The battle picks up with Morganaâ€™s selfish exploitation of the dragon Aithusa.Â She has already used him to forge the sword sheâ€™s given to Mordred.Â Now, she orders Aithusa to attack Arthurâ€™s men.Â Arthurâ€™s men strain against Morganaâ€™s forces and the king finds himself outnumbered and close to being over powered.Â This moment of helplessness quickly turns into one of the most powerful and cinematically beautiful images of the entire series.Â Emerys appears on the horizon, in front of a blackened, burgundy sky and strikes down the men attacking Arthur. Â
Merlin turns back Aithusa and heads to the battlefield.Â It is here that Merlin makes his biggest mistake.Â As he plods through the gorge filled with bodies, Arthur is left alone to face Mordred.Â Arthur hears Mordredâ€™s approach and turns to meet him.Â As he stares at his former friend, Mordred stabs him through the stomach and says, â€œYou gave me no choice.â€Â Arthur stands and kills Mordred.Â In the moment before he drops to the ground, Mordred has a sad smile on his face.Â He was so overcome with anger and in this final breath seems to remember what Arthur had once meant to him.
The battle is won, but Arthur has fallen.Â It is heartbreaking to watch Emerys pick up Arthur and carry him from the battlefield.Â He is too late, but he still will not give up on his friend.Â When Arthur wakes, Merlin is beside him.Â All of the secrets, the hurt and the burden that Merlin has carried over the years pour out in a torrent of tears.Â He confesses to Arthur that he is a sorcerer and apologizes for not being able to stop Mordred.Â Arthurâ€™s face reflects his own hurt and disbelief, and he struggles through the pain from his wound to turn away from his friend.Â This is the reaction that Merlin always feared â€“ that when Arthur knew the truth, he would not be able to accept him.
Gaius reunites with Merlin and Arthur.Â Gaius tells Arthur that some say Merlin is, â€œthe greatest sorcerer ever to walk the earth.â€Â Arthur is dumbfounded.Â From Arthurâ€™s perspective, this is all overwhelming.Â Heâ€™s learned his best friend has kept a massive secret from him.Â But, Arthur also must feel foolish.Â For years heâ€™s mocked Merlinâ€™s weakness, not knowing the power Merlin possesses.
Even in defeat, Morgana cannot let go of her hatred for Arthur and orders her men to track him down.Â She buries Mordred and proclaims that they will have their revenge.Â It is impossible to tell if Morgana is upset by Mordredâ€™s death or by the fact that sheâ€™s been defeated.Â Morgana is past reason.Â Any connection she had with the living world is gone.Â She is a shadow of her former self and bears no resemblance to the young woman we initially knew.
In a race against time, Merlin travels with Arthur toward Avalon.Â Along the way, the two have to work through the fallout from Merlinâ€™s confession.Â It is understandable that Arthur would be hurt and angry.Â As Arthur lies helplessly by the fire, Merlin takes his boots and sets them to dry.Â Arthur seems to catch a glimpse at the truth.Â Merlin isnâ€™t a horrible person whoâ€™s deceived and made a fool of him.Â The next morning, Arthur asks why Merlin is still acting like a servant.Â Merlinâ€™s response is deeply moving, â€œI do this because of who you are; without you, Camelot is nothing â€¦. There will never be another like you, Arthur.Â I also do this because you are my friend and I donâ€™t want to lose you.â€
In Camelot, Morgana executes Eira.Â She also confronts Gaius on Merlinâ€™s true identity.Â When she learns he is the sorcerer, she has the kind of reaction one would hope for.Â She smiles and you can feel the burden lifted from her shoulders.Â She knows that Merlin will do all that he can for Arthur.Â Gwaine is not so lucky and suffers from Eiraâ€™s betrayal.Â Rashly, he sets out after Morgana with Percival at his side.
Arthur continues to deteriorate and struggles to come to terms with his new view of Merlin.Â He asks why Merlin never told him about his magical abilities.Â Merlin explains that he didnâ€™t want to put Arthur in the position of having to decide whether or not to enforce the laws against magic.Â Such laws wouldâ€™ve mandated Merlinâ€™s death, which would have been an awful decision for Arthur to have to make.Â Arthur is still amazed by Merlinâ€™s selflessness.Â Arthur now sees what the viewers have seen all along, and it is satisfying to watch his understanding unfold.Â We know how much Merlin has given up for his friend, and only now does Arthur see it for himself.
Merlin gives an extremely poignant explanation for his loyalty:Â â€œSome men are born to plow fields, some live to be great physicians, others to be great kings.Â Me, I was born to serve you, Arthur and Iâ€™m proud of that and I wouldnâ€™t change a thing.â€Â This type of loyalty feels almost inconceivable in todayâ€™s world.
Needless to say, Gwaine and Percival are unsuccessful in their plot against Morgana.Â In a truly shocking turn, though, Morgana uses the Nathair to learn of Arthurâ€™s true whereabouts and then kills Gwaine.Â It is truly sad when Percival lifts his friendâ€™s head and sees him expel his last breath.
Arthur knows that he is not going to make it.Â He apologizes for the way heâ€™s treated Merlin.Â When they restart their journey, they are intercepted by Morgana.Â She stands above Arthur gloating.Â Merlin is ready for her, though.Â He tells her, â€œI blame myself for what youâ€™ve become,â€ and then plunges the sword into her gut.Â This is perhaps the biggest disappointment I have with the end of the show.Â I wanted to have some recognition by Morgana of what she used to be.Â I wouldnâ€™t expect repentance, but I wanted some acknowledgement that if she had made a different choice, all of this destruction would not have happened.Â She would have lived a happy, peaceful life alongside family and friends.Â Instead, she will now die alone.
Arthur is relieved that Morganaâ€™s death will finally bring peace to the realm.Â He is ready now to give up fighting.Â But, Merlin isnâ€™t ready to give up on his friend.Â As he holds onto his dying friend, Arthur looks up at him and says, â€œEverything youâ€™ve done, I know now, for me, for Camelot, for the kingdom you helped me build. . . .I want to say something Iâ€™ve never said to you before.Â Thank you.â€Â Merlinâ€™s grief is so overwhelming to watch.Â Through the tears, he makes his last call to the Great Dragon.
The Great Dragon carries them to the shores of the lake, but it is too late.Â In another heartbreaking moment, the Great Dragon and Merlin say their goodbyes.Â The Great Dragon tells him that Arthur is the Once and Future King, and when there is a need, Arthur will one day rise again.Â As the Great Dragon takes to the sky, it feels like this is the end of magic â€“ that the time of dragons, wizards, knights, and kings is also at an end.
Merlinâ€™s goodbye to Arthur is the best performance that Colin Morgan has ever given on the show.Â This is Merlin losing his best friend.Â This is the end of a time of magic and mystery.Â This is the end of a show that has championed the values of loyalty, integrity, humor, love, and above all else, friendship.Â It has been a wonderful and unique retelling of the Arthurian legend that will be greatly missed by millions of fans.
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