Merlin: Season 4, Episode 12

The Sword in the Stone: Part One (17 Dec. 2011)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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As Morgana's forces capture Camelot, Arthur at last comes to see his uncle's treachery. He is reluctant to flee, but Merlin bewitches him into escaping with him, temporarily blocking his ... See full summary »

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Title: The Sword in the Stone: Part One (17 Dec 2011)

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Sir Elyan
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As Morgana's forces capture Camelot, Arthur at last comes to see his uncle's treachery. He is reluctant to flee, but Merlin bewitches him into escaping with him, temporarily blocking his memory and dressing him as a peasant. Elyan, Gaius, and Gwaine are taken prisoner, though Morgana is impressed by Gwaine's performance in trials by combat. Separated from Leon and Percival, Merlin and Arthur fall in with smugglers Tristan and Isolde, during which Merlin's spell wears off and the young king can reveal his identity to them. The quartet escapes to Ealdor, Merlin's village, where a wounded Arthur is nursed by Guinevere as Agravaine and his army close in. Written by don @ minifie-1

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17 December 2011 (UK)  »

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Merlin: Pack your things, simpleton!
Arthur: Call me that again and I'll run you through.
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worth waiting for
16 February 2015 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

In my review of episode 10, which was hardly glowing, I pointed out that it appeared the producers ran into some sort of budget issues, for the entire hour of that episode was made with the same lavish care one would have expected from a half-hour sitcom.

Well, having seen the final two episodes of the season, I have solved that mystery -- they were skimping there so they could spend it here.

My notes:

* 12 and 13 in the season may possibly be the best episodes to date

* especially liked the fact that 12 (this one) was free-standing. That is, most setups for two-parters are really all about backstory so that the second part can close the loops. In my view, although both are fairly exhilarating, this one was the better crafted. It starts slow, with a wry comic twist, and builds nicely. No false notes.

* ironically, especially in view of the perceived weakness of the earlier episodes in the season, part II (episode 13) is the weaker of the two; seems rushed; has some very strange edits; the writers may have tried to stuff way too much plot into the bird; how the HECK did the legend of Tristan and Isolde get mixed into the Camelot story??; McGrath continues to be one of the most photogenic villains of all time; and watching Arthur's uncle get "his" was great fun.

* Colin Morgan, who had been skating through the series to date on charm and charisma, does some very serious acting here. Bravo.


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