After months of anticipation, the beloved BBC fantasy series has returned. It's been three years since we last saw our precious Camelot, and things are vastly different. But though positions and titles may have changed, a lot of what we love has stayed the same.
Camelot is enjoying a time of peace and prosperity when the show returns. The first thing we see is Merlin running through the castle, looking for something or someone. It almost looks like the world has ended and he's all alone. But then we see Arthur and I don't know about you but I let out a sigh of relief instantly.
Merlin was just looking for Guinevere who was late. Late to what you may ask? Well, a meeting of the knights of the Round Table. Yes, there is a round table on the show now. And it is glorious. All the familiar faces are there. Well, except for two.
Gwaine and Percival have embarked on a mission to the northern borders looking for missing knights of Camelot, before they too go missing. Arthur is frantic to find his men. And in true Arthur fashion, he goes to save them himself with the loyal Merlin, Leon and Elyan by side.
But a betrayal within the castle gets him in trouble causing Arthur and Merlin to get lost in the woods.
Morgana is ruthless this year. She's out for blood and she wants Pendragon blood most. I can never get over the fact that every time Morgana is trying to kill Arthur, it's like she forgets this is her brother. Who's fought for her and protected her for years. It's utterly heartbreaking to see how much these two have fallen out.
Her plan seems simple enough though. She's using Arthur's own men to dig for a key that will lead her to the titular Arthur's Bane. What that is, no one knows, though many fans have their guesses already.
Back in Camelot, when Leon and Elyan return sans Arthur and Merlin, Guinevere gets really upset. And she has every right to. Someone close to them has betrayed them and now Arthur's life is at stake. What I loved most is that it took Gwen less than an episode to figure out who the traitor was. She's better at wheedling out the bad guys (or in this case, girl) better than any other character on this show, including Merlin.
It turns out it was her maid who gave the sensitive information to her father who is in league with Morgana. Guinevere is not happy about this and though she clearly hopes to be wrong, she knows she's not. She sentences her maid to death for treason. Angel Coulby played the role perfectly of a Queen who was once a servant that is torn between her duty and her forgiving heart. I firmly believe that had Arthur's life not been at stake, she would have just banished the girl from Camelot. But you mess with her man, and she will cut you!
Arthur and Merlin are of course in the middle of nowhere and get into the normal shenanigans they're known for. But the friendship these two share shined more in this one episode than it has in the past four series. It's like everything we have seen until now has been leading to this. I feel that the reveal is coming sooner than fans think.
I've heard a lot of flack from early reviews citing that Arthur still treats Merlin badly. I don't necessarily agree with that. The two characters (probably because of the actors who play them) have such a natural banter that sometimes things Arthur says may or may not come off as a bit "prattish". But that's kind of the point. Merlin is the only person in the entire kingdom who can call Arthur an ass and live to tell the tale. Except for Gwen. I'm sure as his wife we'll see her tell Arthur off... A lot. She did it when she was just Morgana's maid, I doubt she'd stop now.
But the big cliff hanger of the night was the return of a character fans haven't seen since the second series. Mordred is back and he's all grown up. After Merlin is given a vision of Arthur's death at the hands of Mordred, his complete shock at seeing the Druid boy shouldn't come as a surprise to audiences. He really wanted to believe that the vision was false but now that Mordred is in their orbit, keeping Arthur safe is going to be more difficult than ever.
Newly cast Alexander Vlahos is fantastic in the two short scenes we get to see him. He gives me chills. In a totally good way. I'm kidding. He scares the crap out of me. But I have a feeling that Mordred will be torn between killing Arthur and saving him. I think that the boy in Mordred is still grateful to Arthur for saving his life. But I think his connection to Morgana is strong. Probably as strong as the bond that Merlin and Arthur share.
It will be interesting to see how Mordred is played by Vlahos. Audiences could instantly hate him like they did Agravaine last year or they could hope that Arthur will save him from himself. Because I think Mordred just really hates Merlin after their last encounter.
It has not been confirmed yet whether or not series five will be the final outing for this fantastical show. But to be on the safe side, and to avoid heartbreak a couple of months down the road, I'm going to watch it like it is. If by some off chance it is revealed later on that there will be a sixth series, I shall rejoice with the rest of you. As of right now, I'm going to keep my mind set on the fact that there are only 12 episodes left of this wonderful series.
What did you think? Did you enjoy the premiere you've been waiting all year to see? Or was the anticipation actually better than the episode itself?