The Last Dragonlord
The episode opens with Camelot partially destroyed and on fire, this being the third night of the Dragonís assault on the castle. Arthur and his knights run through the courtyard with crossbows, Arthur yelling instructions as he runs. In the infirmary Gaius and Gwen tend to the wounded.
Arthur, Merlin and the knights (includingÖSir Leon!) take their positions on the battlements as the Dragon swoops in for another attack. Merlinís face is filled with guilt as the knights light their arrows and fire on the Dragon, only to be forced to take cover when it breathes fire all over the battlements.
Realizing that thereís no water left in the infirmary, Gwen takes a bucket and hurries out into the courtyard, manoeuvring through the rubble while everyone else screams and flees. The Dragon circles overhead as Arthur cries out for the square to be emptied. Distracted, Gwen is busy drawing water from the well and doesnít notice the Dragon until Arthur yells out her name. Above them the Dragon turns for another attack and Arthur sprints across the square toward her. Itís a close call as the Dragon swoops down, but Arthur reaches Gwen and takes the brunt of the Dragonís strike as the two of them are thrown to the ground.
The two get to their feet and take cover just as Merlin appears, yelling a spell and attempting to hit the Dragon with a magical spear. It simply glances off his scales and he mocks Merlin with how ineffectual his magic is before flying away into the night.
In the infirmary Gwen treats Arthurís injury, and the two of them share a quiet moment which ends with Arthur pressing Gwenís hand against his heart, all of which is witnessed by Gaius with a knowing smile. When Merlin approaches him, he tells Gaius that thereís nothing in his power that he can do to stop the Dragon.
The following morning, Arthur presents a report to his father, the knights and several advisors in the War Room, accounting the damage and the number of the dead. None of them have any idea how the Dragon escaped, but when Gaius gets a chance to speak up, he suggests finding a Dragonlord. Uther thinks that this is impossible, but Gaius shares knowledge that there may be one left in existence: a man named Balinor who was last seen in Cenredís kingdom.
Arthur is eager to seek him out, but Uther is reluctant for anyone to enter Cenredís territory. Arthur insists that he will go alone to avoid detection, despite his fatherís orders.
Uther: No, Arthur. It is too dangerous.
Arthur: More dangerous than staying here? I'll not stand by and watch my men die when I have the chance to save them.
Uther: I have given you my orders.
Arthur: Do not make this a test of wills, Father.
Uther: I'm not talking to you as a father, I'm talking to you as a king!
Arthur: I will ride immediately.
Uther: My concern is for you.
Arthur: Mine is for Camelot. I'll send word when I've found him.
In the Physicianís Chambers, Merlin is packing and asking Gaius about the Dragonlords. Gaius seems oddly distracted, but tells him that that they were men who were able to communicate and control dragons. Uther wiped them out, believing that they were dangerous Ė but one escaped with Gaiusís help. Then he drops a bombshell: the man that Merlin and Arthur are about to track down is Merlinís father. Merlinís mother Hunith sheltered him in Ealdor, but he was forced to flee after Uther sent soldiers after him. They kept this information from Merlin believing that it was too dangerous for him to know.
Arthur and Merlin prepare their horses in the courtyard, though Arthur is clearly having trouble with his wound. Gaius approaches Merlin, telling him that whatever happens, he canít let Arthur know that Merlin is a Dragonlordís son.
The two of them gallop through the woods and finally come to a stop at the top of a hill overlooking a village. They are on the borders of Cenredís kingdom. They arrive in the village by night in the pouring rain, causing a sudden silence when they enter a noisy tavern. Awkwardly they take their seats, and Arthur asks the innkeeper where they can find a man called Balinor. He ignores the money that Arthur offers, stating that heís never heard of him.
Later Merlin and Arthur get ready for bed in their guest chamber. Arthur has noticed that Merlin is acting rather odd.
Arthur: What is wrong with you today?
Arthur: It pains me to admit it, but I do enjoy your surly retorts. In fact, it's probably your only redeemable feature.
Arthur: There are loads of servants who can serve. So few are capable of making a complete prat of themselves. What is it?
Arthur: It's something. Tell me. Alright, I know I'm a prince, so we can't be friends. But if I wasn't a prince...
Arthur: Well, then...I think we'd probably get on.
Arthur: So at least can you tell me?
Merlin: Well, that's true. But you see, if you weren't a prince, I'd tell you to mind your own damn business.
Arthur: Merlin. Are you missing Gaius.
Merlin: Something like that.
Arthur: Well, what is it, then?
