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Recap / Merlin S 02 E 10 Sweet Dreams

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Sweet Dreams

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Arthur and Uther stand on the battlements of the castle, watching as a surly-looking king approaches the castle with his entourages. Beside him is court jester riding a mule. Uther comments on the importance of the peace talks that are to follow, as the rulers of all five kingdoms work together for the first time.

Down in the square, King Alined drops his cloak on the ground, and is irritated when Trickler, his jester, is too slow in picking it up. Uther strides forward to welcome him, and Alined expresses his wish that the occasion will indeed be “momentous.”

From his window in the castle, Alined watches as King Olaf rides into the square with his entourage. It includes his young daughter Vivian, whom Arthur helps in dismounting her horse. Alined shares his plans to disrupt the peace talks with Trickler: the two of them are going to use Vivian and Arthur to infuriate her overprotective father.

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Down in the square, Uther and Olaf greet each other, and Uther comments on how much Vivian looks like her mother. Arthur escorts Vivian to her guest quarters and hopes that she’ll find them comfortable. Vivian is rather unimpressed, and even more so when Arthur introduces Guinevere, who is to be looking after her during her stay.

Outside Vivian’s room, Arthur and Gwen share a laugh. Arthur begins to stare at her until Gwen notices, at which point he hurriedly makes an exit.

Back in Arthur’s chambers, Merlin is brushing down Arthur’s jacket while Arthur changes behind a screen, popping out to display a hole in his sleeve. As Merlin fetches him another one, he asks Arthur who he’s trying to impress. Arthur shuts down his suggestion that it’s Lady Vivian.

Arthur: Anyone trying to impress the Lady Vivian does so at extreme peril. Olaf would have their head in a vat of hot oil before they'd have a chance to say hello. Besides, she's not my type. She may be beautiful, but she's incredibly rude. You should've heard what she said to Gwen.
Merlin: Anyone insulting Gwen should do so at extreme peril.
Arthur: What?
Merlin: Nothing. I just know how you feel about her, that's all. That is, if your feelings haven't changed, as I presume they haven't.
Arthur: I do have my own vat of hot oil, you know.
Merlin: You're blushing!
Arthur: No I'm not.
Merlin: What's wrong with Gwen?
Arthur: Nothing.
Merlin: I think she's very worthy of your love.
Arthur: Indeed, were it so.
Merlin: Which...it is.
Arthur: Merlin.
Merlin: Yes, Arthur?
Arthur: Get out.
Merlin: Yes, Sire.
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There is a banquet taking place in the ceremonial hall, and Trickler is providing the entertainment as he dances in the midst of the tables and breaths fire up into the air. Promising a spectacle for the ladies, he makes a range of multi-coloured butterflies appear out of nowhere, much to the delight of Morgana and Vivian (and Gwen, standing directly behind them).

Uther commends Alined on his jester’s talent, for some reason not realizing that this entire display is magical in nature. Trickler approaches Vivian and pretends to pull a butterfly out of her ear. The crowd applauses, but as Trickler moves away he secretly opens his hand to reveal that he’s taken a lock of Vivian’s hair.

Back in Alined’s quarters, Alined watches as Trickler prepares a Love Potion with Vivian’s hair and other ingredients. Later that night, Trickler creeps into Arthur’s bedroom and pours drops of the potion onto his eyelids while he sleeps before placing Vivian’s lock of hair under his pillow.

Trickler: Sweet dreams.

The following morning Merlin enters Arthur’s room whilst Arthur stares out of the window with a dreamy expression on his face. Outside, Vivian is yelling at a servant.

