MERLIN “Love In The Time Of Dragons” Review

MERLIN Love In The Time Of Dragons (BBC)

MERLIN “Love In The Time Of Dragons” Season 3 Episode 9- When the one time fiance of Gaius, Alice, shows up in Camelot the father and son bond between Merlin and Gaius is strained when Merlin discovers Alice is being controlled by a Manticore who intends to use her to poison the king.

Alice makes quite a good match for Gaius; in her time she was a better physician than he but of course when Uther banned magic from the realm, she had to leave on a self imposed exile to avoid execution. Her flight was possible thanks to Gaius, and it was great to see this whole other side to the old man: the romantic young man who risked his own wellbeing so the love of his life would escape Camelot, leaving him forever. It also helped the social conscious of the show: Uther has horrible policies, there is no doubt of that. But regicide was a sacrilige. That Gaius harbors no ill will towards the king after all of the misery he has caused him speaks volumes for the regard people held a king.

Of course the father son bond between Merlin and Gaius was the main focus of the episode, and their fight scenes were very well done and emotional. I particularly liked the shot of the empty bowl whilst Gaius and Alice were tucking in to dinner. This episode delved into a side of Merlin that I quite like: he’s not perfect. What I mean by that is that unlike most ‘heroes’ he does not resolve everything in a neat and tidy parcel. Alice must flee Camelot, and there’s no telling whether she will return again. Gaius’ heart is broken for a second time, and the king is still as staunchly opposed to magic as ever before. With poorer writers, Merlin may have united with Gaius after a trivial disagreement and rid Alice of the Manticore before anyone was any the wiser. Instead, Merlin betrays his friend/father/mentor for all of the right reasons (Gaius would have been blamed for Uther’s illness) and Gaius is forced, once again, to see the woman he loves escape.

Arthur provided some comic relief and it was great to watch him battering Merlin about the place as part of his training exercises. Nothing compared to his pitiful attempt to empathise and advise Merlin about his predicament with Gaius, which was quite hilarious.

Neither Morgana nor Gwen made an appearance in this episode. It definately did not have the same epic feel of the past two weeks’ but for a standalone episode it was entertaining.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!

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