wildly and sweetly in love (dingogrrl) wrote,
wildly and sweetly in love

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merlin - a lesson in vengeance

I know this show is ALWAYS going to have its problems, that's a given, but I'm back to not actively hating it so yay.

In a land of myth and a time of romantic horse rides through the lush, green countryside, Arthur and Gwen are celebrating their anniversary. With Merlin. They appear to be on their way to a picnic of sorts, if the delicious cargo strapped to Merlin’s horse is any indication, and I’m sure it’s supposed to be all very romantic and intimate for the happy couple, but Arthur can’t quite stop himself from flirting with Merlin throughout the entire scene. It’s all very sweet, and Arthur is wearing his white tunic of hotness, so I really don’t think Gwen has anything to complain about.

Things continue in their idyllic little way until we focus on a suspicious pouch lurking in the grass. The pouch, of course, suddenly ignites and spooks Arthur’s horse. Arthur’s horse is understandably shocked. One minute, he was happily shipping Arthur and Merlin with the other horses and mentally preparing an adorable gif set for when he got back to his Tumblr, and then SNAP CRACKLE HOOVES ON FIRE. He bolts and throws Arthur in the process.

Arthur doesn’t have much time for recovery because Merlin shouts a warning as two guys emerge from the bushes, swords at the ready. Luckily, Excalibur has landed safely at Arthur’s side, so he’s up and ready for fighting in no time. But maybe he’s still a bit groggy or injured from the fall, because, while he takes care of one man, the other looks like he’s about to win. Enter Merlin and his sneaky use of magic, and the suddenly disarmed bad guy is skewered through the guts. Everyone is v. relieved. Well, everyone except Gwen, who thought she could tie up the entire series before the opening titles of the episode.

Speaking of…

We return to find our little threesome in Gaius’ chambers while Arthur gets his wounds treated. As Merlin chews on his nails and generally frets in Arthur’s direction, Gaius informs them that Arthur was lucky not to have broken his neck from the fall. He tells Arthur that the men who attacked him couldn’t be questioned because Arthur killed them pretty dead, and Merlin says their presence couldn’t have been a co-incidence. Gwen’s hands leave Arthur’s (uninjured) shoulder so she can cross her arms and glare at Merlin. Heh. Subtle.

Gwen’s attempt to kill Merlin via laser eyes is interrupted, however, by Sir Leon, who has recovered Arthur’s saddle. The report from forensics indicates that the girth had been unpicked and restitched so that it would break. “It appears, Merlin, on this single and solitary occasion,” Arthur says, “you may be right.” Merlin is too worried to accept the compliment, such that it is. And I love this Merlin, all serious and protective and taking in all the information so you can SEE his brain ticking over with it. Guh.

We switch to the next scene, in which the suspect is revealed and arrested. It’s…it’s SAMWELL TARLY. SAM! SAM THE BRAVE! SAM THE SLAYER! SAM MY ADORABLE GAME OF THRONES PUPPY AND IF YOU HURT HIM I WILL KILL YOU FIVE THOUSAND WAYS. I just – really, really love this guy. And, yeah, he’s not actually Sam and we shouldn’t stereotype actors, but seriously, Just watch this and then you’ll know why I take one look at this guy and want to take his hand and drag him out of Camelot before Gwaine can speak a word to him.

(“I can’t steal her. She’s a person, not a goat.” <3 <3 <3)

Sam’s name is actually Tyr Seward and he is freaking adorable and basically made of sunshine and puppies and strawberry cupcakes and I love him. He lights up at the sight of Gwaine, proving that we are soul mates, and seems so happy to be able to serve their horsey needs. I bet the horses love him. I bet he sneaks them carrots and scratches their itchy spots until they horse-purr and tells them stories about the knights they carry when they can’t settle during storms. Sigh. He is confused and bewildered when Gwaine has him arrested.

Elsewhere in the kingdom, Leon leads some knights into Tyr’s home, which he shares with his mum, and conducts a search. Tyr’s mum does the standard ‘my son’s a good boy’ (“He just stays at home at night RP-ing with his fellow Bronies and skyping with a nice girl named Gilly.”) speech just as Percival finds a spool of red thread. Dun Dun.

