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Recap: Merlin S 04 E 13 The Sword In The Stone Part II

The Sword in the Stone Part II

The episode begins right where the last one left off, with the Power Trio and Tristan and Isolde running through the forest with Agravaine and Helios's mercenaries right behind them. Merlin urges the others to run ahead while he covers their tracks, and as soon as they're out of earshot, he calls for the Dragon.

He scans the skies as Agravaine draws near, and then rushes for the trees. Agravaine looks up as he hears the beating of large wings, and shouts for his men to take cover as the Dragon swoops down from the sky and exhales a massive fire-bolt. Agravaine dives to the ground with a scream.

Merlin joins Arthur and the others in a network of tunnels, but is slightly confused as to where to lead them next.

Agravaine looks over his dead and dying men, gathering together the few that remain uninjured. As the Dragon returns for another attack, they run into the tunnels with a blaze of fire right behind them.

Further in, Arthur is eavesdropping on a conversation between Tristan and Guinevere. Tristan remains unimpressed with Arthur's "kingly qualities", though Guinevere defends him. Each group hears the other, and Merlin doubles back in order to lead Agravaine down another tunnel. Arthur warns him not to do anything stupid.

Merlin leaps out in front of Agravaine and runs away, though he rushes straight into a dead-end. He turns to face his enemies with regret and sadness in his eyes, knowing that there's only one way out of this situation.

Agravaine: Where's Arthur?
Merlin: Be careful.
Agravaine: What are you talking about? Where's Arthur? Tell me. Now! Or I'll have to kill you.
Merlin: I don't think so.

Agravaine steps toward him. Without a word or a gesture, Merlin's eyes glow, and the entire gang of mercenaries is thrown backwards off their feet. Merlin looks resigned as Agravaine gets back up on his feet.

Agravaine: You have magic!
Merlin: I was born with it.
Agravaine: So it's you. You're Emrys!
Merlin: That is what the Druids call me.
Agravaine: And you've been at court all this time. At Arthur's side. How you've managed to deceive him. I am impressed. Perhaps we're more alike than you think.

He steps toward Merlin with his hand outstreched. Merlin raises his own in a "stop" gesture. Agravaine looks as though he's about to back down, when he suddenly draws a knife and makes to stab Merlin. Again, without a word, Merlin flings Agravaine backwards through the air. He lands on the ground, already dead. Merlin quietly takes in his body, and then turns away to find the others.

Back with the others, Arthur hears the tumbling of rocks, and decides to go back for Merlin, much to Tristan's surprise. Arthur and Merlin find each other, and Merlin asks if he came back specifically for him.

Arthur: Alright, it's true. I came back because you're the only friend I have and I couldn't bear to lose you.
Merlin: Really?
Arthur: Don't be stupid.

The small company emerge on the other side of the tunnels and Arthur suggests that they head over the mountains. Tristan cautions him, saying that it's King Lot's land, and he's no friend of the Pendragons. Merlin suggests heading back to forests of Camelot, telling him that anyone who survived the battle will be hiding there. Arthur eventually agrees, and they all head off.

Back in Camelot, Helios's forces are marching through the courtyard. In the jail cells, Gwaine is sitting shirtless in the corner and Elyan is tending to Gaius. The guards march in and pull Gwaine out of the cell to the throne room where Morgana hands him a small wooden sword and once again orders him to fight for some food.

In the forest, Tristan taunts Arthur as they collect firewood, telling him that he's no one special. As Arthur wanders off, Guinevere goes after him, but already agitated, Arthur tells her that everything that he once cherished between them is over. Near tears, Guinevere leaves him.

Gwaine is thrown back in the jail cell, and Morgana chucks a small loaf of bread afterwards, telling them that it may be their last meal. Elyan tries to get Gaius to eat something, but Gaius confesses that he's near death and that Gwaine needs it more than him.

Arthur is sitting against a tree, deep in thought, when Merlin joins him.

Arthur: I trusted the wrong people.
Merlin: They betrayed you, that wasn't your fault.
Arthur: No, I was a fool. I misjudged everyone. My uncle. Morgana. Every decision I've made has been wrong.
Merlin: You're being too hard on yourself.
Arthur: I should be more discerning. Wise. A statesmen, a king. Tristan's right, there's nothing special about me. I'm just like everyone else.
Merlin: You're not. You're a worthy king.
Arthur: I'm good with a sword. That's all.
Merlin: Your people love you.
Arthur: Most of them are dead. Because of me.
Merlin: No, most of them escaped. They'll be here in the forest, I'm sure of that.
Arthur: If they are, they'll have to find themselves a new king.

