Previously on Camelot: Arthur proved he was a douchebag extraordinaire by sleeping with his buddy’s fiancée the day before her wedding, while said buddy was out recruiting Sir Gawain to fight for Arthur. Morgan had some fighty/flirty moments with Merlin, who warned her about the dangers of magic. She ignored him and seems to have found a way to (maybe) take control of Arthur’s body.
Camelot at dawn. While the others sleep, Arthur wanders around and finally settles down to sulk in the throne room, where the remnants of the wedding party are still evident, so I guess it’s just the next day. He finds a flower and picks it up contemplatively, then imagines Guen having sex with Leontes, her new husband. He bellows for one of the knights, and when the man comes running, tells him he wants everyone up and training. Oh, sure, now he’s suddenly interested in getting things done.
In their room, Leontes and Guen are all cuddled up in bed, and he’s watching her sleep. She wakes and they act all cute for a while, and then she asks him when they get to leave Camelot. Leontes says it may be a while, which upsets her, because he promised that after the wedding they’d clear out. He says he’ll do what he can, but in the meantime, the king needs all his warriors. Leontes gets his fine, naked self out of bed and scurries off to do Arthur’s bidding.
In the throne room, Arthur and the other knights are having a rather subdued breakfast. Igraine watches them from a balcony above, and she’s soon joined by Merlin, who gives her some food and asks why she doesn’t go down and eat with the boys. She says she’s waiting to be invited. They hear Guen giggle, and look across the room to see her embracing Leontes on another balcony before he goes down. Igraine looks downcast; Arthur, who heard the giggling, gets up and leaves in a snit, and Merlin tells Igraine it looks like Arthur could use his mommy.
Morgan’s Magical Manse. Morgan’s getting ready to head to Camelot with Vivian and an expensive gift for Guen. Vivian asks why they’re paying so much attention to the wife of one of Arthur’s buddies, and Morgan fibs that, as Arthur’s sister, she should welcome any newcomer to Camelot, especially women. She flinches in pain, and Vivian asks if she’s ok. Morgan insists she’s fine and mounts up.
At Camelot, the knights have gathered, and Gawain’s not impressed by how small the force is. He does, nevertheless, get down to business and asks what they’re fighting for, so he knows how to start training everyone. Arthur doesn’t seem to have thought that far and answers they’re fighting for freedom. Whose? asks Gawain. Everyone’s, says Arthur. Gawain replies that he was already free, so try again. Arthur shortly asks why Gawain’s there, if he’s so free. Because he wanted reading lessons, Arthur. Gawain sighs that he heard Arthur was worth fighting for. Arthur tries another tactic and says they’re fighting to keep the people free from chaos. Gawain snorts at this sad excuse for a leader, but Kay sticks up for his brother, so Gawain asks Arthur to show him how he fights. Arthur pulls out his sword and totally gets his ass kicked by the far more seasoned warrior. Man, I love Gawain. Finally, someone who might be able to put this little tosser in his place. The fight ends when Gawain splits Arthur’s sword in half and says he’s got a lot of work to do. I’ll say.
Fight’s over. Merlin wanders over and observes that Arthur will need a new sword. Gawain recommends a swordsmith, but warns Merlin that the guy’s a bit volatile and lives in the woods, like all weirdoes in these stories tend to do. Merlin doesn’t mind volatile, but he does mind Arthur coveting his champion’s wife, and he pulls King Tween aside and tells him to get a grip and give up on her already. He tells Arthur to keep training, and he’ll be back soon with a sword.
Elsewhere, Igraine catches up with Guen and asks her how her wedding night was. Guen remains tightlipped, so Igraine slips from girlfriend mode to mom mode and warns Guen that, now she’s married and therefore off limits, she’ll be coveted more than ever, but she has to be sure to forgo other men besides her husband. Because cheating on your husband is a really crappy thing to do. Guen’s face falls.
Morgan and her guards are riding towards Camelot when she calls for them to stop and let her rest a moment. A guard helps her off her horse and Vivian brings her water. Morgan’s clearly not doing well, and can’t even keep the water down. She croaks that she has to get to Camelot and see this girl, but Vivian insists on taking her back to Magical Manse to rest, because she’s clearly not well. Morgan gives in and back they go.
