Previously on Camelot: Morgan took Igraine’s place in Camelot just long enough to tell Leontes his wife slept with Arthur, and to have some sexy time with Merlin, who, amazingly, didn’t realize he was being tricked. Finally, the real Igraine escaped from her prison at Magical Manse and ran back to Camelot, where she came face-to-face with…herself.
We start the show right where we left off. Igraine, naturally, freaks out considerably when she sees her exact double staring at her calmly, and she wonders if she’s going crazy. Now, Igraine, you know that magic exists in this world, so you didn’t think for a second that this might be some sort of trickery? I guess not, because she asks Morgraine what she is, and Morgraine tells her she’s Igraine’s damaged, dirty soul made manifest. Igraine freaks out some more and runs out of the room. A few minutes later, Morgan shifts back to her true form, grabs a horse, and rides back toward Magical Manse. And not a single person notes her presence in Camelot, or the fact that she’s making off with one of their horses. Once again, security in this place sucks.
Hey, remember that really important trade route gateway that was mentioned a couple of episodes ago? Barden Pass? The one that’s guarded by, like, a farmer? Well, we get to see it now, and apparently it’s guarded by a farmer, his kid, and a handful of soldiers who don’t seem to have much to do. This is the security you give the only trade route into the kingdom? Who the hell runs security in this place, anyway? They need to be fired immediately.
Morgan’s lackey, the one she caught spying on her two episodes back, rides up and starts harassing the farmer’s kid, so one of the bored soldiers comes over and asks him to play nice. And he gets a knife in the gut for all his pains. Lackey and his men let the boy go, and he immediately runs for his dad, who puts him on a horse and sends him to Camelot to raise the alarm. Lackey’s right-hand man—I’m going to call him Scotty, because he’s got an accent right out of Braveheart—asks if they should stop the kid, but Lackey says they want him running to Camelot.
In Camelot, Igraine gets to her room, where she continues to panic and tries to reassure herself that she’s not insane. Merlin, who’s been cozied up in her bed this whole time, goes over to her, scaring her out of her skin, and he immediately realizes something’s odd, because her face is much more battered than he remembers it. She tearfully tells him about seeing herself and being kidnapped and locked up. Merlin tells her she’s been in Camelot all this time. Merlin! You know that Morgan can shapeshift! How can you not give her story any credence? Maybe it’s just that he doesn’t want to. As Igraine talks, he backs away from her and murmurs that he should have realized what was going on. He informs Igraine that Morgan’s been in Camelot, wearing her face. That somehow makes the whole thing sound so much creepier.
Speak of the devil: Morgan—who, I notice, somehow managed to change her outfit before fleeing Camelot—arrives back at Magical Manse and is immediately told by Sybil that Igraine escaped. She knows, of course, and the two ladies giggle over the thought of Igraine thinking herself insane.
At Camelot, Leo is up and about and staring menacingly at his sleeping wife. She wakes, and he immediately asks her if anything happened between her and Arthur. She lies that nothing did, but when he asks her to swear on the bible, she can’t, and she breaks down completely, telling her hot, hot shirtless husband that she gave it up for a pathetic, whiny, sniveling boy. Leo, as you can imagine, does not take the news well. Guen unwisely says it was no big deal, and she’s still his wife, but Leo firmly tells her she’s no such thing. She’s the king’s whore. Wow. He’s not wrong there, but I almost didn’t think he had this sort of harshness in him.
Leo grabs his sword, puts on a shirt (damn), and strides purposefully through the halls of Camelot, looking to kick some Arthurian ass. Unfortunately, he runs into Merlin first, and tells him why he’s so pissed off. Merlin agrees that what Arthur did was lousy, but Leo should really just suck it up, pretend to be happy with his slutty wife, and he’ll deal with Arthur. Don’t listen to him, Leo, kick Arthur’s ass!
Magical Manse. Sybil and Morgan talk plans—Sybil tells her the attack at Barden Pass is already underway, and more men are assembled and waiting to be urged on by Morgan. Morgan goes to do just that, and they’re a pretty easy crowd, because Arthur’s never done a thing for them, whereas Morgan’s given them food, money, and shelter. Morgan whips them up a bit by telling them that Arthur’s promises of peace and protection were all a load of BS, and even now Barden Pass is under attack. She demands their undying loyalty, and they give it to her readily, presumably because she’s hot.
Guen goes and pulls Arthur out of a meeting with the Camelot Crew, and tells him Leo knows everything. Arthur panics a bit, but keeps it together enough to tell her he never told Leo anything. He wants to go and try to explain everything to Leo. How is that going to help? Oh, Arthur wants to make it seem like he pressured Guen to have sex with him. Whatever. I have a feeling that won’t matter much to Leo.
