Merlin: Feature: A Fan’s Guide to Having Their Heart Broken

Or… How to Prepare For Tears & Devastation On Christmas Eve

merlin_series_5_1There has been a lot of speculation and disquiet (to put it mildly) on the internet regarding the direction taken in this final season of Merlin, some of which can be read in the comments on our reviews. We asked one of these fans, Rose LaChance, to put their side of the argument.

It should be noted that this speculation is based completely on information that is currently in the public domain; neither Rose nor anyone at Sci-Fi Bulletin has yet seen the final episodes…



We’re down to it now, the last two episodes of Merlin and the end of an era. I’ve been fascinated in the last week or so by the fever pitch of fan discussion, no doubt about to reach a crescendo on Christmas Eve.

What to expect?

Well, I imagine that the sofa set – those who don’t go online and discuss and dissect the show within an inch of its life, and don’t even know what the word “spoiler” means – will be thinking they’ll see a resolution, finally, of secrets and lies between friends, a dramatic magic reveal, maybe some humour from Old Emrys, a helping hand (wing) from Kilgarrah, an epic, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth save on the battlefield, (heavy on the CGI!), and another close but definite victory over Morgana for Arthur.

Perhaps there will be some angst – but not too much – from Arthur about Merlin not having told him about his magic before then, but that will be settled and the last scenes might be a proud, dignified Merlin seated at the right hand of Arthur at the Round Table, wearing new, finer clothes, and beginning his rightful role of Court Sorcerer and trusted adviser and friend as Arthur ushers in Camelot’s Golden Age and unites all of Albion. King Arthur, the Once and Future King – is it no wonder he is remembered for all time?


I so wish I lived in the casual fan’s world. On the other hand, it’s they who will be comforting crying youngsters when they should be celebrating the most magical night of the year. (And seriously, what is the BBC thinking, scheduling this depress-o-rama on Christmas Eve?)

At least the more hardcore fans are braced and know, more or less, what’s coming and what to expect. I, for one, won’t be letting my kids near the BBC until after Christmas.

Here’s what one watching Merlin on the 22nd and 24th might realistically expect, based on equal parts spoilers and speculation:

* Merlin being trapped in the crystal cave by Morgana and Mordred, his magic stolen from him

* Sir Gwaine being (nearly) duped by an agent of Morgana named Eira, who is hanged by Queen Mary Sue, I mean, Gwen.

* Aithusa forging a sword with her breath for Morgana, so that Morgana also has the equivalent of Excalibur

* A tearful, touching farewell, complete with violins and backlit kiss, between king and queen.

* Arthur riding into battle against the Saxons (and Mordred and Morgana) without Merlin to protect him.

* Merlin managing to escape the cave by sacrificing his youth and finding himself eternal.

* Kilgarrah helping Merlin one last time before the dragon dies.

* The knights – Leon, Gwaine, Percival – all falling in battle at Morgana’s hand.

* Old Merlin/Emrys confronting Morgana on the battlefield at Camlann (“Is this really what you wanted Morgana?”, just like in Morgana’s vision at the start of season 4), and Emrys defeating/killing Morgana.

* Old Merlin/Emrys witnessing Mordred’s fatal blow to Arthur, but arriving too late to stop it. Arthur falls…

* Old Emrys tries to save Arthur. At the last moment, he tells Arthur who he is and that he has had magic all along…

* Arthur dies.

* Merlin’s cries of anguish echo throughout the five kingdoms. There is no Albion. Arthur’s “Golden Age” lasted three years, and he accomplished absolutely nothing.

* All of Merlin’s efforts, his loneliness, grief, lack of recognition, lies and secrets, and desperate attempts to keep Arthur safe and help and influence him to be the king he was meant to be, have failed. It has all been for nothing.

* Weeping Queen Gwen sees to King Arthur’s funerary boat. Merlin is nowhere to be found…

Last scene of what used to be a “feel good” type of show: Immortal Old Emrys walks slowly along the same road he entered Camelot on as an innocent, naive, hopeful teenaged boy, all those many centuries – eons – ago. A modern-day lorry passes him. He awaits the re-awakening of his king. The Once and Future King.

