The Diamond of the Day Part I
In the ruined castle of Morgana’s hideaway, a cloaked and hooded man is brought forth. Morgana sits on her throne with Mordred and a number of Saxons at her side. She greets the man in a friendly manner, calling him Ari and asking him to demonstrate his powers by extinguishing the flaming braziers that fill the room. He does so, and Morgana has him seized by her men. Ari begins to plead with her as she brings forth a large box, opens it, and chants over it. From its darkness leaps what looks like a giant slug, one which fixes itself onto Ari’s face. He struggles and writhes on the floor, but finally its work is done and it slithers off.
He’s hauled to his feet as Morgana asks him to ignite the braziers – something that Ari can no longer do. The creature has taken all of his powers, and Morgana gestures for him to go. At her side, Mordred points out that he was a loyal soldier.
As the Camelot guards do their usual job of not noticing mysterious strangers sneaking into Camelot’s walls, a hooded man does exactly that, and slips into the courtyard. In the Rising Sun Tavern, Arthur and Merlin are having a game of dice, and despite Arthur’s luck, he’s no match for Merlin’s magical talents. After winning all the money on the table, Merlin returns to the physician’s quarters. He collapses into bed, unaware that a box has been placed underneath. It opens and the slug slithers out to fasten itself onto Merlin’s face. After a brief struggle, Merlin manages to throw it against the wall and before it can attack him again, Gaius hits it with a long pole and beats it to death.
While Merlin rests, Gaius points out that Mordred has no doubt told Morgana about his powers and that this was her work. It doesn’t take long for Merlin to realize that his powers have left him when he tries to telekinetically pull a cup toward him. One book later, and Gaius is telling Merlin that the creature belonged to the Old Religion, and devours the magic of others.
On a ridge overlooking a flaming citadel, Mordred informs Morgana that the garrison inside has fallen. They take hands and begin to chant together, sending a giant fireball over their heads and into the crowds that run around in a panic below. Inside, knights of Camelot try to fight back against their attackers, and Gwaine saves a young woman. As he is about to be killed by her assailant, she comes to his rescue and knocks the man unconscious with a log of wood. At the gate, Sir Leon sounds the retreat as the invaders pour into the citadel.
The garrison of knights – plus the rescued woman – gallop in through the city gates of Camelot. Gaius attends to the wounded, telling Merlin that he can still help despite his lack of magic. He goes in search of something to do, and ends up tending to the woman as Gwaine watches. Calling her Eira, Gwaine sadly informs her that she was the only one who survived the attack. As she begins to cry, he takes her hand, promising her that she’ll be safe in Camelot.
At the Round Table, Sir Leon informs the king, queen and the other knights of the situation: that their citadels across the countryside are being attacked under Morgana’s command. Merlin listens anxiously as they come to the conclusion that Camelot is next. Arthur is not happy with the idea of leaving so many people unprotected outside the walls of Camelot, and so suggests that he and his knights ride out in order to meet Morgana and her army long before she reaches them. No one looks particularly thrilled with this idea, least of all Merlin, who knows he’s powerless to protect Arthur without his magic.
In the forest, Morgana holds the naked blade of a sword out before Aithusa, and watches as it’s bathed in dragon’s fire. She gives it to Mordred with a smile, saying that such a weapon is unbeatable. Mordred vows he will wield it with honour.
Arthur and his council are planning their next move. The only way for Morgana to get to Camelot is through the White Mountains, which means they’ll have to protect the pass. Morgana can’t feed and shelter her army indefinitely, so if they can hold out long enough, she’ll be forced to retreat. Arthur asks for the narrowest part of the pass, and Percival points it out to him: a place called Camlann.
Everything he’s dreaded coming true, Merlin is desperate to find a way to restore his powers. He decides to return to the Crystal Cave in the Valley of the Fallen Kings: the birthplace of magic. And because it’s so dangerous, he won’t be going alone.
Gwaine is getting dressed in his bedchamber, with Eira sitting on his bed and asking where he’s going. He tells her he has an errand to run with Merlin to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Up in Arthur’s bedchambers, Merlin has laid out all of his clothing and armour in preparation for the journey and impending battle. Arthur realizes that he wants something in return for all this, but is rather stunned to hear that Merlin won’t be joining him. Instead, Merlin tells him that he has an urgent errand to run for Gaius to fetch supplies. Arthur shrugs this off, though it’s clear he’s disappointed.
As Merlin and Gwaine gallop from Camelot, they’re watched from an upstairs window by Eira. Meanwhile, Arthur and the knights prepare for their journey when Guinevere joins them in her riding outfit, stating in no uncertain terms that she plans to accompany Arthur. Arthur says nothing, but gives her his hand in acquiescence.
