‘Merlin’: Series finale review

11:39 pm EDT, December 24, 2012

After five years of Merlin, the show has finally come to an end with this truly monumental and unforgettable conclusion. Spoilers follow!

The BBC’s Merlin came to a close tonight with a tragic and sorrowful end. Many elements were handled elegantly and it was a brilliant send-off for some of the most beloved characters in this show.

As for the fans, this episode certainly brought out the waterworks for many (myself included, something I’m not ashamed to admit) but in the end left us on a relatively high note with the resounding message of hope, loyalty, and friendship that we have all come to expect from Merlin. This finale had the epic and vast, but became something so much more personal, the story of how two men would go to the end of the universe and back for each other.

“The Diamond of the Day – Part 2” opens right where part 1 left off; Arthur is in the middle of battle with his knights, Emrys rides on horseback through the forest to Camlann (something which I found visually very humorous), a furious Mordred slaughters through Camelot’s knights on his way to Arthur while Gwen and Gaius tend to the wounded back at camp. Merlin arrives at Camlann in the last moment and blast the saxons away from Arthur and the rest of battlefield, leaving Morgana and her army in shambles. Already emotions are running high throughout these sequences. I was also quite surprised by how quickly the battle was over but not left disappointed because, lets face it, all we wanted were Merlin/Arthur moments.

Then the moment that everyone didn’t want to happen came anyways. As Arthur kneels over a knight Mordred hauntingly enters the frame out of focus and we all know what’s coming. (I for one kept shouting “NO!” multiple times at the screen as Mordred walked up.) No time is wasted as Mordred swiftly stabs Arthur in the gut; then Arthur returns with a similar, but better aimed, blow into Mordred’s heart. I’m glad they choose not to go with the cliche fight sequence between Mordred and Arthur here – the approach of having a swift end for Mordred felt right for the story and for his character.

Alexander Vlahos gave a powerful and heart-wrenching (pun intended) performance in his final scene which, I think, had many sympathizing with his character’s struggle. However much I wish Alexander Vlahos could’ve had more screentime in this episode, I can find no justification for it and completely cherish the time he did have in the episode.

Emrys finds Arthur and carries him off the battlefield into the forest. It is here that Merlin, no longer as old Emrys, tells Arthur he has magic. This scene was one of my favorite moments from the episode. It was such an intimate moment, perfect for the reveal, and the fact that Merlin was still struggling to tell Arthur just broke my heart. Arthur’s outright denial of Merlin when he finally sees the truth was also gut-wrenching, but also understandable for the character. My hat goes off to the writers of the show, for I don’t think this scene could have been handled any better.

Back in Camelot all the knights and Gwen have returned. Gwaine, along with Percival, uses Eira to ambush Morgana. The plan backfires and leads to their capture, torture and Gwaine’s unfortunate death. This was the most difficult death to watch in the episode – Gwaine dies with the knowledge that he has betrayed his king and his kingdom. He fights with his coming death, still wanting to prove that he was a noble knight of Camelot, and it is this struggle that makes it so tragic. Eoin Macken nearly moved me to tears, and I only wish his character could’ve found out the truth about Merlin before his death.

During all of this, Merlin is taking Arthur to Avalon in hopes of healing his fatal wound. The writers chose to make these scenes the majority of the episode, focusing on Merlin and Arthur’s changing relationship with the revelation of magic. Throughout the journey, Arthur goes from someone who denies, rejects, and is suspicious of Merlin and his magic to someone thankful and accepting of Merlin and his unwavering loyalty. It was such a beautiful transformation to see in the episode and superbly underplayed by Bradley James.

This episode perhaps shows the strongest growth in Arthur’s character in a single episode of Merlin. Ultimately, these scenes worked because of Colin Morgan and Bradley James’ on-screen chemistry. They held the episode together and did a remarkable job at bringing a believability to the emotions of their characters.

Morgana’s death scene, on the other hand, might be the biggest let-down of the episode. Her final moments felt lackluster and too abrupt. There was no struggle or real threat in ending Morgana. Everyone was waiting to see this “epic of all epic” showdowns between the two most powerful sorcerers in the world, and all we got was Merlin sneaking up behind Morgana and stabbing her with Excalibur.

Where were the sparks?! Where was the fire and explosions?! Morgana deserved a bigger send off than this, so I found her death unsatisfying.

Arthur’s goodbye turned me into a big gooey pile of mush, I couldn’t hold it back anymore. As Arthur told Merlin “Thank you,” I completely broke down. The impact that this scene had on me surpassed anything that I thought I would feel watching this episode. How relaxed Arthur seemed that he was dying, that everything was okay because he was with Merlin was so touching. And then to watch Merlin, desperate to do anything to save Arthur, calling upon Kilgharrah to help take Arthur to the Lake faster, always believing there is still a chance just made me cry out for him. (Colin, why do you do this to me?!)

