Merlin: Review: Series 3 Ep 8: The Eye of the Phoenix

To prove his worthiness of the throne of Camelot, Arthur goes on a quest to the land of the Fisher King…

The first episode broadcast after the show was picked up for a fourth year amply rewards the BBC’s faith in its Arthurian Smallville series.

Drawing from the core myths, with an added helping of Indiana Jones, it’s a strong showcase for the way in which all the young leads have matured as actors. Bradley James strikes the right notes as Arthur, unaware of the various machinations going on around him, yet never appearing stupid, while Colin Morgan continues to show Merlin’s growth into his role as Albion and Arthur’s protector.

Guest stars Warwick Davis and Donald Sumpter – the latter in a performance diametrically opposite to his over-the-top appearance on Being Human – may not appear for long but make a lasting impression, and it’s good to see Eoin Macken back as Gwaine.

Other plotlines aren’t ignored, as Gwen realises what Morgana is up to, and, for the first time, gets a proper romantic moment with Arthur that isn’t interrupted by battle or a comedy routine.

With some great effects for the Wyverns and the Fisher King’s land, this is another terrific piece of television. 8/10

Paul Simpson

<<<7: The Castle of Fyrien

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