Recap / Merlin S 04 E 12 The Sword In The Stone Part I
The Sword in the Stone Part I
Arthur is getting ready for the feast of Beltane and is rather irritated to discover that Merlin is putting another hole in his belt. Apparently he's gaining weight, and sure enough Arthur finds that the belt doesn't fit around his waist. Merlin assures him that he's good at keeping secrets.
Elsewhere, the invasion of Camelot begins. Agravaine uses a flint to light a sleeping powder in a pouch and throws it to feet of the sentries on the battlements. Once they've been knocked out, he signals with a torch to a watcher on the hill. Down at the feast, Arthur asks Gaius where Agravaine is, but is soon distracted by the sight of his favourite dish. Merlin lets slip about the belt holes, much to Percival's amusement.
Meanwhile, Agravaine heads down a siege tunnel and opens up the grating, smiling to see Helios's mercenaries pouring out of the forest toward him. He leads them back down into the castle.
Arthur watches Percival flirting to a noblewoman and turns away sadly. Merlin realizes that he's thinking of Guinevere.
Arthur: I look for her in the room and she's not there. Then I remember why.
The mercenaries are pouring some kind of flammable liquid all over the ground and houses of the lower town. Agravaine drops his flaming torch with a smile, and the fire roars to life behind him. Out in the forest, Morgana and Helios sit on horseback, an army behind them. At the sight of flames rising from Camelot, Morgana announces that it's time.
Down in the town Sir Leon and Elyan are trying to help the villagers put out the fire, but Leon notices a far worse problem: mercenaries are pouring into the city. Leon sends Elyan to sound the alarm whilst he and the other knights stand to fight.
As the warning bell rings, Gwaine runs into the banquet hall to shout that they're under attack. Arthur yanks off his cloak, tells Merlin to get everyone to the inner chamber, and rushes out with Percival and Gwaine.
In an upstairs corridor Elyan comes face to face with Agravaine and realizes that he's the traitor. Before the two of them can fight, Elyan goes flying through the air. The mercenaries part to reveal Morgana, who scolds Agravaine for wasting time and storms past.
Arthur watches as hundreds of mercenaries flood into the castle courtyard. Merlin and Gaius are trying to help people in the banquet hall and Merlin rushes off to find Arthur. Arthur is currently fighting off mercenaries in Bullet Time
as Merlin runs in Slow Motion
to reach him. Outside Helios is killing knights of Camelot and Leon sounds the retreat so that they can help the people get to the woods.
Merlin reaches Arthur just as he's wounded by a mercenary. Merlin drags him behind a pillar and as Arthur heads off, Merlin peeks back around the pillar and halts the mercenaries by igniting the torches either side of them to create a barrier of fire.
Out by the courtyard Arthur is having trouble running and suspects he has a few broken ribs. He looks out to see Helios and Morgana crossing the courtyard at the head of their army, and is stunned when Agravaine joins them. Oh, now
he gets it. Merlin stops him from immediately rushing out to kill Agravaine, pointing out that there are too many of them.
Leon hurries the people toward the forest and looks back as Camelot burns.
Morgana sits on the throne as Helios approaches her to say that Camelot has fallen. She's unimpressed, as her victory isn't complete until she has Arthur. Helios assures her that he's somewhere in the palace.
In the banquet hall Gaius is trying to tend to Arthur's injuries when Gwaine and Percival burst through the doors. Knowing that they're coming for Arthur, but knowing that Arthur would never willingly leave Camelot and his people, Gaius suggests to Merlin that he take Arthur's willpower away. As Gwaine and Percival barricade the door, Gaius distracts Arthur by binding his ribcage and Merlin mutters a spell over his head. Arthur stands up woozily and agrees to Merlin's suggestion that they all leave. Percival helps him up, but Gwaine and Gaius opt to stay behind - the former to buy them time, and the latter because he fears he'll slow them down. As Merlin, Arthur and Percival leave, Gwaine and Gaius take a stand before the doors.
