BBC Merlin: Episode 4
Lesson learned from working retail: Do not leave your shopping to the last minute, pls. Seriously, guys. This may work for lesser assignments and some midterms, but shopping with a bunch of frenzied people covered in snow, also looking for the same gifts you are?
Not fun. Especially for the clerks.
If I never see another red and green decoration again, it would be too soon.
Okay, complaint over. Weather continuing its usual run of asshat behaviour (meaning lots of snow, then rain, then freeze, then a tiny bit of snow to cover up the ice so we can slip on foot or in cars) so phone people continue being unable to come fix our internet or phone. Yay for public libraries.
As usual, short synopsis above the cut, squeecap of capslocky flail after the link below. (Far, faaaaaar below.)
Merlin Episode 4: The Poisoned Chalice in 10 seconds!
Remember last episode when Nimueh got all annoyed at Merlin for interfering in her plans? Well, this woman likes her poison, because she’s at it again, only with Merlin this time, not the entire city. (Makeup team: Thank GOD.)
Her plan’s still really complicated, though. I mean, the actress is kind of one-dimensional, but her plotting skillz make me all warm and fuzzy. (In a strictly plotwhore way! Am not evil. Yet.) So Nimueh pretends to be a maid in Bayard of Mercia’s staff so she can switch one of Bayard’s original ceremonial goblets for a poisoned one.
Bayard’s the ambassador, if you will, from Mercia to Camelot, and he’s there to sign a peace treaty, which is where the goblets come in. They’re gifts. Imagine how Uther will react when he finds out that the good-will messenger tried to poison his only son and heir? Imagine how the other country will feel when Uther acts on his anger at the poisoning?
It’s such an intricate plot, in fact, that Nimueh was able to make an exact copy of the goblet, take it to her Cave of Evil, poison it with something that doesn’t react with the delicate silver of the goblet, and then hike it back as a maid in Bayard’s entourage. That is mad planning, y’all.
Anyhoodle, back at Camelot: Pretending to be all innocent, Nimueh warns Merlin at the last minute that Arthur’s goblet is poisoned. Merlin, being a hero, then bursts into the hall and tells everyone else, prompting some outrage from Bayard and brow-raising from Uther. He is told to test the goblet by drinking it, and what do you know? It’s poisoned. Merlin topples to the floor and proceeds to suffer a slow death.
Arthur throws a fit du shit about his father forcing poison onto his precious, irreplaceable manservant and rushes off on a quest for the morteus plant, buried deep somewhere in the Forest of Balor [insert eyeroll about the names here]. Apparently the poison can only be cured by using a leaf from the same plant. Uther forbids Arthur to go, but when have you known heroic types to listen to authority?
In the forest, Nimueh again pulls out her innocent baby girl act and totally fools Arthur into trusting her, which is good for her plan to kill him, but it sort of fails because we’re on episode four and the first season is 13 episodes long. So. After she traps Arthur on a narrow ledge on top of a huge chasm with giant spiders chasing after him, the feverish and unconscious Merlin sends a giant shining ball of light to help the prince along. (You don’t have to say it, I know.)
Arthur gets the flower and makes it back safely to Camelot. There hasn’t been enough drama, however, and Uther throws Arthur into the dungeon for disobedience and crushes the flower that his son worked so hard to get. (I feel the need to say that I kind of dig this hardcore Giles Uther.) Luckily for Merlin, Gwen manages to get the flower from Arthur in the dungeons.
So Merlin is cured and people are happy (well obviously with the exception of Nimueh). We are treated to the sight of Arthur barely restraining himself from glomping Merlin.
Warnings: Excessive use of capslock, way too many screencaps to be healthy, and my being an insane fangirl.
Episode Four: The Poisoned Chalice
- In Which Sevenses Thinks If They Get Any Gayer It’s Going to Turn Into QAF
NIMUEH: This time, Merlin, you shall not escape me and my poisoning ways!
LAIR OF EVIL: Uh, we could use a few light bulbs here.
NIMUEH: And why is that?
LAIR OF EVIL: So, uh, so we can see your radiantly blue and insane eyes in their full glory?
NIMUEH: WHEN I HAVE KILLED MERLIN, THIS SHALL COME TO PASS. MWAHAHAHA!
LAIR OF EVIL: That’s… good?