And now the courtroom scene. Leon presents the evidence to the court, that the thread found in Tyr’s home matches the thread used to sabotage the king’s saddle. Arthur, bless him, is a gentle judge and pretty much knows someone must have made Tyr do it, but can’t get him to speak up. This good cop/bad cop thing works better if you have a bad cop, guys. So far, everyone seems really reluctant to arrest him, search his home, and give him a death sentence. Well, everyone except Gwen. Arthur even stops Tyr mid-sentence before he can completely swear on his mother’s life, because he knows the guy is protecting someone. “You’re my king, Sire. I’d never do anything to hurt you. Never.” LIKE, EVER! /Taylor Swift. Arthur sighs, because he has no choice, and Percival looks like he’s witnessing a puppy-kicking in the background. Arthur sentences him to death and the guy’s puppy face just…FALLS. And his lips tremble and everyone is sadface as Percival gently leads him away. Not gonna lie, I teared up.

Congratulations, Arthur. I hope the death Jon Snow and Ghost give you in the near future is a swift one.

Merlin tries to talk Arthur out of it when they’re alone. Tyr has been Arthur’s stablehand since he was a boy and it’s clear that Arthur is fond of him (and because we know how many Merlin/Stableboy fics exist, Merlin probably is, too) but the law’s the law and he can’t bend it just because someone is as adorable as fifty baby otters frolicking in a meadow with a litter of labrador puppies. Merlin might like to make note of that for future reference.

Still cranky that Arthur is basically killing the human equivalent of every newborn woodland creature Merlin has ever seen, Merlin vents to Gaius. Gaius tries to come up with possible reasons Tyr could have done such a thing, but they’re all pretty weak, and Merlin realises that, even if Tyr did actually commit the crime, Arthur was right about there being someone who put him up to it. And then he realises that unless they catch this person, they’re just going to keep trying to kill the king.

Oh, Arthur. He sits and mopes while fondling with the red thread, convinced of Tyr’s innocence because a simple man couldn’t really plan such a detailed assassination attempt. Gwen arrives and talks him out of thinking the best of people, reminding him that quite often, the worst people are the ones you’d least suspect HINT HINT. “I suppose experience should have taught me that by now,” Arthur says quietly, and MY HEART BREAKS. Gwen moves in for the kill (not the kill-kill because that would be too easy) and says that she has already lost her brother and couldn’t bear to lose Arthur as well. Arthur promises to never leave her and, as he cups her face, she kisses his hand. Their relationship just keeps getting racier, doesn’t it?

OH GOD I SHIP THEM. SO HELP ME, I SHIP THEM HARD. Merlin visits Tyr’s cell with a peace offering of Gaius’s bad cooking. Tyr thinks it’s better than the turnip stew he must have been given as his last meal, and the fact that he’s so sweet and funny when he’s waiting to die just makes me (and Merlin) love him more. Merlin sits beside him on the bench and is an even better good cop than Arthur. And honestly, if Merlin sidled up to me and patted my knee while looking in my eyes, I’d spill all the secrets in the world. So Tyr confesses that he was sleeping in the stables with a sick horse when he was woken by a noise and saw someone with the king’s saddle. When they discovered Tyr had seen them, they threatened to kill his mother if he said anything. Merlin tries to get the name of the person Tyr saw, but he doesn’t want to risk his mother’s life. Not even Merlin’s arm around his shoulder can get him to speak up. “If it means me dying instead of her, then so be it. I’d rather die.” And then his FACE goes through these tiny little trembling emotions and OH GOD I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS. I WANT TO KEEP HIM. I WANT ARTHUR TO BE SURROUNDED BY ALL THESE BRAVE, LOYAL PEOPLE WHO LOVE HIM EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE NOT GIVEN FANCY TITLES AND A PLACE AT THE ROUND TABLE. AND IF ARTHUR THINKS THEY’RE A BIT SIMPLE, THAT’S FINE. BECAUSE MERLIN WILL KNOW OTHERWISE AND HE CAN GATHER HIS OWN ARMY TO BE THERE FOR ARTHUR WHEN THE TIME COMES.

