It’s April, which means my stretch of recapping insanity has begun. Over the next several weeks I’ll be attempting to cover Camelot, The Borgias, Mildred Pierce, Upstairs Downstairs, and Game of Thrones. If we’re lucky, I won’t go completely insane. We’re kicking off with Camelot, another project brought to us by Michael Hirst, which makes me wary, because he was also behind the Tudors, and we all know how well that turned out. But as with everything, I’m willing to give it a try, so here we go.
We open with an exterior shot of a fortified town, followed by an interior shot of a great hall being prepared for a feast. A young woman is announced to King Uther, no name given. Uther emerges from the inner sanctum and the young woman lowers the hood of her cloak, revealing Eva Green, here playing Morgan, Uther’s daughter. Uther’s followed by his wife, Igraine, and Morgan observed that his “whore still lives,” which earns her a nasty backslap from her father that lays her flat on the floor. He tells her she’s to respect her stepmother. Morgan gets to her feet and tells her father she’s there to forgive him for the death of her mother, which was done so he could install Igraine. He tries to hit her again, but she’s ready for him and stays his hand. She goes on to say that he then banished her for years to a nunnery, allegedly for her education. He turns his back on her and tells her she’s not welcome there. Igraine, a little regretfully, follows him, and Morgan glares after them.
In the woods somewhere, a man in a cloak runs, while back at Uther’s court a sexy dancer does her thing for the king and his courtiers and a young kitchen maid with dark hair puts something mysterious in Uther’s food. Once he eats it, he immediately starts going into convulsions. That’s some serious poison—I’m sure the Borgias would be delighted to be acquainted with Dark Haired Girl and her concoctions. Igraine calls for help, as cloaked man continues to run through the woods somewhere. He finally arrives at the city gates and orders them to open up, which they do, without question. Crackerjack security you’ve got there, Uther. The man makes his way to Uther’s room, where Igraine chews the scenery spectacularly and begs him to use his powers to save her husband. The man—it’s Merlin, played by Joseph Fiennes, no use holding out any longer—tells Uther he’s dying and he needs to sign something naming his illegitimate son king. Uther does so, just before expiring, and Merlin takes the document and the king’s ring and leaves, ignoring Igraine as he goes. Dark Haired Girl, meanwhile, starts to convulse in obvious pain, supernaturally punished for what she’s done. She appears to change shape and becomes Morgan, who recovers from her pain, although she’s bleeding from the nose.
By the banks of a sun-drenched river, young Arthur, blonde and kind of lame looking, fools around with a young woman for a while, until he’s interrupted by his brother, Kay, who tussels with him for a bit, because apparently this girl is Kay’s girlfriend. Kay takes this whole thing pretty well, all things considered, and drags Arthur home to see some visitor who wants to meet him. Arthur tries to talk his way out of his brother being angry with him, explaining it in terms of him being Marc Antony and the girl being Cleopatra and Kay being Caesar. I’m taking this as a nod to fellow cast member James Purefoy’s previous role as Marc Antony in Rome, which I have to say was a far superior show to this one, from what I’ve seen so far. Kay’s not hearing it, because he knows that Arthur’s just an obnoxious spoiled brat who gets everything he wants.
The two boys go into their house, where they’re greeted by their mother; their father, Sir Hector; and Merlin, who approaches Arthur with an incredibly creepy smile. Mom’s not happy to have Merlin in her house but Arthur asks to know what’s going on. Merlin tells him the king’s been murdered and has left no legitimate son, but he has left an illegitimate one—Arthur himself, who was handed off to Hector and Lady Hector as an infant. Arthur can’t believe it, but the Hector family confirms it. Merlin bows to Arthur as if he were king, which pisses Arthur off, and Hector tells Merlin to tell Arthur the whole truth about his birth. Merlin tries to whitewash by saying the details aren’t important. The hell they aren’t. Arthur was the product of rape, Merlin. A rape you were complicit in. I’d say that’s just a bit important, and Arthur has the right to know the whole truth about you. Hector calls BS on all this and apologizes for not telling Arthur about his true parentage earlier.