By night, Merlin runs through the forest and calls for the Dragon. As he lands, Merlin thanks him for his help but tells him that Arthur has lost the will to fight and lead. The Dragon tells him that Merlin alone can restore Arthur's faith by making him believe that he's a worthy king. Merlin gets a glimmer of an idea in his eye. He asks the Dragon if he knows where the people of Camelot are hiding - and the Dragon says that they shouldn't be too hard to find.

The following morning Merlin wakes up Arthur and leads him through the forest. Merlin tells him a story: that Arthur's ancestor, the first king of Camelot united the Five Kingdoms and created peace. Arthur has heard this story, but Merlin elaborates. While on his death-bed, this king asked to be taken out to the forest where he plunged his sword into a rock. If his lineage was ever questioned, only a true king of Camelot could pull the weapon free. Arthur seems sceptical, but Merlin has led him to a familiar looking clearing.

Before them is Excalibur, waiting in the stone. From the forest emerge the people of Camelot, Leon and Percival among them. Merlin assures Arthur that he alone can pull out the sword, and he's going to prove it to everyone. Arthur approaches nervously and wraps his hands around the hilt. Though he pulls, nothing happens.

Merlin: You have to believe, Arthur. You're destined to become Albion's greatest king. Nothing, not even this stone can stand in your way.

Arthur changes his grip; instead of forcing it with both hands, he gently wraps one hand around the hilt, closes his eyes, and pulls. Merlin's eyes glow, and the sword rises smoothly out of the stone. Arthur holds it above his head, and the light of it shines on Merlin's face. Sir Leon smiles and shouts: "Long live the King!"

Back in Camelot, Helios gallops through the gates of the citadel to inform Morgana that Agravaine and his men are dead. Morgana fears that there's only one man who could command a dragon: Emrys.

In the forest, Arthur is discussing options for retaking Camelot with Leon, Percival, Gwen and Merlin. Arthur dismisses the three-to-one odds, and Leon agrees with him.

Leon: It is you the people love, and you they will lay down their lives for. I know I would ride into the mouth of hell for you.
Percival: And I.
Merlin: And I.

Tristan and Isolde watch this display of loyalty in amazement. By night Guinevere watches Tristan give Isolde a small bouquet of flowers and looks sadly over at Arthur. Isolde sees her watching him and tells her to never give up hope; that love is stronger than anything. Merlin catches up with Arthur and asks him how he's doing. Arthur tells him that although the Southrons are men that they can fight, Morgana and her magic is something else entirely. Merlin tells Arthur the rest of his story: that the first king of Camelot foretold that the man who drew the sword from the stone would unite the land of Albion and rule over the greatest kingdom the world has ever known.

Under the cover of darkness Merlin returns to Camelot, sneaks in through the siege tunnels, and changes himself into Dragoon. Morgana catches a glimpse of him as he hurries past an open door and immediately panics. Helios sends the guards after him, but Dragoon dispatches them with a simple wave of his hand. He sneaks into Morgana's room and chants over a small Voodoo Doll that bursts into flame. As Helios marches down into the dungeons as part of the search, Merlin casually leaves dressed as one of the palace guards.

Helios tries to comfort Morgana, telling her that Emrys has fled in fear and that she should get some sleep. Nervously she goes to her bedchamber and lies down, oblivious to the fact that the Voodoo Doll hangs under her bed. It fades away to Merlin's face. He's smiling to himself as Camelot's army prepares for battle. Tristan and Isolde approach Arthur and tell him that they've decided to fight by his side. As Arthur looks over his sword, Guinevere walks to him and says:

Guinevere: Arthur. If anything happens to us, I want you to know: I understand why you can't forgive me. But I never once stopped loving you. Never once.

Arthur's army takes up their weapons; everything from swords to pitchforks. The camera pans over the line up: Merlin, Guinevere, Tristan, Isolde, Leon, Percival, and finally Arthur. He raises Excalibur, and signals them into battle.

The knights of Camelot run toward the castle. In bright red cloaks. In broad daylight. Oy.

Sir Leon leads a small group of men to a postern gate and a knight takes out the Southrons on the battlements with a crossbow. Elsewhere, Tristan, Isolde and Percival dispatch another group of Southrons at another entrance. Percival doesn't even have his sword drawn, he just throws a man aside with his bare hands and gestures for the rest of the knights to follow. Arthur dispatches two Southrons on a grassy verge outside the castle and sends them rolling down the hill where Merlin and Gwen finish them off. Each team converges on the palace as the warning bell begins to ring. Helios enters Morgana's bedroom.