Merlin: Good morning, Sire!
Arthur: Never have you been more right, Merlin. It is the sunniest, the most fragrant, the most beautiful morning I've ever seen in my life.
Merlin: You're dressed.
Arthur: I am the future King of Camelot, I do have some skills, you know.
Merlin: Indeed, you are very skilled at getting people to do things for you.
Arthur: That is your job. But today my job is to woo.
Merlin: To what?
Arthur: To woo. I wish to make a proclamation of love.
Merlin: Really? I thought you wanted to keep your feelings secret?
Arthur: Why would I want to do that? By the end of today I will have won my lady.
Merlin: Right. Well, what will you tell your father?
Arthur: What does my father matter?
Merlin: Well, that's one way of approaching things.
Arthur: So, I need your help in expressing my feelings.
Merlin: Of course.
Arthur waits for Merlin to say something. Merlin waits uncertainly for Arthur to explain.
Arthur: How to express my feelings.
Merlin: Oh, I see. Erm. Feelings.
Arthur: Feelings.
Merlin: Girls.
Arthur: Girls.
Merlin: Flowers?
Arthur: Excellent. Find some. Perhaps you should also send a note.
Merlin: Brilliant idea.
Arthur: Something moving. Something from the heart. Something...you'll think of something.

Having completely misinterpreted Arthur’s strange behaviour, Merlin goes to Gwen’s house with a bunch of flowers. Seeing that she’s not home, he leaves the flowers on the table with a note. It tells Gwen that the barriers that keep her and Arthur apart are nothing compared to The Power of Love, and Merlin seems quite pleased with this sentiment.

In the Council Chamber the kings are beginning the delegation. Merlin pokes his head through the door and gets Arthur’s attention. He immediately joins him in the corridor. Arthur is excited at the thought that “she” will be receiving the flowers soon, and almost has a seizure at the sight of Gwen and Vivian walking down the other end of the corridor.

Arthur: Oh, but heaven has blessed me. She's even more beautiful than before, don't you agree?
Merlin: Yeah. Erm...I'm surprised to hear you talk so openly.
Arthur: Nonsense. I want to tell the world. I want to shout it across the kingdom.
Merlin: Are you sure that's a good idea? I understand your feelings, but other people may object.
Arthur: Object? To what?
Merlin: Well, you're the future King of Camelot and she's just a serving girl. Albeit, a very nice serving girl.

Merlin jumps when Arthur abruptly slaps him across the face, informing him that Lady Vivian is of royal blood. Arthur storms off, and Merlin realizes the mistake he’s made.

He rushes back to Gwen’s house to retrieve the flowers, but is too late. Gwen is reading the note and already has the flowers in a vase. Covering for his sudden entrance by pretending that there are giant rats on the loose, Merlin soon sees that the flowers have brightened Gwen’s entire day.

He returns to the physician’s chambers and admits to Gaius that he’s caused a problem and that Arthur is besotted with Lady Vivian. Gaius questions the swiftness with which it’s happened, and warns Merlin that Olaf would be furious if he found out. Merlin recalls that Arthur told him it was his job to woo Vivian by the end of the day.

Sure enough Arthur is heading for Vivian’s room with a platter of food and a rose. He takes a deep breath and knocks.

Vivian: Who is it?
Arthur: It is destiny, my love! Destiny and chicken!
Vivian opens the door.
Arthur: What a beautiful combination, eh?

Vivian rolls her eyes and closes the door in his face. Arthur opens it up and offers her the food, though she shuts him down immediately and warns him that her father will be at him with a knife if he doesn’t leave her alone. She shuts the door again and as Arthur begins to knock, Merlin arrives just in time to lead him away. From behind a corner Trickler watches with a scowl.

Alined is furious that their plan didn’t work, and demands that Trickler bring Arthur and Vivian together, or else it’ll be his head.

In Arthur’s chamber Merlin hands a drink to the sulking Arthur, suggesting that he should return to his old love. Arthur has no idea what he’s talking about, but as he lies down he discovers Vivian’s hair under his pillow. He hands it to Merlin in disgust.

Merlin and Gaius inspect it back in the physician’s quarters and realize that Arthur’s been enchanted. Trickler seems the obvious culprit given the butterflies appearing at the banquet, and together they come to the conclusion that Alined is behind it as a sure-fire way to ruin the peace conference.

That night Trickler attempts to cut a lock of Arthur’s hair. It poses some difficulty considering that Arthur turns in his sleep and cradles Trickler’s arm, murmuring Vivian’s name. Still, Trickler eventually succeeds and repeats the procedure he made on Arthur to Vivian, leaving Arthur’s hair under her pillow and pouring two drops of the potion onto her eyelids.

