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Merlin “With All My Heart” 

Photo Credit: Syfy

We’ve had to wait a long time for the last handful of Merlin episodes.  When last we saw Guinevere, she was still under the thrall of Morgana’s spell and trying to kill Arthur.  This week, the spell was finally broken, albeit in an unsatisfactory manner.  Gwen did some terrible things under Morgana’s control.  She killed people.  Yet, there is no fall out from that.  Gwen goes for a little swim and is good as new.  Maybe this is a function of the end of the show approaching and not having enough time left.  Or maybe it’s because Merlin isn’t about intense character development outside of the Arthur/Merlin relationship.  It was still disappointing not to see Gwen emotionally process her ordeal.  

The episode opens with Merlin revealing to Arthur a meeting between Gwen and Morgana.  Convinced that she is no longer his Gwen, Arthur agrees to seek a magical solution to the problem despite his decrees against the use of magic.  Merlin discovers the way to restore Gwen’s soul in a visit to the Dochraid.  Emerys’ meeting with the Dochraid was my favorite scene of the episode.  In the past, Merlin has been mostly mild mannered.  When faced with the Dochraid’s refusal to help him, Merlin shows a surprisingly strong backbone.  He tells her, “I will have what I came for.”  He even demonstrates his power by cutting her arm with the dragon-forged sword.  We see that this is a new Merlin when he stops the Dochraid’s knife and then strikes her down with the sword.  Clearly, Merlin is gearing up to a more full realization of his powers.

The Dochraid tells Merlin that Gwen needs to enter the Cauldron of Arianrhod of her own free will.  Gaius, Merlin and Arthur drug Gwen and carry her off.  Of course, the Dochraid alerts Morgana, who then races to intercept them.  For some inexplicable reason, while they are en route, Merlin tumbles down the side of the cliff.  He lands on a pile of rocks and is knocked unconscious.  Arthur goes after him and also tumbles down, knocking himself unconscious.  The two are ultimately rescued by Mordred.  When Morgana appears, Mordred stops her by sending her flying through the air, resulting in her landing on a pile of rocks and being knocked unconscious.  It feels like a crutch that in nearly every episode someone goes flying, hits his/her head on a rock and passes out for a period of time.

Photo Credit: Syfy

When they reach the Cauldron, Merlin slips into the disguise of an elderly woman.  His performance is hilarious.  In the end, Arthur convinces Gwen to walk into the water by reminding her of their love.  He tells her to think back to her response when he proposed: “With all my heart.”  Gwen follows Arthur in and voilà, the old Gwen returns.  I’m not sure what more I would’ve wanted from this turn of events.   It just felt like a letdown.  I would’ve liked a more dramatic confrontation with life and death on the line.  I may have unreasonable expectations, but with so few episodes left, I want everyone to hit it out of the park.

Only four episodes left. Merlin airs Fridays on Syfy at 10/9c.

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