Helios: It seems we have company.
Morgana: Emrys!
Helios: Arthur.
Morgana: My dear brother. We must welcome him home.

Morgana leaves the room with him, still unaware of the Voodoo Doll under her bed.

Tristan and Isolde leap out from behind two pillars and defeat a Southron together. Helios and Morgana take up their positions in the council chamber, knowing that Arthur will make his way there. Down in the dungeons, Percival kills another Southron. In the main citadel, Leon and the other knights fight.

In the dungeons, Gwaine and Elyan hear Percival coming. Percival unlocks the cell, breezes past Gwaine and checks on Elyan.

Percival: Are you alright?
Elyan: I've been locked up with Gwaine for a week.

The two of them tend to Gaius.

Arthur, Isolde, Tristan, Merlin and Guinevere approach the throne room, where a group of Southrons guard the doors.

Arthur: One each. Pick your man. On me!

He rushes forward and fights a Southron. Gwen hits another in the face with the hilt of her sword. Inside the council chamber, Morgana rests her cheek against the throne, waiting almost peacefully for the confrontation. Tristan and Isolde take out the last of the guards, and Arthur commends Merlin on the power of his new sword. He stands at the door and takes one last look at Merlin and Guinevere, asking them if they're ready. They nod, and all burst through the doors, shouting: "For the love of Camelot!"

Morgana sits on the throne, Helios behind her. For the first time in over two years, the half-siblings approach one another and meet in the centre of the hall. Arthur sheathes Excalibur, and looks over Morgana.

Arthur: What happened to you, Morgana? I thought we were friends.
Morgana: As did I. But alas, we were both wrong.
Arthur: You can't blame me for my father's sins.
Morgana: It's a little late for that. You've made it perfectly clear how you feel about me and my kind. You're not as different from Uther as you'd like to think.
Arthur: Nor are you.

Morgana steps back, declaring that she's going to enjoy killing him. She raises her hand and chants a spell. A strange whispering fills the air. Nothing happens. Morgana tries again, confused. Still nothing.

Arthur: Not so powerful now, my lady.

Helios steps forward and pushes Morgana back, challenging Arthur to a fight. Morgana flees the room in terror, Gwen and Merlin in hot pursuit. Southrons burst through the door behind them; Tristan and Isolde fight them off as Arthur crosses swords with Helios. Morgana strides through the halls of Camelot with a sword, fighting off knights of Camelot as she goes. One leaps out of an alcove and manages to slice across her belly with his sword before she kills him. Holding her side, Morgana stumbles away.

Helios wounds Arthur and presses his advantage, elbowing him across the face and sending him toppling to the ground. He is about to land the killing blow when Isolde stabs him from behind. Helios manages to slash her with his sword before he falls. Her smile fading, Isolde turns to face Tristan and falls to her knees. He races to her side.

Guinevere turns a corner of the castle. Morgana emerges from the other end. They begin to parry.

Gwen: What did I do to make you hate me so much?
Morgana: It's not what you did, it's what you're destined to do. I'm sorry Gwen, but I can never let that happen.

Gwen's sword goes flying from her hand and Morgana points the tip of her sword at Gwen's throat. She is about to be killed when Morgana is forced backwards through the air by a magical force. Merlin stands behind Gwen, his eyes still glowing. They take a few steps forward and Gwen questions what happened. Not seeing Morgana in the rubble, the two hurry back to the council chamber.

They enter to find Tristan holding Isolde on the ground, Arthur watching with tears in his eyes.

Isolde: I'm sorry.
Tristan: Shh.
Isolde: Our dreams...
Tristan: Isolde, don't.
Isolde: I wish...
Tristan: I wished...
Isolde: Hold me.

She dies, and Tristan gently tips her head back for a Last Kiss. Arthur and Gwen look up at each other, both with tears in their eyes.

Some time later, Gwen is picking up toppled furniture when Arthur enters the room.

Gwen: If you want me to go...to return to Ealdor...
Arthur: I want you to stay. Guinevere...
Gwen: You don't have to say anything...
Arthur: Whatever's happened between us...
Gwen: Please, Arthur, I can't forgive myself.
Arthur: I don't care. I just don't ever want to lose you.

He takes her hands and asks her to marry him. She agrees, and the two kiss against the light of the sun.

The doors to the throne room open, and Morgana's prophesy is fulfilled. Guinevere walks down the aisle of the throne room and kneels before Arthur at the dais. Arthur takes up the Queen's crown and holds it above her head.