A hooded rider gallops out into the forest. Eira dismounts and begins to walk through the trees, stopped when a long blade is held to her throat. Mordred and Morgana appear behind her, and Eira is revealed as their accomplice. She informs them that Arthur and his knights are riding out to meet her army, but also that Gwaine and Merlin were heading for the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Morgana is disturbed by this news, and Mordred recalls a story that was told to him as a boy: that there’s a place in the Valley said to be the birthplace of magic: the Crystal Cave. Morgana realizes that Merlin is trying to get his powers back.
Gwaine and Merlin enter the Valley on foot, chatting about Eira and getting ambushed by bandits. Gwaine fights them off, though Merlin is helpless against them and forced to shout for help. Looking shaken, Merlin gets to his feet as elsewhere, Morgana gallops through the forest toward them.
Merlin and Gwaine reach the entrance to the cave and Merlin tells Gwaine to go back – telling him that if he gets what he came for, he’ll no longer need his protection. Gwaine offers him his sword and the two of them shake hands before he departs.Merlin enters the cave by himself, only for his lighted torch to be blown out. He hears Morgana’s mocking voice in the darkness, and demands that she come out and face him. She doesn't, of course, and chooses instead to keep circling him in the dark, trying to get him from behind. Eventually, Merlin manages to slash her after she gets too close, and she retreats, telling him that he's thwarted her for the last time. She recites a spell and causes a cave in.
Back with Arthur, he and the Knights prepare for Camlann. Leon and Percival scout and discover that the Saxons outnumber them five-to-one. Back at base, everyone gets ready for what could be their last battle. Arthur insults Merlin for not showing in front of Gaius, who naturally shifts the blame to himself, saying that the supplies were vital. Gwen is not so easily fooled, and asks Gaius why Merlin has left, as she knows only the worst crisis could force Merlin to abandon Arthur in his hour of need. Gaius tells her that Merlin is on a quest of outmost importance, and he wishes he could tell her what it was. She takes his word for it, and wishes Merlin luck.
At the cave, Merlin is having no luck getting through the stones, and screams in frustration. He sees a light shining off in the distance and follows it, struggling his way over a slope to find the Crystal Cave, much bigger than last time. He collapses from the strain. He is asleep in the cave and is woken by the ghost of his father, Balinor. Merlin is just about to give up, telling his father that Morgana has stolen his magic and she will win. Balinor tells him not to be so sure...he is the son of the earth and its magic, and he cannot lose what he is. Merlin asks him how he can find himself again, and Balinor tells him to believe in himself. Merlin falls back asleep.
Balinor: Rest now. Rest now, my son. And soon you will awaken into the light.
Arthur is in his tent, still worrying over whether he's made the right decision. With Merlin absent, it's up to Gwen to take on the role of Arthur's confidant and support, and she tells him that she has no doubt about what he's done, and she has great faith in him. He then grabs her and kiss...hugs
her passionately. And then he carries her to the bed
, suggesting they should "get some rest"
. The misty fadeout suggests otherwise...
A quick cut to Morgana and Mordred reveals that Morgana stripping Merlin of his magic isn't the only dirty trick she intends to pull. Knowing that Arthur could hold the pass otherwise, she intends to use a secret path through the mountains, out-flanking him and winning the battle before it even begins. Mordred gets a hundred of his best men, and proceeds to attack that night.
Back at the cave, Merlin wakes up and feels his face, noticing that his injuries have healed. With a look of hope on his face, he tries a spell... and then grins happily as a butterfly appears in his hands and flies up. But, no time for that, Arthur is in danger. He quickly turns to one of the crystals, using his power to make it focus on Morgana's army (and showing several images from past episodes along the way
), discovering the secret passage. He then focuses on Arthur, finding him in the tent, sleeping with (literally, this is a family show, remember?) Guinevere. He tells Arthur that he's sorry he couldn't be there, and tells him about the path and that Morgana plans to attack tonight.
In the tent, Arthur wakes up, worried. Gwen asks him what's wrong. He says it's Merlin, and she tells him it's just a dream. Arthur can tell it was something else, even if he can't explain it. He scrambles out of bed, gets his clothing on, and tells the knights to sweep the back for any hidden paths, getting the army together. Once they are ready, he gives his greatest Rousing Speech
yet, and stabs the sky
Arthur: Tonight we do battle. Tonight we end this war. We end a war as old as the land itself. The war against tyranny. Greed. Spite. Not all will greet the dawn. Some will live, some will die. But each and every one of you fights with honour and with pride. For not only do we fight for our lives, we fight for the future. The future of Camelot. The future of Albion. The future of the United Kingdoms. For the love of Camelot!