Merlin: I'll tell you. I'm worried about everyone back in Camelot. I hope they're alright.
Arthur: So do I.
Back in Camelot, Sir Leon is leading the knights in their fight against the Dragon. They shoot their arrows at the Dragon, only for it to retaliate with a huge blast of fire. The knights are forced to hunch down and cover each other with their overlapping shields. Uther watches helplessly from his chambers.
Back in the inn, someone enters Merlin and Arthurís room and reaches for Arthurís bag. Arthur wakes up, grabs the manís hand and throws him onto Merlinís bed at knifepoint. Merlin wakes up in fright. Arthur threatens him until he divulges Balinorís location: an isolated cave in a forest.
Man: But don't get your hopes up.
Man: He will not welcome you. Balinor hates everyone and everything. A cave's the best place for him.
Merlin and Arthur walk their horses through the woods. Merlin notices that Arthur is struggling and wants to have a look at his wound when the two of them hide at the sound of Cenredís men passing by. Once gone, Merlin turns to Arthur, only to find that heís passed out.
Merlin continues with Arthur slung over the back of his horse until he reaches Balinorís cave. Hesitantly Merlin calls out his name, and is grabbed from behind by a bearded and grim-looking man. He demands to know why heís there, and Merlin asks for help for his wounded friend. Balinor agrees to tend to him, though Merlin is momentarily distracted by the first sight of his father.
Using herbs and a spell, Balinor treats Arthurís wound, telling Merlin that heíll be fine by the morning. He then offers Merlin a meal.
Merlin: Looks good. How long have you lived here?
Balinor: A few winters.
Merlin: Must be hard.
Balinor: Why are you here?
Merlin: Just travelling. We're looking for someone. I was told, well...they said that he lived somewhere hereabouts. A man named Balinor. You never heard of him? He was a Dragonlord.
Balinor: He's passed on.
Merlin: You knew him?
Balinor: Who are you?!
Balinor: And him?
Merlin: He's my master.
Balinor: His name!
Merlin: His name is Lancelot. He's a knight. You know, a nice one.
Balinor: His name is Arthur Pendragon. He is Uther's son.
Balinor: This is Cenred's kingdom. He's asking for trouble. What do you want from me?
Merlin: Are you Balinor? The Great Dragon is attacking Camelot.
Balinor: His name is Kilgharrah.
Merlin: Well, we can't stop him. Only you, a Dragonlord, can.
Balinor: He doesn't act blindly. He kills for a reason. Vengeance. This is of Uther's making.
Merlin: But he's killing innocent people. Women and children.
Balinor: Uther pursued me! He hunted me like an animal!
Merlin: I know.
Balinor: What do you know about anybody's life, boy?! Uther asked me to use my power to bring the last dragon to Camelot. He said he wanted to make peace with it, but he did not! He lied to me! He betrayed me! You want me to protect this man?
Merlin: I want you to protect Camelot.
Balinor: He killed every one of my kind! I alone escaped!
Merlin: Where did you go?
Balinor: There's a place called Ealdor.
Balinor: I had a life there. A woman. A good woman. Ealdor is beyond Uther's realm, but still he pursued me. Why would he not let me be? What was it that I had done that he wanted to destroy the life I built, abandon the woman I loved? He sent knights to kill me. I was forced to come here, to this! So, I understand how Kilgharrah feels. He's lost every one of his kind, every one of his kin. You want to know how that feels? Look around, boy. Let Uther die. Let Camelot fall.
Merlin: You want everyone in Camelot to die?
Balinor: Why should I care?
Merlin: What if one of them was your son?
Balinor: I don't have a son.
Merlin: And if I told you...
They are interrupted by Arthur muttering in his sleep.
The following morning Merlin watches his father by the river. Arthur emerges from the cave, sounding remarkably chipper. Merlin glumly tells him that though theyíve found Balinor, heís unwilling to help them.
Arthur: What kind of man is he?
Merlin: I don't know. I thought he'd be something more.
As the people of Camelot carry buckets of water through the lower town to put out the fires, Gwen gazes out at the city from the battlement, tears on her cheeks. Gaius comes to join her, offering her comfort over Morganaís disappearance and Arthurís mission. He assures her that Arthur will return, and that she should not underestimate the power of love.
Arthur returns from a discussion with Balinor.
Merlin: What did he say?
Arthur: He'll change his mind.
Merlin: He said that?
Arthur: Just...give him a moment.
Balinor: Farewell, then.
Arthur: That's your decision?
Balinor: I will not help Uther.
Arthur: Then the people of Camelot are damned.
