The final battle between Morgana’s troops and the forces of Camelot is underway– will Merlin be in time to prevent Mordred from killing Arthur?
As with the preview of episode 12, I’m not going to deal at length with the various spoilers and speculation that have appeared on the net – as you’ll have seen by now, some elements predicted for episode 12 didn’t turn out as suggested, and it’s fair to say that the same applies for the finale.
Merlin goes out with a flourish. The producers are to be commended for giving us a final episode that deals with some of the questions raised by the series so far – What is Merlin’s destiny? Will Arthur learn of Merlin’s magic (and we know from the throw forward that someone does)? Will other people guess or be told? Why has Merlin stayed as a servant all these years, and not used his powers more openly?
A good proportion of the episode focuses on Merlin and Arthur, with scenes featuring just Colin Morgan and Bradley James, both of whom are put through the wringer. The affection and bond between the two characters is put to the test, and you will have a lump in your throat as the episode progresses.
However there is darkness, and it wouldn’t be fair to suggest otherwise. Not everyone will survive. I’m reminded in some ways of another series that came to a close 21 years ago this week, although of course the events in Merlin are following the precedents set by previous chroniclers of the myth. But there is humour, there is banter, there is high emotion – and at the end there is some hope.
Verdict: It won’t please everyone – no series finale ever does – and there are some interesting ways suggested that deal with some of the criticisms levelled at this version of the story which will certainly divide opinion, but this provides a firm conclusion to the BBC’s Merlin. 7/10