The barricade collapses and the mercenaries pour through with Morgana in their midst.
Gaius: It seems your victory is short-lived Morgana.
Realizing that Arthur is not there, Morgana turns and announces that they're going on a hunt.
Percival, Arthur and Merlin have made it to the woods and are soon joined by Elyan. Arthur looks back at Camelot sadly, but follows Merlin's summons. The knights are hurriedly making plans to get Arthur across the border, and Merlin suggests Ealdor. Just then he orders silence, having heard the sound of hoofbeats. They make another run for it as Morgana, Agravaine and more mercenaries run them down on horseback. Morgana's eyes glow as she catches sight of them and the four fugitives are thrown off their feet. In the confusion that follows, they lose Percival, and Elyan opts to stay behind in order to cover their escape. He fights off several mercenaries and Merlin and Arthur escape deeper into the forest.
Arthur bumps into Merlin and apologises, much to Merlin's bemusement, and agrees that they need to find him a disguise.
Back in Camelot Agravaine approaches Morgana on the throne and announces that the entire kingdom has been taken. He exchanges a rather challenging look with Helios, who is leaning over the back of the throne, and tells her that the people will not swear allegiance to anyone but Arthur. In return, Morgana orders that the crops be burnt - something that seems to make Agravaine pause. When Helios asks about Arthur, a bruised and bloody Elyan is brought forward.
Merlin and Arthur find a woodsman's cottage with clothes hanging on the line. Arthur is apologetic and self-effacing as he changes into the ridiculously small peasant's clothes.
Meanwhile Morgana is introducing Elyan to a small snake that she promises will bring him unimaginable pain if he does not reveal Arthur's location. Outside, Helios eats chicken and Agravaine looks like he's about to throw up as Elyan's screams echo down the corridors.
Agravaine: Good God, will it never end?
Helios: What wrong? Don't have the stomach for it?
A triumphant Morgana emerges to annouce that Arthur is in Ealdor. Agravaine is sent after him, with a warning that if he fails, he'll be taking Elyan's place.
In Camelot's cells, a badly wounded Elyan is dragged in and dumped on the floor with Gaius and Gwaine. Gaius recognises the snake bite on his skin and realizes what it means.
Morgana is looking over the papers in Arthur's bedroom when Agravaine enters to tell her that he's leaving and to caution her. Though she feels she has nothing to fear, Agravaine tells her that she should trust no one, not even Helios.
Agravaine: I am your one true ally, my lady. I am your one true friend. I would do anything for you. You know that.
Morgana: I am grateful for your loyalty Agravaine, that is why I've entrusted this mission to you.
Agravaine: I understand, of course I do. I only wish it did not take me from your side, where I can best protect you.
Morgana: Find Arthur, and you need never leave my side again.
Out in the forest, Merlin orders Arthur to stay in one place while he investigates a noise over a ridge. Looking down, he sees a group of men loading up a cart. Someone gently places a sword-tip into his back and he turns around to see a woman looking at him with a sweet little smile on her face.
She marches Merlin and Arthur down to the cart where a man is sharpening a knife. After ascertaining that they're heading for Lot's kingdom and that Arthur is just a simpleton, the man allows them to go. Merlin asks if they could travel with them, and offers to pay in gold - something that gets their attention.
Agravaine discovers Arthur's cape behind a wall and orders his men to go on.
Meanwhile, the travellers come to a halt and Merlin watches as the man gently lifts the woman to the ground. As Arthur hugs a tree, Merlin investigates their cargo and realizes that they're carrying frankincense.
Merlin: You're smugglers.
Isolde: We prefer to think of it as free-trade.
Merlin: It's forbidden. By edict of the king if you're caught you could be killed
Tristan: Course. Tristan and Isolde. We're too quick and too smart for the half-wit king in Camelot.
Over dinner by the campfire, Merlin takes advantage of Arthur's current state to have him wash the dishes and rub down the horses. Meanwhile, Agravaine continues to ride through the forest with an army of mercenaries.
