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Recap: Merlin S 01 E 06 A Remedy To Cure All Ills

A Remedy To Cure All Ills

A pair of hands roam over a workbench and take a black bug from a box to place inside a large white lily.

Guinevere enters Morgana’s chambers with a large bouquet of white lilies, telling her that they were delivered anonymously. Morgana dismisses Gwen’s notion that they’re from Arthur, and that night her window is watched by a cloaked figure as she goes to bed. Once the candles are extinguished, the bug crawls from the flower, across Morgana’s bed, and disappears into her ear.

The following morning she hasn’t awoken, and Gaius is at a loss to diagnose her illness. Merlin quietly suggests that he use magic to cure her, but Gaius sternly reminds him of what happened with Guinevere’s father.

Outside in the courtyard, a cloaked figure with a badly scarred face approaches Prince Arthur, introducing himself as Edwin Muirden. He claims he has heard of Lady Morgana’s illness, and tells Arthur that he’ll be at the inn if he needs his help.

When Morgana’s condition deteriorates, Arthur urges Gaius and Uther to fetch Edwin on the off-chance that he can cure her. Edwin is brought before the King and assures him that he has a remedy to cure all ills. Gaius finds him vaguely familiar, but does not protest when Edwin is given permission to treat Morgana.

Merlin helps Edwin carry his equipment into the castle and asks everyone to leave him alone with Morgana. Gaius hesitates, but Uther agrees. Once he’s alone, Edwin is about to retrieve the bug from Morgana’s ear when he’s interrupted by Gwen entering through a side door. He orders her to leave and then returns the bug to its box and wipes Morgana’s ear with a bloody cloth.

At the bottom of the staircase Edwin greets the anxious men, displays the bloody cloth, and tells them that Morgana was suffering from a cerebral haemorrhage. She nearly died due to Gaius’s misdiagnosis and the treatment he was giving her. Upstairs, Uther warmly embraces Morgana who is awake and sitting up in bed.

Downstairs, Gaius once again asks if he and Edwin have ever met before and asks what he used to cure Morgana. Edwin demures on both subjects, but agrees to Uther’s request to stay with the court for a little while.

Gaius goes to see Geoffrey in the library and asks to see the records from the time of the Great Purge, when Uther had all magic-users killed or banished. Geoffrey tells him that the records are sealed, and Uther has forbidden anyone to see them.

Merlin goes to speak with Edwin but finds his room empty. Curiously he begins to look over his equipment, and picks up the box of bugs to find them deathly still. He closes the box and reads the inscription on the lid. When he opens it again, the bugs are crawling about – and Edwin steps into the room, congratulating him on his magical abilities. Merlin tries to cover, but Edwin shows him the bugs and tells them that they are the secret to Morgana’s recovery.

Edwin: Then how else did you bring them to life? Only magic can do such a thing. These little angels are how I cured Lady Morgana. They repaired the damage to her brain. They saved her life. Magic can be a force for good.
Merlin: I know.
Edwin: Then why do you fear it?
Merlin: Uther has banned it, it's not permitted.
Edwin: Should I have let Morgana die?
Merlin: No.
Edwin: People like us, we have a gift. Do you not think it should be used to make this a better world?
Merlin: Perhaps.

With magic, Edwin pours some spilt powder into a jar, and Merlin reciprocates by using his own power to pour it into a bowl. Edwin offers to teach him more, and they promise each other to keep their magic secret.

Geoffrey enters Gaius’s quarters with a book of records, having changed his mind. Gaius thanks him and begins to read.

Over dinner, Uther and Edwin discuss Morgana’s health, and Edwin suggests that the sleeping tonics that Gaius has been prescribing for Morgana’s nightmares are what aggravated her illness. He promises Uther that he’ll undertake a review of Gaius’s work.

The following morning Gaius confronts Edwin, having learnt who he is.

Gaius: Edwin. Your scar has healed well. I often wondered what happened to that poor young boy.
Edwin: I told you we've never met before.
Gaius: I didn't realise who you were until I checked the records. You used your mother's maiden name. You are Gregor and Jaden's son.
Edwin: They were friends of yours.
Gaius: They were sorcerers.
Edwin: They practised magic. And so did a lot of people back then, Gaius.
Gaius: Uther will be furious when he finds out who you are.
Edwin: Fine. Fine. Shall we tell him? Let's go and tell him. Let's tell him. Let's tell him everything. Ooh, I know... We could also tell him about Merlin.
Gaius: Merlin?
Edwin: You didn't know he was a sorcerer? Ah. I wonder what Uther will do. Probably have him burnt.
Gaius: You would betray another sorcerer?
Edwin: You did. When you turned a blind eye and let my parents die at the hands of Uther! At least Merlin doesn't have a son who will try to rescue him from the flames!
Gaius: You're here to take revenge.
Edwin: And I have waited a long time.
Gaius: You think I will sacrifice the King to save Merlin?
Edwin: Think about it, Gaius. But if I find out that you have told one other person, including the boy, I will go straight to Uther.

Merlin enters with some supplies that he promised to fetch for Edwin, and Gaius instructs Merlin to do what Edwin tells him.

In the throne room, Edwin tells the royal family that Gaius’s methods are out-dated and Uther suggests that perhaps it is time that he were replaced. Though Morgana speaks in Gaius’s defence, Uther seems to have already made up his mind.

