The first part of the season finale draws together threads from not just this year, but right back to the very start of the BBC’s version. Uther’s blind hatred of magic leads him to send Arthur on a quest to bring back a magical cup, but had he not done so, none of the other tragic events would follow.
It’s great fun, but what could have been one of the strongest episodes of the season is let down by some weaker than normal effects work: the burning village is on screen enough for the viewer to register that it doesn’t quite work, in particular. There’s also perhaps a little too much melodramatic dialogue (particularly from Morgause).
However these are niggles: the episode drives forward from the initial massacre through a battle with slavers to the fall of Camelot and the utter humiliation of Uther, as he’s forced to see the daughter he refused to acknowledge crowned in his place. Quite why he’s not immediately executed will hopefully be explained next week…
A thrilling start with further game changing events promised in the throw forward to next week’s conclusion. 8/10