Merlin Club: Valiant or The One Where Arthur Fights Sir That-Annoying-Guy-From-Gym-Class
(Warning for my sister: Cait, if you were thinking about reading this post because of possible pictures of Katie McGrath, I have to stop you right here. There are pictures of Katie McGrath, but there are also pictures of your biggest phobia. So you should probably come back to a later post. If you’re not Cait, sally forth, dear readers. Sally forth.)
It’s another installment of Merlin Club! Today, we’re recapping episode 2. You can see Jess’ post here
and Jen’s post here
. And you can join us Monday night, 8pm EST on Twitter when we watch the next episode. #MerlinClub (You can click on the awesome art above to embiggen it.)
Okay, so the episode starts out with our boy Valiant a.ka. Sir That-Annoying-Guy-From-Gym-Class—you know the one—the guy who was waaaaaayyy too competitive for everyone’s own good and was a little too fond of eye contact? From now on, he shall be referred to as Sir TAGFGC.
I’m pretty sure I was in gym glass with this guy in high school.
Anyway, he’s buying forbidden magic from some shady dude who clearly doesn’t give a shit about Uther’s stringent anti-magic rules. The magical item in question is a shield that’s painted with three particularly vicious looking snakes. When one utters the spell, the snakes come to life and do one’s evil bidding.
After the shady dude hands over the shield, Sir TAGFGC commands the snakes to kill the dude, and of course, they do. Okay, now let’s say you’re a shady dude and dealing in magic, wouldn’t you, ohhhhhh, I don’t know, enchant the stuff you’re illegally selling so it can’t be turned against you? After all, people who are willing to buy a magic item that can kill people probably aren’t too picky about who they kill, you know? Well, if you’re this shady dude, obviously the answer is no, and you’re dead.
So Sir TAGFGC travels on to Camelot for some tournament Uther is having to live vicariously through his son while making him fill utterly inadequate. (Parent of the Year goes to… UTHER PENDRAGON!)
This was a flimsy excuse to post a picture of ASH. But Uther really is a dreadful parent.
So anyway, we see Merlin helping Arthur get ready for the tournament, including sparring with Arthur and Arthur’s being an ass because Merlin doesn’t know jack about armor and fighting. All the competing knights get to meet Uther and Morgana at the reception and there’s some eye sex between Sir TAGFGC and Morgana and bicker-flirting between Arthur and Morgana which frankly ends up weird later on – but that’s for another episode.
It’s time for the tournament to begin and Merlin’s forgotten Arthur’s sword. He runs off to the armory to get it, and while he’s in there, one of the snakes on the shield hisses and winks at him. I assume this has something to do with magic recognizing magic. But before he can investigate further, Sir TAGFGC catches him and chases him off with the pointy end of his sword.
Merlin grabs Arthur’s sword, brings it to him and the fighting begins. There are plenty of fight scenes and Sir TAGFGC and Arthur come out on top of their respective piles. In order to punish Merlin for forgetting his sword, Arthur orders him to clean and polish ALL the things, which gave the showrunner the leeway to have a “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in which all of Arthur’s belongings are scrubbing and polishing themselves while Merlin lounges on the bed reading a forbidden spell book. Everything comes to a grinding halt when Gaius busts in and loudly reprimands him for using magic. You’d think that since this is such a secret they’d be a little quieter about it. The next morning, Arthur is stunned by Merlin’s super awesome housekeeping skills and is almost nice to him.
Look, I’m not gonna lie…if I had magic, I’d totally waste it on cleaning so I could relax with a good book.
More tournament matches ensue and Arthur and Sir TAGFGC continue to be the awesomest knights in the realm. In order to do that though, Sir TAGFGC had to cheat and have one of his magic snakes (doesn’t that sound like the most unfortunate euphemism?) bite his opponent.
Deadly rubber snakes are the worst!
The knight, Ewan, I think falls unconscious and no one is the wiser until Gaius discovers a couple puncture wounds in Ewan’s neck and observes that his symptoms are that of poisoning. Merlin remembers that Ewan was fighting Sir TAGFGC and sneaks a peek inside the knight’s chambers. He sees TAGFGC dangling a mouse in front of the shield and the snakes in the shield come to life for chow time. Merlin runs back to Gaius and shares his discovery and Gaius helpfully points out that no one is going to believe a servant over a knight.