In the city, Morgan’s taken control and decides to gather some warriors and banish Igraine. She spends a little time alone in the great hall, relishing her new power, and whispers “thank you” to the air before heading toward the thrones on the dais. Before she can get there, King Lot, played by James Purefoy, which automatically gives the character about a billion extra awesome points, bursts in and starts issuing orders. She welcomes him calmly, having summoned him. She introduces herself as Uther’s sole heir, and she’s after an alliance with Lot. Lot laughs uproariously at the thought of allying with a mere woman, and really, the sexual politics of the time are at the heart of this story as it’s being told in this show, but she won’t bend. She makes it clear she’s not afraid of him, and also that she’s pretty politically savvy, telling him that, if they stand together, as king and queen, they’ll unite the country. Lot seems to admire her confidence, as well as her obvious sexiness.
Chez Hector, Arthur stumbles across Merlin and warns him to steer clear. Merlin shows him the document Uther signed on his deathbed, which h is a testament to Arthur’s birth. He also hands over Uther’s ring. There’s some talk about Uther, and Arthur wonders why Merlin needs him to accomplish anything. This sets off a bizarre series of quick flashbacks that include blood running down a rock, and Merlin merely says everything will come in time. Merlin, you might have a better time getting this kid to trust you if you stop talking in riddles and actually answer a question once in a while.
Poor Kay’s trying to be a good guy about all this, noting the following morning that this must be why everyone’s always loved Arthur more. This poor guy. Imagine growing up your whole life knowing your parents doted more on one sibling, and then finding out that sibling was destined to be a king, even though he hasn’t done a damn thing to deserve it, and actually seems a bit too immature to be a good choice. Kay’s nice about it, which is really to his credit. Can Kay be king? I don’t really like Arthur. Sorry, but I don’t, and I’m afraid this is going to be another Tudors, with the whole show resting on the shoulders of someone who can’t carry it. There’s something about this actor that I’m not buying as someone who’ll even develop into a powerful, legendary king.
Arthur admits he’s not keen on being a king, but Kay persuades him to go with Merlin, so Arthur agrees, strings his father’s ring around his neck, and tells his parents he’s taking off, and taking Kay with him. That’s not selfish at all. They really have no choice but to agree. He bids his adoptive parents farewell sweetly enough, though, so there is that. Before he goes, Hector counsels him to think with his head, not with his dick. Good advice. He probably could have used that earlier, Hector, but better late than never, I guess.
The three Cameloteers set off, while back in the city, Lot and Morgan are in bed together. I kind of wonder if James Purefoy has a minimum sex scenes clause in his contracts, because he always manages to have pretty explicit scenes with the hottest women in any show he’s in. Later, he wonders aloud where Morgan learned her skills and ruthlessness. Some things are born, dude, not learned.
Out in the courtyard, Igraine mounts a cart to leave, and Morgan comes out to gloat. Igraine says she did nothing to harm Morgan, but Morgan reminds her that she stood by while Morgan’s mother was disposed of and Morgan was banished. Igraine falls back on the Stepford Defense of “nobody questions her husband,” which Morgan sniffs at before sending her on her way. Essentially, what we’re being presented with here is Morgan as the bad guy, because she takes control and bosses the boys around, and Igraine as the good woman, because she’s quiet and compliant. It’s a rather ickily misogynist stand to take. I know it was the times and all, but there’s something about the way it’s being presented in this show that makes me uncomfortable.
As she leaves, a messenger arrives with a message from Merlin, asking Morgan to attend Uther’s son at the ancient castle of Camelot. This son is news to both Morgan and Lot, but Morgan covers quickly and says she has the only true claim to the throne, and this is just one of Merlin’s games. She’s not wrong, really.
The three Cameloteers are camping out in the middle of nowhere. Arthur asks Merlin if he’s really a sorcerer, and Merlin says he can do some things others don’t believe are possible, but he won’t submit to a display for Arthur. He will tell Arthur that he had a vision that the “darkness of man” was coming, a vision he had before Arthur was even conceived.