Arthur: By the sacred laws vested in me...I crown you Guinevere...Queen of Camelot.

He lowers the crown onto her head and offers her his hands. She takes them and he lifts her to her feet to join him before the thrones. They kiss, and Arthur presents her to the assembly, shouting: "Long live the Queen!" Merlin, Gaius, the knights and the court take up the chant.

The scene abruptly changes to the forest. Morgana stumbles through the trees, holding her side. Her hair looks awful (really awful). She collapses to the ground, looking near-death. The sound of wings fill the air and a shadow falls over her face. Aithusa, looking much creepier than when we last saw him, lands on a rock beside her and breaths over her still body. Morgana opens her eyes and looks up in wonder at the baby dragon. A tiny smile crosses her face, and she watches as Aithusa flaps his wings and takes off into the air...

Tropes

  • Action Girl: Gwen and Isolde
    • Dark Action Girl: Morgana. Even without magic, she still has a strong skill with a sword, able to kill two knights while escaping Camelot and able to best Guinevere in a duel. The only reason she is wounded is because a knight took her by surprise, and she still brought him down.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Despite having admitted for the first time ever last episode that Merlin was right, Arthur still has to be dragged out of bed with no warning and practically lured into a clearing with all his people watching to put enough pressure on him to pull the sword from the stone.
    • And the night afterward, when Merlin finally tells Arthur about his destiny to rule Albion, his response is "You're making this up.". Yes, like he made up you pulling a freaking sword from a stone. Even when Merlin points out he has no reason to boost Arthur's ego, he just walks off without any further commitment. At least he's realized he can't argue with Merlin any more.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Averted. Merlin only says that the sword in the stone once belonged to Arthur's ancestor, when he knows full-well that it was forged only a few years ago.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: QUEEN Guinevere.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Merlin and Guinevere stick close together in the final battle. Arthur, Tristan and Isolde are this in a brief shot during the throne room fight.
  • Berserk Button: Arthur might just have reached Morgana, had he not pointed out that she was very much like Uther.
    • Morgana is about to kill Guinevere, which causes Merlin to throw her backwards down a corridor in what is possibly the biggest telekinetic "air push" ever featured on the show.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Arthur, Merlin, Gwen, Tristan and Isolde bursting into the throne room yelling: "For the love of Camelot!" Kinda falls flat when the expected resistance is not there, just Morgana and Helios.
    • Morgana is just about to kill Gwen when she is thrown into the air so hard the ceiling collapses. Cut to Merlin, with the gold just fading from his eyes.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Arthur and Guinevere. It's their best yet.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight mostly. Subverted when Morgana is stabbed and, just for a moment, you can see blood spurt out as she twirls.
  • Book Ends: Arthur is crowned King at the beginning of the season, Guinevere is crowned Queen at its end.
  • Brick Joke: Kind of. In Lamia, Arthur mocked Merlin for getting his life saved by Guinevere, stating that he'd rather die than be saved by a girl. Here, Isolde saves his life at the cost of her own.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Excalibur, first introduced in 1x09, is finally wielded by its rightful owner over three seasons later.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Merlin tells Arthur that he can only lift the sword from the stone if he believes he can. It's a subversion really, since Merlin is controlling the whole scenario.
  • Cleavage Window: Morgana in the forest in the final scene.
  • Cool Sword: Excalibur, though Arthur seems nonplussed: "this thing's not bad."
  • Continuity Snarl: Apparently it's common knowledge that Arthur is the latest in long line of the Pendragon dynasty, starting from an ancient king that founded Camelot and united the Five Kingdoms. Last year Uther proclaimed that he had conquered Camelot.
    • It's clear that Merlin is making up parts of this legend, which Arthur calls him on more than once, but even if it is mostly true, it is never stated that the Pendragons continuously held Camelot. It's entirely possible Uther could have reconquered it after they had lost the throne.
  • Cry for the Devil: It's hard not to feel just a wee little smidgeon of pity for Agravaine. After his heartfelt plea to Morgana in the last episode about how he is her one and only true friend, she casually sends him on a mission to kill the Power Trio and then barely reacts to news of his death.
  • Dawn Attack: Arthur's forces prepare in the night and attack Camelot at dawn.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Gwen versus Morgana.
  • Diabolus Ex Vacuus: Aithusa, weirdly enough. At least according to the writers.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Although Morgana sees Emrys roaming the castle, she's still dumbstruck by the fact that her powers have been magically removed.
