With the introduction of the Round Table, the placing of the Sword in the Stone, the mental disintegration of King Uther and the knighting of Lancelot, Gwaine and Percival, the BBC’s Merlin takes some giant steps into mainstream Arthurian mythology, in an episode that could quite easily have been a series, rather than season, finale.
It will be a shame if Katie McGrath’s Morgana goes the way of Michelle Ryan’s Nimueh from series one – occasionally mentioned, but not seen again – after this episode, as her particular blend of psychosis has enlivened this series, especially when partnered with Emilia Fox’s Morgause. McGrath manages to deliver the melodramatic lines with a panache that makes the viewer forgive some of their corny nature.
Kudos also to Bradley James and Colin Morgan, whose Arthur and Merlin now have an ease together: the scene at the Round Table, and the moment on the steps emphasize just how far these characters have come over the past three years. And while it will be a shame if either Head or Richard Wilson does not return for the fourth year, the show now revolves fully around the younger cast.
Overall, a rousing finale for what has been, by some considerable distance, Merlin’s best season to date. 8/10