The next day is another elimination round. More fighting. After the battles, Merlin goes to check on Ewan who’s getting worse. While everyone is at the feast, Merlin sneaks back to Sir TAGFGC’s room and manages to cut off the head of one of the snakes. Gaius makes a potion and Ewan begins to slowly recover.
Now that he has proof, in the form of a giant rubber snake head, Merlin goes to Arthur, shows him the head and tells Arthur everything he’s seen. Arthur, surprisingly, believes him and informs his father. An investigation is called and Sir Ewan plans to formally accuse the other knight of attempted murder via magic. Sir TAGFGC, figuring out what’s going down, sends one of his snakes on a secret mission while he waits to answer his accuser.
Everyone STUPIDLY leaves Ewan alone while this little accusation fest takes place, and, predictably, the snake bites Ewan and kills him this time. With no witness, the charges of magic are dismissed Uther is a total douchecanoe and Arthur has to apologize and he’s furious with Merlin because he trusted him and now looks like a total asshat. He also fires him as his servant. Sir TAGFGC, as expected, is suuuuuuuuuuuuuper smug and Arthur still has to fight him in the morning.
Merlin goes to visit the dragon to tell him that he’s got the wrong person – that Arthur isn’t his destiny (Oh, but he is, Merlin. ) He’s about to leave when the dragon makes a dramatic entrance and he delivers the half/whole riddle and flies away. Gwen offers Merlin some comfort – well, not really, she wants him to fix things. Arthur gets a genius idea and carts a statue of a dog up to his room.
He works all night on a spell trying to animate the dog figuring he can use it on the snake and prove to everyone that Sir TAGFGC is using magic. Meanwhile, Morgana has nightmares about Arthur. Arthur stays up all night practicing.
In the morning, Merlin (who still hasn’t mastered the spell) goes to Arthur in the morning and begs him to withdraw, but Arthur won’t, because the people expect their prince to fight. No one will trust him to lead men in to battle if he doesn’t. It’s his duty – blah, blah, blah.
The last day of the tournament begins, and Merlin, unable to abandon Arthur, goes back to his room to practice the spell some more. It finally works. He turns the statue into a dog then locks it in his room and tells Gaius not to open the door.
He races to the tourney field and waits for what I think is a fuck of a long time – seriously not until Arthur is in mortal fucking danger and then he does the big reveal with the snakes.
Everyone sees them, the snakes slither out of the shield and try to kill Arthur, who’s dropped his sword. Morgana tosses him a weapon (thus saving his life) and he lops off their slithery little heads. The battle between Sir TAGFGC and Arthur gets more intense, though I don’t know why Sir TAGFGC bothered. Magic = death and Uther was right the fuck there, but whatevs.
Arthur eventually kills Sir TAGFGC and there’s a giant feast.
This is the important part. No. One. Ever. Apologizes. Or. Says. Thank. You. Ever.
Now, I realize that Merlin is a servant and Arthur and Uther are royalty, but that servant just saved the life of your son AGAIN. Maybe a fucking show of gratitude is in order? And how about a big old thank you for Morgana. She saved your life, too, dumbass!
Okay…now on to the questions!
1. If I’d written this episode, I would have changed… Actually, it’s a casting thing – I would have chosen someone different to play Sir TAGFGC. I just had a hard time taking him seriously. He was so…weirdly smarmy.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode.
I didn’t like the saucy banter between Arthur and Morgana because of what happens later.
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.
How it looks like someone took a flatiron to Gaius’ wig.
4. Favorite Costume
Meh…most everything was chainmail and tabards in this episode, so I’m gonna have to go with Morgana’s blue dress.
For the most part, her wardrobe is pretty spectacular.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created.
I don’t really have anything in the head cannon spot yet, since it’s the only episode.
6.) What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about?
The saucy look Merlin gives Arthur before sheathing Arthur’s sword when Merlin’s readying him for the tournament.
7.) What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode?
Leaving the only witness alone and too sick to defend himself.