Merlin: Lancelot and Guinevere

“I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

William Blake

Yes, I do know that Merlin finished at Christmas, but as I was browsing through BBC iPlayer (as you do) I found an episode that I had not in fact seen before, since there was a whole series that I abandoned in despair at the awful CGI, enemies who conveniently attack one at a time, and general stupidity of main characters.

Anyway, the net result is a lot of backstory that I don’t know, and this episode seems to fill some of it in – the History (with a capital H) between Lancelot and Guinevere, which, as everyone knows, is integral to the old Arthur legends.

Lancelot and Guinevere sees Gwen captured by Mercian soldiers, standing in full view, I might add, in what is not so much an ambush as a case of gross negligence on the part of the knights of Camelot. Arthur rides off in heroic fashion to go and get her back, but Lancelot has already appeared at the Mercian court to help her. Tensions arise: who will Gwen choose?

From there the episode degenerates into a weird mix of Star Wars, The Princess Bride and slightly iffy scriptwriting.There’s a scene in which someone gets devoured by a monster in a manner similar to what happens in Jabba’s court in The Empire Strikes Back, except that the monster is suspiciously similar to those animatronic Rodents of Unusual Size from The Princess Bride. These monsters are supposedly blind, but Arthur still feels the need to extinguish his torch in order to hide from them. How on earth he survived until series 5 with brains like that I don’t know. God save England if he ever does come back.

But this episode did remind me of all the reasons I enjoyed watching Merlin: it’s funny, it’s sentimental, and very good for venting sarcasm.

On an unrelated, but patriotic note: today is the 87th birthday of Queen Elizabeth of England, so my Quote for the Day comes from William Blake’s “Jerusalem”. In case you were wondering.

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