‘Merlin’ 5.4: ‘Another’s Sorrow’ review

“One small slip and Camelot could find itself without a King

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Morgana returns to her dastardly ways in this weeks fourth episode of series five by capturing King Rodor (James Fox) and Princess Mithian (Janet Montgomery) of Nemeth with the help of Arthur’s enemy King Odin. With little choice and her father’s life at stake Mithian is deployed to play on Arthur’s kindness and quest for vengeance, while Morgana (Katie McGrath) and her new ally, Odin plot a trap to capture and kill Arthur (Bradley James).

To ensure her plan works Morgana casts an ageing spell to appear as Mithian’s maid giving the occasional magically violent threats to keep the princess in check and the occupants of the castle unawares. The princess however is awash with guilt and tries desperately to warn Merlin (Colin Morgan); when she finally succeeds Morgana nearly kills Merlin and Gaius (Richard Wilson) has to use his own magic to bring the warlock round in a lovely heartfelt scene between them as he pleads with Merlin to wake.

By teaming with King Odin Morgana creates the perfect reason for Arthur to be enticed into the heroic mission after both lost a close relative at the others hand. Odin was responsible for the death of Uther and Arthur, Odin’s son. However its Merlin who is the heroic one as he works out Morgana’s plan and convinces Arthur killing Odin won’t make him feel better and achieve peace between the kingdoms.

This weeks episode picked up the pace with an ensemble offering and some great guest stars. Janet Montgomery encapsulates the anguish of the princess but also a strong presence without playing the victim to Morgana: “your magic may be strong Morgana but you cant keep this up for long, it’s exhausting you,” she tells the witch as she transforms back to her own form. James Fox doesn’t have a lot to do in the role but he holds a certain gravitas.

It was interesting the writers decided not to play on Arthur and Mithian’s former relationship as the once to be betrothed couple in series four’s ‘A Hunter’s Heart,‘ which of course would have added some interesting play between Arthur, Mithian and Gwen. However I suspect it was to show the audience the closeness and security of Arthur and Gwen’s marriage which displayed some sweet moments as Gwen questions Arthur’s motives and tells him how proud she is of him after Arthur spares Odin’s life and strikes a truce.

No Mordred or the Dragon this week or any mention of the overriding story arc of Arthur’s Bane, but a bigger cast and an action packed episode left little room to miss them. The only slight is I found the music to be too over-the-top dramatic but then I did listen with earphones which may have made it sound higher.

Another great episode, keep up with the ensemble pieces please and the great guest stars.