MERLIN “His Father’s Son” Review

MERLIN “His Father’s Son” Season 4 Episode 5 – Arthur’s adjustment into life as a king is, I think, going to be of significant thematic importance to this season. In this episode we get a lot of the darkness I love about Merlin as Arthur is faced with the severity of carrying out the death penalty while Agravaine whispers poison into his ear and his father’s shadow hangs heavy on his shoulders. The humor is mostly gone and the episode is all about Arthur battling with his inner demons.

First up, it was an episode for Bradley James to show us what he’s got. He adequately portrayed Arthur’s inner turmoil without hamming it up or making Arthur a self pitying melodramatic idiot. What I liked most about this episode is the rationale behind every action: Arthur killed Caerlon not only because Agravaine kept urging him to, promising that his father would have done the same, but for a myriad of reasons: yes, his father probably would have done the same, but Arthur also wants to show that Camelot is not weakened by Uther’s death and that those who trespass on the lands of Camelot will lose their heads.

This episode reminded me a lot of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. One of the main themes in that book was Harry’s realization that he had to get over himself and allow others to help him. Likewise, Arthur has to realize that he has knights who love him, a servant who would do literally anything for him, and a woman who will take him back even after he’s been a jackass to him. Plus he’s the king and he’s good looking and he’s so good with a sword that with a bit of help from Merlin’s magic, he can take on a beast of a man. Really, Arthur’s got it all.

I really admired that the show allowed Arthur to go there, to actually kill someone and then feel guilty about killing them, realizing that he, Arthur, was actually in the wrong. The consequences, unfortunately, did not quite add up: I really doubt that a wife of a man wrongfully slain would be so quick to forgive her husband’s killer as Queen Annis was, and the show’s determination to once again draw the lines and, by the episode’s conclusion, show us that Morgana is unequivocably evil while Arthur just makes silly mistakes where regicide and breaking up with his girl because she’s a servant are concerned were results which, I think, were a bit facile, but if I have any qualms about the ending, they were overshadowed by another really good episode of Merlin.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the commnets below.