Personally I think the BBC should have grief counsellors standing by. My own reaction isn’t even sadness, but weary resignation. Shine seems to think such a meaningless, tragic ending, trumpeted since season 3’s The Crystal Cave, to be “dark” and sophisticated and mature, and no doubt they’re breaking their own arms from patting themselves on the back. I think it’s pointless. They won’t be getting any flowers of congratulations from me. I won’t be buying the DVDs, and I won’t be encouraging my international friends to watch this season. I already feel emotionally manipulated and jerked around; all that’s left is regret that I ever began watching this show and emotionally investing in it.

Do you agree? Let us know below:

Now read Rose’s comments after seeing the episodes…


53 thoughts on “Merlin: Feature: A Fan’s Guide to Having Their Heart Broken

  1. Absolutely agree with everything Rose has said, with bells on! Unless it’s proven that Shine have been trolling us all (a la Joss or JJ) for the whole of this season, I fully expect the worst come Christmas Eve. I wouldn’t mind half so much, if they’d at least have given us an off-screen Golden Age with Merlin already revealed & accepted (the gap between S4 & S5), but no… They throw most of the threads of the legend either out the window or re-plait them to their own devices, but this…*this* they keep intact.

    The change in tone from previous seasons to this one has been abrupt, whatever Shine might say. I’m all for dark and angst-laden (in the right show, at the right time), but this was effectively a jump-cut so the producers could romp towards Camlann. It could have been possible to arrive at the same denouement but with a better pacing in the story arc across seasons 4 & 5 – and still give the viewers a heart-wrenching ending (seriously, Arthur’s death, Merlin permanently old!Merlin, Knights dying – any of this will bring the tears, irrespective of how you get there). I fear TPTB have left many viewers behind with their handling of this – my nieces and nephews are not happy at all.

    This last series has been like watching a slow motion car crash – you really don’t want to watch it, but you can’t take your eyes off it, till the bitter bitter end. I suppose it achieved the desired result then – keeping the viewers tuning in. It’s just not the way I’d like to remember the show. Sigh.

    Posted by Khaireddin | December 17, 2012, 4:43 pm
  2. I haven’t seen the final two episodes either nor do I have Johnny Capps on speed dial.

    However, Rose’s account on some things are not correct, e.g. “* Weeping Queen Gwen sees to King Arthur’s funerary boat. Merlin is nowhere to be found…”

    It’s going to be a five-hankie and two boxes of chocolates ending, but it’s not the apocalypse.

    Posted by Victoria | December 17, 2012, 5:02 pm
  3. I painfully agree with every word… 😦

    Posted by Nina K. | December 17, 2012, 5:32 pm
  4. I wonder how many people will use this as a checklist…

    Posted by PS | December 17, 2012, 5:34 pm
  5. I’m really glad I read this. I feel that I need the emotional cushion after purposely avoiding reading anything about the upcoming series end. I have religiously followed this show since the beginning and have watched episode after episode where they purposely skate over many real issues and human reactions for the sake of a family friendly show. That was all well and good as it created a show with an overall positive happy outlook. Yeah people died and there hardly been anyone but a one dimensional villain but as long as Arthur and Merlin are friends then all is good.
    We’ve all looked forward to the promised magic reveal- where Merlin (and the rest of the magical folk) can finally live unpersecuted. Although Arthur will take some time to process his best friend being magical (who wouldn’t, it is a bit of a shock) he will accept Merlin and legalise magic and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that although the show is ending- Camelot and the round table will continue to have brilliant magical adventures and live happily ever after…

    To have the likelihood of this (most obvious and satisfying) implied ending of the show slowly pulled from us dedicated fans over the course of season 5 has been quite frankly completely unnecessary! I’m not saying that season 5 hadn’t been gripping, with some of the best story telling (arguably earlier seasons could have benefitted from some of this darker serious tone) but the thought that all the issues between Merlin and Arthur are going to be swept under the carpet and Arthur may even die before fulfilling anything would be a shocking and unjust end to the whole thing.
    I personally feel that we are being sold short and can’t understand the thought processes behind what is are happening here. Now with only 2 episodes left, it is becoming increasingly clear that the end is nigh.
    Surely to give a satisfactory conclusion to the show would reward the many millions of viewers that have tuned in to this over the years.
    The vague mention of a film (or three) does should not placate anyone who expects better of the show.
    Personally, I will tune in on the 22nd and 24th, if only to commiserate the improper and unresolved end of such a great show. RIP Merlin.