Guen runs into Arthur and greets him formally. He pulls her aside and asks her what happens now between them. Nothing, Arthur! She’s married! Hands the hell off! She told you it was only going to be a one-time deal! He starts to get creepy, telling her he was thinking about her having sex with Leontes, and asking if Leo was better than he was. She tells him to back off, and he tries to force her to tell him, but she won’t. All intense, he says that what happened on the beach meant something, but she tells him it didn’t, because if it did, she couldn’t have married Leo. He acts all crushed and wishes her happiness in that way that suggests he means the exact opposite. Dick.
Merlin gallops across picturesque vistas to the edge of a lake, where he finds a stone with a picture of a sword carved into it.
Morgan returns home, where she’s greeted by the unwelcome sight of a nun on her front porch. She screams at Vivian to get the woman out, totally melting down. Two guards grab the nun by her arms, and she spits: “what have you done?” at Morgan before the guards hustle her out.
Morgan goes inside and tells Vivian to make sure the nun doesn’t return. Vivian hesitantly asks who the nun is, but Morgan doesn’t answer, instead screaming about the fire not being hot enough. She goes to lie down for a bit and repeats her order not to let the nun within sight of Magical Manse.
Gawain starts his training, teaching these guys about shields first. Forgive me if I’ve missed something, but weren’t these men all knights or some sort of warrior before they arrived at Camelot? Do they really need to take Fighting Force 101? I guess so, because Gawain calls out Kay first, and after a short tussle, he slices his arm with the edge of his shield. Lesson 1: line the edge of your shield with some sort of blade. Good to know. Kay calls Gawain a dirty fighter, but Gawain reminds them this isn’t some kind of tea party, it’s frigging combat, and you need every advantage you can get. So man up, boys. Arthur yells at Gawain for hurting his brother, and Gawain calmly tells Arthur to settle down, because he doesn’t have a sword now, remember. Heh. I’m totally going to love this character. Gawain moves right on to Lessons 2 and 3: Always keep a dagger on your person, and leave your emotions at the door. He illustrates this by holding his own dagger to Arthur’s throat, which pisses off Leo and Kay, who seriously tell Gawain not to threaten Arthur, either in training or jest. Gawain observes that Arthur certainly has a few guys who’ll stand up for him, though God knows why.
Morgan wakes, smiles to herself, and tells Vivian to bring her food, lots of it, she’s starving. Vivian observes that Morgan’s looking a lot better, and Morgan says she’s feeling better. She hugs Viv tightly and says they’ll go to Camelot the next day.
As Morgan pigs out, Vivian hesitantly approaches, apologizing, and telling her that the nun was kicked out of the Manse, but she wouldn’t leave the immediate area. Morgan’s not surprised to hear it and tells Vivian that the nun was the one who taught Morgan back when she was banished to the nunnery by Uther. Vivian guesses that the woman treated Morgan badly. I think that much is obvious by the way Morgan reacted to the nun’s sudden reappearance. Morgan shouts that she doesn’t think about that place, then loudly calls for more bread, as her eye starts bleeding. Yikes! Vivian freaks out a little bit, as any reasonable person would, and she goes and fetches the nun.
Merlin’s ditched the horse and is now wandering the woods on foot. He finds the swordsmith and tells him Gawain sent him. The swordsmith tells him to piss off, but Merlin says he’s there for a new sword for the king. The swordsmith, Caliburn, says that if this king wants a sword from him, he has to come get it for himself. Amen, sir. Why doesn’t Arthur do any of his own dirty work? Caliburn says he’s no simple village forger, he makes every sword to order, and to do that, he has to actually meet the person he’s making it for, so he can know his weight, how he swings, how he fights. Makes sense. Merlin says he can tell the guy everything he needs to know. Caliburn asks who he is, and Merlin introduces himself. Caliburn’s surprised a sorcerer’s come to fetch the new king his sword and finally invites him in, so Merlin can see his magic.
The nun bursts into the Manse and sends Vivian and the other servants to their rooms. Morgan’s seriously in a bad way. The nun roughly gets her to her feet and tells her to walk, but Morgan can’t manage it. She’s breaking out in a terrible rash on her arms. The nun asks her if she’s performed a summoning and asked for anything recently and Morgan admits she has. The nun’s sorry to hear it and asks how she could be so foolish. The nun says Morgan has one thing left to learn: how to die. Morgan, naturally, gets upset when she hears that.