That morning, Merlin is still asleep on a pile of books in Gaius’s chambers. Gaius calls him for breakfast, and Merlin complains that there are over six hundred love spells to choose from, and the wrong antidote could have drastic consequences.

Gwen is carrying Vivian her breakfast on a tray, when a spell from Trickler causes the rug to be pulled out from under her feet. She falls backwards, and the tray flies from her hands.

At the sound of a knock, Vivian opens her door to find that Trickler has brought her breakfast. Delighted, Vivian begins to devour the food, and Trickler asks her why she’s so happy. It doesn’t take much for the secret to come out: Vivian is in love with Arthur, and soon Trickler has convinced Vivian to go to Arthur’s chambers without even changing out of her nightgown.

Down in the courtyard, Gwen smiles as she passes Arthur patting his horse, but notices that he’s looking a little woebegone

Gwen: What is it, Arthur? You look like you have something on your mind.
Arthur: You read me like a book. I've made a fool of myself, that's all. That's everything.
Gwen: I'm that is not true.
Arthur: You have a good heart, Guinevere, but I'm afraid it is. I have made a gesture, but it was not well received.
Gwen: You sure?
Arthur: Pretty sure.
Gwen: Then you are wrong.
Arthur: You are very close to the lady in question.
Gwen: Your token was much appreciated. But the situation is delicate, and it is not always easy to express what is really in one's heart.
Arthur: You think there's hope?
Gwen: There is always hope.
Arthur: If only I had some way of knowing.
Gwen: Indeed, My Lord.

Merlin is at work in Arthur’s chambers when there’s a knock on the door. He opens it to see Vivian, who rushes in to look for Arthur. She demands that Merlin go and fetch him as she makes herself comfortable on Arthur’s bed. As Merlin watches in despair, Vivian buries herself in Arthur’s sheets.

Down in the Council Chamber, Trickler whispers something in the ear of a servant by the door, who then goes and passes on the message to Olaf. King Olaf stands up in fury at the news.

Merlin hears the sounds of Olaf approaching and goes to the door. Arthur is walking toward the room from one direction and Olaf from the other. As Vivian prattles on about her love for Arthur, Merlin casts a spell which knocks her unconscious.

Arthur enters the room just as Merlin shuts the wardrobe door. A few seconds later Olaf and his men storm in, searching for Vivian.

Arthur: If I have dishonoured you in some way, then, by all means, provide me with proof and I'll face the consequences.
Olaf: Trickler here has told me that the Lady Vivian is in your chambers.
Arthur: If only that were true.
Olaf grabs the front of Arthur's shirt with both hands.
Merlin: If only that were true you would not look so foolish.

Olaf and the men begin to search the room, and Trickler notices that Merlin is standing in front of the wardrobe. Merlin whispers a spell and Trickler is dismayed to find that the wardrobe door doesn’t open. Realizing that Vivian is nowhere to be found, Olaf grabs Trickler by the collar and throws him out of the way. He gruffly apologises to Arthur and demands that his guards go and check on Vivian’s room. As they leave, Arthur heads behind the screen to change his clothing, but pops his head out when he doesn’t hear Merlin answering his questions.

Merlin has already carried Vivian back to her own room and flopped her down on her bed. He makes some effort to rearrange her hair, only to give up and scurry off.

Trickler is busy apologising to King Alined as the king fumes in his chambers, assuring him that the enchantment over the two of them will ensure that they come together soon.

Meanwhile, Gwen hesitates by Arthur’s room, and then slips a note under the door. She leaves with a little smile on her face.

Downstairs, the rulers of the five kingdoms are celebrating a successful day of negotiation. Uther announces that the signing ceremony will take place soon, much to Alined’s displeasure.

In the physician’s quarters, Merlin leaps up from his studies with the right spell to use in breaking the enchantment.

Gaius: Are you sure? You're not going to turn Arthur into a hunchback camel or a horny-eyed toad?
Merlin: I'll, er, save that for another day.

In his chambers, Arthur reaches down and picks up Gwen’s note. He reads it aloud: "A second chance. Sunset. I'll await your presence."