In the cave, Merlin thanks his father for his help, and tells him that he follows in his footsteps. Balinor tells him to go to the heart of the cave, to find his true power. Merlin says goodbye, and Balinor tells him there are no goodbyes. Merlin heads further into the cave.
Back at Camlann, the armies engage. Both sides fight hard. Arthur cuts his way through countless soldiers, as does Mordred, who's quite obviously searching for a specific target. Overhead, Morgana watches, sure of her victory...
And in the Valley of the Fallen Kings, Morgana's barrier blows up, and a figure storms out of the dust. It's Merlin in his Dragoon form, wielding a Magic Staff
and looking seriously angry and ready to fight. He's so pumped that he Breaks The Fourth Wall
!See you Christmas Eve!
- Back for the Finale: The ghost of Balinor appears in the Crystal Cave. It is debatable whether it actually was his ghost or A Form You Are Comfortable With.
- Big "NO!": Merlin in the cavern.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Eira. Aren't you glad that even in the show's penultimate episode, the writers still found a way to shoehorn in one last evil woman to betray our manly heroes?
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Let's see, your archenemy is basically defenseless and what do you do? Kill him now that he can't fight back? No, that's stupid, trap him in a cave where he can regain his magic!
- Book Ends: Merlin says in the pilot that without his magic, he might as well die. In this episode, he loses it.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the final moments of the episode, Old!Merlin stares straight into the camera.
- Broken Pedestal: A minor example. When Merlin makes up an excuse to get out of following Arthur to the final battle, Arthur sees through the lie and assumes he's too scared to go. Despite all the snark, he always felt Merlin to be the bravest man he ever knew.
- Brought Down to Normal: Merlin in the course of the episode.
- Brought Down to Badass: Even without his magic, Morgana's still unwilling to fight him, and he manages to wound her.
- Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: In a sense, Merlin conjuring the butterfly, showing that his magic is back.
- Call Back: Merlin sees several images from past episodes while gazing in the crystals. His ability to communicate with Arthur telepathically also comes back.
- Came Back Strong: A nonfatal example. When he loses his magic, Merlin regains it and realizes his full potential.
- Cool Sword: Mordred gets one to match Excalibur.
- Deus Exit Machina: Merlin's depowering. And because that's not enough, he's subsequently locked in a cave.
- Dead Person Conversation: When Merlin is imprisoned in the Crystal Cave and despairing, the ghost of Balinor appears and teaches him how to regain his magic.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Gwaine and Eira on the same bed, getting dressed. With the implication she spent the night. Yeah.
- Grand Finale
- Honey Trap: Eira.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Along with Excalibur, Mordred gets given Clarent, the sword said to be pulled from the stone (Both swords are separate in most of the legends) and said to be stolen by Mordred to be used against Arthur originally.
- Kick the Dog: Morgana robs one of her loyal followers of his magic just to test the slug. Mordred looks disturbed.
- Rather than kill him, Morgana leaves Merlin alive where he can't help his king.
- Lampshade Hanging: Merlin rather snarkily tells Arthur. "There is just no fooling you, my Lord." and then proceeds to use magic right in front of him.
- Last Episode, New Character: Eira
- Literary Allusion Title: The name of the episode comes from this Merlin-centric poem by Edwin Muir.
- Magic Knight: Mordred.
- Magic Staff: Merlin walks out with one after meeting his destiny.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nice job locking Merlin in the caves, Morgana. It's not like you know he came to that specific place to regain his vast magical powers or anything. While we're at it, nice job depowering him and necessitating his journey to those caves in the first place, ultimately making him even stronger.
- Though Morgana and Mordred can be reasonably excused as not knowing this particular property of the cave, it's also a scrying cave which can show the past, present, and future. Hence, showing exactly when and where Morgana's going to attack and giving him the ability to warn Arthur.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Arthur catches onto Merlin being overly diligent in preparing Arthur to go to Camlann. He's also the victim of this trope when Merlin reveals he's not coming.
- Power Parasite: The magic-eating slug.
- Rescue Romance: Between Gwaine and Eira. Subverted.
- Rousing Speech: Arthur to his men. Balinor to Merlin.
- Scenery Porn: The Crystal Cave is gorgeous.
- Shout-Out: The magic-eating slug may look like something out of Alien, but is in fact a reference to The Lost Years of Merlin.
- So Proud of You: In contrast to Arthur's encounter with Uther, Balinor is very proud of Merlin.
- Super Mode: The eventual result of Merlin meeting his destiny.
- Talking in Bed: Arthur and Gwen.
- True Companions: It doesn't matter that Arthur doesn't know how Merlin contacted him... the fact that it was Merlin was incentive enough for him to rally his army.
- Two-Part Episode
- With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Merlin uses his magic to cheat at gambling with Arthur.