‘Merlin’ 5.9: ‘With All My Heart’ review

Arthur has a lesson in love – just mind that big puddle there Gwen!

First of all: Never mind the sad news Merlin is to be no more; what about the fact my Gwen / Morgana / Mordred prediction was wrong? *shrugs shoulders and goes back to the drawing board to outwit those pesky writers* Mwah…Ahem…oh right. Yes. Review.

Merlin has always triumphed at depicting just the right amount of light and shade, however as much as I enjoyed some of the comedy elements of this episode I felt it needed to take the risk of showing us the dark drama without interspersing the humour in key scenes, which for me diluted – and in some instances made what should have been dramatic and tense script into a disappointing circus sideshow.

Arthur now knows his beloved has befallen Morgana’s witchery (how we’re not privy to) Arthur’s determined not to lose her, Merlin goes in search of an answer to break to spell and visits the Dochraid (played brilliantly by Maureen Carr); a hideous creature of the earth who with hostility and a threat of Merlin’s sword reveals Gwen’s “body is nothing but an empty vessel filled by the will of another.” But…there is a way! They must take Gwen to the cauldron of the Goddess’ where “the queen must enter the water willingly. If she is tricked, forced or beguiled she will fall into the abyss and be lost forever.”

So how do you get a queen to the Cauldron? Drug her and sling her over your horse like a sack of spuds if you do it Arthur’s way. Really Arthur? You were only just bemoaning about Merlin using a linen cart! At least with that she didn’t have all the blood rushing to her head. Good job she’s not herself or Arthur might be spending his nights on that linen cart. Once at the cauldron, thanks to Gaius, Merlin must transform into a women to perform the ceremony which was supposed to be draining and difficult to perform? Yet again Merlin managed with ease; While Arthur has to convince a now awakened and resisting Gwen to walk in the water of her own free will by reminding her of their engagement and her love for him “With all my heart.” This had the potential to be a very sweet moment and one I would have liked them to go more dramatic on but despite Angel Coulby and Bradley James’ heartfelt performances unfortunately the absurdity of Merlin in drag kind of ruined any atmosphere for me.

However that’s not to say Colin Morgan’s performance wasn’t as always spot on. He handed his duality well and delivered his wise words with sincerity. And then we come to Morgana who is so close to losing her ‘puppet’ and only human friend she’s prepared to kill Mordred when he refuses to divulge who Emrys really is. Mordred pleads he’s no match for her before reminding her of her previous self “I hope one day you will find the love and compassion that used to fill your heart.” before promptly showing he’s more than capable of taking on the High Priestess.

All is right in the land of Camelot now – Except Morgana still seeks revenge…and Merlin STILL hasn’t told Arthur…and Arthur and Gwen haven’t kissed…and the Dochraid knows Merlin’s true identity…and Mordred is gonna kill Arthur – and not to mention the therapy Aithusa will need after being saddled with Morgana for so long due to the great Dragon abandoning the poor mite. *Phew* How many eps we got left?

At this late stage in the game not enough risk was taken to make this as powerful as it could have been. The Mordred element of the story hasn’t worked due to lack of screen time and plot movement. I think the creators have underestimated audience reaction not that they should be swayed by that, but for most the reveal of Merlin’s magic is just as much about the dynamics between Arthur and Merlin as it is about the “reveal”

Albion here we come!