That night, Gaius watches Merlin sleep and then creeps down into the dungeon to speak with the dragon.

Dragon: How old a man can become and yet change so little.
Gaius: You have not changed either.
Dragon: 20 years, almost a lifetime to make the short journey back to where you began.
Gaius: I'm not here for myself.
Dragon: The boy?
Gaius: You know about Merlin?
Dragon: You have struggled against his destiny, but you can no more prevent it than he can.
Gaius: So, it is true then?
Dragon: Oh yes. He and the young Pendragon one day will unite the land of Albion.
Gaius: But he is in danger.
Dragon: No. It is my gaoler who stands in peril.
Gaius: Must Uther be sacrificed for the boy?
Dragon: Their time cannot come until his is past.
Gaius: But is that time now?
Dragon: That is of your choosing.
Gaius: I will not choose between them.
Dragon: Then turn a blind eye. That is, after all, your talent.

The following morning Gaius is brought before the court where Uther breaks the news: he’s decided to replace him with Edwin. Gaius is on the verge of telling Uther the truth when Edwin steps out from behind a column and silences him with a look.

Merlin watches in outrage as Gauis packs his bags, telling Gaius that he’ll go with him. Gaius is touched, but reminds Merlin that his responsibility lies in Camelot. As Gaius leaves the city with his belongings on a donkey he passes Gwen, who tells him that she’s certain that it was Edwin who put the blood in Morgana’s ear. When Gaius remains unmoved, Gwen kisses his cheek and bids him goodbye.

Meanwhile, Uther is showing Edwin to his quarters and telling him about an old battle wound on his shoulder that still gives him trouble. Edwin promises him a new prescription. That night, as Gaius sits by a campfire in the woods, Uther drinks Edwin’s potion and lies down in his bed.

Suddenly, Uther awakens from sleep to see Edwin leaning over him:

Edwin: My Lord. My Lord. It seems the drugs I gave you have taken hold. Your body is now paralysed. Now, open your eyes, My Lord. I want my face to be the last face you ever see. You took my childhood from me. And now finally, I take my parents' revenge. Within a few hours, the beetle will eat into your brain. And you will suffer, as they suffered. And I long to hear you scream, as they screamed the night you gave the order for the fires to be lit. With your death, magic will return to Camelot.

Edwin releases one of his bugs which crawls across the bed and into Uther’s ear. Edwin bids him farewell and leaves, only to be stopped by Gaius on the way to his room. Gaius unsuccessfully tries a spell to stop Edwin, but nothing happens. Edwin corrects him on his pronunciation and uses his magic to throw Gaius against the wall and cast a circle of fire around him.

Arthur runs into Merlin and demands that he help him find Edwin; he’s just discovered that Uther is suffering from the same illness as Morgana. Merlin rushes into the corridor to see Gaius surrounded by fire and Edwin inviting him to join him in the ruling of the kingdom. When Merlin refuses, Edwin levitates an axe at him, but Merlin catches it with his own magic and hurls it back at him.

The flames around Gaius die away, indicating that Edwin is dead. Merlin retrieves the box of bugs and the two of them stand over Uther’s bed, debating how to proceed. Merlin doesn’t want to use magic on him, but Gaius insists that there’s no other way. Muttering the words of the spell, Merlin places his hands over Uther’s ear, and retrieves the bug.

Gaius: Has anyone ever told you, you're a genius?
Merlin: You certainly haven't.

The following day, Gaius produces a potion for Uther to help him regain his strength.

Gaius: Drink this. It'll help regain your strength.
Uther: There's nothing wrong with my strength. Do you remember them? His parents?
Gaius: I remember them all, Sire.
Uther: Gaius. Once again, you saved my life. You've always served me well. And I know there are things that I've asked you to do, which you found difficult.
Gaius: You've always done what you believe to be right.
Uther: I was not right to betray you. I'm sorry. From now on I will remember that, in the fight against magic, you are the one person I can trust.

In front of the court, Uther presents Gaius with a roll of parchment that pronounces him a free man of Camelot, as well as reinstating his position as court physician – though once again an episode ends with someone else getting the credit for what Merlin did.

Tropes

  • Achey Scars: Uther has an old battle wound that pains him at night.
  • Avenging the Villain: Edwin is avenging his parents, who Uther had burnt at the stake. However, Gaius states that they were both users of dark magic, so presumably they weren't particularly nice people.
  • Bottle Episode: Apart from a few brief shots of Gaius leaving the city, the episode takes place entirely in the castle: Morgana's room, the throne room, the courtyard, and various corridors.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Edwin
  • Flower Motifs: Edwin sends Morgana a bouquet of white lilies, the flowers that symbolize death.
  • Foreshadowing: Uther mentions that Morgana suffers from nightmares.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Edwin is severely disfigured down one side of his face after trying to rescue his parents from execution as a child.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Yes Uther, by all means trust the creepy guy who turns up moments after Morgana gets mysteriously ill and tries to nudge Gaius out of a job.
  • Ill Girl: Morgana
  • Magnificent Bastard: Edwin plays Uther like a harp.
  • Shout-Out: Edwin Muirden is presumably named after Edwin Muir, a poet who wrote this Merlin-centric poem; a poem that also contains the inspiration for the title of the series two-part Grand Finale.
Merlin S 01 E 05 LancelotRecap/MerlinMerlin S 01 E 07 The Gates Of Avalon

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