Morgan’s in her bath, underwater, practicing self-control, according to Sybil. Vivien’s nervous, figuring they’re all about to get in a heap of trouble for holding Igraine hostage, but Sybil tells her to pull herself together and hold firm with Morgan, and everything will be just fine. She’s had a fairly decent track record so far, aside from that unfortunate Lot escapade.
Merlin passes along instructions to guards at Camelot that they’re to send Arthur to him if they see him. Igraine pulls him aside and tells him she can’t quite believe that this has happened. Guess she got the whole story, too. Is there anyone in Camelot who doesn’t know that Arthur banged Guen by now? Merlin asks her to work her girl magic to keep Guen calm and under control while he deals with Igraine’s moron son. And once he’s done with that, he’s going to deal with Morgan. Man, he’s got a busy day. Meanwhile, the farmer’s boy has arrived and is begging to see the king, but the guards won’t listen, presumably because he doesn’t ever bother to mention that he’s there because their only trade route is under attack. Idiocy is rampant this episode.
Morgan’s still in her bath, now smoking what appears to be an opium pipe. Because that, I’m sure, was all the rage in medieval Britain. She comments that Camelot’s in its death throes and once it’s gone, the people will panic and she’ll be there to pick up the pieces. She purrs that men think they should be the only ones to rule, but women endure what they can’t bear, so really they’re the stronger sex.
Leo’s in his room, reading his bible, when he’s joined by his wife, who apologizes and starts to make out with him. And bizarrely, he starts to respond. He gets her down on the bed, then accuses her of sleeping with Arthur again when he accompanied her to her father’s deathbed. She stupidly swears on her non-existent honor that it didn’t happen, but Leo tells her that’s fairly worthless. She begs him for forgiveness, and he admits that he wants to, but he’s not sure how. She asks him what made him ask about her and Arthur in the first place, and he tells her Igraine mentioned something.
Arthur wanders into a room somewhere and is immediately laid flat by a hell of a punch from Merlin. AWESOME. I’ve been waiting for someone to do that for ages. In fact, I kind of want an animated gif of that moment. Merlin tells him to deny the affair until he’s blue in the face, and to stop being such a useless twat.
Their meeting’s interrupted by the farmer’s boy (does he have a name? I’m going to call him Joe, just because it’s easier to type), who’s managed to find his way to a nearby window and calls out to them. He tells Arthur the Pass is under siege.
For some reason, Arthur and Merlin waste all kinds of time taking the kid inside, to the kitchen, and serving him up some food before bothering to ask for any details. I think the snack could have waited two minutes, guys, this is pretty important. Arthur orders all the boys assembled, and tells them the Pass is under attack. Only Kay notes that Leo’s missing.
Leo has no intention of going to the Pass, but Merlin catches up to him and tells him he’s got a job to do, and he’d be dishonored if he didn’t do it. Leo sniffs that this is sooo not the time to be talking to him about honor. Word, Leo. Merlin promises to hold Arthur to account when this whole thing is over, but right now, the country needs Leo. Leo agrees to go, but says that afterward, he’s done with Camelot.
Guen, not having a clue that maybe she’s not wanted right now, is heading off to give something to Leo when Igraine finds her and half-explains that there have been some seriously weird things going on lately. She also tells Guen that now’s not the time to be ironing out her marital troubles. Guen falls back on the excuse she kept parroting at Leo, that she only slept with Arthur once, so it shouldn’t really count, right? Wrong, you ditz. Cheating’s cheating no matter how many times you do it.
In the courtyard, the men are mounted up and ready to go. Merlin takes a second to ask Gawain to keep an eye out for Arthur, and to make sure Leo doesn’t hurt him. Gawain’s confused, understandably, but Merlin asks him to just go with it. Off they ride, Arthur and the Camelot Crew. No army, nothing, just five guys or so. Ok, didn’t they keep mentioning two episodes ago how many trained soldiers they had at Camelot? Where are they? Because you’d think they would have taken a few of them along to defend the trade route they keep saying is so damn important. Take more guys than you think you’ll need, now’s the time!
At Magical Manse, the merchants have gathered to complain about the trade routes being unsafe. Morgan’s back in loving sister mode, pretending to be all Team Arthur, but the merchants are through with Arthur. Morgan chooses her moment to start planting doubts about Merlin, and Sybil chimes in and says some think Merlin’s insane.
The man in question, meanwhile, is mounting up to go ride to Magical Manse all on his own to arrest Morgan. Let me get this straight: he’s riding to a fortified castle stuffed with men loyal to Morgan in an attempt to drag her off to Camelot to stand trial? How on earth does he think that’ll work? Does he think she’ll just meekly go along? How can he not understand what he’s dealing with here? Oh, and even better, Igraine wants to go along, because after being imprisoned and raped, every woman wants to return to the place where it all happened, right? Come on, show!
