khaireddin: (waaah)
We're screaming towards the inevitably traumatic ending.  There are plenty of opportunities to exercise the negativity in various live journal discussions (and I'll admit I've dived in head long and with passion in the criticism / critiqueing - it's just too easy, and it's great as a pressure valve).  So I thought I should try and balance all that - just for a moment.

Let's not forget that there are reasons why we got sucked into Merlin in the first place, and why so many of us have stayed the course (no heckling from the peanut gallery, you know it's not just to see the inevitable demise...or the pretty boys).  So here's my contribution - 10 positive things I've got from Merlin, in reverse order :
Under a cut, for length of whaffle... )
I think that's likely to be the end of my positivity streak for a while, given what's coming up in the next couple of days.  
I now return you to your regular programming...and inevitable doom & gloom.  90 minutes to go...(sigh)
khaireddin: (waaah)
I have a couple of posts that I'm trying to put up before tonights episode airs, because I speculate that I may lose the will to live - or rather to contribute anything positive on the subject of Merlin - in about 3hrs 30mins.  So here's the first semi-positive comment from me - it's more of a hope, albeit it one I'm sure is in vain.

413-8[1]_FULL

This picture is my reference visual for what I sincerely want to see in the final episode.  Yes, it's from 4.13, but just try to ignore that for the time being, and stick with me here.  I know that everyone will have different interpretations here, but this is what I choose to see in this picture...

Merlin is standing in the Great Hall, in the front ranks of the assembled masses of Knights and Courtiers.  He's not several rows back or standing by the wall, in his usual place as the King's manservant.  Arthur insists that he's front and centre for this, and the Knights are there to ensure that Merlin doesn't try to hide himself further back.  He's surrounded by his friends - Leon, Percival and Gwaine all have satisfied smiles on their faces - as far as they are concerned, this is long overdue.  

Gaius keeps looking at him from the side, a worried expression on his face.  He knows that this is not the joyous occasion everyone appears to think it is for Merlin.  He knows the burden that Merlin has had to bear, the sacrifices he's willingly made, to ensure that Arthur is safe on the throne, that Albion is united and that magic is once again legal.  He knows that Merlin carries the weight of untold deaths on his shoulders - some of his decisions have not ended happily, even with the best will in the world.  And yet the young warlock has continued to strive, to move towards this day.  

Merlin himself is dressed in new court apparel.  Arthur joked about giving him a hat as well but Merlin knew, when it came down to it, his King would provide something suitably understated but that would befit his new role of Court Sorcerer.  He knows how uncomfortable Merlin is with what's happening and has magnanimously decided not to make him feel any worse than he already does. The red velvet surcoat is undoubtedly the finest piece of clothing Merlin's ever worn, but it's functional and comfortable, albeit it bit longer than he would have preferred.  But there is no arguing with Arthur in this matter - this sort of cloth is expensive and usually cut to the smallest amount of excess for those with little money to squander.  The long length of the jacket is Arthur's way of showing that Merlin is important in his court and to be treated as such.  Merlin gave up that argument, but refused to relinquish his blue neckerchief, which is now firmly in its usual place, peaking between the collar of the surcoat.  He caught Arthur's wry smile on seeing that, when he was ushered to the front of the assembly.  They both know that there are some arguments that can't be won.

The King and Queen are on the dias facing the Court.  Guinevere is sitting on her throne, a small smile on her face - she knows what's coming - as she looks out over the courtiers and knights, trying to judge what the feelings are.  Arthur stands at the front, in full battle dress and with crown firmly on his brow.  He's dressed to make an impact on everyone who is here, to make sure they understand that the King of Albion is speaking and he will be heard.  As Arthur's story, which is actually Merlin's story, is laid before everyone, Merlin can only look at Arthur.  Only Arthur.  Because it is for him that everything has been done.  Merlin's gaze is intense, and Arthur feels it upon him, even as his own gaze ranges over the assembled crowd, making eye contact with those nodding their heads in understanding and knowledge, and with those for whom this is news.  Merlin's face has been a study in stone until this point, but as Arthur begins to shepherd his tale towards the conclusion and everything Merlin has tried so hard for comes to fruition, the smallest of smiles graces Merlin's face.  It's not happiness or joy, or even satisfaction - it's tempered by everything that has happened for good or ill over the last 10 years, and for all those who are not here to see this day arrive.  It's recognition, and thank you, and relief, a burden lifted.  And finally a sense of being home at last, to be known for everything he is and has done, in service of his King.  And to be accepted.


Phew!  Better people than me can write the fanfic on this one - indeed, many already have - but I wanted to share my thoughts on what I'd like to see, come the end of 5.13.  And this picture (ignoring dead!Elyan) captures it for me.

I still have hope...
khaireddin: (waaah)
Since I started the entry below this on 10th Dec, we've been deluged by a load of teasers, some of which are duplications and some seem directly linked.  There have even been and even some 'spoiler-free' reviews.  Instead of editing the other entry, I've decided to just bring them all together here.  If you want  to see specifically which site said what, please visit Cultbox and Cultbox again, InsideMediaTrack.com, SpoilerTV, SFX, CultFix and DigitalSpy pages directly.

Here you go :


"I'm the best tracker here!"
"I knew he'd come round."
"I'm only sorry I failed."
"There must be a simple explanation."
"I need not remind you we are at war."
"If it hadn't been you."
"He's beguiled you, he's beguiled you all."  Merlin to ...?
"I'll clean it."

"She is brazen."
"I fear you're wrong Arthur!"
"What right have you to question me?"
"No matter what he preaches, he is no different from his father - a tyrant, brute..."
"There are some parts woven so deeply into the fabric of the world Merlin, that nothing can be done to change them!"
"I will not rest until you are dead and your kingdom is no more!"
"Then she is more foolish than I thought."
"What of the bond between Knights?"
"You took me in, I will always remember that...and everything you've done for me."
"You can do as you wish.  It will not stop Morgana's uprising."
"Please Arthur, you have to listen to me."
"Use your magic.  Do it!"

"I can't believe you'd say that"  ?...to Mordred.
"Your secret is safe with me. You have my word."  Merlin to ...?
"Please, I mean you no harm."   Kara to ...?
"In your words, I hear the voice of Morgana."   Arthur to ...?
"She has always lived inside my heart."   Mordred to ...?
"I'd never let something like this ruin our friendship."   ?... to Mordred.
"Tell me you wouldn't do the same, for the woman you love."   Mordred to ...?
"We will leave Camelot and never return."   Mordred to ...?
"How will one more death bring about the peace we long for."   Merlin to ...?

"You will be taken from **** **** and ******."
"You would have killed me!"
"He is no different from his father."
"Do not stand in my way.  I don't want anyone to get hurt."
"It's nothing you haven't done yourself a hundred times before."
"If you ****** your ******, I will ***** **** ****."
"Your doom is near."
"It is you and Camelot who shall pay the price."
"You're a druid, you don't belong in Camelot."
"I've made a terrible mistake, haven't I?"


---------oooo0000OOOO0000oooo------------
 
A Mordred-centric episode with a series-best performance from the fantastic Alexander Vlahos.
Episode is big on druids, crucial turning point on both a grand & personal scale.
An episode that has you questioning who's the real villain...Even Merlin comes across a little cold at times.  Prepare to have your sympathies divided, we didn't always side with Merlin this week.  Merlin is openly antagonistic towwards Mordred, not just untrusting.  He's almost the aggressor at times, and there are flashes of Merlin's ruthless streak as well as his compassion, as events spiral out of control.  Gaius calls Merlin on his actions and questions whether Mordred is committing any worse crime than the young wizard has done himself on countless occasions.
Allegiances & loyalties shift and bend in many surprising ways. You may think you see where things are heading but the route there may not be the one you expect.
Telepathic speech is used a lot in this one.
Merlin compares himself to a swan; Arthur compares him to a head louse.
Will Arthur be doomed by his own actions?
This episode is not a barrel of laughs.  Nor is there a lot of action, or magic. One of the most dialogue-driven eps ever. Full of tension, shocks and drama.  Not an episode for the children.
Emphasis on the politics of war.
Some big questions are asked.
A head will roll.
Many people have to consider the consequences of their actions. Or their inactions. Or their slavish adherence to beliefs.
Much will be made of tracking skills.
Someone will help themselves to Gaius' supplies.
Someone will try to pass off a girl as a deer.
Merlin catches something.
Not a lot of Gwen.  Or the Knights.
Morgana receives some very exciting news.
Arthur has a 'Bear Grylls' moment.
Merlin realises his horse may have been a bit high.
There will be more hooded noctural wanderings from Camelot.
Someone will soil their own breeches and someone else's.
Someone gets a bump on the head in the nick of time.
A timely punch is delivered.

There's an emotional outburst that causes huge ripples.


The last line is a cracker, with knobs on.  /  The final line is a  killer!  [Ed : that's their exclamation mark]  / The final scene will leave Merlin fans across the land with jaws agape.


Trailer Teaser : "NOOOOOOOO!!"


The bits I've put in bold?  My worry points.  I get that Merlin has inside info on Mordred, but I'm pretty tired of him being the one shepherding both Mordred & Arthur towards the dreaded Camlann.  I get that Merlin has to be ruthless - just read some of the source material - but it's being written so OOC, with thought only to moving us towards the confrontation between Arthur & Mordred.  Merlin is the huge honking Deus Ex Machina - literally, because the Old Religion folk keep telling him what to do and who to trust, and his consequent actions are almost entirely responsible for where we've landed, and not in a good way.

That final jaw-dropping scene?  I'm guessing an Arthur & Merlin confrontation, and not leading to a nice place.


One final note, at this point - the description from the BBC for the final episode says :

'...Merlin faces his moment of destiny.  Can he find the strength to save the man he made a King; the Camelot they fought to build; and the brotherhood they shared?'

If I'm wearing my Rose Tinted Specs, I take from this the following :
  • This IS the time of Merlin's destiny - not some spurious time in the (modern) future.  So if he doesn't succeed in this instance, regardless of the 'Future' aspect of the OAFK legend, he's failed.  Which would suck big time as a wrap on this show.
  • I find it hard to believe that either the BBC or the writer/producers of this show would feel they were successful in all they wished to achieve, if the answer to the 3 questions above is 'no'.  No, he can't find the strength to save the King.  No, he can't save Camelot.  No, he can't save the brotherhood they shared (though I have to ask what brotherhood they're talking about - since we're still getting a King/manservant relationship albeit slightly more relaxed than most).  So if the answer is a big fat 'no', then Merlin as a character has failed, and 'Merlin' as a show has failed, because it's a depressing tale to show your children - try, try, try your hardest in life, but you'll most likely fail.
Nah, I can't believe the Beeb would want that sort of ending for a successful Saturday evening family show, but I've been wrong before.

I'm just an invested viewer, what do I know.


Side note : I understand 'disposable income' is a key part of the demographics that production companies consider when targetting audiences, cos they're all about the merchandise nowadays.  Well, me and my disposble income were all ready to invest in the full dvd sets (for me) and some other items for nieces and nephews.  That's all on hold now, folks.  If I don't get an ending that I find substantially satisfying, my hard-earned money will be spent in Middle Earth or the 23rd Century.  I won't need any painful reminders of what 'could have been'.

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