Later, the three are riding along when they come across a ditch filled with the bodies of slaughtered men. Merlin figures the kingless country’s already descending into anarchy. Kay dismounts to give the men a Christian burial, but Merlin says they should move along, and Arthur goes along with Merlin, because he’s kind of spineless. Kay’s horrified but has no choice but to follow them to a village further along. They arrive there at night, and people start to duck into their homes as soon as they show up. One of the men there knows Merlin, however, and allows them to stay. Merlin tells Arthur that these people will be next to be slaughtered if he doesn’t become king. Arthur asks him, once again, to tell him about his birth, and Merlin finally spills the whole truth: Igraine was desired by Uther, but married to the Duke of Cornwall. Uther had Merlin change him to resemble Cornwall so he could sleep with Igraine that one time. She, none the wiser, submitted to the man she thought was her husband and conceived Arthur. As payment, Uther gave Arthur to Merlin, who apparently handed him over to Hector and his wife to protect him, so he could become a great king and create a great kingdom that everyone would want to live in. Arthur’s sold.
The next day, they ride on, stopping only to let Arthur have a potty break. Before he can get started, he’s attacked by someone, whom he manages to fight off and kill. Merlin notes the man’s wearing Lot’s colors, which means things are getting really serious really fast. The three men remount and ride full speed towards Camelot, which sounds impressive to us, but is actually a ruin. A very pretty ruin, but a ruin nonetheless. Merlin explains that it was built by the Romans, or, in this case, some really talented set dressers and SFX folks, and I really have to give them a hand. The place looks pretty awesome.
Arthur’s kind of sulky that the place is in such bad shape, and that there’re no weapons or soldiers or servants to order around and sleep with. He whines and wines and I kind of want Merlin to punch him in the face, but instead he leads Arthur to the main hall and introduces him to the men who have sworn loyalty to Uther, and therefore, to Arthur. They’re a slightly motley crew of Rome castoffs, but Arthur looks scared to death to face them. He manages to say a few words of thanks for their allegiance, and they bow to him. Easy crowd. Merlin tells him he’s summoned many others to Camelot to swear loyalty to Arthur.
Next, Merlin shows Arthur his bedroom, where he’s stashed some of Uther’s things, including his giant fur cloak. Arthur asks what his father was like and Merlin just says he was unyielding. I’ll say. Arthur’s not content with that, because he wants more detail, but Merlin won’t give it, because he’s kind of unnecessarily mean that way. He tells Arthur that, from then on, he needs to be certain and sure of what he does, even if he’s wrong. Oh, and by the way, Uther had a daughter.
That daughter is currently sitting outside Camelot with Lot, who thinks Merlin’s a fool for instating a boy in a ruin, but Morgan’s smarter and understands the subtleties of symbolism. Lot asks her if she’s ok, and she admits the games of men exhaust her, which seems to me like a foolish thing to say. Don’t show weakness, Morgan! She does, however, swear to gouge out Arthur’s eyes and rides full speed towards Camelot.
She, Lot, and their men are shown into the hall, where Arthur greets them, wearing Uther’s cloak. Morgan circles and sniffs him, then says that her father had no legitimate son, or she would have known. Arthur tries to make friends with her, but she shuts him down fast and asks him what Merlin promised him. She next moves to Merlin and asks him why he’s doing this to her. He claims it’s not personal, and when she counters that this is her birthright, he asks her if it really is. Well, yes, actually, it is, Merlin, because most primogeniture rules recognize legitimate heirs ahead of illegitimate ones, so that means Morgan should rank higher than Arthur. But then, of course, we can’t possibly have a woman sitting on the throne, can we? God forbid! This, I think, is a major problem with this miniseries. It’s basically predicated on the idea that Morgan, being a woman, is inferior to Arthur and shouldn’t rule, and I’m not a rabid feminist or anything, but I take some exception to that. Again, I realize things were different back then, but in the original legend, Morgan was the daughter of Cornwall and Igraine, not Uther, so she never had any claim to the throne but was still an antagonist of Arthur’s. So this change seems strange, and everyone’s attitude, when I take that into account, is a bit disturbing. It’s like Michael Hirst really doesn’t think much of women at all, which is something I kind of suspected after seeing the way a lot of women were portrayed in the Tudors, as mindless sex-crazed morons.
At this point, Igraine emerges to confront her stepdaughter, who claims Arthur is some other man’s bastard, not her father’s. Igraine approaches her son, gets tearful, and tells Merlin that this is the boy Merlin took from her when Arthur was less than a week old. Because nobody changes between that age and twenty. Sigh. She loudly declares that Arthur is Uther’s son, and Lot channels me and mutters “F*ck this” before leaving. Amen, sir.