The following morning Arthur is back to normal and Merlin fills him in: he was attacked and they're going to Ealdor. Arthur isn't happy about his current clothing, but Merlin tells him that he's in disguise - at which point Tristan comes up and refers to him as "the simpleton." When Tristan asks about his sword, Arthur plays along with Merlin's excuse that he won it in a game of cards, and asks how long he's got to keep up the pretense. At that point an arrow takes out a smuggler walking behind them, and everyone bursts into action as the mercenaries rush through the forest.
Arthur and Merlin join Tristan and Isolde behind the wagon and cover their backs with crossbows while they head for the forest. Realizing that the mercenaries aren't after the cargo, Tristan demands to know who Arthur is. He introduces himself as Arthur Pendragon and a fight is brewing between the men when the mercenaries find them. In the fight that follows Isolde is injured, and Arthur saves her. Although Tristan doesn't want anything more to do with them, Arthur and Merlin suggest that they come to Ealdor where Isolde can get shelter and rest. Tristan agrees, but reluctantly.
In the cells of Camelot, Morgana comes to visit the prisoners. Gwaine demands food for Gaius, and Morgana decides to play along, telling him that he can have food - though first he has to sing for it. Her soldiers drag him away.
Merlin, Arthur, Tristan and Isolde reach the border and prepare to make a campfire for the night, though Tristan is still hostile toward Arthur.
Gwaine is brought into the throne room where Morgana, Helios and the mercenaries are waiting. He's been brought there to fight in single-combat against one of Helios's fighters.
By a campfire in the forest, Merlin and Arthur talk as Tristan and Isolde sleep.
Arthur: You knew. You knew Agravaine was betraying me.
Merlin: I couldn't be sure. I did have my suspicions.
Arthur: I feel like such a fool. I put such trust in him. All this time I was blind to his treachery as I was to Morgana's.
Merlin You were decieved, Arthur. It could happen to anyone.
Arthur: Yet it keeps happening to me. I cared about these people. I don't understand. What have I done wrong? Why do they hate me?
Merlin: No, they don't hate you. They just crave your power for themselves.
Arthur: Perhaps. Would they still want my power if I was the king my people deserved?
Merlin assures him that one day he'll be the greatest king that the land has ever known, and that he's not the only one who thinks that.
With a blend of insults and tricks, Gwaine manages to win his fight, only to be rewarded with a single roll of bread. Morgana informs him that if he's to win more, he'll have to keep fighting.
Merlin, Arthur, Tristan and Isolde finally make it to Ealdor. Hunith rushes out to hug her son and welcome him home. In her house, Merlin tends to Isolde and Tristan thanks him.
Arthur: I'm sorry I brought this misfortune upon you.
Tristan: Well I may have lost my cargo, but I still have my beloved Isolde.
Arthur: Then you're richer than you know.
As night falls, Agravaine and the mercenaries spread out around Ealdor. Merlin walks with his mother and discusses the situation, before asking how "she" has been. Hunith tells him that broken hearts are slow to mend, and the two look through a gap in the doorway to see Guinevere.
As Gwen tends to the bandages around his ribs, Arthur wakes up and finds her sitting beside his bed. For a while they just look at each other, and then admit that they missed each other. Arthur sits up and they hug.
Hunith and Merlin are still talking outside when screams and shouts fill the night. Agravaine and his men are attacking. The good guys hide in Hunith's house and watch as Agravaine organizes the search for them. As the others run out the back, Merlin uses magic to set a wagon alight and send it rolling down the the path. Agravaine is forced to dive out of the way, but spots the group making a run for it. With the mercenaries in hot pursuit, Arthur, Merlin, Gwen, Tristan and Isolde rush through the forest...
