunt, others will suffer.

Once again, Merlin wasn’t thinking and once again Gaius is reaming him out. Usually I’m fairly convinced that Gaius could have been a little more lenient, but this one I’m pretty sure Merlin deserves. “What, now?” Duh, now. “But I’m not a witch. No dress or anything.” Aw Merlin, that was cute, but you’re still laughing at your own jokes. Alone. Yes, go get that book.

Fog at night with a dark horse and a wagon with rattling chains coming with the aid of dramatic music. You know the dude’s evil. Weird belt. Nice cowboy hat, Aredian. Little clue: this isn’t a western.

Morgana, how do you know what he looks like? And what the cage is for? Tip: Morgana, don’t flinch. You flinch, he’ll get you.

“Do you smell it?” A-man, you on magic yourself? How do you ‘smell’ magic? Where are we getting these crackers? I think we found out where Uther got his cult book of magic-hate. Whoa. Uther’s taking crap from this guy? These methods you talk about sound like your own brand of magic rather than just cleverness. Creeptastic.

Lurking creeper. And, of course, he latches onto Gaius first. An interrogation without an interrogation room or an over-abundance of questions. He’s still exceedingly odd and creepy. Oh, so now we have an interrogation appointment with Merlin, Aredian, and apparently an odd (but very cool) skull inkpot. Is it just me or is he trying a little hard to be over-much creepifyin’? Merlin gets questioned about the horse. Of course. For someone so bad at lying, Merlin’s doing an incredible job. He’s even keeping the woman out of trouble. “I wonder how that can be. How one person sees something and another doesn’t.” Do you know how many witness statements vary? There’s a reason courts prefer forensic evidence. Well, let’s just ignore how much people’s perspectives differ and pretend it’s not an option. Good job not flinching, Merlin! Still, don’t be fooled–yup. This isn’t over. Not nearly. Nice little shoulder twitch.

I’m told these are almost straight out of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Screaming drowned people? (“I haven’t done anything, I promise.” That’s weird Merlin. That you even said that.) Dancing goblins? Toads jumping out of people’s mouths? By the way, toads are not slimy. This guy’s just a little too boastful for this to ring quite right with me. I’m sensing a sour note here. They? There’s more than one suspect? Morgana, you’re flinching. Keep it together. Even Merlin’s keeping his head. “…” “Merlin.” I love Arthur’s total disbelief. Despite the fact that Merlin cannot hide his magic to save his life. Well, maybe he can. If he lives through this episode.

Whoa. Talk about trashing the place. Papers falling like snow. Wait, checking for hollow legs consists of breaking a bench on a chair? Leon, I want to like you, but you can’t try so hard when the witch finder is playing the part of your boss. Because you do things like find incriminating evidence. I don’t recall Merlin having a bracelet. I’m guessing it’s Gaius’s. Well, Gaius confessed. I’m still not entirely certain he’s on the level.

“Do nothing. Promise me!” Right. Gaius, have you ever met Merlin? There’s no way he’s not going to do anything. The funny part about this is that Gaius has already proved he’d die for Merlin, then Merlin goes to risk his life for Gaius. Now we’re doing it again. It seems they flip flop dying for each other quite a lot. Awwww. Poor Merlin has lovely shiny “I’m not crying” eyes.

Uther’s defending Gaius instead of blindly condemning him for sorcery? Really? Since when? Come on, Arthur. There’s gotta be a reason you can think of to have faith in Gaius. Hold on, “withstand such treatment”? That sounds like torture. This is a kids’ show, guys. Or supposed to be. Let’s not torture the poor old man, eh? There’s never an ‘only way’, Aredian.

Poor Gaius. You know how much water must have gotten up his nose? Gaius. So good at giving answers without incrimination. Whoa, guys. Be nice to the old man….’s stunt double. You don’t toss old men on their face. You just don’t. Nice visual and auditory montage. Isn’t that the second one this series? Great. Water deprivation. Isn’t that one of the oldest tricks in the book? Though you have to admit, it’s pretty useful. Poor, thirsty Gaius can hardly walk.

Great. Must we visit the dragon? Merlin feels bad about what he did. Good for him, but it doesn’t really help the situation. The dragon’s proving unsympathetic and unhelpful. Exceedingly unhelpful. The dragon reminding Merlin that he can’t do anything that’d put himself and thus the people he’ll one day save, in jeopardy. Rewind and freeze. The dragon doesn’t have an answer for this? Though it’s the dragon, so for all we know he’s just not telling.