Merlin takes his findings straight to Arthur and Gwen and informs him that the only part Tyr played in the crime was to see it done. Arthur looks at Merlin like he has just saved him from a life of self-hating misery and goes to leave to question Tyr at once. Gwen looks at Merlin like he is a fly that needs to be swatted until he’s fly-mush, and convinces Arthur that he should wait until morning. Merlin looks at Gwen like she’s shady as fuck and not just because she’s following Arthur towards the bed.

Over an unappetising meal, Merlin confesses to Gaius that Gwen hasn’t seemed like herself since her return from the Dark Tower. I would have said since about season three, but hey, he sees more of her than we do. Gaius thinks it’s the grief from losing the last of her family (it’s kind of funny how Elyan gets more coverage in death than he ever did in life) and also they don’t know what unspeakable horrors Morgana put her through. “That’s what worries me,” Merlin says.

OH NO. NO NO NO NO NO. Gwen sneaks around the castle and gasses the guards to Tyr’s cell. She is super creepy and fake-nice to Tyr as she beckons him to come closer to the bars. Tyr promises that he hasn’t mentioned her name to anyone and asks if his mum is okay. Gwen assures him that his mum is safe, and them stabs him to death with a dagger.

UGH. When I said I was happy for Gwen to turn evil for a bit and actually have something interesting to do, I did not realise that it would involve breaking my heart into a million tiny pieces in the space of twelve short minutes.

Gaius’ onsite autopsy reveals that the blade punctured Tyr’s heart and he suffered very little. UNLIKE EVERYONE WATCHING WHO HAD FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THE GUY SO QUICKLY. Leon brings Arthur the remains of the stuff Gwen used to knock out the guards and Arthur facepalms over Tyr’s body. “I’ve been a fool. I should have spoken to him when I had the chance.” Merlin doesn’t accuse Gwen outright, but drops the hint that whoever did it knew the citadel inside out.

In the forest, Gwen fondles some vine/rope thing with a smile and meets Morgana to deliver the bad news of Arthur’s survival. Oh, and that she had to kill the stablehand. Morgana advises her of their plan B, which basically involves finding someone else to take the fall, and gaining the support of the knights before they get rid of Arthur that night.

Oh, hey, someone DOES patrol Camelot. Knights on horses appear and Gwen and Morgana split up. Gwaine pursues Hooded Mystery Person Number One, who happens to be Gwen, and gains some ground until Morgana sneaks up behind and magicks him off his horse. Gwen makes her escape. As she scurries back through the castle, still wearing her blue cape of evil doings, Merlin finds her. She uses the dead brother excuse for wandering around the meadow alone. There is fake concern from Merlin and fake gratitude from Gwen, and they go their separate ways.

Back in the Arthur’s chambers, we learn that Gwaine was also lucky not to break his neck or any other bone. He didn’t see the identity of the person he was chasing, but felt powerful sorcery, possibly Morgana’s. Merlin thinks she may have been meeting a resident of Camelot, but Arthur needs actual proof. He orders Merlin and Gaius to search the forest for clues. Gwaine instantly volunteers to go with them, (because he obviously still loves Merlin and wants to keep him safe, okay?) but Gaius orders him to rest his unbroken bones.

During all this, Gwen eavesdrops from outside the room. And she continues to eavesdrop as Merlin takes a seat next to Gwaine at the table and tells Gwaine of his fear that someone is still trying to kill Arthur. Gwaine tells Merlin about all the extra security and says Arthur’s safe as long as he remains in Camelot. I’m just surprised they’ve actually got guards on all the entry and exit points now. That’s a big improvement. “What if he’s not safe here? What if Camelot is the most dangerous place he could be?” Merlin asks, and explains his theory. The person responsible had to know the castle, have access to the stables, and know that Tyr would do anything to protect his mum. Merlin asks Gwaine to stay close to Arthur and do whatever he can to protect him. Gwaine gives his word. I really, really love these two together. Doesn’t even have to be shippy, I just love their friendship when it is actually remembered and recognised.