In the woods, the swordsmith forges and goes over some of the info Merlin’s provided: Arthur’s tall, but weak, and passionate but too quick to fight. So, he needs to be weighted down more. The swordsmith reveals he used to be a pretty fearsome warrior himself, but he gave it up so he could build weapons instead of wield them. He holds up the sword he’s working on and says it’s special—it’s made from some crazy metal that’s almost indestructible. He’ll give this one to Arthur…maybe. He conversationally asks Merlin how it feels when he uses his powers. Merlin claims not to remember, since it’s been so long since he used them. With a little pressing, though, he says it felt like an extra emotion. Caliburn asks, if Merlin has this gift, why he never uses it. He guesses at first that it’s because Merlin’s scared, but then realizes there’s something more to it: it’s because Merlin enjoys it. Merlin wanders away and takes a seat beside a fire, which suddenly roars much higher when he looks meaningfully at it. Cool—he’s like human lighter fluid.
A young woman—or girl, rather, she looks to be about 13 or 14—shows up and asks him what he’s doing. Merlin pulls a knife and asks her how long she’s been there and how much she saw. Before she can answer, Caliburn hurries over with the sword and tells Merlin to take his hands off his daughter. The girl doesn’t seem that bothered and merely asks if Merlin’s staying for dinner. Caliburn introduces the girl as Excalibur, and tells her who Merlin is. She says she’ll make enough for all of them and leaves to get cooking. Merlin tells Caliburn the girl’s lovely and they talk a little about family. Caliburn calms down, invites Merlin to stay, and says he’ll have his sword in the morning.
That night, Arthur’s back to sulking in the throne room. Gawain tells him he has to sleep sometime. Arthur finally swallows his pride and asks Gawain how one knows when to give up. Gawain says most great warriors will fight to the death, and that the time to risk everything is when you have nothing to lose.
Magical Manse. The nun cradles Morgan, who’s lying on the floor in her magical circle in the former torture chamber, convulsing and insisting she won’t die. The nun tells her to hold on to that and asks how much her request to the evil spirits or whatever means to her. Morgan forcefully says it means everything, so the nun tells her to fight, dammit! Morgan suddenly finds herself alone in the circle, surrounded by mirrors that reflect her father, who’s inflicting some emotional abuse on his daughter, even from beyond the grave. The nun reappears and asks Morgan again how much she wants the crown and wants to live, but Morgan’s eyes roll up in her head and either passes out or dies.
Merlin’s asleep and having disturbing dreams about Arthur being gut stabbed. He wakes and sees Caliburn putting the finishing touches on the sword. He declares it the best he’s ever made, but he’ll hand it to the king himself. Merlin doesn’t want him anywhere near Arthur, because he’s afraid the former warrior will be the one to stab Arthur with his own sword. Merlin arrogantly asks for the sword, so they start to fight over it. Caliburn picks up the sword, and Merlin makes the fire in the forge flare up, catching Caliburn and throwing him aside, burning the hell out of the man and killing him. Excalibur comes running over and tearfully asks what Merlin’s done. He insists it was an accident, but she knows a bit better. She grabs the sword, screams that he can’t have it, smacks him on the head with the hilt, and runs away with it. Even young girls in this show are tougher than Arthur.
Merlin recovers and chases her through the woods, but she’s a quick one, even when hauling a really heavy sword, and she makes it to the lake, where she gets into a boat and paddles herself out to the middle. Merlin tries to reason with her, but she says the only place the sword’s going is the bottom of the lake. So Merlin resorts to magic, holding his hand to the water so it starts to freeze hard enough for him to walk on it. She panics and screams for him to stay away from her. He creepily tells her to stay where she is, as the ice advances. She grabs the sword, but then the ice smacks the boat, and sends her and the sword over the side. Merlin starts to run towards her, while the sensible girl does the only thing she can think of, and jams the sword through the ice. Lady in the Lake indeed. Unfortunately, the only thing that can get through the ice is the sword and her arm. Merlin grabs the sword from her, and then starts to pound on the ice to free her. So, he can make the ice but can’t unmake it? That doesn’t make much sense. Because he kind of sucks as a sorcerer, she drowns before he can get to her. Well done, Merlin. Don’t ever run errands again, ok? You just wiped out a whole family in, like, a ten-minute period. All to get a sword for Arthur, the world’s worst leader, who totally hasn’t done a thing to deserve it. Goddamn this show sometimes!
