Only four episodes of Merlin to go! The hourglass runneth down for the boy wizard! Will Arthur ever discover his secret magical powers? And when the moment of revelation comes, will a love scene between them finally erupt?
That last one seems unlikely. However, I have seen Saturday's new Merlin episode, The Kindness of Strangers, and can confirm the end-game is definitely afoot. A few light teasers and review points to follow. (No plot spoilers, some discussion of broad direction.)
- If you've enjoyed this year's Merlin habit of bringing back old characters you can only vaguely remember, you will like this one too.
- And if you spend every series waiting for the few episodes where Gaius plays an major role, again, this is your moment!
- If you hated the Evil Gwen storyline of recent weeks (and I absolutely did), be grateful, for there is no mention of it here. At all. Which, I think, shows how much meaning it had in the scheme of things.
- In fact, if you like most aspects of Merlin, there should be a little nibble for you here. It's a broad calm-before-the-storm episode, which finally tugs on some threads which, frankly, needed a damn good tugging. Not all of these threads are the ones you might expect.
- And then, once it has tugged everyone (still not in a Merlin/Arthur way, sorry), The Kindness of Strangers sets us up for what could be a very exciting final three.
- Obviously, if the final weeks turn out to be awful, I'll look back on this as a cruel tease before ultimate disappointment, but for now, let's keep optimistic. The end is nigh!
This episode of Merlin airs Saturday, 7:55PM, on BBC One. More info on the BBC official Merlin site. Past episodes available on iPlayer. The Buddha is tolerant.