As night falls, Guinevere prepares for Arthur’s visit with flowers and candles whilst Arthur heads for Vivian’s room with a red rose. Seeing that there are guards in front of her door, he hides the token behind his back and looks about for another way to get into her room. He ends up scaling the wall of the castle and struggling through the window to her bedroom, rolling to the floor and then standing up with the snapped rose stem in his mouth. He sighs at the sight of Vivian, asleep and snoring on her bed.

As Merlin goes in search of Arthur, Guinevere waits expectantly in her home. Downstairs, the assorted kings wait impatiently for Arthur to arrive. Uther is beginning to get worried.

Arthur gently strokes Vivian’s cheek until she wakes up, and with a cry of delight she launches herself on him. The two are kissing passionately when Merlin bursts in and finds that his spell has no effect on them. Arthur and Vivian are still going at it when Olaf, Uther and the rest of the kings storm into the room. Furious, Olaf throws down his glove and challenges Arthur to a duel.

Olaf: You once said that if you ever truly offended my honour, then you would happily pay the price. What say you now, Prince Arthur?
Arthur: How have I offended your honour? Surely not with my love alone?!
Olaf: Love?! You don't know the first thing about love! You're taking advantage of an innocent girl!
Vivian: Father.
Uther: Arthur!
Arthur: I assure you, my feelings for your daughter are as real as they are strong.
Olaf: Unhand her, or suffer the consequences. Is this really worth risking your life for?
Vivian: Arthur?
Arthur: Indeed, it is. I would rather die than deny my feelings. I love your daughter with all my heart.

Arthur kisses Vivian and accepts the challenge by picking up the glove. Back in Gwen’s house, the last candles burns out, and Gwen sadly removes her shawl.

The following morning, Uther is trying to talk sense into Arthur, but his son refuses to cooperate.

Uther: It's no good. I've spoken to Olaf, he will not rescind the challenge. He says his honour has been tainted. He demands recompense.
Arthur: You didn't have to do that, Father.
Uther: The fight is to the death. What did you think you were doing?
Arthur: You cannot help who you fall in love with.
Uther: You do realise that your actions threaten the peace talks, and that it may yet bring war to Camelot?
Arthur: I am happy to fight for what I believe in.
Uther turns to Merlin
Uther: What's happened to him?
Arthur: Lady Vivian. Nothing more. And yet, who could wish for more?

Uther throws up his hands and leaves the room in disgust as Arthur leaps joyously onto his bed.

In the physician’s chambers Merlin puzzles over how powerful Trickler’s enchantment seems to be, and Gaius warns him that love potions can be strange things. Merlin suggests going to Uther, but Gaius points out that Uther knowing that magic is responsible would only make the matter worse.

Morgana is gazing out of her window, watching the villagers head for the tournament ground, when Gwen enters to fetch her laundry. Morgana tells her that Arthur was discovered in Vivian’s chambers and now he’s in a fight to the death with King Olaf. Shocked, Gwen turns away and then hurries from the room.

On the way out, Gwen passes Arthur and Merlin.

Arthur: Ah, Guinevere! You will wish me luck?
Gwen: Will I?
Arthur: Haven't you heard?
Gwen: Oh, yes. I've heard. Though sadly not from your lips. I wish you could've been more honest with me, Arthur.
Arthur: What is she talking about?
Merlin: No idea.

Trickler brings a very pleased King Alined his crown and listens to him gloat: if Olaf kills Arthur, then Uther will start a war. If Arthur kills Olaf, then his men will start a war. They can’t lose.

Out in the tournament grounds, Uther announces the terms of the fight. It will take place in three stages, with a quarterstaff, mace, and sword. The fight will be by the Knights' Rules and to the death. Arthur is remarkably cheerful and starts out well, though the fact that he keeps getting distracted by Vivian isn’t helping his performance, and eventually Olaf snaps his quarterstaff in two and whacks him in the ribs just before the gong rings.

Back in the tent, Gaius inspects Arthur’s torso and informs him that one of his ribs is broken.

Arthur: Nothing can hurt me today. I'm invincible. Love really can conquer all, Gaius. It's true.
Gaius: (whisper to Merlin) This can't go on. The fight's not fair. Arthur's head's in the clouds.
Merlin: I don't know what to do.
Gaius: Then find someone who does.