    Posted by Lindsay | December 17, 2012, 5:46 pm
  6. This sums up the fellings of the whole fandom perfectly.
    I feel cheated, disappointed, angry and very very sad.
    I just hope TPTB never come near a tv ever again.

    Posted by Elopso | December 17, 2012, 5:52 pm
  7. It describes everything I have feared for. Just like Rose her kids I won’t be going near Merlin untill after christmas merely because I FEAR the last episode. I cannot bear to see so much sadness in darkness in a time where fantasy is supposed to offer comfort and happy feels, which Merlin started with. To end in such darkness is simply a waste I was planning to buy the dvd box sets, but now I don’t think I will anymore. I wish I had never started watching this season and had ended with the magical sword in the stone. That would have been a worthier ending to the series than this drama.

    Posted by chibichiii | December 17, 2012, 9:32 pm
    • Can I just remind everyone again that this is not a statement of what is in the episode – only what may be…!

      Posted by PS | December 17, 2012, 9:57 pm
      • While that is true, a lot of what is listed was filmed (the Eira storyline was filmed at Pierrefonds) or is in the trailers (old Merlin, Aithusa forging a new sword, Merlin losing his magic, Merlin getting trapped in the cave, Arthur at Camlann) or confirmed by outside sources (modern day Merlin, a magical reveal between Merlin and Arthur). In fact most of it is out there for all to see – with the exceptions of Merlin giving his youth away/ becoming old eternal Merlin and Gwen seeing to Arthur’s funeral boat. It’s more than enough to break my heart.

        Posted by archaeologist_d | December 17, 2012, 10:39 pm
    • Yes, the sword in the stone would have been the perfect ending — uplifting, hopeful and looking to the future. I also cannot imagine what TPTB were thinking if this is where the series is going to end — on such a dark and depressing note. I can only hope that we are all being duped into thinking that this bleak ending is for real, when in fact the real ending is completely DIFFERENT (though not holding out much hope….) as all the cast members speak so highly of the last episode.

      It will be a sad Christmas if this is all true.

      Posted by snowcat60 | December 18, 2012, 2:55 am
      • I disagree. I didn’t like the “Sword in the stone” episode (end of series 4) because it didn’t give to Merlin (the title character and hero of the show) a proper ending. He didn’t reveal his magic and he was still the unrespected servant. The end of series 4 was so bad. I want the finale of series 5 and of the whole show to give to Merlin what he deserves to get since so many years: the rewards he should have get in series 3 and 4 already. It’s time Merlin is recognized for who he really is and rewarded.

        Posted by Merlin Watcher | December 18, 2012, 1:51 pm
        • I just meant that Arthur assuming his kingship with confidence — and with Merlin by his side AND with a magic reveal, would have been a much better ending than playing the legend to its dismal end with Arthur’s death. This is just so depressing. I would have rather been led to IMAGINE Camelot’s golden era in the future. I can’t imagine why the cast would say the finale is amazing and we fans will not be disappointed. I am in denial, I so hope we are all wrong.

          Posted by snowcat60 | December 18, 2012, 2:33 pm
        • I agree with you. 4×13 was the worse ending up till now. 5×13 will probably surpass it. Merlin deserves so much. He needs recognition, he needs to become the Merlin of legends.
          I don’t expect something like this was ever in the plans of tptb, though.
          I remember discussing something about Merlin needing to get the recognition he deserves in a forum a few weeks ago and someone who sounded very much like on the inside tried to convince me that that wasn’t what the show was about. That “Merlin” was actually about Arthur the hero and that Merlin’s character was just the morals of the show, too limited by he’s own nature to ever be anything else. He’d also added that I shouldn’t worry, Colin Morgan gave a great performance anyway. I remember going crazy when I first read that. So Merlin was LIMITED as the titular character from having ANY character development? At that time I thought that person had been a troll, but now I think he was legid. I can’t help but assume that the people involved with the Merlin production are all out of touch with their own show, have been for a while now.

          I feel cheated and disappointed by s5. I never by dvds but I’ve always said that I would buy the season with the magic reveal. There is no chance to do that now.
          Most of all I am angered that tptb think of people like us as the “purists” who are disappointed for not seeing the entire “Arthurian Golden Age”. If someone has an obsession with Arthurian legend it is them. I’m sure that most of us fans wouldn’t mind an ending with Arthur surving Camlann and killing Mordred. That’s the opposite of Arthurian legends actually. So who’s the purist now, Julian?

