In my opinion, the best Merlin episodes are the ones where the two main characters are separated. Arthur is left helpless, and Merlin is left desperate… because he isn’t able to aid his friend with his magic. The Hollow Queen is a fine example of that.
The ‘The Hollow Queen’ episode starts with the introduction of a new character: a young druid named Daegal who is trying to get into the castle. Everything seems normal, Gwen is showing her sweet and caring side, but Merlin is not fooled. The druid boy bumps into him once he’s inside the castle, he’s looking for Gaius to help his ill sister, but instead he asks Merlin to come with him to save her. Merlin tells him he can’t go as the village is too far but finally agrees. Gaius warns Merlin about the dangerous place he is going, but Merlin is determined. Next morning, Arthur is looking for his young servant, and Gaius has to make up stories to explain why Merlin isn’t at his service that day. I love how this series for all its dark themes, sorcery, fantasy and action, can also be quite humoristic.
Merlin and Daegal cross the forest towards the druids’ village. We see a friendship forming between the young wizard and the druid boy. In another hilarious scene, we see Gaius trying to dress Arthur and failing, of course. Meanwhile, the queen Guinevere is up to her shady ways: she’s teaming again with Morgana to kill Arthur. The Sarrum, an old and not exactly peaceful friend of Uther Pendragon, visits Camelot. In the forest, Merlin realizes Daegal is not a real druid and he’s been led to a trap. Morgana is behind it. She poisons Merlin and leaves him to rot in the woods.
During a celebratory feast, the Sarrum tells Arthur how he captured Morgana and her dragon but that she escaped. Gwen excuses herself and leaves the feast disturbed by what she is hearing then proceeds to meet with Morgana. They plan for The Sarrum to assassinate Arthur.
Next morning, Merlin wakes up in the forest, he’s wounded and the poison is already affecting him. He tries to use his magic to heal himself but he can’t move. At the castle, all seems normal, but there is a tense calm surrounding everything. The king is preparing for the day tournament, but he’s starting to suspect something has happened to Merlin. Arthur fights against The Sarrum’s warriors. Gwen then tries to convince The Sarrum to kill Arthur. Thumbs up to Angel Coulby for playing evil queen Guinevere so well.
Daegal comes in aide of Merlin who’s still laying in the woods. The warlock tells him which herbs he needs to cure himself and the boy goes in search of them. Merlin drinks the herbs-made potion, and after much convulsing, he is cured. Meanwhile, in Camelot, The Sarrum agrees with Gwen: Arthur must be murdered. Daegal confesses to Merlin all he knows, that Morgana and the queen are planning to end the king’s life. Knowing this, Merlin runs to save Arthur. The young sorcerer and the boy are ambushed by bandits, but Merlin uses his magic to get rid of them thus revealing himself to Daegal. Gaius and Arthur begin to worry about Merlin’s disappearance but Gwen invents a silly excuse that seems to convince the king.
The council starts (so glad to see the round table again), Merlin and Daegal arrive to the castle, an archer is pointing to the king……and the young warlock saves the day once more.
Can we name the series from now on: “How to kill Arthur and fail miserably?” Just kidding. Another great episode, another sad ending, another week to wait for more.
- Bandit: You don’t even have a sword. Merlin: I don’t need one.
- I don’t think I’ve done many good things in my life.
- Merlin: We’ve got to do something about her. Gaius: Yes, but the question is ‘what?’