Morgana has long carried two obsessions: killing Arthur and discovering the identity of Emerys. Â She has long hated Arthur and feels that he stole the throne from her.Â For Emerys, she has a particular fear and hatred because a prophesy states that Emerys will be her undoing.Â Morganaâ€™s search to learn Emerysâ€™ identity ended last week when Mordred committed the ultimate betrayal and gave her Merlinâ€™s name.Â She realizes that Merlin has been the constant foil to her efforts to kill Arthur.Â Therefore, to ultimately succeed in her fratricidal plans, she must separate Merlin from Arthur.
Morgana never takes the easy path, so it is unsurprising that instead of killing Merlin, she robs him of his magic.Â She hides a box with a disgusting slug-like creature under Merlinâ€™s bed.Â When it attacks Merlin, it drains away all of his powers.Â Merlin is devastated not for his own sake, but because he will be unable to protect Arthur.Â Now that Morgana has declared war on Camelot, Arthur is gathering his men for the final battle.Â Arthur doesnâ€™t know that this will be his last stand, and Merlin desperately tries to find a way to save him.
Merlinâ€™s only option to restore his magic is to journey to the birthplace of magic, the Crystal Cave in the Valley of the Fallen Kings.Â To make the journey, Merlin will be unable to join Arthur on the battlefield.Â Breaking the news to Arthur is anything but easy.Â Merlin is clearly heartbroken as he knows this may be the last time he sees his friend.Â Arthur doesnâ€™t know of the prophesy that he will fall at Camlann and sees only that Merlin is abandoning him at the most important moment of his life.Â Arthur is quick to assume that Merlinâ€™s decision stems from cowardice.
Itâ€™s disappointing that Arthur still doesnâ€™t trust Merlin on some level and is quick to assume that Merlin is motivated by cowardice.Â This is one of Arthurâ€™s flaws.Â He makes split second decisions and can usually only be moved from them by Merlin.Â When the decision is against Merlin, there is no one to change Arthurâ€™s mind.Â When Arthur later confronts Gaius about the reason for Merlinâ€™s departure, he still believes heâ€™s been abandoned.Â Gwen has faith, though.Â She recognizes that Merlin is devoted to Arthur and would never leave him if it could be helped.
The traitor Eira tells Morgana that Gwaine is taking Merlin to the Valley of the Fallen Kings.Â Mordred explains to her that this is place where magic was born.Â Morgana understands that if Merlin gets his magic back, any advantage she might have will be gone.Â She rushes to intercept them.Â Ultimately, the showdown with Morgana in the cave is disappointing.Â They meet for only a few moments at the entrance.Â After Merlin slashes her with a sword, she simply laughs at him and buries him in the cave.Â Morgana has been obsessed with Emerys for a long time.Â When she finally comes face to face with him, it wouldâ€™ve been more logical for her to actually try to kill him.Â It also wouldâ€™ve been better if they saved the confrontation between the two for when Merlin had his powers back.Â It would have been great to see Morganaâ€™s magic overcome by Merlinâ€™s.
As we have seen innumerable times this season, Merlin is knocked unconscious by the cave-in.Â When he wakes, he is in a large chamber filled with blue glowing crystals.Â Overwhelmed by a feeling of defeat, Merlin is unable to rouse himself.Â The spirit of his father appears and tells him, â€œAll that matters is that you heed the words of your father who loves you.Â Do not let go, Merlin.Â Do not give in.â€Â Rarely have we seen Merlin at the point of giving up.Â It was touching in this moment because his emotions are tied to the belief that the war is done and Arthur has already been killed.Â But, his father tells him to keep hope and guides him toward the light at the center of the cave.Â Here, Merlin will learn his true destiny.
Meanwhile, the dark army of Morgana and Mordred advances towards the soldiers of Camelot.Â Morgana discovers a secret path that will allow her to take Arthur by surprise.Â Arthur does not know the battle is imminent and spends some quiet time with Gwen.Â She reassures him that his decision to go to war is what is best for Camelot.Â As confident as Arthur usually is, he needs this support.Â As we saw in an earlier episode this season when Uther Pendragon returned, Arthurâ€™s biggest enemy is himself.Â His self-doubts and second-guessing keeps him from seeing what everyone else does â€“ Camelot is a happier, peaceful kingdom because of him.Â Itâ€™s tragic that even as he prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice for his people, he canâ€™t see this.
In the cave, Merlin looks into a crystal and gets a vision of the present and the future.Â He sees Morganaâ€™s tactics and knows he must warn Arthur.Â As Arthur sleeps, Merlin reaches out to him through the crystal.Â He apologizes for leaving him and warns him of Morganaâ€™s planned attack.Â When Arthur wakes up, he trusts what he has just heard and springs into action.Â This was a turning point in the relationship for Arthur and Merlin.Â Arthur is stubborn and often derides Merlinâ€™s advice.Â In this moment, he knows this is more than a dream and simply trusts what Merlin has told him.
Arthurâ€™s men are ready when Morganaâ€™s army finally appears.Â In a fantastic battle scene worthy of a finale, Arthur moves in slow motion, kicking, shoving, and hacking his way through the enemy lines.Â As the battle rages, Merlin emerges from the cave in his true form â€“ the old, wizened Emerys.Â The transformation of young Merlin to old is exemplary this time.Â Merlinâ€™s elderly appearance personifies his wisdom, but he moves with a sense of purpose and confidence that we havenâ€™t seen before.Â The heart of Merlin is still young and intent on saving his best friendâ€™s life.
The Merlin series finale airs Friday May 31 at 10/9c on Syfy.
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