The kingdom of Nemeth has just been defeated: armed soldiers patrol the grounds and knights lie dead as King Odin and Morgana stride into the castle. Inside the beautiful throne room, two figures are forced to kneel at their feet: an old king and a familiar face. Hey, it's Princess Mithian, aka Rejected Princess #4!
She and her father King Rodor demand to know why their ally has betrayed them.
Morgana: You should chose your allies more carefully. Any friend of Camelot is an enemy of mine.
Mithian and Rodor are forcibly escorted away and Morgana approaches the throne. Together she and Odin discuss the spoils of war: Morgana is happy for Odin to take whatever riches he wishes from the kingdom, in exchange for her use of his army to retake Camelot. Odin is not entirely convinced, and so Morgana offers him another prize: Arthur.
The following night, two riders enter Camelot's courtyard, and Sir Leon and the other knights emerge from the castle to see that Princess Mithian and her nursemaid have arrived. Mithian faints into Leon's arms and she's carried to Gaius, who's delighted to have a third young woman in as many episodes to give a sleeping draught to. Mithian's nursemaid who doesn't look or sound at all like Morgana
refuses to leave her, despite Merlin trying to assure her that she's in safe hands. Merlin goes to tell Arthur of the Princess's condition, saying that she'll be able to share her story in the morning.
Alone in her bedchamber Mithian sits up in her bed, watching as her nursemaid locks the door and stumbles into a trunk. Her nails score the surface of the wood as she gasps in pain, and slowly her aged look melts away to reveal Morgana. Mithian points out that she can't keep up this ruse forever: the magic is clearly exhausting her. Morgana tells her that all Mithian has to worry about is making the others believe her story.
The following morning Merlin helps Mithian to a chair in the council chamber, where she recounts her (rather modified) story to Arthur, Guinevere and the rest of the knights. According to her, she and her father managed to escape, but not before Rodor was badly injured. He is currently in hiding, but all of Odin's men are searching for him. Tearfully, Mithian begs for Arthur's help - and casts a side-long glance at the old nursemaid standing beside her. As Arthur promises his help, Morgana gives a tiny smile.
In the war-room, Arthur announces his plan to his council: that he and a small group of knights will use speed and stealth to ride to the tomb where Rodor is hiding and whisk him away. Mithian can lead them there, and they'll snatch up Rodor before Odin even realizes what's happened. Guinevere does not look particularly pleased with this plan.
Later that night, Mithian watches as Morgana (still disguised as an old woman) chants a spell quietly to herself, calling a raven to the window. Morgana ties a note to its foot, and as she's distracted, Mithian makes a break for the door. Using her telekenesis, Morgana pulls her away from the door and throws her heavily on the ground. Mithian slowly gets to her feet just as there's a knock on the door. Morgana opens it to find Merlin standing there with a draught from Gaius to give to the princess (the old man just can't resist, can he?) Morgana takes it, but Merlin is struck with how frightened Mithian looks. Merlin leaves and Morgana warns Mithian not to cross her.
Down in the physician's quarters, Merlin tells Gaius about how terrified Mithian looked - Gaius, as usual, dismisses it.
Up in their room, Gwen is ready for bed when she asks Arthur about his real motivation for helping Mithian. He tells her that it's to help a friend, though she's worried that he's out for revenge upon the man who killed his father. He assure her that it's not the case, but thanks her for her honesty.
Morgana's raven arrives in a tomb out in the forests around Nemeth, and Odin does some Evil Gloating
to the imprisoned King Rodor. When Rodor calls Odin a criminal, Odin hits him around the face, telling him that it was Arthur who killed his son.
Back in Camelot, Mithian makes another attempt to escape. Whilst Morgana is asleep at the desk, Mithian replaces the key in her hand with a comb and unlocks the door. She begins to run silently down the corridors, searching for someone to warn. However, a breeze from the corridor blows into Mithian's bedchamber and extinguishes the candle by Morgana's hand. She wakes up and sees that Mithian is gone. Running down one of the upstairs corridors, Mithian nearly screams as Morgana (still as the old lady) steps out in front of her and uses magic to heat Mithian's bracelet. Mithian falls to the floor as it begins to burn her skin, and Morgana warns her that her father's life will be forfeit if she betrays her again. Guinevere is coming down the corridor and spots the commotion. Morgana manages to cover by saying that Mithian felt a little faint, and though Gwen is a little suspicious, Mithian is led away.