TUMBLEWEED: [rolls by]
EVERYONE ELSE: [pose]
ME: [falling off my chair]
While Team Blue and Team Red are busy eyeing each other and stinking up the entire room with testosterone, Nimueh marks her target.
NIMUEH: Oops! [somehow trips on thin air
MERLIN: Oh, let me help -
NIMUEH: [looks up winsomely]
MERLIN: – let me help you.
NIMUEH: Aww, thanks.
ME: Not thinking with his brain anymore, is he?
ARTHUR: Help me dress. And wash this jacket.
MERLIN: Do I look like your wife?
ARTHUR: If I say yes, will you do it?
MERLIN: … Anyway, why do you need me to dress you again?
ARTHUR: You’re a manservant. Part of the job.
MERLIN: All nobles share the inability to put their pants on one leg at a time? Oy. Stop the inbreeding already.
ME: It is also technically your job to bathe him, but we never see those scenes. Woe.
ARTHUR: But anyway, you are coming to the feast, and make sure my cup is always full of wine.
MERLIN: Uh, yay?
ARTHUR: Oh, and here’s your outfit for the night.
MERLIN: Please tell me I don’t have to wear that.
ARTHUR: It’s official livery. Deal.
EVERYONE ELSE: [dressed normally].
GWEN: Nice hat.
MERLIN: Oh, shut up, you.
THE HAT. THE HAT THE HAT THE HAT. DO YOU SEE THAT HAT? I THINK I LOVE ARTHUR. THOUGH OBVIOUSLY MERLIN DOES NOT AGREE, AHAHAHA. (Also, you may recognize the hat from my site avatar. )
While Bayard makes his big speech of peace and Arthur just itches for a drink of wine to support him through another boring talkfest, Nimueh drags Merlin outside the hall and babbles at him.
NIMUEH: COME WITH ME.
MERLIN: … Oooookay.
NIMUEH: OMG OMG OMG.
MERLIN: Calm down.
NIMUEH: NO YOU DUN UNDERSTAND.
MERLIN: Breathe in… exhale… repeat.
NIMUEH: BAYARD, OMG, I’LL BE KILLLLLLLED.
MERLIN: Dude, what did Bayard do?
NIMUEH: I saw the goblet and it just hit me and this is just a ploy to stall for time so that you’ll have no choice but to very publicly drink poison bla bla bla -
MERLIN: Keep going.
NIMUEH: – bla bla bla. In conclusion, Arthur’s goblet is poisoned.
MERLIN: ARTHUR YOUR GOBLET IS POISONED DON’T DRINK IIIIIIIIT!
ARTHUR: WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID MERLIN.
MERLIN: IT REALLY IS POISONED!!
ARTHUR: Look, I’m sure Merlin the IDIOT has just been at the slow gin again. Everything is just fine.
UTHER: No, tell me about this poison theory of yours, it’s most interesting.
ARTHUR: SHUT UP, MY GOD.
BAYARD: Obviously this servant is lying and high as a kite.
UTHER: Hmm. Well, the best solution is obviously to have the servant drink it.
ARTHUR: WHAT DADDY NO.
ME: Surprisingly cold-blooded and astute of Uther. Points for practicality. Minus points for not caring about the plebes.
MERLIN: OKAY. FINE!
ARTHUR: LOOK, IT’S NOT THAT BIG A DEAL, I’LL DRINK THE DAMNED THING.
MERLIN: No, no, me!
ARTHUR: WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU.
MERLIN: If I’m right, I die, if I’m wrong, Bayard gets to kill me. Sounds like a good plan.
COURT: Arthur, stop sleeping with the help. You’re embarrassing us.
And, um, these two shots made the inner fangirl squeal. *snuggles the boys*
SEE, MERLIN, SHE IS EVIL.
ARTHUR: OMG MY PRINCESS!!!
GAIUS: Oh for heaven’s sake be quiet and help me get Merlin to his room, will you?
GWEN: I am worried too!
GAIUS: So the book says that Merlin was poisoned by the Morteus flower, which only grows in a mysterious cavern deep in the Forest of Balor, and gee, that Bayard fellow likes his life complicated, because there’s a huge cockatrice guarding the place.
ARTHUR: Arthur no understand. Poison bad. Merlin need cure.
GWEN: That’s right, Arthur. Work upwards from the short sentences.