Balinor: So be it.
Arthur: Have you no conscience?!
Balinor: You should ask that question of your father!
Merlin: And you are no better than him!
Arthur: Don't waste your time, Merlin!
Merlin: Gaius spoke of the nobility of Dragonlords! Clearly he was wrong!
Balinor: A good man.
Merlin: Yeah. I was hoping you'd be like him.
Merlin: I wanted to...
Merlin: Well, there's no point.
Looking heartbroken, Merlin turns to leave with Arthur. Once theyíve made camp, Arthur again comments on Merlinís quietness. Theyíre in the midst of some banter when Arthur hears the sound of a twig snap. Someone is approaching, and of course, itís Balinor. Heís had a change of heart and is willing to help them.
Merlin and Balinor collect firewood, and Merlin asks what words he was mumbling when he healed Arthur.
Balinor: An ancient prayer.
Merlin: I thought it might've been more than that.
Balinor: The Old Religion can teach us many things.
Merlin: The Old Religion. Is that something you were taught?
Balinor: It's not something you can learn. Either it's a part of you, or it isn't. My father knew that, and his father before him.
Merlin: Were they also dragonlords?
Balinor: We'll need some kindling.
Merlin: You mentioned...You spoke of Ealdor. You took refuge with a woman.
Balinor: That was a long time ago.
Merlin: I grew up there.
Merlin: Yes. I know the woman.
Balinor: Hunith? She's still alive?
Merlin: Yes. She's my mother.
Balinor: Then she married. That's good.
Merlin: She never married. I'm your son.
Balinor: I don't know what it is to have a son.
Merlin: Or I a father.
Their reunion is cut short by the sound of Arthur walking close by, but they share a smile as they collect firewood.
At night, Arthur sleeps while Balinor whittles wood by the fire. On questioning him further, Merlin learns that Balinor did not return to Hunith because he believed she would be safer without him. Merlin voices his wish that they had stayed together as a family, and promises his father that after Camelot is saved, theyíll return to Ealdor together. Balinor says that he can see Hunith in Merlin; specifically her kindness.
Merlin: How did you become a Dragonlord?
Balinor: You don't choose to become a Dragonlord. It's not something you're taught. It's a sacred gift. For thousands of years it's been handed down from father to son. And that is what you must now become, Merlin.
Merlin: I would like that.
Balinor: And like all dragonlords, you won't know for sure that you have that power until you face your first dragon. You should get some sleep. We've a big day ahead of us. Goodnight, Son.
Merlin: Sleep well, Father.
Merlin wakes up to see a small dragon that his father has whittled, and smiles at the sight of it. Heís about to get up when Arthur grabs him from behind and covers his mouth. Cenredís men are near, and attack unexpectedly. Merlin throws his father a sword and together they begin to fight off their attackers. Merlin loses his weapon and Balinor rushes to his aid, only to be run through. Merlin screams and the soldier is thrown through the air to hit a tree. Balinor collapses in Merlinís arms.
Balinor: Ah, I see you have your father's talent. Merlin...
Merlin: Please, no. Please. I can save you.
Balinor: Listen to me. When you face the dragon, remember: be strong. A dragon's heart is on its right side, not its left.
Merlin: I can't do it alone.
Balinor: Listen to me! Oh, my son. I've seen enough in you to know that you will make me proud.
Balinor dies in Merlinís arms, and Merlin is forced to stifle his sobs as Arthur approaches, throwing his sword down in anger as he sees that Camelotís last hope is dead.
Merlin and Arthur ride back to Camelot in the rain. The knights watch eagerly from the battlements, but on entering the war room together, Arthur is forced to admit that they failed in their mission. When Arthur announces that the last Dragonlord is dead, Gaius glances at Merlin, who is trying desperately hard not to cry.
Arthur: All is not lost, Father. We have to fight the monster ourselves. So let us ride out and fight on our own terms: on open ground, on horseback, where we can manoeuvre better.
Uther: There is no point.
Arthur: So what? We stand here, watch Camelot fall.
Uther: You have my blessing.
Arthur: I need a dozen knights! Those who do not wish to fight can do so without stain on their character. For those brave enough to volunteer should know, the chances of returning are slim.
Starting with Sir Leon, the Knights of Camelot step forward one by one, forming a circle around Arthur.
In his bedroom, Merlin sits on his bed and cries over the small wooden dragon that Balinor made. Gaius enters and tells him that once Balinor died, all his powers have passed into Merlin. Only now does he have power over the Great Dragon.