The following morning, Merlin tries to tell Arthur that something isn't right and they should delay the mission until they have more information. As usual, Arthur doesn't listen to him. The entire rescue party, plus Merlin, Mithian and disguised Morgana leave the castle. As they stop for a break, Merlin helps Mithian down from her horse and notices the burn mark on her wrist. As Morgana approaches, Mithian babbles out a story about how Odin's men captured and bound her.
As he fills up water-skins in the river, Merlin tells Gaius about how Mithian's story has changed. He doesn't listen.
By nightfall they arrive at some ruins and make camp. Merlin watches as Mithian silently wanders off by herself, and once again tries to tell Arthur that something's not right. More not listening. The conversation ends when Morgana returns to the camp and falls against one of the walls, panting in exhaustion. Merlin calls for Gaius who - wait. Why the hell is Gaius here? Okay whatever, Gaius examines her. Morgana is obviously uncomfortable with this, but after looking into one eye and putting his hand on her forehead, Gaius pronounces that there's nothing wrong with her. However, as soon as they're a safe distance away, Gaius tells Merlin that her condition was that of a woman half her age.
The following morning, Morgana catches Mithian sneaking away, and warns her not to attempt anything. Mithian says that she simply wants to wash. Elsewhere, Leon approaches Arthur and tell him that the lands they're about to enter are filled with Odin's men. He urges them him to stay where they are and wait for the patrols to pass by, but Arthur instead decides to press ahead.
As Merlin packs up, Mithian approches him with a request: to fill her water-flask for her. Merlin tries to give her one of his, but Mithian insists on her own - knowing full-well that Morgana is watching this exchange. Merlin agrees and takes the flask down to the river. As he fills it up, he glances across the water to see that Mithian has scratched "MORGANA" on one of the rocks. He leaps to his feet but is immediately thrown into a tree by Morgana, who has followed him. She's about to finish him off with telekenetic strangulation when she hears the knights approaching. Seeing that Merlin is unconscious, she calls out to them.
Merlin is carried back into camp with a bloody gash on his head. Gaius says it's not bad, and so Arthur orders Gwaine to stay with Merlin whilst the rest go on. As they depart, Mithian looks sadly down at Merlin, and Morgana at her side reminds her that there would be consequences.
With Merlin still not conscious, Gaius sends Gwaine to fetch some firewood and performs magical healing on Merlin once he's gone. As the rescue party heads into Nemeth, Gaius begs Merlin to wake up. He does. Merlin tells Gaius that Morgana is disguised as the old nursemaid, and as Gwaine returns, leaps to his feet and announces that Arthur is walking to into a trap for the millionth time.
As Merlin and Gwaine race after the rescue party (slowed down by their need to hide from Odin's guards), Mithian leads Arthur and the knights straight toward the tomb where the trap awaits. Arthur leaves Leon and Elyan outside to guard the entrance and follows Mithian into the tomb where she claims her father is being held. Together, she and Arthur, along with Percival and some other knights, enter the empty tomb.
Arthur: Where's your father?
Mithian: He's not here.
Arthur: Then where is he?
Mithian: Arthur, I...
She's unable to finish, for at that moment Odin's men leap out of the shadows. Outside the tomb, Leon and his knights are surrounded too, and a fight commences. Arthur and Percival are soon overpowered, and as they're forced to their knees, Arthur yells furiously to Mithian: "What wrong have I done you?" Um...you really want to go there, Arthur? Cause everyone else can think of one. But nevermind, the plot is going somewhere completely different as King Odin appears for some more Evil Gloating
. Rodor is behind him, and Mithian runs into her father's arms as Odin confronts Arthur with the death of his son. Morgana takes this moment to enter the tomb. Arthur turns back to Odin, telling him that if he dies, he'll have all of Camelot to reckon with.
Outside, Merlin and Gwaine watch as the Camelot knights are escorted away, and split up in order to even the numbers. Gwaine knocks out a soldier who is peeing against a tree, and Merlin distracts two more by making the leaves stir upon the ground in an unnatural way. As the soldiers come to investigate, Merlin knocks them out and races into the tomb. Just as Odin raises his sword to strike off Arthur's head, Merlin chants a spell and slaps his hand upon the ground. An earthquake ensues.