Arthur and the Camelot Crew spy on their opponents, and Arthur flatly observes that they’re vastly outnumbered. Uh, yeah, you only brought five guys with you! What were you thinking? Gawain says they can’t approach the pass from the front, because they’ll get slaughtered, so Arthur asks Joe if there’s another way to get into the village at the pass. Joe leads them around the back way, which is a fairly treacherous route that has them sort of clinging to a grassy cliff. There’s a moment that tries to be tense, when Arthur slips and Leo hesitates before helping him up, but we all know Leo’s not going to let Arthur die. Sadly, he doesn’t even step on Arthur’s fingers as he goes to lend him a hand, although I totally would. Or kneed him in the crotch on the way up.
Lackey and Scotty are delighted to see that Arthur’s arrived, and they know this, because Arthur’s just strolling around behind the flimsy, chest-high wooden ramparts around the village. Remember the wall that the people in Pillars of the Earth built in a day? That thing was a work of military genius compared with what this village has, which is amazing, considering this place is at the upper border of the country and is supposedly really strategically important. Why isn’t there at least some sort of keep or tower there to house actual guards and provide protection in case of an attack? Lackey warns Scotty not to underestimate the Camelot Crew, because Morgan says they’re very well trained. He practically salivates as he imagines how happy Morgan will be when he delivers Arthur’s corpse.
Igraine and Merlin arrive at Magical Manse, which is crowded with people arriving from all the attacked areas throughout the country. Merlin shouts for Morgan, dismounts, and walks around, accusing her of abduction and witchcraft and sounding, frankly, pretty crazy. Morgan emerges from the castle and calmly tells him to chill, as she hands bread to some photogenic children. He asks if she denies assuming Igraine’s shape and identity, and as people back away from the crazy man, Morgan flat out says that’s completely nuts. A few of the refugees stick up for her, so Igraine decides it’s time for her to help dig this grave, and she shouts that she was tied up and held prisoner, and she remembers what the room looked like and everything. It never seems to occur to her that they’ve had plenty of time to clean that room up.
Which is exactly what they’ve done. Not only is it cleaned up, it’s been turned into a chapel, complete with cross and altar. Well done, folks. Igraine foolishly brings up the guard who was in there with her, and Sybil asks her what happened to him. Of course, Igraine can’t answer without condemning herself, so she stays mum, and the people gathered to watch this display are clearly not going to be siding with her and Merlin anytime soon. Merlin accuses Sybil of being a party to this whole mess and tells her she’ll answer to the king. Amazingly, Sybil remains unworried.
At the Pass, Arthur tries to sell Leo on the idea that he pressured Guen to have sex with him, but as I thought, Leo won’t listen. All he does is spit at Arthur’s feet and go find something to do.
Merlin refuses to quit and tells Morgan she’s under arrest. But as I pointed out earlier, Morgan’s surrounded by people loyal to her, and they aren’t on board with this idea at all. Morgan accuses him of focusing on something as petty as her, when these poor people’s homes are being attacked. Sybil calls for guards and has them take away Igraine and Merlin. Their hands are tied and they’re left in a stone cell. Bet you wish you hadn’t tagged along now, don’t you, Igraine? Merlin and Sybil have a little back and forth, and it becomes clear that Merlin’s getting wise to the fact that Sybil’s a fairly worthy adversary. Indeed, this nun’s turning out to be almost as kickass as Morgan. Maybe even moreso.
At the Pass, Kay’s starting to notice the tension with Leo, so he asks him what’s up. Leo will only say it’s between himself and Arthur, and just then, who should come riding up, but Guen. You have GOT to be kidding me. What is she doing there? Does she have no concept of when it’s a good idea for her to be around? Her presence will just cause more tension and be a distraction, right when the last thing these guys need is more tension and distractions! What is wrong with her? And where is this pass, anyway, that people can ride to it in less than a day? I thought it was some fairly faraway border of the country? Oh, whatever, why am I looking for logic here?
Archers start unleashing their arrows at her, and her horse panics and dumps her over one of the ramparts, but she’s stuck in a sort of no-man’s land, being pelted with arrows, so of course Leo and Arthur have to risk their lives and come out and rescue her. I hate damsels in distress so much. The three manage to make it to safety, and Kay immediately leaps on his brother and demands to know what he’s done. See, Kay knows his worthless brother pretty well. Remember that the first time we ever met Arthur he was having sex with Kay’s girlfriend. Leo finally makes Arthur spill the beans, and Arthur admits to having sex with Guen right before officiating at her wedding. Kay is properly disgusted, and so is Gawain. I’m sort of surprised Gawain doesn’t just throw up his hands, say “the hell with this” and go back to his church in the middle of nowhere. He wasn’t all that keen on coming to Camelot to begin with, and what’s he fighting for now? A weak, pathetic, worthless king with no honor? But I guess his reading lessons aren’t done yet, because he stays.