Skulking around the woods, Morgana walks up to the local pharmacy and heads inside for some of her usual hair products, a box of aspirin, Preparation H and, oh, “a tincture with the power to kill slowly and with the utmost pain.” The pharmacist has just what Morgana needs – valerian to render the victim unconscious and then…it sounds like henbane? Like, wolfsbane but for werechickens, maybe? Anyway, whatever it is, just a single drop administered into the ear will bring a death as prolonged and unpleasant as could be wished for. Morgana hands over some coin, which the pharmacist says is more than enough to pay for the goods, but not his silence. And because she doesn’t want everyone knowing about her case of piles, she throws him some more money.

When Gwen finds him, Arthur is mulling over the fact that Merlin is probably right about Morgana working with someone inside Camelot to kill him. As he tells Gwen the theory, she starts to get an oh shit look and tries to convince him otherwise, to no avail. Seeing she has no hope this time of outdoing Merlin, she promises that nobody is going to harm Arthur on her watch, and that she would lay down her life to protect him. All I can see is that by leaning over the table like that, she has nearly pushed her boobs straight down the camera. How does Arthur continue to look her in the eye? I cannot resist looking down.

Searching the forest, Merlin and Gaius find the vine/ropey thing which Gaius declares is certainly not natural. WHAT THE FUCK IS IT? I am confused. Then they find a scrap of blue fabric. Merlin wonders if it’s really that much to go on, but then back at the lab, Gaius discovers that it is raw imported silk with embroidery of silver and gold thread, which indicates the garment belongs to someone v. wealthy.

Merlin lightbulbs and runs out of the room.

YAAAAAYYYYY. Merlin + women’s clothing is my OTP. Merlin checks…wait, Arthur and Gwen share wardrobe space, too? Okay. Merlin rummages through the wardrobe, checking Gwen’s blue dresses and is, naturally, sprung by Arthur. I really do love this little recurring bit where Arthur clearly thinks Merlin dabbles in a bit of cross dressing and treads that fine line of teasing without kink shaming. It’s cute. Merlin tells Arthur that he is just checking for holes (which is the truth, actually) and pokes his arm through the sleeve of a blue dress. “Yes, that’s…where the hand goes,” Arthur says, and oh god, they are adorable. After Merlin inspects the other sleeve and Arthur helpfully informs him that that particular hole is for the other hand, Merlin says you can’t be too careful when a lady’s modesty is at stake. *CHOKES* We’ve all seen her dresses, Merlin. There isn’t really too much modesty going on in the general chest area anyway. Arthur strongly recommends that Merlin show a little less interest in Guinevere’s clothing, and a little more interest in his. *CHOKES AGAIN* And then Arthur hands over a basket of disgusting laundry. Merlin says he thinks he prefers Gwen’s, and Arthur decides he will do everything in his power to pretend Merlin didn’t just say that, and I want to them to be this cute forever.

(And now I have this missing scene in my head from the skipped years, where Gwen first became queen and needed a new wardrobe. And she didn’t have a handmaiden yet but, knowing how Merlin is quite fond of pretty gowns, Arthur sent him shopping with Gwen, thinking he was being so supportive of his manservant’s life choices and was basically an awesome and accepting human being. And he knew that Merlin was just protesting for show, so he patted him on the back and handed over a shiny gold coin and told Merlin to get something nice for himself, too. So at the end of the day, Merlin grabbed Gwaine and took that coin to the tavern and they both got so drunk that Percival had to carry them back to their rooms, one over each shoulder, and Gwaine confessed into the back of Percival’s shirt that if Merlin really was into that kind of thing, he would totally be up for it. The end.)

Gwen walks through the lower town’s markets, pretty much ignoring the poor folk and nodding politely to the knights. She’s totally the people’s queen, okay? As she’s admiring some gauzy fabric, a gnarled old hand grabs her wrist. Hey there, Old!Morgana. Morgana hands over the vials but isn’t all that specific with her instructions. Gwen assures her that she has someone in mind to take the fall.