In the confusion, Arthur and Percival manage to shake off their captors, and together with Mithian and Rodor they race for the exit, ushered by Merlin. As Morgana strides toward them, Merlin throws her back against the tomb wall, knocking her unconscious.
Outside, the Camelot knights are surrounded by Odin's men, but Gwaine manages to pick off a few of them with a cross-bow. This gives the knights a chance to fight back, and there's a very cute exchange of smiles between Gwaine and Elyan as he races into the fray.
Arthur, Rodor, Percival, Mithian and Merlin run from the collapsed tomb and into the forest. Still chased by Odin's men, Arthur and Percival fight a few of them off - even Rodor helps, much to Arthur's surprise. However, Rodor is soon too exhausted to run any further, and Arthur commands Percial to take Rodor and Mithian to safety whilst he and Merlin lead Odin away. They separate, but soon Arthur and Merlin find themselves trapped in a gorge, Odin blocking their way to safety.
Ordering his men not to intervene, Arthur and Odin begin to fight, complete with slow motion, sun flares and a choral backing. Arthur finally overpowers Odin, but just as he's about to kill him, Merlin reminds him that this isn't what he really wants. Arthur points out to Odin that war would commence should either of them die, and that he can live if he relinquishes his hold on Nemeth and restore Rodor to the throne.
Odin: What about us, Pendragon?
Arthur: A truce. Binding our kingdoms to peace.
Arthur: Is this what you want? To die here, now, knowing that you condemn this land to war? Odin, you cannot let it end like this. The blood will never wash off.
Odin: You killed my son.
Arthur: You killed my father. We have both lost much at the other's hand, let us lose no more. I am offering you the chance to end this. Take it.
He throws down his sword and offers his hand. After some deliberation, Odin gets to his feet and takes Arthur's hand, agreeing to the truce.
Safely back in Camelot, Gaius binds Rodor's wounds as Mithian, Guinevere and Merlin look on. Arthur enters to tell them all that Odin's troops have left Nemeth, and Mithian tries to apologise for her part to play in Morgana's plan. Arthur assures her that she had no choice in the matter, gives her a pat on the shoulder, and departs with Guinevere. Mithian looks a little wistful, but turns to her father with a smile.
Arthur and Guinevere walk hand-in-hand down the corridor, and Gwen congratulates Arthur on what he's managed to achieve. Arthur grudgingly admits that Merlin had a little something to do with it, but asks that Gwen never share that with him.
Down in the physician's quarters, Gaius is also trying to congratulate Merlin on what's happened, but Merlin is brooding over the fact that Morgana managed to hold an aging spell for so long. For the first time he considers what it would be like if Morgana becomes his equal in magic.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Mithian. Maybe. Watch her face in the final scene when Arthur leaves the room with Guinevere.
- Ancient Tomb: Where Morgana's trap is sprung.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Gaius completely pish-poshes Merlin's instinctive feeling that something is wrong. It's been a decade Gaius, shouldn't you have learnt to trust Merlin's instincts by now?
- Battle of Wits: Between Merlin, Morgana, Mithian and Gaius.
- Morgana manipulates Mithian into becoming a Honey Trap for Arthur by Blackmailing her with an "I Have Your Father" ploy and disguising herself as her nursemaid to keep her in line, only for Mithian to warn Merlin as to Morgana's true identity by telling Morgana she needs to bathe, writing "Morgana" on a rock by the river, and then sending Merlin down to the water to fill her water-flask. However, she's Out-Gambitted when Morgana realizes what she's up to and nearly kills Merlin. However, Morgana doesn't count on Gaius's Healing Abilities, restoring Merlin to full health and allowing him to prevent Arthur's death at the tomb.
- Billing Displacement: James Fox is credited before Janet Montgomery in the opening sequence, even though she's central to the episode, and he has about three minutes of screen time.
- Bit Character: King Rodor, making it slightly odd that they went to all trouble of casting James Fox in a role that ended up being little more than a Cameo.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hilda, of course.
- The Bus Came Back: King Odin and Princess Mithian.