Looking sad, Merlin wanders back to shore, dragging the sword behind him.
At Magical Manse, the nun starts bathing Morgan’s face, but then starts to see strange reflections of a very much alive Morgan in the mirrors around the magic circle. She also sees reflections of a woman she doesn’t recognize (I think it’s Igraine), and then Morgan suddenly comes back to life. Ok.
Later, she’s in bed, recovering a bit from her own death, watched over by the nun. The nun tells her she was reborn, and Morgan thinks it’s because she’s super strong, but then she begins convulsing horribly, seeming possessed. The nun’s horrified by what she sees, and when it finally ends, she takes Morgan to the mirror to show her she’s suddenly turned into Igraine. Interesting. She’s not at all happy to suddenly be turned into her hated stepmom, but then she calms down a bit and realizes she can feel what Igraine is feeling, and she’s feeling pain, which makes Morgan happy. The nun, not so much.
Camelot Commune. Arthur passes his mother in a hall, and she suddenly tells him there’ll be another woman for him. She admits she knows about his feelings for Guen, and he gets a bit nasty and asks if that’s really her motherly advice, and is that what she told his father? She slaps him good for that (I should have turned asskicking into a drinking game for this episode), and she harshly tells him that a lot of people died because Uther wanted to sleep with her so badly, so maybe he shouldn’t be so flippant about it. She’s not interested in a repeat show of that whole situation.
Now in another of his right royal snits, Arthur goes into the throne room, where the other knights are gathered, and lays down some ground rules: 1. If they kill, they do it with mercy (might want to fill Merlin in on that one), 2. They fight for peace and justice. Arthur grabs a couple of swords and hands one to Leo, telling him to fight his king, and take him down. Guen appears on the balcony to watch as the fight begins. Arthur finally puts up a decent fight (or maybe Leo’s just a crappy champion), but finally Leo gets the upper hand, which allows Arthur to illustrate rule number 3: Understand when you’ve been beaten by a better man, and rule number 4: never give in. He shows the last one by grabbing Leo when his back is turned and holding a knife to the man’s throat. Gawain’s impressed and says Arthur’s finally a king he can do business with. Arthur takes off, and Guen intercepts him in the hall, telling him she knows what he’s up to, and she’s not impressed. She reminds him they both have duties to fulfill: she to her husband and he to his people. Yeah, think about the bigger picture here, Arthur, and not about your dick for a little while, mmmkay? Arthur says he’ll back off if she looks him the eye and tells him she’s happy and has what she wants. So, she does. Heh.
Merlin’s at Ye Olde Reste Stoppe from last episode, moodily drinking, with the sword beside him. A new customer arrives, gets his drink, and says “God save the king.” “Fools,” Merlin grumbles, apparently spoiling for a fight, since the last one ended up so well and all. The guy asks what his problem is and Merlin continues to provoke him unnecessarily until the guy comes over and beats the crap out of him.
Morgan’s up and about, eating and looking herself again, in every way. She finally asks the nun why she showed up, and the nun tells her the nunnery was attacked and burned, and she was the only survivor. She’s all alone in the world, and she found herself drawn to Magical Manse just when Morgan needed her. Morgan says she doesn’t need her, but the nun knows better. Morgan tells Vivien to make up a room for the nun, as far from Morgan’s own room as it can be.
Merlin rolls back into Camelot and Arthur asks what the hell happened to him. Merlin just hands over the sword that cost so much and Arthur carefully unwraps it and admires his shiny new toy. Kay and Leo admire it as an extraordinary thing, and Gawain says it needs a name. Merlin says it already has one. You get one guess what that name is, and if you get it wrong, you’ve clearly been living under a rock. Gawain asks if it’s Caliburn’s work, and Merlin lies that Caliburn was dead when he got there. He spins the Lady of the Lake legend as we know it right then and there, replacing the ice with mist and claiming a woman called to him from within a lake and gave him the sword before sinking into the water. Everyone totally buys the story, and we get one last shot of poor, human Excalibur sinking down into the lake before we’re done for the week.