Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
19

Cult Recap

'Merlin': New episode 'Diamond of the Day (Part 1)' review

By
Merlin S05E12: Ari (PETER GUINNESS)

© BBC / Shine

Season 5, episode 12 | Aired Saturday, Dec 22 2012 at 19:55 GMT on BBC One

Last week's Merlin ended on a dramatic high note as Morgana (Katie McGrath) finally learnt the truth - her mysterious nemesis Emrys is actually her former friend Merlin (Colin Morgan). Now fully in possession of the facts, the saucy sorceress is more ruthless than ever - she cruelly robs the powerful warlock Ari (Peter Guinness) of his magic and has a similar fate planned for Merlin…

Larks abound for the unwitting wizard and Arthur (Bradley James) - who banter and bicker over a game of dice - but it's a safe bet that the jollity will be short-lived. That night, Morgana's creature - a beast from the time of the Old Religion - strikes, in a sequence that'll have the little 'uns diving behind the sofa…

Merlin survives the attack, but his great gifts have vanished and he now has the joint threat of Morgana and Mordred (Alexander Vlahos) to contend with. Fans have waited a long time to see this particular villainous pairing in action and it's been worth the wait - Katie McGrath and Alexander Vlahos have a wonderful chemistry.

Merlin S05E12: Morgana (KATIE McGRATH)

© BBC / Shine



Arthur's knights have lurked in the background for much of this series, but with Camelot under siege from the terrible twosome, all the king's men play a larger role this week, with Tom Hopper, Rupert Young and in particular Eion Macken getting more screen time.

Gwaine's new romance had us fearing that the character's time was up, like a character in a war movie who must jet off on "one last mission" before he can return home and marry his sweetheart...

It certainly doesn't bode well when it's revealed that his paramour serves Morgana, and the writers play on our expectations, placing the noble knight in near-death situations more than once. We certainly wouldn't bet against him tragically snuffing it on Christmas Eve.

Merlin S05E13 (Final Episode): Gwaine (EOIN MACKEN), King Arthur Pendragon (Bradley James), Sir Leon (RUPERT YOUNG), Percival (TOM HOPPER), Merlin (COLIN MORGAN)

© BBC / Shine



Meanwhile, Arthur's quest to save his people appears to be leading the King to his own inevitable doom, as he journeys to the same kingdom where he is apparently destined to die. For once, Merlin cannot be at his friend and master's side, and the scene in which he informs the King of his decision is one of the episode's most powerful.

Here, Merlin fans are treated to another moment that we've literally been waiting years to see - Arthur finally acknowledging his respect for Merlin - and the dynamite duo of Bradley James and Colin Morgan do not disappoint; the scene bristles with unspoken feelings and emotion.

Merlin S05E11 - 'The Drawing of the Dark': King Arthur Pendragon (Bradley James)


'Diamond of the Day (Part One)' is packed full of fan-pleasing moments and nods to the show's past, as befits a series finale. Morgana's first confrontation with Merlin after discovering the truth about her foe is another such moment, and is laced with an added tension, since we know that, without his powers, our hero is hopelessly outmatched.

Trapped underground, a helpless Merlin despairs, until the spirit of Balinor appears, Obi-Wan style, to comfort his son. It's fantastic to see the character back for the first time since 2009's 'The Last Dragonlord' - though it's a pity that his return was spoiled by John Lynch's opening credit.

Merlin S05E13: Emrys (COLIN MORGAN)

© BBC / Shine



Merlin is able to remotely warn Arthur of Morgana's battle plans, and the King delivers a rousing speech to inspire his men before leading them into a truly epic battle, while Merlin ventures deep into the crystal cave to meet his destiny...

'Diamond of the Day (Part One)' is 43 minutes of intense, action-packed drama - there's not a single bad performance amongst the ensemble cast, who are each given a moment - however brief - to shine, and the writing is lent an extra emotional heft by the weight of all that has come before. We await part two - which promises the big reveal that we've all been waiting for - with eager anticipation… and a little sadness.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...