Staff writer Tariq explains what he feels the show did right and wrong with the last episode of Merlin, and asks all the questions we’re begging to get answered.
I only started my journey with Merlin about three weeks ago, so it’s been an intense journey to get to the finale!
And while I knew all along that the series was going to end I was both looking forward to and dreading the moment the Merlin logo flashed across my screen for the last time. Now that it’s ended, I wanted to share what I personally think to be the things they did right and the things they did wrong for the series finale.
Mordred’s destiny to kill Arthur
All through this past series we’ve seen Mordred not only protect Arthur but save his life quite a few times, and it left us thinking “How is he going to be so evil he’s going to kill him? It this an act?”
We learned that no, this is not an act but that Mordred truly did care for Arthur as his King and his friend. And then Arthur had to go all Uther on us and sentence his sister/girlfriend/whatever she was to death despite Mordred literally begging him to let her go. What a perfect way to turn friend into foe! You can’t just kill one of your best knight’s girlfriends and pretend things are okay. And while I still have reservations about that plot point, you can totally understand Mordred’s switch of allegiance, which is the more important thing.
Despite it not being the vision she had in the fourth series, her death was perfectly timed with the rest of the plot developments and amazingly executed. Merlin’s line about the sword being forged in a dragon’s breath was so epic and badass that it added onto the perfectness in which Morgana finally faced her doom.
The magic reveal
This was the one thing I was probably looking forward to most the entire show, from Merlin becoming Arthur’s servant until the very end. I was crying right alongside Merlin as he told Arthur that the sorcerer who saved them was him, and that he had magic. It was so amazing I’m getting emotional just talking about it now!
I’m so glad that Arthur and Merlin had a chance to bond and get used to this new open air between them, traveling to the Isle of Avalon to save the king. This gave us a chance to see Arthur finally get to know Merlin as the real man and sorcerer he was. Seeing Arthur change from a man who told Merlin to leave him, to saying thank you for all the things he did, was truly heartbreakingly beautiful.
Merthur shippers were given the ultimate gift, and the way the showrunners displayed the love story between Arthur and Merlin even had me flip-flopping from Gwen/Arthur to Merthur. You can’t argue against the fact that, yes, this was indeed a love story between Arthur and Merlin, because they loved each other so much you’d have to be blind not to see it! I just can’t say enough good things about this plot line, and it broke my heart that Merlin had to see Arthur die in his arms after working so hard and being so close.
Who takes the throne after Gwen?
We almost end the show with Gwen sitting upon the throne of Camelot after it being announced that the king is dead. However, she doesn’t look pregnant! This is such a small thing to nitpick, I realize, but I just wish we had the glimpse of a pregnant queen so we know that Arthur’s line still continues.
What did Merlin do after the fact?
In that almost last scene with Gwen, we see everyone gathered to pay respects for the king and allegiance to the queen; everyone but Merlin. Gaius is there, Percival, the knights, but no Merlin! When we do see him in the final scene of the series we know that he’s alive and well, but what did he do between that time and how did he age so slowly? I have so many questions about how he left Gaius and if he ever saw Gwen again, and I just wish they spent an extra ten minutes showing us.
You know how in the promo for the last episode of the series we hear Gaius say “Let’s just say he deserves our gratitude”? Well, he still does and he hasn’t gotten it yet! I mean yes, he got Arthur’s gratitude, which is probably more important. But especially after the fact that Gwen realizes who the sorcerer was, you’d think they’d let us see Merlin being thanked by the kingdom for saving them from Morgana, not once but time and again.
The golden age of Albion
From the very beginning of the show we’re told that Arthur will bring about a time of peace to Albion. While we definitely see this happening in the last series, we miss out on seeing when/if magic was legalized again. Everyone was always telling us “There’ll be a day when magic will be allowed to be practiced in the open,” but apparently we won’t get to see it. Did Gwen take the ban off magic after realizing one of her best friends was a sorcerer? Or was the golden age of Albion just that little bit of peace we heard of between series 4 and 5?
The last scene
The one thing that I absolutely did not understand and quite honestly hated was the very last scene of the series finale, the one with the bus. The reason I love Merlin and the reason it was one of my favorite BBC shows was the fact that it was a period piece, and that it was set in a land of myth and a time of magic.
I totally understand they wanted to leave this bit open so that we have closure with the fact that Merlin will see Arthur again, and that his destiny is not over. However, that being said, I don’t know how I feel about associating this show with a possibly different show or idea or theme that will not take place in a land of myth or time of magic. Magic is not accepted, believed, majorly practiced, or open in our era, in real life, which this show just referenced to in the last five seconds. I want to see Merlin guide Arthur openly as a sorcerer and guide Albion to the time of peace and tranquility that he was supposed to.
Although there are so many possibilities with where they could be taking it from here, and where they want our minds to take it. It could be that maybe Camelot still exists today and it’s just an alternate universe type era where magic is accepted and goblins and trolls and high priestesses still exist, but if it’s not then I want nothing to do with it and I’m sad they made us think about it with the last five seconds. Gwen taking the throne was the perfect ending, and would’ve been enough for me.
What do you think the show did right or wrong with the series finale?
These were all the reservations I had about the series finale, and you might disagree with some or all of them. Let me know what you think – because I can’t be the only one upset with all the open ends, right?!