Sunday 28 October 2012

Review: Merlin 5.04 Another's Sorrow

Morgana is back at the forefront of this week's Merlin, concocting yet another nasty plan to edge ever closer to becoming Camelot's next ruler. She has teamed up with Odin, a character who has been mentioned in the past as someone that shouldn't be messed with. The two of them invade the kingdom of Nemeth, holding King Rodor hostage and sending his daughter, Princess Mithian (who you may remember from season four) along with Morgana in the guise of old lady Hilde into the heart of Camelot in order to coerce Arthur out into the trap waiting for him.

The first half of the episode is a slow burner, as Mithian attempts to escape from Morgana whilst in Camelot and Merlin slowly coming to the conclusion that all might not be right with Hilde and Mithian. Of course, the righteous king sets out with his knights to save King Rodor, not knowing the trap that awaits them when they get there. It's bizarre that Mithian is constantly trying to escape, considering Morgana tells her that her father will die if she doesn't co-operate. For most people that would be enough to go along with it, but maybe Mithian's a bit of a imbecile, although I'm fairly sure that's not what the writers were going for.

Magic has been put on the backburner this year, but this episode we see magic galore as Morgana, Merlin and even Gaius flex their sorcery chops with gusto. There are also some cracking fight scenes, especially when Arthur faces off in single combat against Odin, a battle that shows off some wonderful choreography and ends in an important scene that will have you choking down tears.

The usual comical banter between Arthur and Merlin has been mostly replaced with a mutual respect for one another, but it's not without playfulness. Unfortunately Guinevere is once again sidelined, only having one thing of importance to say before disappearing for the majority of the episode. She's a character that's in danger of being under-utilised in the series, so hopefully the writers pull it out of the bag for her in the next few episodes.

Another's Sorrow has a slow and, when you think about it, nonsensical plot, but it does have some great performances and heart-pounding fight scenes that almost makes up for its shortcomings. Not the strongest episode, but certainly not a waste of 40 minutes.


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