- Aborted Declaration of Love: Agravaine makes a clumsy attempt at declaring his love for Morgana, only for her to cut him off and send him to Ealdor and his death.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: By this point, Hunith. Especially considering it's been five years (in-show) that we saw her last.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us
- Anachronism Stew: Arthur is wearing modern rain boots in the scene where he has to pretend to be a simpleton. Since there's no way that could have been considered medieval (and they disappear immediately afterwards), that had to be a subtle Take That to those who complain about the Anachronism Stew.
- Barbarian Tribe: The Southrons
- Back for the Finale: Hunith
- Ballroom Blitz: Morgana attacks whilst Camelot is distracted by the Beltane feast.
- Bare Your Midriff: Arthur in his peasant's disguise, which is much too small.
- Beautiful Dreamer: Tristan watches Isolde sleep.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: A variation. Tristan and Isolde prefer "free trade" to "smuggling."
- Braids of Action: Isolde has one.
- Breaking the Fellowship: The Knights split up in order to ensure Arthur's escape from Camelot.
- Break the Cutie: Arthur.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Isolde, when Merlin first runs into her.
- Cliffhanger: Ends with the heroes running into the forest, the mercenaries right behind them.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Morgana to Elyan.
- Comfort Food: It would seem Arthur has been indulging in this since Guinevere's departure considering Merlin has to add another notch to his belt.
- Dramatic Irony: Arthur complains that Merlin is terrible at keeping secrets and says he's lucky he didn't trust him with any important secrets.
- Faux Action Girl: While Isolde looks the part of a bona fide Action Girl, she really doesn't do much besides get injured which made Tristan rely on Arthur and Merlin to get her to safety. She makes up for it in the next episode, thankfully.
- Forced Prize Fight: Gwaine and Helios's men.
- Foregone Conclusion: Tristan was the name of one of the Knights of the Round Table. Gee, I wonder if he's going to join up with Arthur in Part II!
- God Save Us from the Queen!
- Hollywood Healing: Gaius says that Elyan is tortured "beyond the limits of human endurance." The next time we see him (no more than a day later) he's standing up and moving around his prison cell with relative ease. A Wizard Did It, though, so maybe Morgana's method didn't inflict any physical harm.
- I Will Only Slow You Down: Gaius to Merlin
- Know When to Fold 'Em: It becomes apparently very quickly that Arthur and the Knights have no chance of defending Camelot, and it's up to Merlin to make Arthur flee the city.
- Mood Whiplash: The scenes where Arthur is acting like a simpleton.
- Musical Spoiler: When Isolde is injured in battle, Lancelot's theme (which was played over both his funerals) starts to play. Sure enough, Isolde dies in the next episode.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Agravaine begins to feel this way on hearing Elyan's torture and realizing Morgana's indifference to him.
- Mythology Gag: Tristan and Isolde were legendary lovers from medieval myth about a Cornish knight who has an affair with an Irish princess.
- Recycled Script: Camelot falls. Morgana takes over. Arthur is betrayed by a family member. The good guys are forced to flee. The knights of Camelot are imprisoned. Gwaine partakes in a Forced Prize Fight. Arthur and Gwen are reunited in unexpected circumstances. Didn't all this happen last year?
- The Savage South: Helios's men are called "southrons".
- Shirtless Scene: Hi, Arthur's chest. Haven't seen you in a while. Also, Gwaine, during his Forced Prize Fights.
- Take Over the City
- Talk Like a Pirate: Arthur's attempt at pretending to be a simpleton.
- Torture Technician: Morgana
- Trapped by Mountain Lions: These final two episodes feature a sequence of plot-less scenes that involve Gwaine being forced to fight Morgana's soldiers. Beyond providing a couple of Shirtless Scenes, they serve no purpose whatsoever.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Morgana's first action as Queen is to order Agravaine to burn all the villagers' crops.
- Unflinching Walk: From Agravaine, of all people. He even gets a Psychotic Smirk and Slow Motion as he walks away from the massive fire he's started.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Percival? And where did Hunith go after Agravaine's men attacked Ealdor?
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Morgana makes Gwaine fight for food - but when he's victorious she only gives him a small roll of bread as a reward.