MERLIN “The Eye of the Phoenix” Review

MERLIN "The Eye of the Phoenix" BBC

MERLIN “The Eye of the Phoenix” Season 3 Episode 8 – When Arthur leaves Camelot on a quest to snatch the Golden Trident from the Fisher King in the Perilous Lands in order to prove himself worthy as the future king, Morgana-with a nifty bracelet containing the enchanted Phoenix Eye from Morgause-plots to use the opportunity of Arthur’s solitary journey to use her dark magic and become Camelot’s ruler. Disallowed from joining Arthur on his quest, Merlin enlists the aid of Gwaine to secretly help Arthur.

There was much to going on in this episode of Merlin, not in the least of which is that Gwen found out that Morgana uses magic. Although I loved this development, I wish there had been a little more made out of it. A conversation with Gaius, which he does not even relay to Merlin, does not count.

But that is really my only critique of the entire episode. We got bandit fights and Gywverns battles but for me, the most thrilling parts of the episode were not so much the physical fighting, but the epic moments: the very beginning, as Arthur washes his face and Merlin drapes a white cloak around his shoulders was reminiscent of the knighting ceremony. At first I thought the episode was doing a sort of flash forward to the future the eve Arthur is to be anointed king.

The meeting between Arthur and the Keeper of the Bridge, was another high moment. When you realise the Keeper’s riddle of the trio of strength, courage and magic was not talking about Arthur’s qualities, but himself and his companions, it added another layer of foreshadowing, which I love.

The highlight of the episode, for me, was the meeting between Merlin and the Fisher King. Much of the praise has to go to the musical score used and the wonderfully potent and sage performance by Donald Sumpter as the cursed king himself. Telling Merlin he wants to die, the writers spare us of a ‘you’re life’s not over yet!’ speech by a would-be annoying do gooder Merlin. Instead, the Fisher King is so resolute that Merlin, disliking what he knows is the right thing to do, hands over the Eye of the Phoenix bracelet which will kill him.

I thought last week’s episode of the best of the series then, this week I’m stating that “The Eye of the Phoenix” may rank as one of my favourites ever.

What did you think of this episode? Do you think Morgana was the ‘her’ the Fisher King was referring to when he said that at a critical moment, Merlin would be able to “save her…” More importantly, do you think Merlin would save Morgana if he could? Let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!

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