That night, Arthur has a charming chat with his mother, where she tells him her rape was no big deal, really. Seriously. And then, after all that, Uther killed her husband and claimed her for his own wife, and she was fine with that, because she allegedly had no choice. I’ll buy that, but her emotional reactions at Uther’s deathbed make it seem that she really did have feelings for this guy, which add a whole layer of “women who fall in love with their rapists” squick to this story. Arthur asks if she ever thought of him, and she says she thought of him every day and wanted to search for him, but she wasn’t allowed.
Later, Arthur leaves her and finds Kay, who decides that the dead of night is a great time to go exploring their crumbling and creepy new home, which is full of great hiding places for possible assassins. How are these people still alive? While they’re poking around, they find they’re being followed by one of the loyal men, who has no name but has a sort of proto-Justin Bieber haircut, so I’m going to call him Pre-Bieb. Pre-Bieb’s following them on Merlin’s orders, to protect them, because Arthur’s clearly too dumb to live on his own. Pre-Bieb councils Arthur to trust his instincts going forward, and he’ll do just fine.
Arthur goes to bed, where he promptly has a sex dream about getting it on with some blonde girl on the beach. She emerges from the surf fully in the buff, thus justifying the Starz subscription costs for everyone out there. Arthur’s rather rudely awakened from this dream by Merlin, who’s really, really creepily hanging over him and demanding to know who the girl is. Arthur wakes quickly and says he has no idea. Further discussion is held off when Kay bursts in and calls Arthur to the castle ramparts, because Lot’s coming hard and fast with a lot of men. Arthur freaks out and starts to seem kind of human as he hurriedly asks Merlin for reassurance. After all, Merlin’s had a vision, so Arthur should be fine, right? Well, no, because visions can change. Thanks for filling him in on that, Merlin, any other details you failed to disclose? Arthur probably pisses himself a little but then puts on his father’s ring and goes into the hall to address his own supporters, as well as Lot and his men and Morgan, who’s there in her best S&M asskicking dress.
Morgan gives him one last chance to leave, but Arthur’s drunk Merlin’s KoolAde and finally speaks up, demanding respect as Uther’s true heir. He also calls Lot a fool, which I think is a huge mistake. Lot starts to get quietly mad and has two of his men drag in the body of the man Arthur killed on the road a few days ago. Turns out this one was Lot’s eldest son, so now he’s really pissed at Arthur. Arthur quietly says the guy attacked him but be sounds so scared that Lot’s not nervous at all. Two more of his guards bring out Arthur and Kay’s mother, whom he stabs to death right in front of them. Damn. That’s one cold bastard. I think he’s serious, Arthur. Maybe you should leave and let Morgan take charge. From what I’ve seen so far, the series will be much more interesting if you do. Lot gives him five days to get lost.
The boys and Merlin bury the poor woman in a spot overlooking the sea. As Kay goes to close the tomb, Arthur gets all emotional and makes him stop and, get this, Kay has to comfort him. I get that this woman was essentially a mother to Arthur, but she was also Kay’s actual mother, and he’s having to put aside his own grief to comfort his obnoxious little piss of an adopted sibling. Man up, Arthur, and let someone else have the spotlight for a second!
Merlin steps in and tells Arthur that he knows it’s hard, but he has to find strength and return to Camelot. Not a word of comfort for poor Kay, mind you. No, it’s all about Arthur, all the time. Arthur still won’t let the guys close the tomb, saying he wants to stay with her, on his own. He orders everyone away to make his peace. And by everyone, I mean everyone, including Kay. Poor Kay doesn’t even get to say goodbye to his own mother. Meanwhile, Arthur can run back to Camelot and cry on his actual birth mother’s lap. What a selfish little asshole. I hate him.
Morgan, meanwhile, cleans Lot’s sword and asks him how many people he’s killed with it. He’s lost count, apparently. He realizes she’s thinking about Arthur, and she kind of calls him out for having killed the kid’s mom. “He has a spare, doesn’t he?” says Lot. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of that. She sets the sword aside and they start to make out, relishing their victory a tad early.