More interrogation. Gaius, have you gotten *any* water since this began? Oh dear. Gaius, no, not the ward. You tripped up. Honesty, but keeping it as far away from Morgana as possible. Perhaps a little too obviously. A-man latched right on to that. Of all the people least likely able to defend themselves from this insane witch hunter, it’d be Morgana. And now she’s to be interrogated. This is unfortunate. Merlin, you better have a plan ‘cause Gaius isn’t in a position to do much now. Deep sigh. It’s okay Gaius, you’ve been through a lot.

Aww. Morgana giving Gaius something of a ‘scared rabbit’ look, if you crossed it with a touch of ‘kicked puppy’. “No need to be concerned” screams “be concerned.” As do rattling chains. I guess. Morgana, you’re fraying at the edges, dear. Might want to hold it together a bit more. Let the interrogation begin–with the tiniest “yes” you could have given. You volunteered to strip down in front of a horde of Neanderthal-like men not three episodes ago. You used a sword and whipped ‘em. A little composure would not go amiss just now. Wait, that’s it? Morgana, you’re too happy to be leaving. Too relieved to be leaving to think about what you’re saying. Yup. Tripped. Flat on your face. Or rather, Gaius’s face. You’ve been perhaps a tad too helpful. I’m glad she at least sorta tried to cover and feels bad, but that’s not much use now.

The scratching of the wrist. Interesting way to wake someone up. “I’d rather die first.” I love how you don’t move at all. Oh great. Three dead? Gaius, Morgana, and Merlin? This guy’s got high expectations. And blackmailing Gaius into confessing? Can it really be that simple? Nothing is ever so simple. And this guy’s far too slimy for that to just work. Uther: uncomfortable. Arthur: smelling rats. Merlin: is practically knee-deep in fish guts at the Seattle Fish Market it smells so fishy. Morgana: guilty as all get-out, scared, and if she was less of the first two, likely smelling something wrong as well. Gaius, you’re not looking so good. Gwen doesn’t believe it either. Does anyone here really believe it? Whoa. Despite Uther’s hatred of all things magic, he can’t even look at Gaius when he sentences the old doc to death. It even looked more guilty than betrayed. Uther, stop blindly following your cult leader. Gaius is dragged away awfully rough. Merlin, of course, springs into action. Not that it does him much good. Nice move, Arthur. I agree. Let’s get Merlin out of here before he does (or tries to do) something that could get somebody else killed.

Nice work, Arthur. Whoa. Doubly nice work. You know you’re friends when they break the law for you. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Wait a minute. If the amulet isn’t Gaius’s and it’s not Merlin’s, then Gaius took the words right out of my mouth. Gaius, you do realize this is going in one ear and out the other when you tell Merlin not to interfere, right? Merlin’s eyes are all pretty and shiny again. Though heart wrenching.

Lovely stack of witch-burning wood there.

Bad guys taunting the victims. Always their downfall, right? Or our exposition. See? Tricksy. I knew this guy was slimy. Why did you confess again, Gaius?

Morgana looking guilty and mournful again. Boing! Creepy guy pops in. I’m not sure if I should be surprised or not. He’s CREEPY. Probably with extra ‘e’s. Remember last time, Morgana? Let’s hold it together better this time ‘round.

Gwen, if you don’t know Morgana’s magic, how can you know she’s near breaking point? Where are you getting your information? Ooo! I like Merlin and Gwen conspiring for proof of their friend’s innocence and the bad man’s evilness.

Sneaky Merlin is almost sneaky. Except not. Yes, just destroy the room and he totally won’t notice. Remind me again how the flower petals are the most suspicious thing in that cupboard? Well, at least you made the bed. But you left the cupboard door open again? You did that with Jonas in the last episode too. You gotta close those doors Merlin. It’s unsneakifying to leave them open. Sorta screams, “I was digging through your stuff.” Well, he’s suspicious, but not too smart about looking for Merlin. I do find it funny that instead of using a trick, Merlin just hides. I bet he was the Hide and Seek Master back in the day.

