Here it is, the penultimate episode for the Pendragons (sorry, I couldn’t resist). In “The Diamond of the Day, Part One”, Arthur’s army heads into battle at Camlan against Morgana’s dark army. With Mordred assisting her with a vengeful agenda, Morgana seems more powerful than ever. How can Merlin ever hope to uphold the prophecy’s best outcome in the face of such strong magic? Our favorite program is determined to give us an explosive finale, but I will reserve most of my judgment until the final episode airs.
Now that Morgana knows Emrys’ true identity, she comes up with another of her “foolproof” plans to remove him as a threat. She should know better by now that most of her plans end up foiled, and that Merlin is not without resources. But a witch can try, and try she does. She has a lackey sneak a wooden box into Gaius’ quarters, and when opened by Merlin, an awful slimy alien-like creature flies out and comically attaches itself to Merlin’s face. For a few terrifying moments there are shades of “Alien” or “Prometheus”, and Merlin is left devoid of magic. Ahh, but gentle viewer, Merlin always has a solution. He will journey to the Crystal Cave– the birthplace of magic.
As Morgana and Mordred wage war upon Camelot, one of the most powerful scenes is their instigating attack. Side by side on a hill outside the citadel they turn their faces toward the sky and give an almighty chant in the magical tongue (which sounds a lot like Welsh or Elvish). Their words rain fireballs down upon the populace. How far Mordred has fallen. I still find it somewhat of a shame that the angel-faced Mordred is no longer an ally, but such is destiny.
For what may be the final time in the series, Merlin must lie to Arthur about where he’s gone, blaming it as usual on running an errand for Gaius. Unfortunately, not heading into battle with Arthur causes him to think that Merlin is a coward. This was rather sad to hear after Arthur confessed to him that he always thought Merlin was the bravest man he ever met despite all his joking.
Merlin does reach the Crystal Cave but not without a brief setback by Morgana, causing a rockslide. (How does she find the time to get away? She’s in command of an army!) Of course he digs his way out and finds himself in an inspiring encounter with the spectre of his father. This scene serves to renew and energize our hero on his quest, and remind him not to give up; to let hope into his heart. All he has to do is believe! Let’s hope that simply believing can help Arthur win the war against Morgana as well. Softly encouraging words from Merlin’s father (“Rest, and soon you shall awaken into the light,”) and the gently glowing crystals provide a calming break in the chaos of battle. The musical accompaniment helps to elevate the scene very well– it’s at once mystical and uplifting.
As the real battle begins and the two armies at Camlan charge at each other, I didn’t spot one drop of blood spilled. This show is rather family-friendly so don’t expect to see anything to the extent of more gritty fantasy fare, as in Game of Thrones.
The final scene when Merlin emerges from the cave as his “true self” is slightly confusing. He comes out as the old man version of himself. Somehow I thought that he would look different to the comical elderly disguise he adopted for convenience in the past. If Arthur sees him, he’ll only see the meddling old wizard responsible for his father’s death. Is this a permanent change? Maybe this is the reason most wizards look like old men with long white beards– it’s their most powerful form (?). Will Arthur find out that Merlin is actually a powerful sorcerer? This and other questions will hopefully be answered in the final episode!
Next week it’s the end! “The Diamond of the Day, Part Two”.