Merlin Club: The Once and Future Queen or The One Where Arthur is a Complete Asshat and People Want to Kill Him
Yep… it’s recap time!
This episode opens with a shot of a castle by the sea, so we know it’s not Camelot. Inside is a king (you can tell by the crown) looking at some knight gear artfully laid out on the table. A guard shows Myror, the assassin into the king’s room, and after giving him a little quiz about how many people he’s killed, the king hires him to kill Arthur. Cue the dramatic music!
After the credits, we see Arthur practicing on the jousting field. He’s pissed because his knights aren’t treating him like they treat each other. They’re being far more careful with him than they are with anyone else. Merlin follows Arthur back to his chambers where he’s having a bit of a tantrum about people telling him what they think he wants to hear. He bitches because he just want to be treated like everyone else.
But Arthur gets an idea. An awful idea. Arthur gets a wonderful, awful idea.
That night at supper with Uther, Arthur lies to his father and tells him that there are reports of a fantastical beast roaming the forest. Uther’s answer is what one would expect after even casually watching this show, “Then we must destroy it.” Arthur volunteers, but Uther is all, oh no, you’ll miss the tournament. But Arthur convinces him that his duty to Camelot is more important.
The next morning, Arthur rides out with several of Camelot’s guards. He dismounts and swears the guards to secrecy, insisting that they tell no one he’s returned to Camelot. After the other men leave, Merlin pops up our of the woods and Arthur changes into some of Merlin’s clothes (and bitches about them – apparently servant clothes are smelly) and sneaks back into city.
Meanwhile, back at Camelot, a guard from King Odin’s place (the dude who put the bounty on Arthur’s’ head) is telling Uther about the assassin, and Uther’s relieved because Arthur is off killing that monster. Myror, the assassin. (who’s pretty hot…) gets his crossbow ready, but doesn’t shoot when he realizes Arthur’s horse is empty.
Arthur and Merlin make their way to Gwen’s house where Arthur will be hiding out during the course of the tournament. Arthur, being the spoiled rich kid, is dismissive of Gwen’s humble home. Which is, I’m sure, better than most of the peasants of Camelot.
Merlin brings in a farmer to play the part of Sir William of Dahra. He was a farm boy…poor…and perfect. Oh wait…wrong story. Anyway, Arthur’s plan is to joust in the tournament as Sir William with his helmet on, and William will handle all of the helmet-off stuff. Arthur, Merlin and Gwen attempt to teach the farmer how to behave as a knight.
Arthur continues to be entitled and asks if Gwen’s bed is his. Gwen says of course and then goes off to sleep on a pile of sacks that I’m assuming have things like grain and potatoes in them. She’s not pleased. And Arthur is utterly clueless.
That evening, Myror rides into Camelot and Spidey climbs into the castle looking for Arthur to off him. He kills a guard who catches him in the hallway. Then he finds his informant within the castle and bitches him out because the dude’s info was bad.
The next morning, Merlin and Arthur, hidden under a voluminous cloak make their way to Sir William’s tent and go over the plan again. The tournament begins and Arthur knocks everyone off their horses in a jousting montage and Uther claps loudly in his lovely leather gloves.
Myror is watching the tourney and his informant joins him to let him know that Arthur is still MIA, but his servant is working for Sir William. Because of all this extra work with Arthur and the the tournament, Merlin has been neglecting his duties with Gaius and Gaius is getting a mite pissy. After all, there’s a leech tank that needs cleaning. Merlin ends up scrubbing the floor and doing the laundry Sorcerer’s Apprentice style – without the horrible consequences.
Meanwhile, Gwen is cleaning up from a meal she’s served Arthur while he’s oblivious to all the works she’s doing for him. She asks Arthur why he’s doing the stealthy knight thing. He confesses that it’s because he feels that people only respect him because of his title. He feels that winning the tourney as Sir William will earn people’s genuine respect.
Then he douches everything up by announcing that he’d like to take a bath. Gwen tells him that she doesn’t have a bathtub, and he’s puzzled by this. Then he asks her to prepare him a bowl of hot water and is utterly oblivious when she’s pissy about having to go to the well to fetch water that late at night.
The next morning, Gaius finds Merlin asleep on the floor that he’d been scrubbing. Gaius reprimands him for being lazy and Merlin goes off on Gaius about how hard he works for Arthur and Gaius and how he never gets any credit for all the work he does then drops the mic and leaves Gaius with his mouth hanging open.
There’s another jousting montage and Arthur is in the finals. Merlin goes out to water the horse and Myror approaches him and asks about his master and also Arthur. Merlin is the worst liar ever so Myror knows something’s up.
Later Arthur returns to Gwen’s and asks if she’s got a needle and thread to mend his shirt. He discovers that she’s been sleeping on sacks and he’s been sleeping in her bed and wants to know why she didn’t say something. She points out that he assumed the bed was his and he counters with how should he know if she didn’t tell him.
Gwen lets loose and points out that he shouldn’t have to be told to think of someone other than himself and that he’s not a child. He’s taken aback, but asks if there’s anything else she’d like to say. She lays into him about being rude and arrogant and as a guest in her home, he shouldn’t behave that way. She points out the prince servant dynamic and says that his words mean nothing when his actions betray him. And she reminds him to say please and thank you. It’s a spectacular rant.