Merlin takes the laundry basket through the corridors and narrowly misses Gwen heading to Arthur’s room with a purpose. Someone other than Merlin is serving their meal, which seems a bit odd given that this is only happening now, right when someone is also trying to kill Arthur. Anyway, Gwen joins Arthur at the table and hints that she’s ready to get all liquored up, so Arthur steps away to get the wine. Gwen takes the opportunity to slip the roofie into Arthur’s drink and I KNEW Morgana should have written out the prescription, because Gwen totally puts the wolfsbane for werechickens in the cup instead of the valerian. They chat about Gwen’s charity work as the camera focusses ominously on Arthur’s goblet.

Merlin, meanwhile, gets to work on the laundry in the kitchen. It hardly seems sanitary to have Arthur’s soiled unmentionables right next to a tray of dough, but whatever. Merlin tries to sneak something off the tray and the cook appears to whack his hand with a spoon. “Keep your grubby hands off my dumplings,” she says, and I KIND OF WANT TO SHIP THEM TOO. And then as Merlin takes all the garments out of the bag, he notices Gwen’s hooded cloak of evil doings, and matches the scrap of silk to a tear in the sleeve. He races to Arthur’s room.

Poor Gwen gets a bit frustrated as Arthur brings the goblet to his lips and takes it way again before sipping, but they eventually toast to their anniversary, given that the original celebration was cut short. Gotta say, roofied Arthur is stupid attractive. He slumps in his seat and HELLO THERE, CHEST HAIR PEEKING OUT OF THE OPEN WHITE TUNIC. Gwen drops the valerian into Arthur’s ear but even though she mixed up the tinctures, they seem to do the job.

Merlin’s unfortunate case of the slow-mo means he is too late to save his king and he bursts through the doors to find Arthur alone and near death.

Gaius’ examination reveals that Arthur has been poisoned and given the symptoms and trace of tincture around the ear, Gaius thinks it’s wolfsbane for werechickens. Gwen pretends to be concerned while, in the background, Merlin, Gwaine, Percival, Mordred and Leon actually are, Merlin the most so. Gwen starts her little speech, saying that whoever did this is among them. “Someone who is free to roam the citadel as they please. Someone who has access to the king’s stables, the king’s prison, even the king’s food.” Oh, so that bloke who was serving you that last meal, then, Gwen? “There is only one I know of,” Gwen says, and spins to look at Merlin. Merlin’s face is one big fuck you.

Random guards throw Merlin into his cell, so let’s just all assume that Gwaine flatly refused to do it and tried to make Gwen see sense, and it took the other three to drag him and Gaius away before they all got arrested. And then they all decided to investigate on their own to clear Merlin’s name. Okay? Good.

Gaius finds Gwen bathing in the moonlight through the window because that’s what evil people do, and she is all fake compassionate about how he must be feeling after Merlin’s arrest. Gaius says he understands, and it’s clear that he is struggling to hide his own fuck you face. He visits Merlin’s cell and now agrees that Morgana is using Gwen to get to Arthur. Merlin’s only concern is if Gaius can save Arthur but Gaius tells him that the poison is too strong. Arthur’s only hope is to be healed by Merlin’s love magic. They need to bust him out of prison.

Gwen sobs at Arthur’s bedside for Leon’s benefit. She asks how any of them can live without Arthur and Leon takes a breath. “Because we must.” Ever the loyal knight of Camelot, Leon tells Gwen that if/when Arthur dies, they need to be prepared to save the kingdom. Gwen pretends she doesn’t know exactly where this is all going and asks who would be worthy of Arthur’s crown. “You are, my lady,” Leon answers. Leon tells Gwen that although it is a big responsibility, she will not be alone, and guarantees that he and all the knights will stand by her. Now and forever. Gwen has even pulled out the tears from somewhere – she’s pretty good at this. And I think this is what sets Leon apart from the other main knights, who are all there for Arthur first and foremost, that he is loyal to the actual kingdom of Camelot. He served Uther first, which none of the others did, and he is able to think of the kingdom as well as the king. I just wish we could have learned more about him over the years.