Merlin has gone down to the dungeons, and the Dragon is immensely amused at the story he’s been told. The Dragon tells him that the answer is simple: Merlin must find the woman that Arthur truly loves and get her to kiss him. With that, the spell will be broken.

In his tent, Arthur confidently prepares for battle and claims that the mace is his speciality. One Gilligan Cut later, and Arthur is getting pummelled by Olaf in the ring.

Merlin bursts into Gwen’s house to find her gazing sadly out the window.

Gwen: Rats again, Merlin?
Merlin: What? No. No, erm...I, I need your help. Arthur needs your help.
Gwen: I do not think that Arthur needs me.
Merlin: Gwen, don't worry. I know.
Gwen: You know what?
Merlin: Everything. Anyone who spends five minutes with you can see how you feel about each other. Look, I do not have a lot of time to explain, so you are gonna have to trust me. Arthur does love you.
Gwen: No he doesn't.
Merlin: If you don't trust me, trust your feelings.
Gwen: I'm never trusting my feelings again.
Merlin: He's enchanted!
Gwen: Yes, with Lady Vivian! I can see that!
Merlin: No, I mean literally enchanted with magic, potions, love juice! None of his feelings are genuine!
Gwen: How can you be sure? When I saw him, his feelings seemed real enough.
Merlin: Gwen, none of his feelings for Vivian are real. But if you do not break the spell, his death will be. Search your heart. You know who he loves.

Arthur is about to be killed in the ring when the gong grants him a reprieve. Gwen strides through the tents, her face determined, and Gaius gives her a wondering look as she storms into Arthur’s tent. Arthur is preparing for the final part of the tournament.

Arthur: Ah! Have you finally come to wish me good luck? 'Cause I really don't think I need it anymore.
Gwen: No, Arthur. I have not come to wish you luck.
Arthur: Well, honestly, that's rather rude.
Gwen: Then let me make amends.

Without another word Gwen marches up to him, pushes him against the tent pole, and kisses him. For a few seconds he looks stunned before his eyes close and he relaxes into the kiss. They put their arms around each other and Arthur dips her. Finally they pull apart and stare at each other, before the pain of Arthur’s new injuries kick in. He has no idea where he is or what he’s doing there, and Gwen quickly informs him that he’s in a fight to the death – and he’s losing.

Arthur joins Merlin outside the tournament ring and watches Gwen climb into the stands, instructing Merlin that if anything is to happen to him, Gwen must be looked after. Merlin smiles, realizing that Gwen has broken the spell, and hands him his helmet.

Arthur and Olaf exchange in their final fight, and though Arthur is clearly in pain, he catches sight of Gwen watching and struggles on. Finally he manages to knock Olaf to the ground and disarms him. He stands above him, poised to strike. Vivian recoils in horror, and Arthur lowers his weapon and helps Olaf to his feet, claiming that this is no way to achieve peace.

The crowd begins to cheer and Arthur and Gwen exchange smiles as Uther sighs in relief and Alined turns to Trickler in fury.

Later, Gwen enters her house to find a note and red rose on her table. She turns and discovers Arthur watching her from the corner.

Arthur: I thought I'd better deliver it myself this time. I'm sorry...for...what I put you through.
Gwen: No. You have nothing to apologise for. I, too, have caused my fair share of hurt.
Arthur: You must believe that my feelings for...Vivian...were not real. I have never loved another.
Gwen: One day you will. One day you will find your real princess. One day you will be King of Camelot. And I cannot be your queen.
Arthur: You don't know that.
Gwen: I am as sure of that as you are.
Arthur: Things may change.
Gwen: Well, until they do...

She curtsies and doesn’t look up until he’s left her house.

Back in the castle, the kings are preparing to leave. Olaf commends Uther on the wisdom of his son, and tells him that Vivian is going to be taken away from temptation. She walks tearfully down the castle steps whilst Alined shakes Trickler’s manacles, informing him that he’s going to run all the way home.

Uther: Why so cross Alined?
Arthur: Anyone would think you didn't want peace!
Alined: But of course I do. Peace? Love it.
Uther: Well, you may return any time to view the treaty.
Alined: You're very kind.