In Arthurís Chambers, Merlin helps Arthur put on his armour, giving him advice on how to handle the coming battle.
Arthur: Merlin, if I die, please...
Arthur: The Dragonlord today...I saw you. One thing I tell all my young knights: no man is worth your tears.
Merlin: Yeah. You're certainly not.
Arthur picks up his sword and prepares to leave, only for Merlin to pick up his own sword and follow him out. Arthur is incredulous that Merlin would want to come with him to fight the Dragon, but Merlin is dead serious.
Arthur: Are you really going to face this dragon with me?
Merlin: I'm not going to sit here and watch. I know it's hard for you to understand how I feel, but...well, I care a hell of a lot about that armour, I'm not going to let you mess it up.
They share a smile, Arthur gives Merlin a friendly punch on the arm, and they leave the room together. Gaius watches from the battlement as Arthur, Merlin and the knights ride out of Camelot to slay the dragon.
It is night as the knights prepare, and the moon comes out from behind a cloud to light a meadow on the outskirts of Camelot. The knights are armed with lances and all wear helmets as they wait for the Dragon which slowly swoops down out of the sky. The knights are in close formation as it lands upon the ground, and on Arthurís signal they all gallop away from each other to form a circle that surrounds the Dragon.Kilgharrah manage to hit Merlin and several other knights off their horses with his tail, and breaths fire over several knights as Merlin screams for him to stop. Arthur grabs a lance and prepares to stab the dragon, managing a hit before heís knocked unconscious to the ground. Merlin gets to his feet, hearing his fatherís voice.
Balinor: You're the last Dragonlord now. You alone carry the ancient gift. Deep within yourself, you must find the voice that you and Kilgharrah share, for your soul and his are brothers. When you speak to him as kin, he must obey your will.
Merlin roars and begins to speak to Kilgharrah in a foreign tongue. Kilgharrah bows his head and asks for mercy, reminding Merlin that heís the last of his kind. Merlin thrusts the spear up into the air and orders Kilgharrah to leave, telling him that if he ever attacks Camelot again, he will die.
Kilgharrah: Young warlock, what you have shown is what you will be. I will not forget your clemency. I'm sure our paths will cross again.
The Dragon flies away, and Arthur wakes up. Merlin tells him that Arthur managed to deal him a mortal blow, and that he flew away to die. Delighted, Arthur begins to laugh and the two of them return to Camelot on foot. Uther sees them from his window and sighs in relief. Below, Guinevere and Gaius come to meet them. Gwen throws her arms around Arthur as Merlin and Gaius hug one another.
Merlin: I felt him there with me, Gaius.
Gaius: He'll always be with you.
Merlin: I hope so.
Gaius: Merlin, I know I can never compare with your father, but for what it's worth, you've still got me.
Merlin: Well, I suppose I'll just have to make do.
- Absentee Actor: Having been spirited away in the last episode, Morgana is entirely absent from this one. This marks the first episode in which one of the Core Four is not present.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Played with. The Dragon simply asks not to be responsible for the dragon's extinction, but seems to expect his fate.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Dragon is defeated, but Merlin has found and lost his father in the space of a single day and night.
- Book Ends: Arthur saves Guinevere in the courtyard from a flying magical creature, just as she did to him in the first episode of the season.
- Bullying a Dragon: After spending the the last 25 episodes locked up in the dungeon, the Dragon take his revenge on Uther.
- Disappeared Dad: Balinor. Justified in that he never knew Huntih was even pregnat when he left her.
- False Friend: How Uther got the Dragon imprisoned. He claimed he wanted to make peace with him, instead he trapped him inside the dungeon.
- Foreshadowing: When Arthur calls up volunteers to fight the Dragon, his knights form a circle around him.
- Last of His Kind: Just as Kilgharrah is the last Dragon, Merlin is the last Dragonlord.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: The skills of a Dragonlord are passed from father to son.
- Line in the Sand: Arthur gives such a speech to his knights, who gather around him in a scene replete with Foreshadowing for the Round Table.
- Power Makes Your Voice Deep: As Merlin discovers when he commands the Dragon.
- Oh Crap: Kilgharrah when he realizes Merlin is a Dragnlord.
- Say My Name: "GuineVEEEERREEE!"
- Shout-Out: Merlin uses the name "Lancelot" as a fake name for Arthur.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Dragon attacks Camelot night after night both for Uther's genodice of the dragons and his own imprisonment
- Revenge by Proxy: The Dragon rampages Camelot, while Uther is powerless to stop him, just as he was powerless to stop the dragons genocide.