Arthur gets to his feet and tries to make excuses to Kay, who just spits that Arthur can’t help himself. Yep, lack of self-control—an excellent quality in a leader. Arthur bleats that this affair is different, because he loves her. Oh, please, like that somehow makes it all right. Kay wonderfully calls BS on that nonsense, growls that Arthur isn’t a worthy king, or a worthy brother, and he’s glad they were never linked by blood. Thank God someone finally said it. Can Kay be king now?
Morgan’s got Merlin and Igraine tied up to the back of a horse for a walk of shame back to Camelot. She announces to the watching crowds that she intends to go to Camelot and expose Merlin’s corruption and order Arthur to restore order to the country.
Guen finds Leo, who’s kinda busy right now, preparing for a large onslaught, but of course she’s not thinking of that. He asks her why she came, and she tells him she came for him. Really? Then you’re even more brainless and clueless than I thought. She firmly tells him this isn’t over, because she made a promise in front of God the day she married him. Is that like the promise you made the day you agreed to marry this guy in the first place? Because I don’t know about anyone else, but I considered that just as binding as the marriage vows. She hands him his bible, and he tells her to keep it. She stupidly believes this is a good sign, that he’s giving her something of his, but he makes it pretty clear this is not the ray of hope she thought it was.
Morgan and her companions arrive at Ye Olde Reste Stoppe, which is crowded with refugees from the attacks Morgan’s been secretly orchestrating to spread panic. Sybil urges her to speak to them, so Morgan does, introducing herself and offering everyone protection. The crowd’s cool with that, so they’ve got a good-sized entourage now.
Back on the road, Igraine stresses over how the people are following Morgan instead of Arthur, and tells Merlin he has to do something. Merlin tells her that if he shows any sorcery now, Morgan will use it against them and the people will turn against them for good. He says the people will never follow him now, but maybe they’ll follow Arthur, if he comes into his own and fulfills his destiny. Come again? Why on earth should they follow Arthur? What’s he done to inspire that sort of faith in anyone? His own brother won’t follow him these days.
At the Pass, everyone prepares for battle. Lackey sends Scotty out to urge Arthur and his men to back down and surrender. Arthur, of course, won’t have it, so Scotty falls back, rejoins his men, and they charge right across an open field. And the Camelot Crew starts pelting them with arrows and taking them down left and right. Still, plenty of them make it to the ramparts, and the hand-to-hand combat manages to be both fierce and surprisingly bloodless. Either fake blood didn’t fit into the budget for this show, or Game of Thrones has claimed all of it. Throughout the melee, Guen sits around shrieking and being useless and in the way. Hey, show, remember how two episodes ago she was all gung-ho on fighting and good with a bow and arrow? What happened to that personality?
Scotty reports to Lackey that they’ve lost too many men and they need to fall back. Lackey can’t believe it, but Scotty tells him that, even though they had more men, their opponents were well trained and clever. Scotty, no they’re not. Not clever, I mean. They’re idiots. It’s just that you guys, with your charge across open ground after giving your enemies hours to prepare, were bigger idiots. Lackey sounds the retreat, but not until a member of the Camelot Crew I don’t even recognize goes down and Kay takes an arrow to the stomach. Everyone retreats to the farmhouse and Arthur tells them they have to abandon the pass. He’ll create a diversion until they can get everyone out the back way. How’re you going to get seriously injured people out that way? From the look of the climb in, there’s no way you could carry people along there. Leo offers to stay instead, but Arthur tells him to go. Listen to him, Leo! Live a good, full life!
So, the Camelot Crew and the farmer’s family head out the back way, and Kay’s now up and about like he didn’t at all just take an arrow to the stomach, which is a pretty bad place to get shot, in case you didn’t know. Arthur, meanwhile, does his distraction bit: standing at the ramparts and heckling Morgan’s men. “They’re taunting us,” Lackey whines. “They?” It’s clearly just one guy, you moron! Scotty’s a bit more clear headed than his leader, though, and says he’s sent for reinforcements and he thinks it’s a good idea to wait for them, to even the numbers. Lackey swears to kill Arthur and deliver him up to Morgan, while in the village, Arthur drops down behind the ramparts and prepares himself for whatever’s to come.