GAIUS: Well, it also says that the poison of the flower petal can only be cured by a mixture made from the leaf of the same plant!
ARTHUR: Arthur go get cure for his princess?
GAIUS: But there’s all sorts of danger from bad lurking things, and you might get killed, your highness.
ARTHUR: Arthur go get cure for his princess.
UTHER: You do remember that you are my ONLY SON AND HEIR, right?
ARTHUR: Yes, but-
UTHER: You do know that Merlin is ONLY A SERVANT, right?
ARTHUR: Yes, but-
UTHER: Therefore, Arthur > Merlin.
(ME: I beg to differ.)
UTHER: You are not allowed to go into almost certainly fatal danger.
ARTHUR: BUT HE SAVED MY LIIIIIIIIIIIFE!!
UTHER: Do I look like I care?
ARTHUR: But that’s because you suck.
MORGANA: You done being a coward yet?
ARTHUR: Do you ever get tired of this?
MORGANA: Not when you’re being an idiot, no.
AUDIENCE: You tell him, Morgana!
ARTHUR: You think I should go.*
MORGANA: Doesn’t matter what I think.*
ARTHUR: You’re impossible, I hope you know.
MORGANA: Why, thank you.
Gwen and Gaius fret.
Meanwhile, Uther and Morgana have a conversation. It’s interesting to note that Uther treats Morgana much like an equal (an annoying one, but an equal nonetheless) while he totally does not listen to Arthur, who, as heir and crown prince, should maybe have some input on how to run the kingdom. And I was totally getting ‘married’ vibes from this scene.
UTHER: HOW DARE HE DISOBEY ME?!
MORGANA: If he’s old enough to lead the troops, he’s old enough to make his own decisions.
UTHER: BUT I AM HIS FATHER!
MORGANA: Doesn’t mean he has to agree with you all the time.
UTHER: WHY ARE YOU SO DAMN SMUG?
MORGANA: Because I’m smarter than you.
AUDIENCE: Unfortunately, that does seem to be true.
MORGANA: He’ll come back. Meanwhile, I have to finish writing out Merlin and Arthur’s wedding vows. Shoo.
Guess who else also knows that the only cure for Merlin’s condition lies in the Forest of Balor?
Fortunately for Arthur, the destiny bond of sparkly fate he shares with Merlin allows the more magical side of the coin (i.e. Merlin) to see what’s going on, even without a birdbath. Look, I don’t know how Merlin’s doing this while fighting off fatal poison and running a high fever, he just is, okay? Apparently the urge to protect Arthur is greater than self-preservation in this guy. (He seems to be in good company, though, as he shares this trait with good parents and devoted lovers. *cough*)
Aaaaaaaaand, what do you know, the guardian cockatrice. (If you don’t know what a cockatrice is, just think giant flesh-eating dinosaur.)
Arthur gets all ready to kill it and stuff, armed with only his sword. I would shake my head, but I’ve also been reading Greek heroic myth for the better half of a semester, and I think I know how this ends.
Also, the wrist-flip of sexiness. I NEVER KNEW A THIN STRIP OF EXPOSED WRIST COULD BE THAT SEXY, OKAY??
ARTHUR’S SWORD: Swish, swoosh, duck, flip, overhand toss.
COCKATRICE: Am dead of awesome.
I swear the action sequence in this episode consisted of Arthur swinging his sword around. Ratio of swinging to slashing – 2:1. Even when he fights, this guy has to be an attention whore.
Nimueh is kind of shocked, I don’t know why, it’s not like he doesn’t have a reputation as Camelot’s Golden Fighting Machine or anything. So she has to move to stage 2 of her Plan of Evil Overladyship over Camelot, which is to lead Arthur into the cave and dispose of him there.
And Arthur, bless his chivalrous little heart, naively trusts this girl he meets in the middle of a DANGEROUS FOREST, who just happens to know EXACTLY WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR and is beautiful to boot. Traits of evil sorceress: check, check and check. (Someone should write a handbook.)
The Cave of Balor, it is ominous.
NIMUEH: Follow me!
ARTHUR: What luck!
MERLIN: ARTHUR YOU IDIOT NO. [Gets his wizard groove on]
GWEN: What’s he muttering?
GAIUS: Not spells! Nope. Just gibberish from his fevered brain.
