You seriously don't want to miss this episode. It's a convenient way of getting around a recent thorny problem which is a slightly annoying way to make everything better just as it has been announced that the series is about to end, but whatever, I'm not complaining. Much. Just WATCH IT
Gwen is detained by Percival as she is sneaking out to meet Morgana. She plays on her former-servant card and then the Elyan one when Percival is still dubious about letting her wander around Camelot on her own after-dark. That latter one works and Gwen really is a heartless bitch for using it. However, it's given Percival more lines in one scene than he's probably had in the entire running of the show, and so I'm pretty happy. Gwen hands over all the details of the next levy route and Morgana is ecstatic. Arthur, behind a tree: not so much. His continuing love for Guinevere is heart-breaking given her betrayal and he confesses to Merlin:
Arthur: If I lose her, I lose everything.Arthur is distant and distracted the next morning and Gwen knows instantly (womens' intuition) that something is wrong, but she doesn't push. He leaves and locking himself, Leon and Mordred into a cupboard somewhere in the castle (so much sexier sounding than it actually is, *sigh*) changes the levy route and swears them both to utter secrecy. Leon accepts without question, but Mordred is suspicious.
Merlin: We'll find a way to bring her back, Arthur. I promise.
Merlin and Gaius discuss what could have possibly turned Gwen onto Morgana's side. Gaius describes the "sacred fire" which made the victim slaves of High Priestesses so that their "will was no longer their own." Gaius can think of only two people who still know of the Old Ways and how to remedy Gwen's plight: Morgana and The Dochraid - the latter cannot be trusted and cannot know Merlin's true identity.
Merlin goes to visit The Dochraid under his Emrys cloak and she knows instantly who she's dealing with and is scornful of his powers in respect to hers. 'She' is pushing it because The Dochraid is hideous. I don't think I've ever seen any being so truly disgusting on Merlin, and that really is saying something. Anyway, she refuses to answer Merlin's questions and he's forced to bring out his sword and has to injure her before she speaks. Her words aren't really what Merlin wants to hear:
"Your Queen is doomed, Emrys. Her spirit has been taken; her body is nothing but an empty vessel filled by the will of another. Once she has filled her purpose, that too will be cast away ... You must summon the White Goddess herself. The Queen must enter the Cauldron of Arynrod ... only their touch will heal her. The Queen must enter the water willingly: if she is forced, tricked or beguiled she will fall into the abyss and be lost forever."Merlin is doubtful that he can perform such powerful magic, even if it does mean that he can save the Queen. Touchingly, Gaius responds with "The only person who ever doubts your powers is you." In order to get Gwen to the Lake, they decide on the use of the drug Bella Donna. It needs to be administered every two hours and both Merlin and Arthur are dubious.
Merlin: It's a dangerous and powerful drug, Gaius.No argument there.
Gauis: More dangerous than a traitor of Camelot?
Arthur isn't convinced that magic is the best way to save his life; after all, magic killed his father and his continued stance against sorcery is renowned. Gaius counters with "It is a ritual that can only be performed by a sorcerer. Sorcery must be fought with sorcery. You are saving your Queen to save your wife." Gaius may have chosen wrongly previously in finding a sorcerer to save Uther, but this one, he promises, is both trustworthy and will get their desired results. Why? Arthur understandably questions. Because, the sorcerer is a sorceress. Merlin is horrified, as he should be. How he's going to make himself resemble a woman will be interesting.
Long story short, they administer the drug and Gwen drops into a sleep of the dead. On their way out, they pass a suspicious Mordred who wisely says nothing in front of Gwaine. Merlin and Arthur begin their long journey to the Cauldron with a sleeping Gwen in tow and somehow, Merlin ends up unconscious in a quarry. On his way to save him, Arthur too is knocked out and his arm is trapped between two boulders. Who comes to the rescue? Mordred of course!
Merlin and Mordred have a little bit of a heart-to-heart that evening as they rest. Mordred knows of Merlin's doubts towards him and tries to reassure the servant that he has Arthur's best interests at heart:
Mordred: You don't trust me, do you Merlin?Morgana has received message from The Dochraid that "Emrys is working to thwart your plans" and she is distraught. She calls upon Aithusa to help her and the latter looks a threatening sight when she comes swooping down on Merlin, Arthur, Mordred and Gwen, breathing fire. Pushing Arthur to hurry on ahead of them, Merlin takes charge of the situation and boy does he look amazing. No longer is Merlin the meek, immature countryboy of five series ago. his control and handle over his magic is stunning to watch and would make anyone coming against him quiver in their shoes. Aithusa is suitably chastened and flies away with her tail between her legs (metaphorically speaking). But Morgana isn't going to let her prey get away that easily. She sends them flying and seeing that Mordred has been knocked unconscious, Merlin makes a run for it.
Merlin: I believe you to be a fine Knight.
Mordred: But not one to be trusted. I know you have the king's best interests at heart. I only wish that you believe that I do too. One day, I will prove my loyalty to you and the King. Then, I hope we can be friends ...
This is the first time that Morgana and Mordred have met since he betrayed her in Arthur's Bane Part 2. She's boggled at why he's switched camps. I know I've quoted a helluva lot from this episode and I'm going to continue to, but there's just so much great writing that I can't help it:
Morgana: We're of a kind.And then as Morgana pauses and doubts herself at Mordred's words, he uses his own magic to throw her and knock her into unconsciousness!
Morgana: You wear the uniform well but we both know what lies beneath. Do you think Arthur would tolerate it for one minute if he knew the truth? One of his knights a sorcerer.
Mordred: One day he will know. One day we will be accepted
[Morgana questions Mordred about the whereabouts of Emrys and Mordred doesn't know.]
Mordred: If he was [here], would we both not feel the presence of suc a great sorcerer?
Morgana: Then I have no further use for you.
Mordred: You would strike one of your own? I am not stong enough to defeat you Morgana, know that. Such hatred as yours can never triumph. I hope one day that one day you will [feel/find] the love and compassion that once filled you heart.
Arthur wants to go back for Mordred, but Merlin doesn't let him. Together, they approach the Cauldron of Arynrod and it's stunning. Arthur is impatient for the sorceress to arrive and Merlin agrees to go and search for her - dropping the dress he's using as disguise in the process. His quick-thinking is brilliant:
"You didn't believe this was going to be free, did you? The sorceress - she likes to be paid in clothes ... she's a sorcerer. She's not going to be normal, is she?"Merlin as a woman is a sight to see. He looks unnervingly like the 'Old Morgana' of Another's Sorrow for some reason and I have no idea how Arthur and Mordred (now that he's caught up) don't see through it and recognise her as Merlin.
I'm not going to go into detail about how Arthur gets Gwen to enter the Cauldron of Arynrod of her own free will, because it's just beautiful; you're going to have to watch it for yourself! Merlin is left grinning on the edge of the lake like a proud parent and his scolding of Arthur afterwards when he forgets that they're missing Merlin is brilliant! Arthur asks whether the sorceress wants anything in return, and this is Merlin's response:
"Remember what saved your Queen: magic and sorcery. It was also sorcery that bewitched her ... There is no evil in sorcery; only in the hearts of men. My request is: that you remember this. ... Without [Merlin] your Queen would surely be lost ... You owe him a greater debt than you could possibly know ... One day, great King, you will recognise the true worth of those that surround you."Like I said at the introduction to this post, it was an easy-way-out to get Gwen 'good' again just before the series ends for forever. I'm not complaining because I want all characters to get their HEA, but now that I've seen her bad, I'm never going to be able to see her in the same light again. Now for Arthur to find out about Merlin (and Mordred's) magic!