MERLIN “The Secret Sharer” Review

MERLN “The Secret Sharer” Season 4 Episode 7 – When I think of a kids television show rarely does the image of an old man lying on a table getting tortured spring to mind. But that was the centrepiece of this week’s episode as Morgana orchestrates Gaius’ kidnapping and then has her supposed ally Alator torture him for information which will lead to Emerys.

There is something about watching a kids show or an old movie where I’m always surprised by how far they’ll go in terms of tackling mature themes – I forget that Avatar: The Last Airbender featured an episode wholly dedicated to genocide. Likewise with Merlin, the writers pull off a bunch of subtext which can be enjoyed by us old fogies – Merlin cramming a muffin into Arthur’s mouth, anyone? – and yet still have enough suspense and action and whatnot in it for the kids.

I mean, the fact that Gaius succumbed under torture was daring and something I was not expecting the show to do. There’s probably no one in the world Gaius loves more than Merlin, and yet the fact that he was in so much pain that he’d divulge the secret – it was a seriously dark place for the show to go, very Orwellian which is not something you see in many kids shows.

This episode was fine but the problem with Merlin is that at this point the writers are still too trigger happy with the reset button. It was always my biggest problem watching this show: so little develops episode to episode because, regardless of what’s come before, the show will revert back to its former state of ignorance. It’s frustrating and tiresome because it means we have to plod through a bunch of episodes like these, episodes which could be potentially devastating, except a deus ex machina has to get shoehorned into the plot so that we can keep everyone in the dark about Merlin’s abilities (or, in the case of this episode, of Agravaine’s loyalties…sigh.)

I get why the writers would want to let the big reveal of Merlin’s abilities happen in the end of the season, but it’s awfully unsatisfactory. The show is called “Merlin” it’s not called “Merlin: Before Anyone Knew He Had Powers.” When you have Morgana, the series’ primary villain, ignorant of her foe it just makes her stupid and weak and it does a disservice to Merlin and Arthur and the knights, all of these handsome, smart, charming, muscled up guys who we’re supposed to believe are somehow intimidated by this scheming witch.

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