Merlin: Review: Series 4 Ep 3: The Wicked Day

An assassin’s plan to kill Arthur sets in train a series of events that leaves Camelot changed forever.

Every so often an episode comes along from a series that is described as “game-changing”, usually because it features the death of a major character, or a key turning point for the ongoing arcs within a storyline. The best of these feature both, leaving the series at the end of the hour in a very different place to where it began – the third episode of Primeval’s third season, with Nick Cutter’s death is a case in point.

If you’re a Merlin fan, you’re not going to want to miss this episode, because it really does live up to that description. The relationships between Arthur and his father and between Arthur and Merlin, as well as the entire basis of the court’s hatred of magic are all upended this week in the same way that the juggling fools at the start of the episode throw their sticks in the air.

Not that it looks as if it’ll go in that direction from the start: Phil Davis makes a suitably malevolent assassin, and there’s a neatly choreographed sword fight between him and the Pendragon men. But then we take a left turn and re-encounter the older version of Merlin seen last series, as Agravaine and Morgana make their plans.

By the time everyone’s machinations have played out, the series has become no longer about an arrogant prince and his cocky young servant but two friends facing a new set of challenges – and about time. 

Verdict: Not to be missed.  8/10

Paul Simpson

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