Beauty and the Beast Part I
Up in a high mountain cave, a strange-looking man is brewing a potion for a woman who sits with her hood covering her face. He hands over a bottle full of the potion, and the figure is revealed to be a hideous troll with fangs, warts and grey skin. The troll drinks down the potion and doubles over in pain. Only her hand is visible, and it changes into that of a human woman.
The following morning the pair look down on the castle of Camelot, and the cloaked figure lowers her hood to reveal a beautiful noblewoman.
Merlin and Gaius are hurrying through the lower-town, Merlin laden with pots and complaining about his workload. Someone grabs his arm, and Merlin looks up in alarm to see the face of the troll’s servant who demands to know where the king can be found. He presents a seal, and Gaius recognises it as of the House of Tregor.
The disguised troll steps forward and introduces herself; Merlin is transfixed by her appearance and has to be reminded to bow.
In the Council Chamber, Lady Catrina stands before the court and tells the sad story of her home’s invasion and her father’s death. She attributes her own survival to her servant Jonas, and then swoons into Uther’s arms. He offers her anything she needs while recovering in Camelot.
Though Gaius seems uneasy about Catrina’s appearance, Merlin is charmed by the new guest as he shows her and Jonas to the guest’s quarters. As soon as he’s gone, Catrina’s poise falls away, and the troll shuffles about the room, complaining about how clean it is. Jonas promises her more suitable quarters, and Catrina breathes over a bowlful of fruit. It rots instantly, and she begins to devour it.
At dinner, Morgana and Arthur are respectively amused and disgusted by the fact that Uther is blatantly flirting with Catrina, whilst down in the physician’s quarters Gaius is brewing a potion that he orders Merlin to take to Catrina. On being questioned, Gaius simply says that Catrina will know what it is.
In her room, Catrina slumps over into her troll-hunch and begins to gobble up more rotten fruit, gloating over the fact that Uther is already beginning to fall for her. Merlin bursts in without knocking and she quickly covers for her face-full of rotten fruit, claiming ignorance of the medicine that Merlin has brought for her. As he can see, she’s perfectly healthy.
Later, Gaius tells Merlin that as a child Catrina suffered from a rare bone disorder that prevented her from walking properly. The fact that she rejected his tonic suggests to him that Catrina is not who she claims to be.
As Catrina and Uther head off for a ride the following morning, Merlin creeps into her chambers to investigate further. The bed doesn’t look like it’s been slept in, but Merlin is startled by the appearance of Jonas, who gives him the laundry basket. As Jonas turns, Merlin gets a glimpse of a green forked tail dangling out from beneath his robe. Both Gaius and Merlin agree that the pair of them must be watched carefully.
Uther and Catrina are enjoying a riverside picnic (though Catrina throws her plate of food away when he's not looking), and Uther is opening up about Igraine’s death, as well as the comfort that Arthur and Morgana bring. Back in the castle courtyard, Arthur watches suspiciously as Uther and Catrina laugh together, and Merlin tries to plant the seeds of suspicion in his head.
That night, Gaius approaches Uther in the council chamber and tells him of Catrina’s bone disorder as a child. Uther becomes agitated at Gaius’s warnings, but later, as he lounges with Catrina in front of a fire, he brings up the subject of her condition.
Catrina: Yes, My Lord. What he says is true. But, as you see, I suffer no more.
Uther: And for that you must be eternally grateful. After all, Gaius thought your condition was incurable, did he not?
Catrina: Well, fortunately for us, physicians are often mistaken. Even your famous Gaius.
Uther: It is unusual, though, for such a serious illness to cure itself. Almost a miracle.
Catrina: I can neither deny it, nor explain it, but miracles do happen. After all, is it not a miracle that we should have found each other again after all this time? And my good fortune continues. For you are a remarkable man, Uther Pendragon. You are brave, but compassionate. You are powerful, but modest. And most of all, you are very, very handsome.
She tries to kiss him, but Uther turns away. He cites Igraine’s death for the cause of his hesitation, but promises Catrina that their time will come.