  • Dies Wide Open: Agravaine
  • Dirty Business: Merlin's killing of Agravaine was specifically written and performed to demonstrate that Merlin will do what he has to do, no matter how much he dislikes it.
  • Don't Think. Feel: Perhaps something of a subversion (since Merlin is in control of the entire process), but Merlin suggests this when Arthur is trying to pull the sword from the stone. As soon as Arthur stops trying to force it out and instead wraps his hand gently around the hilt, Merlin allows the sword to emerge.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Debatably, Agravaine. His death and the immediate aftermath of Merlin realising he's killed him is an important, dramatically staged moment, but it occurs seven minutes into the episode and he's only mentioned once in passing in the rest of the episode by a minor character.
  • Excalibur in the Stone
  • Faceless Goons: The mercenaries, most of which wear black masks over the lower half of their faces.
  • Girly Bruiser: Guinevere helps win back Camelot whilst wearing a shirt embroidered with flowers.
  • Karmic Death: Agravaine dies alone and unmourned in a tunnel, a fitting end for someone who deliberately tried to break up the Official Couple.
  • Killed Off for Real: Isolde, Helios, Agravaine.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Agravaine. True, he pulled a dagger on Merlin, but it's heavily implied that either way, he wasn't leaving that cave alive.
  • Last Kiss: Tristan to Isolde.
  • Left Hanging: Gwen's magic-prompted tryst with the resurrected Lancelot is never revealed to Arthur or anyone else, nor is Lancelot's true nature for that matter. Arthur just seems to have decided to let it go because he loves her. For that matter, it's never made clear if Gwen was told that he died again.
    • Also, the Tristan/Isolde subplot just sort of disappears. The last we see of Tristan, he's weeping over Isolde's dead body. He disappears after that, and as the next episode opens three years later, it's unlikely we'll ever find out what happened to him.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Merlin, of all people. He's a bit of a subversion in that he's got completely pure intentions and doesn't even think of it this way, but the scene where Arthur retrieves Excalibur has him playing Arthur and the crowd like a well-tuned violin. And then he follows it up by removing Morgana's magic from the equation while increasing her fear of his aged form, should he need that later.
  • Men of Sherwood: The Knights of Camelot, who competently take back Camelot with only a few on-screen causalities.
  • Mutual Kill: Isolde and Helios
  • Not So Different: Agravaine to Merlin, when he realizes that the two of them have been keeping a Dark Secret from Arthur.
    • Furthermore, both Arthur and Morgana accuse the other of being just like Uther. It's a bit of a one-sided, though, because Arthur isn't terribly bothered by the comparison. Morgana, on the other hand, jumps straight to violence.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It turns out that hatching the last baby dragon maybe wasn't such a good idea after all.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Morgana gets from the castle, through the city, passed all the soldiers, and to the forest without any magical powers. Oh, and she did this after having been apparently knocked unconscious and with a sword-wound in her side. And Merlin and Gwen were standing only a few meters from her when she did it, and lost sight of her for no more than ten seconds.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Sword in the Stone. Subverted, in this case, because "chosen" actually means "if Merlin wants you to."
    • Well, someone had to choose
  • Power Nullifier: The Voodoo Doll
  • The Power of Love: Morgana instigated the famous Arthurian Love Triangle to make Guinevere look like a cheater and prevent her from ever becoming Queen. What she didn't count on was Arthur loving Guinevere so deeply and completely that he would forgive her and marry her anyway.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Isolde stabs Helios from behind to save Arthur, but he fatally wounds her before he goes down.
  • Sequel Hook: The final scene between Morgana and Aithusa.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Morgana drapes herself over the throne of Camelot.
  • Slow Motion: So much. So very very much.
  • Stab the Sky: Arthur does this with Excalibur after he pulls it from the stone.
  • Storming the Castle
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Arthur ain't going anywhere until he's been given the confidence boost he needs: which Merlin and Kilgharrah decide is Excalibur.
  • Tearful Smile: Guinevere, when Arthur proposes for the second time.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Isolde dies, Guinevere lives. Though this might have been just as much to do with Guinevere's Plot Armour as opposed to the guest star's.
  • Victory Is Boring: Having conquered Camelot, Morgana doesn't seem to have anything more pressing to do with her time than staging fist-fights in the throne room.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: When Morgana realizes that her powers have been drained, she immediately takes off... to the left.


Merlin S 04 E 12 The Sword In The Stone Part IRecap/MerlinMerlin S 05 E 01 Arthurs Bane Part I

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