Alined kicks his horse into a walk, dragging Trickler behind him. Escorted by her father, Vivian looks back at Uther, asking if she may return one day soon as well. Arthur gives her an uncomfortable wave and turns away, walking in unison with Merlin.

Arthur: Not too soon.
Merlin: No. Might conflict with your one true love.
Arthur: My what?
Merlin: You heard me. I have proof.
Arthur: Proof?
Merlin: You kissed her. In the tent.
Arthur: Merlin.
Merlin: Yes?
Arthur: What happened in the tent.
Merlin: Mm-hmm?
Arthur: Speak of it again and I'll kill you.
Merlin: Okay.

Tropes

  • Ambiguously Gay: King Alined, who admits to being mildly attracted to Arthur.
  • The Bard on Board: The episode is best described as a mish-mash of Shakespeare plays. Basically, Romeo and Juliet if it were a comedy instigated by Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Breather Episode: This is a very light-hearted story set smack-dab in the middle of a very dark arc.
  • Chess Motif: Alined demonstrates his plan to Trickler using a chessboard.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Why Alined gets away with his attempted sabotage.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: King Alined admits that he's a little attracted to Arthur, not understanding why Vivian isn't.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Strangely averted with Vivian. Though her father is King Olaf, she's only ever refered to as a lady.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Quite a lot in this episode, including the Sub Text between Alined and Trickler, Arthur assuring Vivian that: "the meat is very good" and Vivian ecstatically burying her face in Arthur's bedsheets (according to the DVD Commentary, Georgia Moffett was afraid she'd gone overboard with this scene).
  • Genius Bonus: King Alined keeps calling Trickler "boy" even though he looks at least forty years old. This is because historically, servants and slaves have been referred to as "boy" or "girl," respectively, regardless of the person's age.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Arthur (tries) to invoke this in regards to Lady Vivian. Whether he succeeds or not probably depends on your opinion of chicken.
  • The Jester: Trickler. Although he doesn't act as a "wise fool", he does follow the trope in regards to the fact that his foolish appearance masks his magical abilities.
  • Kissing Under the Influence
  • Large Ham: Alined bites huge gaping holes in the scenery in all his scenes with Trickler.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Gwen's letter to Arthur is misinterpreted (he believes it's come from Vivian).
  • Love Potion
  • Love Triangle
  • Hope Is Scary: At the mid-point of the episode, Guinevere tells Arthur: "there is always hope," but after her experiences, she has cooled considerably toward him.
  • Hufflepuff House: Monarchs of the Five Kingdoms come to the peace delegation. Three are Uther, Olaf and Alined, but there's nothing whatsoever on who the remaining two were.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Arthur and both his Love Interests.
  • Karma Houdini: Alined gets off scott-free.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Trickler openly performs tricks such as fire-breathing alongside real magic such as conjuring butterflies. Since Uther does not immediately call for his execution, one can only assume that the entire act is considered All Part of the Show.
  • Nice Hat: Trickler
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Arthur and Guinevere in the courtyard. Arthur is discussing Vivian, Gwen presumes that he's obliquely talking about her.
  • Overprotective Dad: King Olaf
  • Peace Conference
  • Pretext for War: Alined uses Olaf's overprotectiveness of Vivian to goad everyone into a war.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Trickler conjures some up at the banquet.
  • Shadow Archetype: Alined and Trickler are what Arthur and Merlin would be if Arthur was a cruel master and Merlin was legitimately afraid of him. Vivian also provides a Foil for Guinevere.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Arthur and Vivian whilst under the spell.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: One of the gags involves Guinevere loosing her balance and flying backwards with a tray of fruit in her hands.
  • Something About a Rose: Arthur brings Guinevere a red rose at the end of the episode.
  • Spoiled Brat: Vivian
  • The Trickster: As the name would imply, Trickler, though it's a darker take on the trope than usual.
  • True Love's Kiss
  • War for Fun and Profit: Alined's motivation.
  • What Is Going On?: Uther is baffled by Arthur's love-struck behaviour, enough that he literally turns to Merlin (who normally he treats as part of the scenery or as background back-up to Arthur) and asks, in frustrated confusion, "What has happened to him?" Merlin, for his part, just shrugs.
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