Merlin: Review: Series 3 Ep 4: Gwaine

Arthur and Merlin make dangerous enemies when they prevent a bar owner from an extortion racket and are saved by the arrival of the flirtatious and brave Gwaine…

After last week’s severe loss of form, Merlin is back to normal, although there are a few too many repeated tricks from previous stories for it to be altogether successful.

There’s a definite sense of déjà vu to the series’ version of Lancelot, even if some of the particular character traits are reversed (Gwaine doesn’t necessarily want to be a knight even if he’s noble; Lancelot was desperate to be one, despite being a commoner). Add to that a flirtation with Gwen, and a bond between the newcomer and Merlin and it does start to feel too familiar. It doesn’t help that the villains’ trick for getting inside Camelot isn’t original either.

Despite all that, it’s a very entertaining episode: the bar brawl at the start, and the melee in which Arthur finds himself in serious trouble are both well choreographed. The humour isn’t as forced as it sometimes can be, and for the second week in succession, one of the key characters isn’t even seen (with another barely registering an appearance). But if the show is to get a fourth year, it needs to demonstrate some originality.  6/10

Paul Simpson

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