          Posted by mpamies | December 18, 2012, 3:15 pm
  8. We were promised so much: a golden Age, Merlin accepted and honored with a place at Arthur’s side (after some time to have Arthur come around to the notion that Merlin had magic), Arthur as the greatest king Albion had ever seen, a united Albion. Over and over again Merlin and the druids and the dragon all talked about how wonderful it would be – even in series 5, even in the last few episodes. Apparently we are getting none of this. Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

    I can’t tell you how upset and cheated I feel about it. It was if the producers pulled a fast one, smiling the whole time. They’d said they had a 5 year plan and this is it? They may think it’s dark and epic and a satisfying ending but I don’t agree. And if this really comes to pass, I’m never watching anything they produce ever again.

    Posted by archaeologist_d | December 17, 2012, 9:37 pm
    • THIS! So much this. *sigh* I had been relunctant to watch Merlin – didn’t until the second season had aired – but it was so fun and light and held so much promise. And now we’re faced with this. An ending that doesn’t follow through on ANYTHING. This incarnation of Arthur and Merlin are not in any way, shape or form, worthy of legends. It is heartbreaking to give so many years to a show only to have the writers show how very little they think of their own creations to give them such a horrid ending. 😦

      Posted by JD | December 18, 2012, 6:28 pm
  9. To PS- I hope you are right and it is all a big joke and actually the magical ending does happen- or better yet they change their mind and have another series where they can properly explore the magic reveal/return to the land!
    Would be interesting to know if the actor’s decision to not continue with season 6 (if that was an option) was before or after they read the scripts for season 5?

    Posted by Lindsay | December 17, 2012, 10:30 pm
    • According to James and Morgan, they were asked by Shine about their willingness to continue with a season 6 at the end of season 3, and declined. Remember Morgana’s vision at the beginning of season 4, “Emrys, help me!” “Is this what you wanted Morgana?” They’ve known at least since then!

      I don’t think this article is a joke–merely one fans’ opinion, based on spoilers and speculation, of what is likely to happen.

      Posted by Hesperia | December 17, 2012, 10:49 pm
      • It’s definitely not a joke – it was commissioned and requested from Rose as an expression of that viewpoint.

        Posted by PS | December 18, 2012, 6:54 am
      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest that the article was a joke (t definitely is not and is very well written too!) merely that I wish the producers were joking/misleading us in regards to the series end- a wish that is looking increasingly unlikely (to my dismay!).

        Posted by Lindsay | December 18, 2012, 9:56 am
      • This is interesting. Where did you find this info? If they have known that long, it obviously WAS the casts decision to call it a day after season 5. Well, good on them. They are all young with brilliant prospects. I cannot wait to see Colin in other roles!

        Posted by Nimueh123 | December 18, 2012, 12:01 pm
        • I’m still watching Merlin and will watch Merlin till the end because I want to see Colin Morgan. Merlin’s story is so depressing that I only watch for the lead actor and only to see him as the magical Merlin. Nothing else matters to me now in this show.

          Posted by Merlin Watcher | December 18, 2012, 2:03 pm
      • At the end of season 3 the actors were all riding high on their popularity — I’m sure they thought that 2 more years of Merlin was enough. I know they are all anxious to move onto other projects. I only hope they can surpass what they have done here on Merlin. They have my utmost respect and best wishes for a very bright future.

        Posted by snowcat60 | December 18, 2012, 2:38 pm
    • Given the way television works I can’t believe they’d have seen the scripts for series 5 at that point – they’d probably know the plot outline but if there were discussions about 6, presumably certain events would have been held back

      Posted by PS | December 18, 2012, 6:53 am
      • There were hints of where we are at now from all the way back in season 3. I doubt very much that the actors based their decision not to renew their contracts without having a pretty good idea of what was to come. It’s obvious that we wouldn’t have the story line we do now if they’d said they wanted to continue with the series.

        Posted by Hesperia | December 18, 2012, 9:18 am
        • I certainly agree that we wouldn’t have this storyline now if there had been a series six, based on what the producers said at the launch – it would have come then. But either way, this is their endgame.