Arthur takes his grief for a walk along the shore, while Merlin takes command in Camelot and tells the men they’ve got to be super vigilant from then on. Out on the beach, Arthur just so happens to spot the woman from his dream. She’s not naked but wearing a pretty see-through slip, having just climbed out of the ocean. Arthur runs over to her, and like a sensible person, she pulls a knife on him and tells him she’s not there to be stared at or raped, thank you very much. I don’t think she’s helping her cause much by running around in her underwear and straddling him in a very alluring manner, though. Arthur tries to explain about the dream, and she blows that off while giving him an excellent view down the front of her dress. Arthur tells her he just buried his mom, who was murdered the day before, and because women are always a soft touch when it comes to dead mommies, that wins her right over. They go for a walk together and she tells him he has to find a way to be stronger than Lot. She then asks about the dream, specifically about how it ended, and he coyly says he can’t remember. Their flirtation is interrupted by the arrival of Hector, who calls out to Arthur from the top of the cliff near the beach. He goes to run off, but introduces himself to the girl first. She refuses to give him a name back, but we all know this is Guinevere, right? It is. Let’s just go with that.
Arthur happily embraces Hector, amazed the guy’s still alive. Hector explains that he managed to escape Lot’s men, but he feels he let his wife down. Merlin says it’s all his fault, because he underestimated Lot. You did? You had no idea the guy was a ruthless killer? Where have you been, Merlin? Merlin urges Hector to join them, and ensure that Hector’s wife didn’t die in vain.
Late at night, dressed in what looks like a reject from the Corpse Bride wardrobe department, Morgan makes her way to the middle of the woods, where she draws a circle in the dirt and buries some of her hair and blood. The wind whistles through the trees, the fog swirls, and she tells the air, which is making elephant-like noises, about Arthur. She explains that his spirit is broken, but it seems that elephant wind has different ideas.
In the bright light of day, Merlin takes Arthur out for a big task, explaining that a legendary king needs a legend, so they need to go out and find some impossible task to conquer. Impossible like pulling a sword out of the top of a waterfall. You’d think that sword would have been worn down to a nub by this time, but not only is it not worn down at all, it’s managed to miraculously grow moss, even though I’m pretty sure moss can’t root on metal, since it needs a little something to anchor its roots on. But what do I know? The sword’s been there for ages—people say it was put there by Mars himself. Merlin tells Arthur he has to try and pull out that sword somehow, so he can get his legend. Arthur just looks gormless, but Kay says he has an idea. Thank God Arthur brought him along, because Arthur’s kind of useless.
Meanwhile, in the main city, Lot’s turned the palace into a frat house, with people openly fornicating in the great hall, drinking, and partying. Morgan wanders through the place, looking displeased, and takes a seat on the dais beside Lot. Lot says that the lords are sending them gifts already, to show respect to their new king. Morgan wisely says it’s too early to be celebrating and accepting gifts. Lot counters with the news that Arthur was seen leaving Camelot that morning, but she doubts that was him fleeing. Lot’s certain, though, and is all ready to start planning their wedding and coronation. Morgan scolds him for planning ceremonies instead of battles and accuses him of becoming complacent.
Back at the falls, Kay throws a rope over a branch protruding over the tops of the falls, ties the other end to Arthur, and manages to drag this little tosser up to the top of the falls. Once again, thank God Arthur had Kay there. And seriously, can Kay be king instead? He seems much cooler to me, and smarter too. A peasant observes that this method is kind of cheating, but Merlin counters that it’s initiative, before turning his back on the poor guy. Merlin then tells Pre-Bieb to prepare the beacon, and the peasant chimes in that even if Arthur gets up there, he’ll never get the sword. “Piss off,” says Merlin the uniter. What a dick.
Arthur gets to the top of the falls, but still has to free climb along the world’s fakest looking rocks to get to the sword. Pre-Bieb doubts he’ll be able to do it, but Merlin says he has to. Topside, Arthur drags himself along in slow-mo for a little while, as down below his mother and others from Camelot gather to watch him try to wrench out the sword. He makes it to the sword but can’t pull the damn thing out of the rock, so Merlin initiates some sort of mental connection and tells Arthur to start pushing himself, so Arthur pushes down on the sword, which allows him to pull it right out, and tumble painfully down the falls, ricocheting off the rocks in a way that almost certainly would have fractured a few vertebrae. Well done, Merlin, you’ve now got a paralyzed legend. Pre-Bieb pulls him out of the water, unconscious, and he’s carried back to Camelot, alive but in a pretty bad way. Before he’s sent along, Merlin orders Pre-Bieb to light the beacon and tell everyone the new king has come.
