MERLIN “Queen of Hearts” Reviews

MERLIN Queen Of Hearts (BBC)

MERLIN “Queen of Hearts” Season 3 Episode 10 – Morgana is up to her usual evil schemes and this time Gwen is the target. A prophecy showing Gwen’s ascension to the throne has Morgana’s evil ambitions tied in a knot. After some planting of evidence and some devious trickery she plays match maker to Arthur and Gwen. It’s all a trap, of course, and she lures Uther onto the scene so he can see his beloved son in the arms of some serving girl. Yuck.

After ten episodes of glowers, I’m a little unimpressed about where the writers are going with Morgana. Katie McGrath’s performance itself is fine and she delivers some hammy lines with a mixture of sincerity and smirkiness to avoid some major cringing (the directors need a serious memo on the ‘evil glares’), but the writers have taken Morgana down the strict ‘evil’ route, which I’m a little disappointed about since it would be much more interesting if she was conflicted, or if she thought she was actually doing the right thing with her various regicide attempts (and we all know, especially after this episode, that Uther has to get gone) but instead of showing her conflicted, they show her as sadistic, which they just are not pulling off, considering that in every episode Merlin thwarts her attempts without much difficulty and few repercussions.

She still lacks the unpredictable cleverness that a really good villain needs. Instead of showing her persuade Uther into riding horses with her, maybe it should have skipped ahead to the discovery: Uther and Morgana find Arthur and Gwen kissing. The audience aren’t stupid, we can fill in the gaps, and when the audience fills in the gaps, the result is almost always more impressive. Merlin may want to borrow from horror movies: the scariest thing is what is not seen, not what is. Likewise, unless she is doing something genuinely ingenious, it’s better not to show her lame ‘Uther we haven’t spent any time together!’ conversations.

Ultimately this episode came down to two lovely performances from Angel Coulby and Bradley James. They’re riverside date was sweet but it was the anguish that Gwen would be executed which really elevated this relationship. Arthur’s eyes widening as he screams at his father and tells him he’ll never forgive him was just gutting. Until this episode, the core relationship has always been between Merlin and Arthur, with everything else in the periphery. Merlin and Arthur still have the core relationship, but Gwen is slowly but surely turing the duo into a trio. Arthur loves Gwen and vice versa, all that is needed now is for some relationship to be built between Merlin and Gwen so the trio can be complete: maybe Merlin will tell Gwen his secret?

I mentioned showing the ingenious, and Merlin’s plan to disguise himself as an older man was brilliant, and afforded Colin Morgan some great comedic moments. One pesky thing? I know he had a ton on his plate, but I wish Merlin would have taken the opportunity of disguising himself as a sorcerer to cast even the tiniest shadow of a doubt on Morgana. It felt like a bit of a missed opportunity, but aside from that quibble, I felt like this was, overall, a very strong episode of Merlin: may I also add how much I love that Arthur and Gwen have secretly declared their relationship?

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

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