I hoped there was a chance that Guinevere was only pretending to be under Morganaâ€™s spell.Â As it turns out, the kind-hearted Queen of Camelot has been replaced with a mindless tool for Morganaâ€™s cruelty.Â Gwenâ€™s treachery plunges to shocking depths as she tries to kill Arthur and anyone else who gets in her way.
Arthur, Gwen and Merlin head out to the forest to celebrate the royal coupleâ€™s anniversary.Â Lurking in the trees, again, is Morgana.Â She sets off an explosion that spooks Arthurâ€™s horse.Â Arthur escapes serious harm, even though he suffers a nasty fall.Â The knights quickly deduce that someone had tampered with Arthurâ€™s saddle.Â All signs point to a hapless stable boy.Â Gwen stands by, completely unmoved, as Arthur finds the boy guilty of treason and sentences him to death.Â This is the first sign that Gwen is hopelessly under Morganaâ€™s spell.
Merlin is not convinced of the stable boyâ€™s guilt and visits him in his cell.Â The boy tells Merlin that the person who messed with the saddle threatened to kill his mother if he told anyone what heâ€™d seen.Â Arthur wants to interview the boy, but Gwen talks him out of it.Â Gwen then sneaks down to the dungeon and kills the poor boy before he has a chance to talk to anyone else.Â The gravity of this action is overwhelming.Â Gwen has not just tried to murder someone, which is bad enough; she has gone beyond this and murdered an innocent person.Â It was bad enough when she was willing to let the boy die for treason he did not commit, but to take his life herself is something else entirely.Â If Merlin and Arthur wrest Gwen from Morganaâ€™s control and if Gwen maintains her memories, the knowledge of her actions will devastate her.
Merlin suspects that something is off with Gwen.Â Itâ€™s not surprising that Arthur doesnâ€™t pick up on the subtle differences in her behavior; heâ€™s not exactly intuitive.Â He also correctly infers that Morgana must be behind the change.Â Gwen and Morgana meet in the woods, and Morgana decides to try a different approach to killing Arthur.Â She procures two tinctures â€“ valerian, to render Arthur unconscious, and henbane, to kill him.Â Gwen is tasked with administering them to her unsuspecting husband.Â Later, Merlin searches for clues and comes across a piece of Gwenâ€™s dress that had caught on a tree in the woods.
Though it is an unholy alliance, it is surprisingly nice to see Gwen and Morgana friendly again.Â If only it were under better circumstances.Â There seems to be nothing left of old Gwen as she pours the poison into Arthurâ€™s cup and waits for him to drink it down.Â Merlin finds Gwenâ€™s dress with the piece of fabric missing and runs to protect Arthur.Â He is too late.Â Arthur collapses and Gwen pours the henbane into his ear.Â She watches as he dies with a sickening look of satisfaction.Â Next, she turns on Merlin, accusing him of being the one who poisoned Arthur.
Gaius visits Merlin in the dungeon and tells him that Arthur will die without his magic.Â To make his way out of the cells, Merlin becomes the elderly Emrys and berates his way past the guards.Â For some reason, he doesnâ€™t stay in that guise and reverts back to his younger self to try to save Arthur.Â It seems like it would have been easier for him to get around the castle if he had remained disguised.Â Instead, he has to scale the castle wall to get into the kingâ€™s well-guarded room.Â Merlin is able to save Arthur through his magic.Â For a moment, he thinks he has failed and the tears stream down his face.Â Never has it been more apparent how much Arthur means to Merlin.Â They are truly brothers and saving Arthurâ€™s life is more than just a destiny for Merlin.
Gwen is less than thrilled that Arthur survives.Â Her plan to ascend the throne in his absence is crushed.Â Worse for Merlin, he is now in her crosshairs.
Angel Coulby gave an amazing performance playing the duplicitous queen.Â Her facial expressions change on a dime â€“ taking her from a bereaved wife to a truly evil soul.Â It is always fun when old Emrys makes an appearance.Â It is obvious how much Colin Morgan enjoys playing this character.Â His entire demeanor changes and he has an aggressive confidence that we never see in Merlin. Â There is not much time left before the end of the season.Â They need to take a less myopic view of the palace and bring the fight for magic into a broader field.
The final season of Merlin airs Fridays on Syfy at 10/9c.
Promo for the next episode: “The Hollow Queen”
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