Merlin Series 5 Review “Another’s Sorrow” — Magic, Magic Everywhere

‘Another’s Sorrow’ was an important episode of Merlin. While the first three episodes of the series were fantastic, some of the strongest in the show’s run so far, they only showed that Arthur had become a king the people of Camelot could believe in. This week, one of Arthur’s biggest enemies got to see just how great he has the potential to be. We even got a bit of progress with Merlin, though that was a little less awesome.

This episode saw Morgana and her man of the week — King Odin, this time — take over King Rodor’s lands and set a plan in motion which would lead to Arthur’s demise. It was quite simple; Rodor’s daughter Princess Mithian would go to Camelot and convince Arthur to save her father, thereby leading him into a trap. Morgana, disguised as ‘Hilde’, an old servant, would accompany her.

Both Mithian (who else is shipping her with Leon now? I vote for future Queen Mithian and King Leon) and Morgana were convincing in their roles (even if ‘old’ Morgana was a bit too recognisable), and it took a while — and a clue from Mithian — for Merlin to figure out exactly what was wrong with the situation. By then it was too late. Arthur walked straight into the trap, Morgana revealed herself, Odin told Arthur he was going to kill him, and that, it seemed, was that.

Then Merlin arrived just in time to save Arthur’s life with a bit of sneaky badass magic. So ‘just in time’ that even Arthur seemed incredibly surprised to see him. Progress towards the magic reveal? Hopefully. After escaping, Arthur and Merlin found themselves trapped with Odin and his men closing in. A one-on-one fight ensued, Arthur gained the upper hand, and he was ready to kill Odin…

This was when Merlin finally got to be the advisor we’ve been waiting for him to become. It wasn’t whispered suggestions this time, rather a bold statement about peace that could have been seen as insolence (and really, Arthur a series or two ago would have thought just that) but instead came across as the voice of reason. Instead of killing Odin, Arthur called a truce with the caveat that Rodor’s lands should be returned to him. Odin agreed.

It was fantastic seeing Arthur starting to become this great king of legend, especially since that scene didn’t feel like it only belonged in a family series. Sometimes Merlin can seem like an epic show that’s had all the greatness washed out of it to make it kid-friendly, but parts of this episode really felt like grown up fare. (Sidenote: When exactly did Bradley James become the strongest actor on this show? He was on form tonight.)

But of course, I’m going to whine about Merlin and his magic. Aside from that badass display in the tomb (which also showed his magic gaining strength, so that was a bonus), Merlin just seems to make the world’s worst decisions. Morgana’s trying to render you unconscious is she, Merlin? Why not, oh, I don’t know, use your magic to do something?

These sorcerers can throw each other around all the damned time, but apparently not when it counts. Which leads me to another point — has letting Morgana live done any good so far? I get Merlin rooting for peace with Odin, but can someone give me a genuinely good reason for him not breaking Morgana’s neck at the end of the episode, instead of just sorcerer-tossing her across the tomb? She’s just going to come back, Merlin. It’s inevitable.

Other good things this week:

– Arthur/Gwen. It’s sometimes easy to forget why they got together, but they had some sweet scenes this week. I still don’t completely buy their chemistry, but at least the relationship is being shown off.
– Gaius using magic. This was just amazing. I was sort of hoping Gwaine would notice, so we could get his views on magic.
– Merlin and Gwaine running around like the good ol’ days. It seemed Gwaine had forgotten that Merlin was his bestie, so it was nice to see them working together again for a few minutes there.
– This:

“Camelot is nothing without its king.”
“Then you do not know my knights. They will hunt you, and they will find you. And they will not rest until they’re done.”

What did you think of ‘Another’s Sorrow’, dear reader? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!