Because his cooking is so crap, Gaius can’t bake a file into a cake for Merlin. Instead, he drops down a vial of blue liquid. Merlin huffs his amusement and then we see our old friend, Old!Merlin walk up to the prison guards. They ask his identity. “I am who I am and I am who I was and I am who I will always be.” Heh. Merlin confuses the fuck out of the guards by pretending they had just let him past to visit the cells and accuses them of recreational drug use in the workplace. “It’s hardly any wonder your prisoners are being murdered if you can’t even remember who you’re letting in and who you’re letting out!” He rants for a bit and leaves two very bewildered guards behind him.

Merlin sneaks into the kitchen and is just about to take the potion to turn back the aging process, when he is poked in the back by a very large fork. It’s the cook! She keeps poking him as they argue, and seems very worried about pie theft. “Your pies? Why would anyone want to steal your godforsaken pies?” The cook assures Merlin that her pies are the talk of Camelot. “Oh, yes, indeed they are. A crust like rusted iron, a filling like last year’s horse dung and the smell, oh yes, just like the guardhouse’s latrine!” AHAHAHAHAHAHA. THIS IS BETTER THAN MASTERCHEF SNARK AND I LOVE MASTERCHEF SNARK A WHOLE LOT, YOU GUYS.

The cook threatens Merlin because no one insults her pies and gets away with it! “Oh, I’m sorry, should I speak instead of your poisonous flans? Like vomit curdling in the noon day sun. Or your dumplings! The king himself likened them to freshly-lain frogspawn wrapped in pig snot!” OH GOD I CAN’T HELP IT, I’M LOVING THIS AND I DON’T CARE HOW IMMATURE OR OUT OF PLACE IT IS, IT’S THE SILLY SHOW I FELL IN LOVE WITH AND I WANT IT LIKE BURNING.

The cook wants to know what this old guy would know about the king and her dumplings. Oh, honey, Merlin makes it his business to know everything about the king and ANYONE’S dumplings. Tiring of the MAJOR UST between the two of them, Merlin magically knocks her out with a saucepan and mutters that he should have done that years ago as he steps over her unconscious body. OKAY, I SHIP OLD!MERLIN/COOK AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS ABOUT IT. THEY ARE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME HILARIOUSLY CRANKY COIN.

But, yes, Merlin still has to save Arthur’s life, so he turns back into regular, gorgeous Merlin and gets right on that. He’s pretty good at distracting the guards until Gwaine and Mordred see movement and give chase. He manages to escape the castle and hide in the courtyard as Gwaine and Mordred sound the intruder alarm. Leon and Percival join the men in the courtyard as Merlin realises the only way to Arthur is up. He magically extinguishes everyone’s torches and very laboriously scales the wall to Arthur’s bedroom, like he expects us all to believe he hasn’t done so a billion times before. As he sneaks through the window like fic-canon Derek Hale at the Stilinski residence, Gwaine enters to check on Gwen and Gaius and informs them of the intruder in the castle. Gaius’ Merlin-dar pings and he urges Gwen to allow Gwaine to take her to a safe place. She’s hesitant, but reluctantly agrees, and Merlin runs straight to Arthur once the coast is clear. I love how his hand reaches out to Arthur and then he stops himself for a moment, then finally presses it against Arthur’s heart. He can feel that the sickness is very deep in Arthur and he doesn’t know if he has the power to bring him back.

Merlin takes a second to prepare himself and lays his hands back over Arthur’s heart. He uses a combination of his dragonlord-ish voice, glowy eyes, and CPR (sadly without the mouth-to-mouth part) – basically every trick in his magical book - and it visibly takes a lot out of him. He stands back and Gaius moves in to check Arthur’s pulse. UGH, IT IS SO TENSE. Merlin watches with his hands clasped in front of his face like he’s praying and his FACE. OH GOD HIS FACE. It just, like, FALLS APART as Arthur lies still. I CAN’T WATCH MERLIN’S TEARS. And then, thankfully, Arthur twitches and rolls over in his sleep, speaking Gaius’ name. WHAT? Okay, Arthur, I’m just going to do everything in my power to pretend that you didn’t ever say that and I advise everyone else to do the same.

Also, YAAAAAY, Arthur lives and Merlin and Gaius hug and Merlin’s face is a thing of beauty because he just saved Arthur’s life through the power of his love and then Gaius advises Merlin to leave via the same route he took to get in, and Merlin sighs.