The beacons are duly lit, and seen at the city by Morgan and Lot, who know immediately this means that Arthur has pulled out the legendary Sword of Mars, which means people will fight for him, because people are sheep, really, who’ll fight for any old legend. Morgan scolds Lot for underestimating the boy, so Lot tries to show her who’s boss by threatening to rape her, right there, in front of everyone. She turns the tables by urging him to go ahead and do so, which just cools his ardor. Instead, he drags her off.
At Camelot, Arthur’s laid on his bed and attended by Igraine, Kay, and Hector. Igraine begs Merlin to do something, but Merlin refuses to do so, because he’s pretty much the most useless sorcerer on earth.
Lot, meanwhile, takes Morgan out to the middle of nowhere and ties her up to a pole, with her hands over her head, and if you don’t think that’s torture, go ahead and hold your arms up over your head for a few minutes and see how it feels. Now, imagine standing like that for hours. It would suck, trust me. He leaves her there to think about the nature of her alliance for the night, promising to return for her in the morning, unless the wolves get there first.
Igraine whispers to her unconscious son that she could be useful to him, even though they’re strangers to each other. She begs him to let her atone for her mistakes.
Morgan’s still tied to her stake in the middle of nowhere, listening to the wolves howl. She tells the swirling mists that she “searched for [them] but they didn’t come.” The mists hiss back that “he is wrong” but fail to elaborate.
In the morning, Arthur wakes with a start and finds his arm in a splint and Merlin sitting near the window. Merlin tells him he had a fall and pulls out the sword, proudly telling Arthur that he did it. Arthur takes the sword and stares at it in amazement.
Lot returns, as promised, and finds Morgan still tied to her stake. He asks her if they understand each other and she tells him they do, so he cuts her down and tells her the people are rallying to Arthur. Lot’s done waiting and wants to attack that very day.
In his room at Camelot, Arthur asks Merlin how he was able to pull the sword when so many others had failed. Merlin spins a bunch of BS about it being his destiny and bloodline and such, but Arthur starts to show a glimmer of brain and realizes that Merlin put the sword at the top of the falls in the first place, specifically so Arthur could pull it out. So let me get this straight: Merlin was savvy enough to set the sword and create a whole legend around it, but he couldn’t manage to just create a legend around Arthur without almost getting the kid killed? This seems like a really stupid plan. Why couldn’t he just make up a story about Arthur having killed a giant or a hydra or something and spread it around? That’s how most legends get started, after all. You don’t even need many witnesses. Get Kay in on it and you’re good to go. What would they have done if Arthur had died yanking that stupid sword out of a waterfall?
I guess it’s not supposed to matter. Kay and Hector congratulate him, and Kay says he hates to say it, but Arthur didn’t need him. Uh, yeah, he did, Kay. How else would he have gotten to the top of the falls?
Arthur goes into the main hall, which is stuffed with people, including some admiring kids, and Merlin says he’ll soon be crowned. But first, Morgan comes riding in to tell Merlin that Lot’s on his way. Merlin asks why she’s telling him that, and he grabs her hand, which creates some kind of cosmic connection that lets him see her memories of being tied to the stake. She shakes him off and rides away,
Merlin starts passing the word that Lot’s on his way, so they need to go ahead with this coronation post haste. As Arthur preps, Hector begs him to name him champion, so he can fight Lot and avenge Arthur’s adoptive mother. Merlin takes center stage with the sword and calls Arthur forth. Arthur emerges and kneels before a clergyman wearing a costume clearly designed by someone a little too obsessed with the Bedazzler. The Bedazzled Bishop crowns Arthur King of the Britons, and amongst the cheering crowd we see the Dark Haired Girl who poisoned Uther in the beginning.
Arthur manages to give a fairly rousing speech that pleases the crowd and pays tribute to both his blood family and his adoptive family. He names Kay Marshal of England and hands over the Sword of Mars. Hector, as he asked, is named champion, and so is Pre-Bieb, who finally gets a name—Leontes.