          Posted by PS | December 18, 2012, 9:25 am
  10. While I’m quite aware that this is speculation and no one has seen the actual final episodes yet, I am convinced that the series will play out very close to this, with only minor details different. It’s a shame. The show runners went for the vanity ending with no care for the fans who’ve stuck with them for five seasons, and certainly no care for the younger members of the audience who’ve loved Merlin over that time. And any excuse amounting to “It’s the legends!” doesn’t hold water. They’ve turned the legends upside down and cockeyed when it suited their agenda.

    So rather than giving fans a hopeful, satisfactory ending, they give them one of despair. Why not let the kids know that Santa Claus is dead too, while they’re at it?

    Posted by Hesperia | December 17, 2012, 10:46 pm
    • Yeah!!! I wonder what suddenly happened to the notion of a ‘family show’. I have enjoyed the ‘darker’ feel of the show and it has given Colin and Bradley a platform to show that they have grown up, too. But now we are going ‘dark black’! I know it is too soon to complain, seeing is believing – as they say. However I also agree that Rose’s list does not seem to be that far off what ‘will come to pass’.

      Posted by Nimueh123 | December 18, 2012, 12:06 pm
  11. I think this will be very close to what actually happens which is why I will not be watching the last two episodes of Merlin. I think the creators have written the end that suits them and fulfills THEIR wants not those of their loyal fans. I am desperately unhappy about what they will probably do. For me the series ended with Dolma, which leaves me with a smile on my face. Thanks for nothing Julian.

    Posted by Andrea | December 17, 2012, 10:50 pm
  12. I’m so disappointed with the way this season has gone. Are we supposed to enjoy seeing how Merlin and Arthur completely failed? I simply can’t understand the writers’ logic (if they have any) in creating an ending that they must surely realise the majority of the audience will hate. To be honest, if I had known that the story lines in this show would never actually go anywhere and that the writers would try to cram everything into the last few minutes then I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching the show back in 2008. Even Morgana finding out Emrys’ true identity was a disappointment… all that build-up and all we got was a five-second reaction. I’m sure it will be the same when (or rather if) Arthur finds out. The actors are all terrific and deserve better than the poor story lines and non-existent character development they were given. I hope they at least go on to have very successful careers. Also, Christmas Eve is not a good time to be showing such a depressing final episode, I’m not exactly one of those people who will be crying into my eggnog but it will be a bit of a downer… I think I’ll watch episode 13 on BBC iPlayer instead.

    Posted by Lucy | December 18, 2012, 1:36 am
  13. I used to give the producers a lot of credit because they are the one’s who came up with the idea for the show. Whenever they were smug in interviews, I felt that, although I didn’t like the tone, they were the creators and had a right to be proud. The show, after all, was fun, with a great cast and a beautiful castle they filmed at.

    Over the last few years, I have come to believe those who created this show have lost sight of their original premise. It was to be a ‘family show’, and I accepted it as such. Then season/series 4 came along. The first half was more adult, which I preferred, but still had some of the charm found in earlier seasons/series. The story was moving along, characters were mostly consistent in their thoughts and behaviors. Although the ‘traitor in the castle under Arthur’s nose’ was a complete retelling of season/series 3, and although it was a bit annoying, it was still enjoyable to watch. We still had no reveal, but in my mind, it was early days yet. The second half of season/series 4 completely derailed from the first half. It was as if the producers/writers had completely forgotten where they were going. Instead of being the King of legend, the character Arthur became foolish, rash, petulant, and overall rather disappointing. Merlin the character became stiff and somewhat cross. The dialog between Merlin and Arthur was mean spirited, not the fun ‘banter’ that was/is the staple of the show. It was as though the season/series 4 was written by two sets of writers, each not communicating to the other the choices made in storylines and characterizations. By the end of s4, I had some serious doubts about s5.

    Because I’ve followed the show as a serious fan, I was aware the original plan was a five year arc. I was hoping for a season/series 6, but wasn’t expecting it. Now, after watching what we’ve been given this year, it’s no wonder some of the actors chose not to renew their contracts. Unfortunately, my doubts about s5 were not unfounded. This season/series has been an absolute trainwreck. From episode one I realized the extent to which the producers/writers would go to ignore their original storylines/premise in order to fit the weekly plot. In episode 2, when Merlin told Mordred “If Arthur knew you had magic, things would be different” I just about turned off the TV. The reason Arthur saved Mordred and defied his father in s1 WAS BECAUSE HE HAD MAGIC. And now Arthur doesn’t remember? I would have even accepted this as almost 10 years had passed in Camelot time, except for the fact Mordred reminded Arthur of their prior meeting. The Mordred story has been woven into this show as a MAJOR storyline throughout all the previous season/series, and now the producers simply backtracked on it out of convenience, either because they were too lazy to bother with coming up with a plausible way to get Mordred into the castle, or because they simply don’t have the imagination required to follow through on what was an excellent, long standing story.

