Don’t be fooled by last episode’s throw-forward, which suggested a return to the comedic depths of the goblin story. While there are some pratfalls and fart gags, this has a number of serious undertones and developments for the ongoing story, with Morgana getting a piece of information that she inevitably tries to use for her own advantage, and the relationship between Arthur and Gwen starting to take more prominence.
The episode is well-cast, with both Simon Williams and Miriam Margolyes capable of the constant shifts in tone required of them. Although there are some Carry On-like moments between Margolyes and Richard Wilson, they’re all there to forward the plot, rather than simply filling time.
Angel Coulby hasn’t been given much to do as Gwen so far this year, but gets a meaty couple of scenes with Bradley James in this episode, as the apparently-doomed lovers recognise the pull of duty. However once again Merlin shows that he’s becoming Arthur’s conscience, prompting him to consider something that is heresy to his father’s generation.
The only real fault lies in the teaser which is a bit weak to grab the audience and perhaps might better have been shown as a flashback; otherwise, another entertaining episode. 7/10