That night, the coronation party’s in full swing, and Arthur, as he works the crowd, spots Beach Girl, rocking out to some drum music. He asks her name and, of course, it’s Guinevere. He takes her up to the ramparts to talk in private, and she compliments him on his bravery and asks him what it was like during the coronation, with all those people around. He tells her it was the second time he felt like he was in the right place at the right time. She asks when the first time was, and he tells her it was on the beach. Aww. That’d be cute if these two had any chemistry, but they really don’t. I guess he’s saving it all up for Ginny Weasley.
In the party, Igraine, who’s wearing a pretty skimpy outfit for someone attending her son’s coronation, joins Merlin and observes he hasn’t aged a day in 20 years. Not that he just looks good, but he actually hasn’t aged. Merlin tries to play it off, and refuses to give her a firm answer as to why that is. He’s magical, lady. Just go with it.
On the ramparts, Guen and Arthur start talking about the future, and then she really creepily wonders if one would die if they jumped off the ramparts and into the sea below. What kind of a person says something like that? Get this girl some help, Arthur! Instead, he humors her, climbing up on the wall and pretending like he’s going to jump and inviting her to join him, but at the moment of truth, they both jump backwards onto the relative safety of the rampart. About then, they’re joined by Pre-Bieb, who says he knows Guen very well, since she’s his fiancée. Arthur manages to congratulate him and watches as Pre-Bieb kisses her. Unable to stand it any longer, he leaves the happy couple and returns to the party.
There, he notices a man skulking around in a cloak, looking really, really obviously sketchy amongst the revelers. Way to blend in, dude. After a moment, Arthur recognizes him as the man who stabbed his stepmother to death, and he shouts that Lot’s men were there. Weren’t some of the men supposed to be looking out for these guys? Who’s in charge of security here? They suck.
Lot’s men start stabbing people indiscriminately, causing chaos as Hector and Kay and a few other men close ranks around Arthur. Pre-Bieb and Guen come back down and Pre-Bieb sends her off to hide before throwing himself into the fray. Lot himself shows up, killing several guys without breaking a sweat or getting a hair out of place. Hector spots Lot and sends Arthur away, knowing Arthur doesn’t stand a chance against an actual seasoned warrior. Lot follows them but Hector intercepts him and informs Lot that he’s the husband of the woman he murdered recently. Lot has no time for Hector’s nonsense and gets him riled up, so Hector attacks all hot-headed. He should know better. James Purefoy always plays a badass, so we already know this isn’t going to go well for Hector. Lot soon gets the upper hand, disarming Hector (awesome champion there, Arthur) and arming himself with a giant spear in addition to his sword. Soon, he manages to catch Hector in the gut with the spear and—I swear, I’m not kidding about this—Hector walks forward on the spear and manages to stab Lot with a knife, killing him. That’s so utterly stupid I almost don’t know where to begin. For one thing, why didn’t Lot just drop the spear and go on his merry way? He wanted Arthur, so once Hector was, at the very least, incapacitated, so why didn’t he just take off and let the guy bleed out? Oh, God, it’s late, and I’m exhausted, so I’m just going to move on. It sucks that they killed of James Purefoy, though. He doesn’t tend to play the good guy, but he’s always fun to watch, and now I’m left with nobody fun to watch in this show, except maybe Eva Green. I definitely don’t care about Arthur or Merlin. Kay’s all right.
In the main hall, Morgan, now returned to her actual form, fetches Arthur’s crown and sets it down beside the throne before she takes her seat. Merlin comes in and she calmly says that she tried an alliance with Lot, but that didn’t work out so well. Men aren’t her way to this crown; she’ll just have to find another way. Arthur comes wandering in and asks her why she has to take it at all. Because it’s hers, you little piss ant! Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have as much, or even more of a right to the throne as you have! Who cares if you yanked some rigged sword out of a stone?
Arthur goes on to condescendingly tell her he’s placing her castle under his protection, in gratitude for her warning. That’s big of you. He then tries to tell her that they can work together, but she informs him it’s either him or her, it can’t be both. As she gets up to leave, Merlin asks her what she saw in the night. He claims to know what it is and warns her not to go near it or have anything to do with it.
Dressed once again in the Corpse Bride Castoff, Morgan returns to the woods, whispers “where are you?” and is soon faced with a snarling wolf. She tells it she needs more, and then she takes off her dress, so the Starz subscribers can really get their money’s worth.