MERLIN “Lamia” Season 4 Episode 8 – For a long while now Gwen and Arthur’s knights have been seriously underused by the story. It’s a pity because there’s so much potential and history to both of them that’s it’s almost odd to realize that Agravaine has been given more of a character this season than either the love of Arthur’s life or the Knights of the Round Table. That being said, I was fairly excited when this episode began. Arthur, at Gaius’ behest, sends Merlin off with his knights to follow Gwen to a village stricken by a plague killing its young men.
The plague is caused by a lovely looking girl called Lamia, who is actually an enchantress who casts a spell on men (I suppose there’re no lesbians in Camelot) which sends them into a state of lust (for a kids show. Imagine what we’d see if this were on Starz!) This is pretty cool on the page, but on the screen it leads to one of the more disappointing episodes of the season. The whole reason for the expedition is so we get some character development and so I can stop referring to the knights as the one with the muscles, the one with the hair, etc, but throughout this episode they’re not acting as themselves, but as jackasses who’re caught under this magic spell and it’s up to Merlin (and, ultimately, Gwen) to save them.
A lot was made over the fact that Gwen saved the group, which was a bit annoying. Merlin does have a tendency to pick and choose its topics of political correctness.
There were a few cool bits in this episode. Gaius convincing Arthur to take Merlin more seriously is a moment I did not expect but after four years I it welcomed it enthusiastically. More of Gwen, which is always a good thing especially since the writers clearly don’t know how to write women unless they’re being evil bitches or damsels in distress – or, in the case of this episode, both. There was a hint that Gwen cottoned on to the link to magic Merlin might have, and while I doubt anything will really come of it, I’ve always sort of believed that she would be the first person Merlin would tell…well, that was back when she was still an integral part of the show, before the writers forgot she existed.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.