- Call Back: There's a very clear allusion to the scene in the Series 3 finale when Morgana brings down the castle to the scene where Merlin causes an earthquake.
- The scene where Merlin stops Arthur from killing Odin is specular to the scene where Agravaine persuaded Arthur to executed Caerleon.
- Chickification: She wasn't strictly an Action Girl in her first appearance, but Mithian came across as immensely confident and self-assured. It's therefore rather jarring to see her portrayed as exhausted, tearful, frightened and helpless over the course of her second appearance, with only a few moments to shine before reverting back to passivity.
- In fairness, a lot of this is because she's being threatened both personally by Morgana and indirectly by having Morgana threaten to bury her father alive. And note that despite being severely burnt by Morgana's spell, she still manages to get a warning out to Merlin.
- Cleavage Window: Mithian gets a doozy of one in the opening sequence.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Morgana uses magic to turn Mithian's bracelet red-hot. The burn on her wrist is what deepens Merlin's suspicions that something is wrong.
- Damsel in Distress: Mithian, twice over - technically she's a Damsel in Distress who is forced to pretend that she's even more of a Damsel in Distress.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Merlin creates an earthquake in the tomb, giving the others a chance to escape.
- Fainting: Mithian faints when she first arrives in Camelot, and later Morgana-as-Hilda uses the excuse of Mithian feeling a bit faint and needing some fresh air to excuse her presence in the hallway to Guinevere.
- Faux Symbolism: When Mithian makes her second attempt to escape Morgana, she takes the key from sleeping Morgana's hand and replaces it with a comb. A subtle commentary on the state of Morgana's hair?
- Holding Hands: Arthur and Gwen in their final scene together.
- Honey Trap: Morgana forces Mithian to be one; though it's more Damsel in Distress than Femme Fatale in nature.
- Human Shield: Mithian ducks behind Merlin during the fight in the forest.
- I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Arthur admits to Guinevere that Merlin proved himself to be quite helpful.
- Ironic Echo: Morgana threatens bury Rodor alive if Mithian does not comply. Near the end, Merlin throws her in the collapsing tomb, leaving her to suffer the same fatenote .
- The Load: Gaius zigzags this trope. On one hand, he does heal Merlin...on the other, his case of Arbitrary Skepticism does a lot more harm than good and one can't help but feel Merlin would have found out Morgana a lot sooner if Gaius didn't keep insisting It's Probably Nothing.
- Mithian. Despite an attempt to warn Merlin of the danger, she doesn't achieve anything in the rescue of her father.
- Longing Look: Mithian sends one Arthur's way after he leaves the room with his wife. See the link under All Love Is Unrequited.
- The Missus and the Ex: Notable for its glaring aversion. Nothing whatsoever is made of the the fact that Arthur's wife and ex-fiancé are meeting for the first time. Granted, there were more pressing issues at hand, but it's strange that there was never even a touch of awkwardness between Guinevere/Arthur/Mithian.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Morgana's aging spell; somehow, it managed to fool Merlin for an inordinate amount of time - even after Gaius tells him that there's something very wrong about how fit and healthy the old woman is. Also note that Merlin is intimately familiar with that spell, having used it numerous times.
- Plucky Girl: Downplayed Mithian spends the entire episode tearful, frightened and largely helpless, but still finds a way to tell Merlin that her old nurse is Morgana.
- Scenery Porn: The throne room of Nemeth: twice as grand and ornate as the one in Camelot.
- Sequel Episode: To The Hunter’s Heart, what with the reappearance of Princess Mithian. It also provides something of a mini Hourglass Plot between Guinevere and Mithian: in the last episode Mithian was the regal princess whilst Gwen was a helpless victim of Morgana; now Gwen is the powerful queen whilst Mithian is completely under Morgana's control. Morgana even utilizes an enchanted bracelet in her manipulation of each woman.
- Ship Tease: Fandom picked up on some between Leon/Mithian and Merlin/Mithian - though it could have just been Shipping Goggles.
- Sword Fight: Odin versus Arthur.
- Unexplained Recovery: There's no sign of any injury on Morgana, despite being stabbed in the back two episodes ago. Still, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that Aithusa healed her, as he's done in the past.
- We Need a Distraction: Outside the cave, Merlin uses magic to distract the guards.
- You Killed My Father