MERLIN “The Castle of Fyrien” Review

Merlin "Castle of Fyrien" BBC

MERLIN “The Castle of Fyrien” Season 3 Episode 7- Welcome back, Morgana’s evil glare. I have missed you.

Gwen is kidnapped by the men of Cenred (who is colluding with Morgause and Morgana) from her home and taken to the castle of Fyrien where her brother, Elyan has been taken hostage. He is used as leverage and Gwen is given an ultimatum: bring Prince Arthur to the castle, or her brother dies.

Gwen soon reveals the details of the plan to Merlin and Arthur who, being chivilrous, consents to going to the castle and rescue Gwen’s brother. I haven’t mentioned it much but I must say that Arthur’s characterization is brilliant. He’s noble, without seeming like a stiff snob, he’s charming whilst still being utterly obnoxious and his bravery could also be described as extreme optimism, such as when he decides that he and Merlin will break out of prison and rescue the others, as oppose to wallowing in despair with the knowledge he is to be tortured and killed. Bradley James’ performance is one of the best things about the show.

On the other hand, whilst I love Colin Morgan’s Merlin, his righteousness where Morgana is concerned irks me to no end. Morgana is trying to take down the evil king Uther (yes, he is evil. He’s persecuted innocents, including children, and had then burned and drowned. I would label that evil. Also, he denies he is her father, which is really mean). True, she goes to some evil lengths herself, but no more so than Merlin. Just because she has succeeded in killing people doesn’t make her any better than Merlin, who opted for attempting to murder one of his best friends as opposed to letting her know his secret and therefore being able to collaborate with her in the restoration of sorcery to Camelot. In short, knocking her off her horse with a snake was a bit harsh, no?

I love it when the core four are together, and the expedition to Fyrien’s castle was no exception. Arthur’s excuse for leaving Camelot (he had to buy silk to repay a debt he made to Morgana) got some priceless looks from Uther, and Gwen and Arthur’s scenes were sweet, nicely in contrast to Morgana and Merlin’s, which were…well, not so sweet. I do wish Gwen would be a bit more useful instead of being the resident damsel in distress. Angel Coulby’s portrayal saves her from being a desperate whiny idiot, but the plotting is not exactly kind to her.

Anyhow, after rescuing everyone save Morgana, Arthur (with Merlin close on his heels) finds her being held hostage (or so he thinks) by Cenred. Morgause blasts fire at Arthur, who is saved by Merlin. Making their escape, Elyan helps them with some nifty swordsmanship, and together the core four (plus Elyan) return to Camelot. Silk dresses are exchanged, Elyan will never be far from Gwen again and Gwen and Arthur cap the episode off with a sweet exchange. When she thanks him for risking his life in order to save her brother’s, he stops her and says, “It’s like you said, Guinevere: it’s what you do when you love someone.”

How freaking charming.

I thought this was one the best Merlin episodes all series. What did you think? Sound off in the comments below!

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