Merlin kicks off its third year with a sweeping episode that promises much for the season to come. While the stunt work and the computer generated effects continue to improve, there’s an unfortunate return to the slapstick relationship between Merlin and Arthur that is increasingly out of place in a show that’s been building the dramatic relationships between the other lead characters.
It’s actually quite surprising that the BBC hasn’t rerun at least the final few episodes of Merlin’s second season in preparation for the show’s return (the school holidays would have been an obviously suitable time.) The audience is expected to have a clear recollection of the various developments that occurred before Morgana left Camelot a year ago. It’s nearly 15 minutes before she shows her true colours, but anyone with any Arthurian knowledge will be very mistrustful.
A few repeated tropes from last year (Arthur not wanting to be seen to usurp his father, and Uther being possessed) are a little worrying, but overall this continues to be quality family entertainment. 7/10