Merlin: Review: Series 1 Ep 4: The Poisoned Chalice

Nimueh steps up her plans against Camelot…

Michelle Ryan’s Nimueh gets more to do this episode, although she still spends quite some time watching her CCTV font – the spell obviously has an editing package incorporated, neatly cutting between medium and wideshots! Her disguise in Camelot does the job, although her damsel in distress impersonation needs a bit of work.

The episode belongs firmly to Bradley James’ Arthur, who defies his father to seek the cure for the poison that is killing Merlin and gets caught up in more of Nimueh’s plotting. It makes a nice change to see a hero actually looking like he’s been exerting himself at the end of a battle with some CGI creatures.

Playing Uther Pendragon is giving Tony Head some great moments as well: the scene between him and Arthur in the cell is riveting. Shakespeare’s line from Henry IV, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” would seem to be a keynote for his performance – Head doesn’t allow Pendragon to look at the smaller details, but keep his focus firmly on the bigger picture. Like John Glover’s Lionel Luthor in Smallville, he could well end up being the most interesting character on the show.  7/10

Paul Simpson

<<< Episode 3: The Mark of Nimueh

Episode 5: Lancelot >>>

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