    I have lost all respect for the men at Shine. For some reason they feel the very tired trope of ‘unsung hero’ is just fantastic and seem very proud of themselves for continuing this to the bitter end. They also seem very pleased they did not bow to pressure to have a proper reveal, and by doing so, have angered fans to the point of distraction; to the point the ‘family show’ crowd don’t want their children watching the last episode on Christmas Eve for fear of heartache and tears because the little ones just want Merlin to be happy.

    The producers have always told us they couldn’t do certain stories from the Arthurian legends because they were too adult and the show was, after all, for kids. They seem to want it both ways; an adult show AND a kids show. I can’t decide, but either way, they have failed MISERABLY at both.

    Instead of “Merlin” going down in the books as one of the most celebrated shows, it will be forever remembered as the Disaster of Christmas Eve 2012.

    Posted by adrienne5413 | December 18, 2012, 1:39 am
  14. You’ve got to respect Sci Fi Bulletin for commissioning this piece and actually listening to what so many fans are feeling. All I’ve seen in other sites like DS and Cultbox are previews gleefully looking forward to carnage and Armageddon as long as its entertaining and the CGI is good. Totally out of touch. At least this site has listened. Good on you PS. And thank you Rosean for expressing what so many of us are feeling right now about the producers ego-led determination to finish the show as they seem certain to do.

    Posted by Seb | December 18, 2012, 7:58 am
  15. It would be good to watch the last 2 episodes of the show with ZERO expectations!Then only would I be able to celebrate the show that has made some/most? of us happy throughout the 5 years of it’s life.Each one’s expectations of a wonderful ending must surely be different for we all react and respond differently to certain given situations.What someone else perceives as an ending worth celebrating may not be something another would consider a welcomed ending.So what would be my idea of a perfect ‘send-off’ for a show,it’s cast and crew is to hope that all is well that ends well for we will NEVER see it being filmed in Pierrefonds,France or in the set in Cardiff ever again!I have always loved the show with it’s good and bad points because it gave me something back-fun.laughter and joy!I hope you would have fond memories of the show as I know I certainly would.

    In a nutshell,I do not wish to react prematurely in the negative without seeing the ‘end-product’ 🙂

    Posted by Puhana Sundrampillay | December 18, 2012, 9:24 am
  16. The exec producers sat down at comiccon and made promises of great story lines, character development and talks of a further series or movies. They have delivered none of these. Is it any wonder fans feel cheated. They told us merlin was all powerful (more than Morgana) and respected. Where is this evident. Merlin has had no character development whatsoever (regardless of magic reveal or not) they have kept him a fool and are now making him impotent without magic.
    We have had inconsistent story lines with unforgivable plot holes. Stories sacrificed for the sake of silly gags. I don’t blame the actors for not wanting to continue. We will follow their careers with interest. The same cannot be said for TPTB

    Posted by Elissa | December 18, 2012, 9:26 am
    • ‘They told us Merlin was all powerful – more than Morgana’ Not for once this season has Merlin beaten Morgana or even come near hurting her. She had the upper hand every single time. This has bugged me enormously because, as you say, Merlin was supposed to be the more powerful of the two.

      Posted by Nimueh123 | December 18, 2012, 10:45 am
  17. I won’t be getting my heart broken on Christmas Eve because I just don’t care enough any more. I’m starting to think that is probably a good thing. I’m also exceptionally glad that I won’t be watching this in the company of children who are invested in the show and the characters and have to deal with the emotional aftermath. There is a small (and shrinking) part of me that still hopes that the show runners can pull a blinder at the last minute and end on an upbeat and (as some of the actors have said) ‘satisfying’ note, but actually, I know already that I won’t be fully satisfied with it simply because of the fact that I’ve spent the last two years hoping that they would have the courage and the imagination to take their show in a different direction and actually take advantage of the incredibly rich choices of storytelling goodness that were available to them with the original premise that they set up in the first couple of seasons. They did not. They stuck with the tired old ‘it’s like Smallville, isn’t it great’ routine and as a direct result they have sucked out of the story line and the characters all of the original promise of the show and most of what attracted me to it in the first place. I’ve really only been sticking with it because I thoroughly admire the acting ensemble that they’ve put together. Having said that, since the characters have not developed at all in the last two years in any meaningful way, I’m looking forward to seeing them all in other projects. How can you have the final tragic ending of the Arthurian legends without having first presented Arthur and Merlin in all their legendary glory? Neither of these characters have got anywhere near their true potential – How can they become legends if they didn’t do anything legendary first? How can Arthur be remembered for being the great king of a golden age when all he’s been is the petulant son of a petty tyrant who didn’t do anything obvious to change the status quo? And a gullible and trusting fool to boot. How can the legend happen if there was never any base to build it on? It makes no sense.

    Posted by Magnolia | December 18, 2012, 9:54 am
  18. Thank you so much for this. I can hardly express how much I agree with everything that had been said, by Rose and by all the people who have commented.
    ‘I so wish I lived in the casual fan’s world’ This line sums it all up for me – I am so disappointed with season 5 and got so involved over the last two years – Like everyone here I feel thoroughly cheated. Cheated of so many things promised to us along the way – Albion, Merlin’s acknowledgement, Arthur and Merlin ruling a glorious Camelot.
    Now it is all gloom and doom and seems to end that way, too. Don’t get me wrong – I love Colin and Bradley and all the cast and think that they are outstanding, but the smug producers have definitely spoilt the end of Merlion for us.
    Your list of points is very impressive and – unfortunately – quite realistic. Christmas is the season of hope – well, the finale will not put us in the right mood for that. I am dreading watching, just like you, because I cannot see how this can end in a way we will feel happy about it.
    Cultbox have just posted an interview with Katie in which she insists we will be happy with the way Merlin ends. Others of the cast, Colin, Alex etc. have also hinted that the fans will be honoured. I was very hopeful about these comments to start with, but now I fear that this simply means that a reveal is going to happen.
    Thanks for voicing so well what so many of us are feeling.

    Posted by Nimueh123 | December 18, 2012, 10:42 am
  19. I so agree – S5 has been a traincrash – unrelentingly bleak since the scene with Julian Glover and the vision of Camlan. Like commentators above I am so sad that TPTB had promised the golden age but that has been snatched away in their determination to end the series in a ‘toys out of the pram’ mode ie that if they cannot carry on, then no one else will have the opportunity to write about the golden age of knights, quests and magic. I entirely accept the young actors need to move on but I am sure, like the recent fan video that exactly summed up how I felt about ‘Merlin’, they will look back and remember this show as ‘the time of their lives’.

    TPTB repeatedly talked about this being a ‘Smallville’ – ie a ‘before the were famous’ story which deluded fans into thinking the show would end with Arthur and a revealed and reconciled Merlin at his side at the round table. The show was unique in bringing happiness and hope – in no small measure because of the casting but also because of the early writing. Even the bleak stories – like the tremendous, in my view, ‘Last Dragon Lord’ pulled us in all directions but despite the tears, ended with a sense of hope. I particularly loved the Merlin/Gaius moments when the world was put to rights.

    Merlin was always essentially clever and kind, conflicted when he had to be cruel – as in poisoning Morgana. This season has lost his kindness and its wit. ‘Growing up’ does not mean being ruthless and distrustful and miserable if you are naturally a trusting, witty person and I feel both the old and the new writers should have rewatched S1 and S2 before putting pen to paper. Those early years will be my highlights. I have hated the relentlessly depressing, hopeless S5 but cannot tear myself away just because I care so much about lonely wretched Merlin and vulnerable caring Arthur. I hate them being dragged to their doom before their time and so wanted them to be happy and leave us with at least hope for an imagined golden age future before them in this Camelot – not Narnia style in an afterworld.

    This show’s unique inner core of happiness created by the core cast, especially Colin and Bradley felt like a beacon of hope in a dark world and I cannot forgive TPTB for so callously and so determinedly stamping it out.

    Posted by Bess | December 18, 2012, 10:58 am
    • ..I so agree with everything you.say I loved the show for its humor and optimism — its good over evil. I don’t like the dark turn it has taken this year. I don’t need another “reality” show. I want to be entertained, I want to laugh, I want to love the characters even with their flaws. And I WANT A HAPPY ENDING!

      Posted by snowcat60 | December 18, 2012, 2:45 pm
  20. OK, as promised, I won’t be answering points from hereon in, having just watched episode 12. Review of that will be up later on today.

    Posted by PS | December 18, 2012, 1:23 pm
  21. i never write this comments but Merlin ,oh Merlin .its like Moses getting the Israelite out of Egypt,telling them how they were chosen people and how they had this land flowing with milk and the Israelite spent 40 years in the wilderness losing their friend and family ,starving,dying from plagues (all the character fans loved Lancelot, Merlin dad etc)they held on to hope because their was a land flowing with honey they were promised,so can you imagine how it feels to get there and there is nothing that was promised and all they have is misery for their troubles.we were promised Merlin and Arthur would bring a new age,magic would be accepted and those with magic will be able to practice freely and be respected ,we were willing to live with our hero Merlin living like a servant, sacrificing himself to save the day a million times with no recognition or thanks because it was all good one day we said ,one day Arthur would know what Merlin as done for him one day Merlin would be free to be himself one day he will be appreciated for his power but now we have gone through the wilderness and we are finally getting into canon but what do we here ,sorry but none of what we said is really going to happens hoops too bad.i wish i could go back in time .i feel cheated don’t even begin to cover it.i would have been OK with Arthur dying am not against angst ending but this could only fit if Albion had been borne if they had achieved the golden age if Merlin had been able to bring magic back to camelot and united the kingdom ,yes i would have had no problem having Arthur die then.

    Posted by anyusa00e0 | December 18, 2012, 7:53 pm
  22. Please don’t hit me, and I haven’t read everything people wrote here yet… but as much as I enjoy Merlin with all its flaws and recognize that they are retelling their own version of the tale, I don’t quite understand why would anyone who knows a little bit about the Arthurian legend, in almost any of its versions, would expect a happy ending? It ends badly in every version. My only disappointment is that we didn’t get to see a good season or part of the season of Arthur/Merlin working together with Arthur knowing Merlin’s worth and getting a good amount of scenes of Arthur/Merlin/magic, but if there was ever a TV show you couldn’t expect to end well it’s this one…

    Posted by Shae | December 19, 2012, 11:38 pm
    • It ended badly in the legends AFTER Arthur had ruled a shining kingdom for twenty years, united Albion, and had become an incredibly wise, insightful, fair, resourceful and hugely accomplished king–not after three years of a vague, unseen “Golden Age”. The king we’ve seen on this show has done NOTHING that anyone would remember him for. (Tho he has shown potential) I think what has everyone so very disappointed is that none of the promises the show made for either Arthur or Merlin have been kept . In the legends, Arthur knew from the very beginning who Merlin was and that he was a sorcerer, and magic was not banned in Camelot. In the version of Arthurian legends we’ve been watching for five years, there is an incredible bond between Arthur and Merlin (one that would no doubt be quite different if Merlin had been an elderly adviser and mentor rather than the same age as Arthur and his servant), and most fans have been anticipating a change in that status, a period where Arthur found out that Merlin had magic, Merlin was instrumental in influencing Arthur in lifting the ban and stopping the persecution of all magic users, and Merlin finally being appreciated for all he’d done. Hell, there was so much potential material in a magic reveal and the fallout that the show could have spent an entire season based around just that. Personally, I too longed for and hoped for a moment when Merlin, no longer in the rags he’s been wearing for the past ten years, sat down beside Arthur as a respected, recognized, elevated adviser and close friend. I think I would have been able to accept the inevitable ending of Arthur’s fall at Camelot–or even the impending doom of it–if there had just been SOMETHING close to those two things. (Arthur becoming a legendary king and Merlin being recognized for all he’s done for him). As it is now, the amount of unkept promises and dangling story lines and promise of the show ending with everyone either dead, alone or grieving someone they loved is NOT what I signed up for and makes me wish I’d never gotten involved in the first place.

      Posted by Quinana | December 20, 2012, 8:34 am
  23. Sorry, that should be Arthur’s fall at Camlann, not Camelot.

    Posted by Quinana | December 20, 2012, 8:36 am
  24. Rose has agreed to send a further piece once she has seen the finale, which will be posted late on Christmas Eve

    Posted by PS | December 24, 2012, 7:40 am

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