Merlin: Review: Series 1 Ep 7: The Gates of Avalon

When a bewitching sorceress arrives at Camelot, Arthur’s life is in danger…

Seven episodes in, and the formula is beginning to work well. There’s derring do for Arthur, a magical opponent for Merlin, some revelations about a key character (in this case, Morgana), an opportunity for Tony Head to be boorish, and some humour. And, even better, no sign of that damned dragon.

The series is handling the Arthurian iconography with some aplomb. Most people know something about The Lady in the Lake, even if they don’t know the ins and outs of the story, so Morgana’s dream, along with the ending of the episode, plays into it without giving away all of the episode’s twists and turns.

Kenneth Cranham seems to use two different voices for the part of Aulfric, which is a little disconcerting, and Holliday Grainger as Sophia is a bit cloying – it’s not surprising that she needs to use enchantment to enthral Arthur. The computer generated creatures owe a bit to Torchwood’s fairies but overall the Mill is back on form.

The only downside this week is an excess of modern day colloquialisms, and a horribly clichéd argument between Morgana and Sophia, but overall this passes 45 minutes quite painlessly. 7/10

Paul Simpson

<<< Episode 6: A Remedy to Cure All Ills

Episode 8: The Beginning of the End >>>

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