Following the shocking news that Merlin’s fifth season would be its last, we have issued a response to the way the BBC handled this announcement.
How have you been? We haven’t spoken since last night, and we kind of feel like we left it on a bitter note – but what did you expect? Five years, we devoted to you. Five years of laughter, tears, fights, frustration, and yeah, there were some secrets. But we made it work, didn’t we? We had some good times.
It’s not that you’re leaving us. That is upsetting, yes, but not for the reasons you might think. The fact that Merlin is ending after five great seasons is not at all unexpected, and we totally get that the show is reaching its natural conclusion. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and we all know it’s better to end something wonderful on a high note than to string us along when your heart isn’t really in it anymore.
But after five years, we deserved better than this. Sure, we saw the warning signs, but there was still hope. Hope for a future together with movies and magic, and you shouldn’t have led us on this way if you knew that this was the end.
Getting word that your favorite show is ending for good a mere five episodes before it’s big finale? Well, that’s just kind of like abruptly being dumped by a boyfriend you were completely head over heels in love with – via text message. Or status update, for all your friends to see and pity, but you don’t even notice it’s there until the morning after. It kind of makes you feel like you were always the person who loved them more, especially since they didn’t even have the decency to break it off up front and face to face.
What saddens us most is not that the end is near, rather that we feel we haven’t had a proper chance to prepare. We as a fandom haven’t had time to process, haven’t had time to accept it. We haven’t had time to TRULY understand and figure out how to say goodbye to a show that we have become so emotionally invested in – to characters who are noble, brave, and loyal – characters we’ve all come to know and love.
Maybe it would have been different if we had been told up front from the very first episode of season 5 that Merlin would see its end for good in this season’s two-part series finale. Sure, when the time came, we still would have been sad to say goodbye to the world of Camelot you’ve created over the past five years, but the point of the matter is, we would have had 13 episodes to get used to the idea – a proper amount of time to accept and understand and figure out how to let go in our own way.
This is what ABC did with Lost. It’s what Fox is doing with Fringe. We don’t mean to compare what we share to the love between other networks and their viewerships, but you need to understand why we feel so jilted. When you build up a relationship with someone, you expect that they communicate with you. Surely the secrets between Arthur and Merlin have shown us all that secrecy is a Bad Thing?
We can’t help but feel like you might have known all along that season 5 would be Merlin’s last. After all, the showrunners have been hinting as much for a while, even while telling us to stay optimistic about a sixth season. But if you knew all along, why keep it a secret for this long? Why wait for season 5 to be well over its midway point to let us know? Truth be told, we feel a bit cheated and strung along.
The shocking news that Merlin is ending automatically brings to mind a series of questions and concerns:
Can the show and all its character arcs be wrapped up in a mere five episodes?
In the interest of full disclosure, we’re having trouble believing that it can at the moment. Right now we’ve got Morgana and Gwen in the middle of another plot against Camelot, which will need at least another episode to resolve. We’ve got Merlin spiraling down a pit of depression and anger, and Arthur still needs to learn about his magic. Then there’s the prophecy with Mordred, and the dragons, and oh yeah, uniting all of Albion!
Will Merlin’s big magic reveal get the attention and credit it deserves?
We sure hope so. Considering the show has always been about Merlin’s secret and Arthur finding out, we hope that this crucial part of the story isn’t rushed, or brushed over via a flashforward or a montage. And don’t forget that Morgana still needs to realise that Merlin is Emrys, too!
Will we see a shift in Arthur’s character? One that makes us believe that he has truly accepted the idea of magic and therefore Merlin?
Again, hard to imagine considering that we have been led to believe that as of where he stands in episode 8, Arthur still seems to have a long way to go before he is at a place where magic can once again reign free in Camelot. But this is what the show has been building towards for five years, isn’t it?
What about destiny?
The series can basically end one of two ways: either Arthur dies, or he doesn’t. It’s not for us to say which way would be best, because (surprise!) we didn’t write the show, but ultimately this will determine whether Merlin ends happily or if we’re going to be left very depressed come Christmas. But before Arthur’s big Mordred confrontation, surely he needs to become the great king everyone’s telling him to be and which for whatever reason he isn’t yet? This brings us back to our first question. Five episodes. How?
Will there be a movie?
We still don’t know! The comments made by the actors make it very evident that they have bowed out already, and aren’t expecting to return to the series. But you did talk about re-boots, and there still needs to be some kind of announcement about that. Surely?
But hey. When all is said and done, we still love you, Merlin. You’ll always have a special place in our hearts. Now though, that place will be tinged with bitterness, and that is such a shame. We feel like this could have been handled with a lot more care for a truly wonderful, devoted fan base who was ready to stand behind you until the very end – if you’d let them. Hopefully the writers were given enough notice about the show’s impending end to wrap it all up satisfactorily, but if they knew, why couldn’t we have known? Why not give us time to prepare? It still doesn’t make sense.
And considering they were beginning to plan out a movie trilogy, we can’t help but worry about the amount of story that will be left to tell. Again, unless the story gets wrapped up with a montage. Please don’t do a montage. Seriously, we’re begging you– it would break our hearts and at this point, that’s really saying something.
Goodbye. It’s been fun, and we’re not gonna lie, we were kind of hoping we could be together forever. Good luck with all of your future endeavors – put your keys under the doormat when you leave, and don’t try to call. There’s this cute guy down the street called the Doctor who has been very reliable through this trying time, and we’ll be needing his shoulder to cry on.
Excuse us while we go put “Someone Like You” on a loop and reflect on whether we’ll ever be able to trust and love again.