The next morning, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping over the establishing shot of the castle, and Merlin is still snoozing in his cell when the door opens. Gwaine and Gaius greet his adorable scrunched up sleepy face and Gwaine pretends not to notice the way Merlin stretches so his butt sticks up in the air in a most inviting manner. “If you’ve got a moment,” Gwaine says, and smiles cheekily, “the king would like a word.” Everyone grins and Merlin chuckles and awww, they are all so unbelievably cute.

“Merlin,” Arthur says when Merlin knocks and enters. “This is one of the two, possibly three moments in my life when I’ve actually been glad to see you.” N’awwwwwwwwww, I just want to squish them together like my tiny action figures. Merlin feels exactly the same way, and says so, then asks how Arthur is feeling. Arthur feels like death. Well, death warmed up, at least. Arthur says that it seems that they’ve both been through something of an ordeal, and invites Merlin to sit with him.

As he takes a seat, Merlin tells Arthur that it wasn’t so bad “once you get used to the eternal night and the rats, the mouldy pillows, living with a bucket of your own--” Arthur stops him right there and Merlin laughs. Sincere, Arthur apologises for what happened. “As soon as I heard, I told them it couldn’t have been you who poisoned me. I had the cook confirm your alibi.” Ha, feeling guilty for clobbering her over the head now, Merlin? Merlin’s shy and soft little ‘thank you’ to Arthur basically turns me to a pile of quivering mush. And then Arthur adds that he also told everyone Merlin simply wasn’t bright enough to organise an assassination attempt. Merlin thinks that was very thoughtful of Arthur. “You’re welcome,” Arthur says, and I LOVE THEM SO VERY MUCH. I’m also going to pretend that Gwaine was there waiting for Arthur to wake so he could immediately inform him of Merlin’s incarceration and get him released. It just makes sense, really.

Now his turn to get serious, Merlin tells Arthur he needs to talk to him about something, but Arthur doesn’t have time at the moment. He leaves for the council chambers. Apparently Guinevere has uncovered some new evidence. Nicely done, Gwen. She has “uncovered” the vials of poison and tracked down the pharmacist via the price tag or something. Arthur questions the pharmacist, who identifies the bottles and confirms that he supplied them, though he was too scared to ask what the customer had bought them for. Because he believes that customer was Morgana Pendragon.

And, wait, it seems that Gwen actually got the bottles right, because the pharmacist confirms that the yellow is valerian and the clear is wolfsbane for werechickens. But I’ve gone back and he DOES tell Morgana the opposite. It’s like the colour changing horses all over again.

After the pharmacist is dragged away by the guards, Arthur addresses the council. He tells them that everyone owes Gwen a great debt for uncovering the truth, and starts up a round of Long Live the Queen. Gwen smirks and does a little twirl to bask in the admiration of all the hot knights around her, which, come on, we’d all do. And then she stops as her eyes lock with Merlin’s and she looks impossibly smug. I expect Merlin to shoot daggers of rage through his eyeballs or at least glare, or look worried or something.

But he doesn’t. He looks right back at Gwen and his mouth slightly turns up at the corners as he takes a breath in, and out and he is basically broadcasting, OH, GUINEVERE, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE MESSING WITH RIGHT NOW. And she doesn’t, because she tilts her chin up and stares right back and Merlin’s like, YEAH, IT’S ON and I could basically die from how spectacularly hot that was.

Merlin Vs Gwen. Bring it.

Next Week: Ominous glances. Gwen visits a marriage counsellor. Morgana being evil. Merlin being thrown off a ledge (and who is the lovely young man accompanying him?) Someone being thrown against a wall. OMG MERLIN’S SPEWING BLACK STUFF LIKE DEREK HALE WHEN HE’S FULL OF WOLFSBANE AND NOW THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN DOESN’T SEEM AS LOVELY. Riding in the moonlight. A kind of hot scar-faced dude with a crossbow who seems to want to kill the lovely young man who might be lovely again because Merlin is protecting him. Hot scar-faced dude beats Arthur in a sword fight. Actually, this one looks like fun.
Tags: merlin, merlin: episode recap
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