‘Merlin’ Recap and Review: ‘The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon’
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Merlin slows down and delivers a more emotional tone after premiering with two action packed episodes.
The fifth season of Merlin started off with two action packed episodes “Arthur’s Bane”, and turns to a more dramatic and emotional tone with “The Deathsong Of Uther Pendragon.” After given the opportunity to see his dead father again, King Arthur (Bradley James) is torn between the love he had for Uther, and dealing with what the ghost of his father wants for the kingdom.
If given the chance to meet with a lost loved one, what would you do? Out on a hunt, Arthur and Merlin (Colin Morgan) save a woman about to be executed by some villagers for apparent sorcery. The villagers protest, though Arthur is adamant they release her. He does this even though she is accused of wielding magic, and the villagers remind him that his father Uther Pendragon, played by returning Anthony Head, would have done it differently, to which he responds that he is not his father. Unfortunately, the woman passes, but gives him a gift of a horn that can supposedly summon the dead. Of course, the time that this is taking place is on the anniversary of Uther Pendragon’s death, and the young Arthur is missing his father.
Merlin and Arthur sets out to the Stonehenge-like Great Stones of Nematon so that they could use the horn to summon the dead king. It works, and Arthur communicates with Uther, but as this is Merlin, things usually don’t go according to what the heroes of the show were hoping for. Uther tells him he is disappointed with the way Arthur is running Camelot; and how he shouldn’t have married Guinevere, who is low born, when he could’ve married for political reasons to strengthen the kingdom. Arthur is not happy with the results of his quest, and begins to doubt.
Then strange things begin to happen around the castle. It’s the typical paranormal stuff that happens, like doors opening and closing on their own, chandeliers falling, axes being thrown at people, and the very cliché “someone is watching me.” But then they begin to take a more serious turn as Guinevere is nearly burned alive. Arthur is told that Uther’s spirit followed him out of the spirit world, and is angry at what has become of his legacy. The king needs to confront Uther and follow Gaius’ advise and send him back.
In earlier seasons of Merlin, Arthur is shown as having the same prejudices that Uther had against magic-users, but in “The Deathsong Of Uther Pendragon,” he seems to have a more acceptance of it. Arthur struggles with running the kingdom as his father wanted him to, but is reminded that it is now HIS kingdom, and not Uther’s. He is also showing more respect for Merlin whilst still having the back and forth bantering relationship.
It was a good episode albeit slower paced than before. I think it was written in to show that despite the legacy Uther had hoped for when his son took charge of Camelot; Arthur is his own man, and he will rule with the right that he feels is just. And he will love whomever he feels like loving, whether it’s good politically or not. This latest episode of Merlin is merely telling us more and putting on point that the only thing that mattered to Uther, even above the love he had for his son, was the legacy he left behind. That legacy, however, died when he died; and Arthur, with his queen and his knights (and Merlin, of course) will strive to make Camelot into their own vision of what it should be.