Books! You can learn anything from books! Oh, I get the flower petals. It’s the easiest to look up. Wait, real crack? Sorta. All women, which tells us nothing but it came from something only women would buy. Oh dear. Wait, that’s not where I thought it was going. Time for a midnight visit to the local cosmetics guy. Totally the norm. Except we’re there to talk the poor old guy into testifying. Or, whatever the equivalent is in a Camelot court.

Wait, that’s all the evidence you need? Gwen’s got a point. Yes, talk Merlin out of it. If he runs to the “authorities” now, they’re all gonna burn. Sooner rather than later.

Okay, we’re back with Aredian. Not what I expected. What are you doing, Merlin? Did you just try to open the cupboard or was that something else? What is going on?! What’d you do to him? And why do you look so pleased? I’M SO CONFUSED!

Ooo. Lovely shot of Gaius watching the sun. Pretty birdsong too.

Lovely shot of Gwen fretting over Merlin. Great lighting.

Whoop. Is that what Merlin did to you last night? He gave you a cough? That seems somewhat unimpressive.

You guys are so close, you can’t fail now. Wait, Gwen, are you planning on using your feminine wiles on Arthur? We’re “leaving Arthur to you” now? Though I’m sure he’s more likely to listen to you than Merlin anyway, so I don’t have a problem with it.

Arthur trying to make them be nice-ish to Gaius. Sweet, but sorta weak. Gwen and Merlin running and pushing through a crowd of stand-stills. What are they doing exactly? Just… standing? Whoa. Great speech, Gwen. Arthur, your defeatist attitude will get you in trouble. Gwen’s being all well-thought out and logical. And she brings up her dad. Well, she has a point, though that’s less logic and more emotion. Yay! Breakthrough to Arthur! Good man. Great job, Gwen.

Merlin, you need to work on your layering. You’re sorta unconvincing. Though, you’ve got Morgana convinced. Poor girls are starting to realize what’s going on. Scared old man’s being nice and brave and telling the truth. Honestly, I thought he’d back out. Of course, Aredian denies. Though it seems a tad weak. Man, have you ever been accused of this before? Well, Merlin still holds no respect from Uther, but Arthur’s on his side. Gwen’s all proud of Arthur for speaking up. As she should be. (Great face.)

Yay! Let’s destroy this guy’s room. Although it doesn’t look nearly as destructive as Gaius’s work room. LOL. That’s what Merlin did to the cupboard? He filled it with bottles of belladonna tincture and fake amulets? It’s funny, but isn’t it a tad overkill, Merlin? Morgana, why do you look so surprised? “This is a trick.” Great. More coughing? Now? Nice slow-draw of the sword there by Aurthur. Ew. Toad. Clearly Uther and Morgana agree. Wait, NOW you believe he’s a sorcerer? Now that he’s spit out a toad? Uther, you’re weird. So he grabs Morgana as a hostage? Seems unwise. Though I am amused that she seems much calmer about being taken hostage at knifepoint than she was about being interrogated. Arthur and Uther are looking threatening, but Merlin saves the day with a heated knife handle. Was that really wise though, Merlin? Doing magic around peasants started all this, and now you’re doing magic in the presence of UTHER? And witch man just conveniently stumbles on a box conveniently just in front of a window and conveniently dies. How convenient.

Uther went in search of Gaius? Hmmm. Replacing what was damaged? A lot was damaged. A lot more than goods. WHOA. Did Uther just apologize?! I can’t— and now Gaius is calling Uther on his not-goodness?!? Huge step forward there. For both of them. Let’s see if Uther learns anything from this little escapade. Awww, Gaius.

Gaius, why do you always seem to know exactly what Merlin’s done? I love these little exchanges. “All right, Gaius, I promise I will never save your life again.” Love. Giggles! I love happy them. They’re so normal! LOL, Gaius reenacting the toad spitting. Lovely.

I loved this episode! Character development all around, sweet little moments, powerful moving moments. The bad guy was creepy, the good guys were clever. We didn’t need the dragon to win! And it wasn’t even just the younger cast, but Uther and Gaius got development too! One tiny complaint would be that Morgana wasn’t utilized to her full potential in this episode. Morgana having recently found out she was magical seems like it could have played a larger part and we could have at least had a conversation about it. But the rest of the episode was so great, I don’t even mind that much! Love, love, love

GS Reporter: pfennig

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: