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Merlin - The Sword in the Stone - Recap

Merlin (2008) poster

Written by : published Monday 19th December 2011

Merlin - The Sword in the Stone - Recap main image

Arthur readies for the feast of Beltane and Merlin puts notch in Arthur’s widening belt. Merlin jokes about the padding that comes with the job. Arthur’s vanity is suspended as his belt loops widen. Meanwhile Agrivain smokes out the gate guards and signals the torches in the darkness.

Agrivain lets the mercenaries in and sacks villages on the way to met Morgana and her army. In the dark, she watches Camelot aflame with Beltane festival fires.

Agrivain slips out for a meeting with Morgana. She has gathered a huge army in readiness. As Arthur’s men feast, Arthur looks for Gwen and misses her and then he remembers why. Morgana stares at Camelot and says “It’s time”.

The attack starts. Gawain rushes the banquet hall alerting Arthur and the court. Fighting is everywhere. Elian and Tor battle for the people. “How did they breach the gate” they wonder as they sound the alarm.

“Sire we are under attack. They are within the city walls.”

“Secure the armory” Arthur calls.
But under the city ... Morgana bursts Elian as he tries to kill Agrivain for being a traitor. She tells him they don’t have time to play soldiers. The city alarm bells ring. The lower town is lost.

Under the city, Arthur fights desperately against armed men. They cut him down and he is wounded Merlin grabs him just in time.

Merlin brings a wounded Arthur to the chambers. Gaius wonders how they got in and he says Merlin’s worst fears have been realized. Gawain leads the people to the woods. Merlin rushes off knowing he has to find Arthur.

Morgana is told that Camelot is hers. The mercenary says Arthur is within the palace with nowhere to run. But the people will not worship her as Queen.

Gaius tries to help Arthur’s wound. The knights try to get Arthur out. Gaius says what if he was to lose his will? Merlin mumbles a charm. Arthur then does whatever Merlin says. Sir Percival looks from Merlin to Gaius and grabs Arthur. They run away.

Gaius greets Morgana in a hollow victory. “Prepare the horses. We’re going on a hunt.”

She furiously turns away. She will be Camelot’s Queen or the people will suffer. “Burn their crops”. Helios, the mercenary, reports to her the progress of the battle.

In the forest, Merlin aims for beyond the white mountain. This is Lot’s kingdom. Merlin hears the rush of horses coming. Morgana uses her magic to overtake them. Merlin senses this.

He advises Elian and Percival to run. But Morgana uses her magic to blow them to the ground.

The screams of Camelot are everywhere but Gaius and Merlin determine that Arthur must flee . They lose Percival as they rush through the woods. Agrivain also pursues them. As they reach the craggy rocks Elian stays behind to guard their escape. In the flat woods they struggle on alone and Arthur blunders and Merlin follows him.

Merlin enjoys having Arthur at his beck and call. Arthur vows to think before he speaks and says he is entirely in Merlin’s hands. Merlin goggles at this role reversal. He takes Arthur’s gold. They meet smugglers in the woods.

Morgana uses the Nethaire, the asp snake on Elian and tortures him. The prisoner hear the screams. Arthur travels to Eldor. Morgana says that if she fails her again, he will be taking Elian’s place. She tells him to burn the crops until the people see their children starve.

In the cells, Gaius recognizes the Athaire serpent’s work on Elian and tries to heal him. Gaius and the other begin to starve.
Agrivain comes back to say goodbye and warns Morgana of danger at every turn. Not even Helios can be trusted. Agrivain says he is one true friend and ally. (He implies a deeper feeling). Morgana says that if he finds Arthur, he need never leave her side again.

Merlin and Arthur run into a woman and some players in the woods. The man, Tristan, is very cagey and tells Merlin to “watch where he sticks his beak”. Free trade is forbidden and the king could kill them for smuggling. Tristan and Isolde are their names.

Arthur stands by and Merlin claims he is a simpleton and Merlin says without him he wouldn’t last a day. Merlin begs their escort saying he needs the company. Arthur agrees and says “I’m very annoying”. Tristan is amused.

He offers gold in payment. Tristan and Isolde open their eyes wide. They have fortune in frankincense and are smugglers. They say they are too quick and too smart for the half-wit king in Camelot. Merlin ironically agrees. He gives “Arthur” a lesson in manners and Arthur says “Sorry to have been a disappointment and I will try harder in future”.

Agrivain tracks Merlin through the forest. Arthur gets coached by Merlin about his lack of manners. Arthur humbly says he will try harder in future. Arthur offers to rinse the dishes and rubs down he horses and trips over knots of roots in the dark. Merlin laughs.

Agrivain hunts them with torch laden soldiers. Next day Arthur come to his senses and Arthur figures out how bad things are. Merlin informs Arthur they are traveling with smugglers.
“Hopefully the knights will meet us there”. Merlin explains the disguise.

But Tristan notices Excalibur as Arthur wields it. Tristan asks Merlin what is it. He says he won it in a card game. Arthur drolly plays along. Arthur hefts Excalibur and attracts the smuggler’s attention.

Tristan admires the sword. He says the sword could only come from the Royal Camelot forge. . Merlin says the sword comforts him. He says that the Knights of Camelot would be stupid but not that stupid.

Agrivain’s men attack. Arrows fly. The woman Isolde is threatened and Arthur saves her but she is injured. They haven’t found the cargo and Tristan knows they were after Arthur and he demands to know who he is. Tristan says he won’t die for some good-for-nothing king.

Arthur says the taxes go to protect the kingdom. They argue about taxes and smuggling ethics while Merlin directs their attention to oncoming soldiers. Isolde smiles at Tristan at getting hurt. Tristan and Isolde say they have a ”deal for life”. Arthur says she needs shelter and rest. Tristan says he is choosy about the company he keeps. Arthur promises help.

In Camelot, Morgana surveys her captives. The knights are proud and starving. In the cells, Gaius asks Morgana has she come to gloat. She says is that any way to treat an old friend. Morgana teases them that the kitchen will prepare them a feast. She says that they killed so many of her men they owe her. Morgana picks Gawain to fight for food.

Gawain answers her taunts and says he thinks of Gaius and his survival. Morgana says he can eat if Gawain will sing for his supper in front of the knights. Gawain’s renowned prowess makes him a popular target. He puts on a show. Morgana slyly taunts him.

After Gawain fights a brutal battle he gets thrown a crust of bread on the floor. Morgana enjoys the spectacle and Helios’ men are entertained.

Arthur reaches the valley leading to Lot’s land of Eldor. The trip is lengthy. They stop at a familiar village. Merlin sees his mother and she says welcome home. Merlin smiles.

Merlin works on Isolde’s wound. He bids Tristan goodbye. Arthur apologizes to Tristan, who has lost his cargo but still has his beloved Isolde. (Merlin’s lessons have not been lost). Arthur says he is richer than he knows.

Arthur muses over Agrivain’s betrayal. He observes Merlin was right (as did Gaius). Merlin assures Arthur the people believe in him. Arthur vows to try to regain Camelot.

As Merlin gets a lecture from his mother and argues how safe they are, Agrivain surrounds he village and readies an attack. “No one must escape”.

Merlin’s mother worries about the danger he faces. Arthur wakes from his resting to find Guinevere tending his body. (Merlin’s mother has taken her in). She says she has missed him and he says he has too (as harp music plays).

Agrivain makes his move. Screams rise from the trees as the horsemen from Agrivain’s troops approach. Merlin manipulates trees and fire to hide their escape from Agrivain. He spots them escaping into the woods, as Gwen helps Arthur run off. Tristan and a wounded Isolde run off with them.

flash-forward: the sword in the stone, Agrivain discovering Merlin’s magic, the dragon, and Morgana fighting Gwen at swordplay.

About the author tvqueen


I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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