The start of what’s clearly going to be an epic three part end to the fourth season, this episode starts a lot of plotlines in motion, as well as being a decent standalone in its own right.
Arthur has to come to terms with his feelings towards Gwen – does he still love her, despite her betrayal of his trust with Lancelot? Can he go ahead with an arranged marriage, particularly when he does start to have some feelings for his new bride, Princess Mithian? Those who predicted that everything would come out alright in the end between Arthur and Gwen are no doubt going to be proved correct, but at least the show is acknowledging the situation between them – from both sides.
Morgana’s finally found an ally who might last more than one episode (and is there a hint of attraction between her and Helios that might cause problems later). And Gwen, through the laws of Small Universe theory, finds herself in a position to prevent Morgana from attacking Camelot – but then ends up with a small deer problem…
There’s a lot going on, and the only misfire is in the editing, where scenes that happen one night are intercut with ones set the following morning, which gives a misleading impression of the chronology – Gwen is actually asleep in the forest all the time that Arthur is out on his picnic with Mithian, so there’s no chance of her stumbling across them, as would seem to be what’s being set up.
Janet Montgomery is a world away from her role as Ames on Human Target, making what would otherwise be a good fit for Arthur. Her scene with Merlin is one of my favourites from the season, and it seems a shame that we won’t see her again.
But all the pieces are now in place for the final showdown – and with a title like The Sword in the Stone, a lot is promised. 7/10
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