As Catrina exits the castle, Merlin sneaks past a sleeping Arthur in order to levitate a small mirror out of the window and tilt it downwards. In the mirror appears the hideous visage of the troll. Merlin jumps and loses control of the mirror at the sound of Arthur’s voice behind him. Arthur pushes past him to look out of the window and sees the broken shards of the mirror on the courtyard below.
Arthur: Please tell me you weren't spying on Lady Catrina.
Merlin: It's not what it seems.
Arthur: Yes, Merlin. It's exactly what it seems. You have led a sheltered life, you have no social skills whatsoever, and Catrina is, I admit, an attractive woman. I understand completely. And if I ever find you doing it again, I'll feed you to the dogs. Do I make myself clear?
Merlin: Yes, absolutely, Sire.
Merlin ends up following Catrina to her sleeping quarters in a cave by the castle, and holds his nose at the terrible stench. He leaves, but unbeknownst to him, Jonas has been watching his every move.
Sharing the news with Gaius, Merlin is told that trolls like darkness and filth, but that some can emerge from their caves due to their lust for gold and jewels. Gaius makes up his mind to tell Uther; but naturally, Uther will hear none of it.
In the guest quarters, Jonas tells Catrina that she was followed by Merlin in the night, but she rejects his offer to dispose of him. She wants to concentrate on enchanting Uther and together with Jonas, she performs a magic spell over a ruby pendant.
The following day at breakfast, Catrina gets irritated with Uther’s suggestion that she visit her cousins, so as not to make the people believe they’re rushing into anything. She reigns in her temper and gives him the pendant as a goodbye token. The moment it’s around his neck, it glows with magic. The enchantment begins, and soon a besotted Uther is kissing Lady Catrina.
In her troll-form, eating garbage in her cave, Catrina tells Jonas of the latest development, whilst in the castle, Uther informs Gaius that he’s asked Catrina to extent her stay in Camelot indefinitely. Merlin and Gaius decide to hatch a plan to reveal the troll’s true colours.
From the castle battlements, Catrina suggests that Uther make a “permanent” demonstration of their love to the people, whilst Merlin and Gaius research through their magical books for a spell of revelation.
With everyone gathered in the council chamber, Uther announces his intention to marry Catrina. The court is astonished, but eventually breaks into applause led by…Sir Leon! Morgana and Gwen exchange incredulous looks and Arthur looks baffled. Merlin sneaks around the pillars and begins to chant his spell. Catrina freezes as the skin on her face begins to bubble, but despite the intensity of Merlin’s spell, she is able to keep her composure.
Up in her quarters, Catrina demands another potion, and Jonas tells her that he saw Merlin performing the spell to unmask her. Catrina decides to lay a trap for him, just as Merlin decides to tell Arthur the truth.
Arthur, naturally, just laughs off Merlin’s suggestion that Catrina is a troll.
Arthur: Merlin, I know what you're trying to do, and I appreciate it. You're a true friend. But it's not about whether I like her or not, it's about what makes my father happy. And when they announced the wedding today, I realised that Lady Catrina does just that. She makes him happy.
Merlin: Well, he won't be so damn happy when he discovers his wife's a fruit munching monster.
Arthur: That's enough, Merlin.
Arthur: She's the future queen of Camelot whether you like it or not. So you better get used to it.
Defeated, Merlin returns home when he hears weeping in the corridor. He investigates and finds Jonas up on a windowsill. He tells Merlin that his mistress is cruel to him, and divulges information about that she keeps all her potions in the cave under the castle. If Merlin wants to stop her, all he has to do if get hold of the potions that turn her into human form.
Sure enough, Merlin falls into the trap and Catrina seals the cave entrance as the preparations for wedding take place. Merlin throws all the magic he’s got at the landslide, but nothing will make it budge. Uther and Arthur enter the throne room together and await the bride, who simpers her way down the aisle. Geoffrey of Monmouth precedes over the wedding ceremony as Uther and Catrina exchange their vows.
Merlin finally manages to escape the cave and rushes to the throne room. He is stalled at the doors by Jonas, who he throws against the wall, and bursts into the room just as Uther and Catrina kiss. They beam about at the court, but Catrina begins to grimace as she catches sight of Merlin.
To be continued…