Kilgharrah tells Merlin that Arthur was always going to die, but he will come again. Merlin returns Excalibur to the Lake (for a moment I thought he was going to impale himself on the blade, and nearly started crying again) and then gives Arthur a proper send-off upon a boat into the Lake.

We see Gwen take the throne of Camelot and then we’re back to Lake Avalon… when suddenly a truck rumbles past revealing it is now present day! An old, unkempt man with a long beard and ratty jacket walks down the side of the road past the Lake. It is clearly Emrys, who has lived all this time waiting for Arthur to one day return to the world so he can take his place by Arthur’s side. I rather liked this end because I felt it tied up the themes nicely and doesn’t give a definitive end to Merlin’s story, but allows it to continue forever.

Make sure to leave your reactions to the series finale below in the comments and we may read your thoughts on the next Talks of Camelot episode.

How emotional were you during the finale of ‘Merlin’?

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?

Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening and offered new looks at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and more.

“We only want to come to Hall H when we have a lot to show you,” teased Marvel’s Kevin Feige at the start of the panel. Indeed, they had a ton to offer — including news of a new Marvel theme park attraction!

Everything we’ve learned at Marvel’s SDCC panel

  1. Marvel kicked off their panel with a new logo and updated fanfare by composer Michael Giacchino.

  2. Black Panther had some casting news to share: Lupita N’yongo will be playing one of the guards at Wakanda named Nakia. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. We also received brand new casting news: Danai Gurira has joined the movie — She’ll play Okoye, head of Dora Milaje! Finally, a new logo for the film was revealed:

    black-panther-logo-sdcc-2016

  3. Thor: Ragnarok unveiled a behind-the-scenes look at the new film which included a look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. They also showed a documentary-style clip (think The Office) explaining where Hulk and Thor were during the events of Captain America: Civil War! In it, Thor had a tiny bed for Mjolnir and a crime board that tried to connect the Infinity Stones and discover their purpose. There is also mugshot of Loki. Like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok had a new logo to show off with a retro looking subtitle:

    thor-ragnorak-new-logo-sdcc-2016

  4. Doctor Strange’s portion of the panel kicked off with a smoke and laser show to introduce Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Tilda Swinton was also at the panel and spoke about the Ancient One. “The truth is, anyone can be The Ancient One,” she said. A clip from Doctor Strange was also showed in which Steven Strange meets Tilda’s character (It won’t be online).

  5. Thankfully, a brand new and wholly epic Doctor Strange trailer was released. Watch below:

    A new poster was also unveiled:

    doctor-strange-sdcc-poster

  6. Next up was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Director Jon Watts described the film as a high school movie about a 15-year-old Peter Parker who’s in the 10th grade. A new clip was unveiled and had a strong John Hughes vibe — Peter Parker is just your average high schooler trying to get through the day. There was also this great moment:

  7. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which kicks off a few months after the first movie. The entire cast was there to introduce a new scene in which a very adorable Baby Groot helps Yondu and Rocket break out of prison. Baby Groot even has a little outfit! Adorably, the Ravengers — who captured Yondu and Rocket — refuse to hurt Baby Groot because of how cute he is.

    This movie got a new logo as well.

    guardians-of-the-galaxy-sequel-new-logo

  8. Speaking of Marvel’s space dramedy, the studio also confirmed rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and debuts Summer 2017 at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. Sadly, it’s replacing the classic Tower of Terror ride. Check out a behind the scenes video of the attraction:

  9. Marvel ended their panel by confirming that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel, as was previously rumored. She took the stage to say hi to the adoring audience, and participated in a giant Marvel selfie:

All in all, Marvel had a ton to share. What do you think of all the developments?

DC kept the trailer train trotting along today with an all new trailer for Suicide Squad!

Though Suicide Squad is just a few weeks away from hitting theaters, DC kept the momentum going today with an all new trailer featuring music from the soundtrack, new footage, and a better look at what exactly we can expect from the upcoming villain-focused super hero movie. Check it out below.

The new (and likely final) Suicide Squad trailer comes after surprise premiere of the Wonder Woman trailer and an even bigger surprise with our first look at the Justice League trailer. As with the other trailers today, this one debuted publicly alongside its Comic-Con Hall H premiere.

In this trailer, we hear a lot from Will Smith who plays Deadshot and arguably the most decorated and respected actor among the cast. “They’re gonna blame us for the whole thing. We’re the patsies, don’t forget. We’re the bad guys.” The trailer is jam-packed with all of the villains and their powers and skills on full display.

We also get a better look at the leader of the pack, Jared Leto’s The Joker. “I can’t wait to show you my toys,” Leto’s Joker says while slapping around a man.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn also gets a lot of screen time in this trailer. Though, most of it features close ups of her back side, which stays close to the adult, rugged tone of the other trailers we have seen thus far.

There’s no doubt that fans will be flocking to theaters rooting on the bad guys when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th. Suicide Squad features

What did you think of the thrilling, action-packed trailer for Suicide Squad?