He stares at her for a while and just when she worries that she’s said too much, he admits that she’s right and he’s been an asshat. He vows to make it up to her and make supper for her. He sends her out for a walk vowing that her supper will be ready when she returns. Then he stares forlornly at the a raw chicken until Merlin comes in. He tells Merlin to fetch him two meals from the palace kitchen and a decent shirt.
Merlin goes into Arthur’s room for a shirt, but Myror is already there, hiding. Merlin delivers the meals and the shirt to Arthur and Arthur tosses the raw chicken at Merlin to get rid of when he sees Gwen coming. Merlin slips out the back and Arthur ushers Gwen to the table. She’s apparently oblivious to the fact that her home doesn’t smell like anything had been cooked there, there’s a distinct lack of dirty pans and the food is on dinnerware she doesn’t own. But whatevs, I guess she’s distracted by the idea of Arthur doing something nice for her.
Meanwhile, Myror, who’d obviously followed Merlin to Gwen’s sneaks up to the cottage and peeks in the window and discovers Arthur. He readies his crossbow and is about to shoot when the foot patrol notices him and scares him away.
Merlin has prepared a lovely chicken dinner for Gaius and begins to apologize to him as soon as he walks in the door, but Gaius stops him and says he should apologize and tells him to take some time off. I firmly believe Gaius is setting Merlin up. Sir Leon knocks on the door and tells them that the king needs Gaius immediately. They’ve found the body of the knight Myror killed and want a cause of death. They suss out that it’s the assassin.
Back at Gwen’s Arthur flirtily asks Gwen if he has any more annoying behaviors she’d like to point out and they have a cute conversation about him snoring. Unfortunately, she notices that those aren’t her plates and asks where he got them. He stupidly lies and says her cupboard. Seriously, Arthur!? She looks at them more closely and realizes they’re from the palace. Seriously, Gwen!? You serve Morgana all the time and you didn’t recognize them immediately!?
She quickly figures out that the food came from the palace and Arthur very, very foolishly says he can kill a chicken from a thousand paces just don’t ask him to cook it. That’s what servants are for.”
He apologizes then backtracks being pissy because she’s pissy and wants to know what the big deal is. Gwen says that she thought he’d actually done something nice for her and that a good king should respect his people no matter who they are. He tells her that he cares about her and Merlin busts in to tell them about the assassin and spoils the moment. We find out that King Odin wants him dead because Arthur killed his son in a duel he didn’t want to fight in the first place.
The next morning, Arthur and Gwen are saying goodbye and she gives him a token to wear on the field and he kisses her with the sun shining through the window as a backdrop and romantic music swelling. Then he’s gone.
Myror follows Arthur from Gwen’s to Sir William’s tent where Arthur is getting ready to joust. Myror quickly figures out what’s going on and sneaks off to kill Arthur’s competition and take his place so he can kill him on the field with his handy dandy lance with the retractable blade, because you know, he’s just that hiding in his pocket or something.
They joust and Myror stabs Arthur with the retractable blade. Merlin sees the blade as it retracts. Arthur stumbles into the tent with Gwen and she begs him not to go back out there, but he does because he’s got to prove to himself that he can do it. Merlin sneaks over to the competition’s tent and sees the body of the knight on the floor and Myror in the knight’s armor.
Myror and Arthur joust again and Merlin uses magic to loosen Myror’s saddle. He lists to the side and Arthur is able to knock him off his horse and he ends up dying. I assume of a broken neck or spine. Merlin helps Arthur from his horse and back to the tent where Merlin tells him that he was jousting against the assassin. Merlin also tells him that the people are waiting for their champion and that it’s time to reveal his true identity.Arthur tells William to go collect the trophy because it’s a time for humility.
When Gaius examines the man carried off the field and realizes it’s not the knight he thought it would be, he asks Merlin about it and Merlin knows he’s been caught in yet another lie to Gaius. Later, Arthur, still in bloody armor, lies to Uther about being injured whilst killing the beast. And Uther demands that Odin should pay for sending an assassin after Arthur, but Arthur suggests Uther should try to understand Odin’s grief and that they try to make peace with him instead. Gwen looks on approvingly.
After the audience with the king, Arthur tells Gwen that what happened between them at her house can’t happen again because his father wouldn’t understand. She takes it better than I would have and says that perhaps when he’s king, things will be different. Meanwhile, Merlin is dealing with his punishment of cleaning out the leech tank because Gaius is pissed that he lied. Again.
1. If I’d written this episode…I would have had Gwen notice the dishes sooner. I don’t know why, but that really bugged me.
2. The thing I loved/hated most about this episode. Loved: Gwen giving Arthur the smackdown. Disliked: that Arthur continued to be a douche to Merlin even after he was trying to be less assy with Gwen
3. Something you’ve never noticed about this episode before.The leech tank. I’ve never seen that thing before.
4. Favorite Costume. Gwen’s hair. Okay, it’s not really a costume and these pictures don’t do it justice, but her hair pulled back with the wild flowers is just the prettiest thing ever.
5. Here is Proof of some random head canon I’ve created. Sorry, it’s another week of no real canon here – none that I’ve created, anyway.
6. What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about? The little exchange in the beginning when Merlin gives Arthur the idea about hiding his identity. That scene is rife with unexplored tension.
7. What made Jen lose her shit (in a good or bad way) in this episode –I’m going with good and the sound of Uther’s leather gloves as he clapped at the tournament.