Merlin: Review: Series 1 Ep 9: Excalibur

When a Black Knight returns from the dead, Merlin needs the dragon’s help to forge the ultimate sword…

After last week’s tale, the series stays on a peak as we learn the reason for Uther’s hatred of magic, hear about Arthur’s birth, and see some of the best fighting sequences yet done for the programme.

Although we as an audience can be pretty sure that the sword is Excalibur, no one on the show ever calls it by that name, and what seems originally to be a major continuity error with established Arthurian lore is turned around at the end.

Everyone gets a good moment, and there’s even time for some father/son bonding between Uther and Arthur that doesn’t involve some discussion of the Knights Code. The use of the dragon, for possibly the first time, is essential to the plot and his anger at the end of the episode doesn’t bode well for his future relationship with Merlin.

Add in some very sharp editing, particularly in the climactic battle sequence against the Black Knight, and a great performance from Tony Head, and you’ve got the best episode so far – with next week’s throw-forward promising even more plot revelations.  8/10

Paul Simpson

<<< 8: The Beginning of the End

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