We’ve been over this before. She is a pastiche of comely evil who pushes people off narrow overhangs in caves.
ARTHUR: NO SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?
NIMUEH: I guess you will never find out because there is an army of ANGRY GIANT SPIDERS coming for you!
And then she just leaves him hanging on a ledge. She could have stabbed him, burned him, tossed him into the yawning crevasse, but no. Nimueh obeys the rules of evil overladyship and gloats at her opponent instead of properly finishing the job. I suppose I should be grateful, as Merlin without Arthur would have been too boring for words, but all I can say is, “READ THE HANDBOOK.”
Even while victimized, Merlin can still save the day! (Sort of.)
Their mystical bond, it awakens!!
I am completely serious. Arthur gets stuck on a narrow ledge in a dangerous cave and Merlin sends him a giant ball of light. “It’s too dark,” indeed.
ARTHUR: SHINY! MUST GET FLOWER FOR MERLIN!!
MERLIN: NO YOU IDIOT MOVE AWAY FROM THE CARNIVOROUS SPIDERS!
SPIDERS: OH HAI.
ARTHUR: YES! I HAVE THE FLOWER!
SPIDERS: We can has food?
ARTHUR: UH, NO.
MERLIN: FASTER, ARTHUR, GO FASTER.*
(I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS WHAT HE SAYS IN THE SHOW. Those of you who don’t get this, be glad of your still-intact purity. Those of you who do… *hugs* Welcome to the club.)
Arthur’s triumphant return to Camelot is cut short when his father’s people come and take him away. (Don’t be deceived at this plot illustration, these pics are here purely for the ‘Yum, Arthur’ reaction I had.)
Uther is certainly getting lots of use out of his Dungeon Cell of Strict Discipline.
ARTHUR: Look, I’m sorry for being a disobedient heroic son, okay? I had to. Merlin saved my life.
UTHER: Arthur, you have to learn to not sleep with the help.
UTHER: Don’t think you can fool me. A time will come when you have to sacrifice one life for your kingdom.
ARTHUR: Whatever you want, dad. Just give this flower to Merlin.
ARTHUR: I AM JACK’S SPEECHLESS RAGE.
ME: Aww, Arthur loves his princess.
In the moment of utmost despair, dearest Gwen comes with a platter of food for Arthur, and they arrange a neat bit of subterfuge, involving dropping the flower in the bread, and Arthur pretending to be a picky eater.
The guards, being your average denser-than-a-plank-of-wood-but-good-at-following-orders kind, don’t notice anything. Much.
Gaius makes the antidote with its requisite touch of magic, and Gwen feeds it to Merlin, however… he seems to have stopped breathing.
But don’t worry! It’s only episode four, we can’t have the titular character dying.
MERLIN: OMG YOU TWO, INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING IS INAPPROPRIATE!
GWEN: [Squeal of joy]
ME: Now that’s what I call inappropriate touching.
GWEN: [dances away on clouds of joy]
MERLIN: Bu-but that was my first kiss! I was saving it for Arthur!!
GAIUS: … TMI, my boy.
GAIUS: Oh, btw, the poison had magic in it. Possibly Bayard was just an innocent bystander in all this.
GAIUS: You should probably release Bayard before Mercia’s army gets here, yeah?
ME: UTHER IS SO WHIPPED.
UTHER: Hey, I know I was an ass about this, but I am proud of you for doing what you thought was right.
ARTHUR: Daddy, I love you too!
ARTHUR: I’m glad you’re okay, wifey.
MERLIN: I’m glad you’re home.
THEIR LOVE IS SO EPIC.
But Nimueh Is Still Seriously Angry.
- All those who now think Arthur and Merlin are totally doing it, raise your hands. 4, 10 and 13 are all outrageous like that, which is not to say that the others are not, but still. At this point they are fairly throwing it in your face. ARTHUR WANTS MERLIN FOR HIS PRINCESS!!!
- On that note, I thought, you know, since there weren’t any Draconian Annoucements of Arthur and Merlin’s Fated-To-Be-Togetherness, that this episode would be relatively … non-gay subtext-ful? Oh, how wrong I was.
- My short synopsis before the squeecap just got a lot longer, didn’t it? *facepalm* Oh well. You knew it was coming, right? Also, 92 caps. I scare myself sometimes.