Merlin: Lancelot Du Lac

Morgana plots to prevent Arthur and Gwen’s wedding by bring Lancelot back to life.

Calling Agravaine to his chambers late at night Arthur informs him that he intends to marry Guinevere whether or not his uncle approves of the match. Agravaine takes the news straight to Morgana, whose anger over seeing a servant girl take her throne becomes too much for her. She decides to reawaken a shadow of Lancelot in the hopes that sending him to Camelot will reawaken Gwen’s past feelings for him. In Camelot, Arthur proposes to Gwen who accepts and their engagement tournament begins. The shade Lancelot shows up at the tournament and has everyone believing the story of his return from death but Gwen’s feelings for him are long gone so Morgana enchants a bracelet that will make Gwen unable to resist Lancelot. Merlin becomes suspicious of Lancelot’s return and questions him about his own magic but Lancelot is unable to remember that. After proving that Lancelot is a shade, Gaius and Merlin work to prevent his eventual attack on Arthur assuming that he’ll try and kill Arthur in the jousting tournament. Instead Lancelot yields to an injured Arthur confusing Merlin. That night Gwen and Lancelot meet in the council chambers and Agravaine brings Arthur down from his room just in time to see the two kiss. Furious, he attacks Lancelot but Gwen breaks up the fight and both are sent to the jail cells. Arthur speaks privately with Gwen in the council chambers where she confesses that she has no idea why she did what she did and Arthur informs her that Agravaine is pushing for her execution. Instead he decides to exile her. After receiving and order from Morgana, Lancelot commits suicide in the dungeons and Merlin takes his body to the lake of Avalon to receive a proper send off.

It’s not often I get emotional watching a TV show (except when they kill animals because that’s just terrible) but it was impossible not to during this week’s episode of “Merlin”. I’d venture that, without a doubt, “Lancelot Du Lac” is the darkest episode of “Merlin” to date. Through Morgana’s enchantments two characters find their names and lives (or death in Lancelot’s case) ruined for something that wasn’t their fault at all.

Arthur and Gwen haven’t exactly had an easy time of their relationship in the past. Everything from enchantments to arranged marriages to exile has threatened to break them apart but they’ve made it through. Of course their wedding couldn’t be any easier especially if Morgana had something to say about it. With lesser actors this episode just wouldn’t work but Angel Coulby and Bradley James play every scene perfectly. Especially well done is the difficult scene in the council chambers where the two characters try to figure out what went wrong before Arthur exiles Gwen for what she’s done.

In the past enchantment episodes of “Merlin” have all been resolved easily enough. It never takes Merlin long to figure out that a person is acting strangely and then find the solution but this week not even Merlin knows what really happened to Gwen (though maybe he should have at least tried a little harder to question her about what happened). As far as he, Arthur and even Gwen herself are concerned she kissed Lancelot of her own free will. As painful as this is for everyone I feel especially bad for Gwen who is forced to live with the guilt of doing something she didn’t want to and she has no idea why.

This episode sees the return of Santiago Cabrera as Lancelot but he isn’t the Lancelot we knew before. It’s sad to see him as a shadow of the good man he was before but Santiago does a beautiful job of portraying this change. He plays everything well enough to persuade the other characters that he is the real Lancelot but also making it clear to the audience that he is not the man he was. Despite this his suicide in the jail cells is a very sad moment as is Merlin’s final send off to his friend in the Lake of Avalon.

Morgana’s had a lot of unsuccessful plans in the past but it’s more her bitterness than her brains that has her coming up with this idea. All of her problems would be solved if she killed Arthur (seeing as he couldn’t marry Gwen if he was gone) but she can’t see past the anger she feels at the idea that a servant would sit on “her” throne and so she lashes out at Gwen instead and her relationship with Arthur.

I’ve never really been a fan of the love triangle in Arthurian legends between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Their problems often tend to make one of the characters look like a saint who has had their life ruined by the other, horrible person (whether the horrible person is Guinevere, Arthur or Lancelot depends on the version). The writers of “Merlin” though make it possible to feel pain for all the characters without blaming any of them and that’s a great achievement. “Lancelot Du Lac” is particularly well written, as incredibly tragic as it is, and Lucy Watkins again proves herself as one of the best writers on this series.



~ by Andrea on November 28, 2011.

10 Responses to “Merlin: Lancelot Du Lac”

  1. i think santiago cabrera is good looking but my friends dont think so!
    but yhh i was so upset to see lancelot as a shade!!
    will he return or is that the end of him because i think his a good actor and very handsome!! xx

    • Haha well I would say your friends are wrong! 🙂

      I suspect this might be the end of Lancelot on Merlin (it might be a little far fetched to have him come back to life twice but you never know with a show like Merlin) but if you want to keep up with Santiago Cabrera I know he will be part of a new show called Alcatraz which should be starting in January.

  2. Santiago Cabrera is definitely good looking! I don’t think Lancelot will come back as Andrea said but who knows! Alcatraz seemed interesting so I’m waiting for that 🙂

  3. Hi Andrea! Have you been watching the newer episodes since I have some questions to ask haha. I’ll wait till post them but I was just wondering why Merlin used magic to help Arthur pull the sword from the stone? I thought since Arthur was the true king, he would pull it out himself. Also, Arthur finally talking with Morgana was another highlight. I’ve always wondered what would happen if these two met. Overall the last episode was AWESOME though I wonder why the dragon healed Morgana. Maybe it’s not her destine to die yet?? hmmm Merry Christmas!!

    • Hi Sophie!

      I have seen all the episodes I just haven’t had the time to review them unfortunately. I’ve been busy with holiday stuff the past week and a half or so and then before that I got the flu. It really was not pleasant, lol. Hopefully I’ll have a little more time now that Christmas is over. 🙂

      The reason Merlin uses magic is because he’s essentially made up the whole legend about the sword in the stone. He tells Arthur that only the true king can pull the sword out to restore his confidence but since his magic put the sword in the stone, only magic can really get it back out.

      I was definitely glad to see the confrontation with Morgana and Arthur as well as the (all to brief) confrontation with Morgana and Gwen as well. I wonder if Morgana will ever begin to realize just how much like Uther she really is.

      I wasn’t as happy with the finale as I hoped I’d be. I think they kind of wasted a bit too much time in the first half and then the second half felt a little too rushed in some respects. Also the general plot of the episode was a lot like last year’s finale. I hope they can come up with something new for next year besides Morgana taking over Camelot and everyone else being forced to flee temporarily. I’m not surprised Morgana made it through though. Hopefully she can come up with some new plans to get power next year, like maybe play with the dragon for a bit. I suspect Aithusa didn’t really know who she was and just decided “hey, here’s a dying person, I should heal them”. But who really knows what baby dragons think about. 🙂

      Merry Christmas!! 😀

  4. You’re right about it being rushed…I think there are many marks that Merlin misses but there are also good points it hits. At least, it keeps me coming back 🙂

  5. Also, is Merlin more powerful than Morgana? I feel that killing Aggravaine was a bit cold but what do you think? I wrote a few things about myself on my recent blog. Check it out when you can. As you know, Merlin is listed under favorite TV shows lol

    • I would say that Merlin is more powerful than Morgana. She’s clearly come a long way since last season but I still think Merlin has the edge. It was a bit cold to kill Agravaine but I suspect the writers just didn’t have enough time in the episode to do anything more than just have him killed quickly. I was hoping we’d get to find out why Agravaine had sided with Morgana in the first place in the finale but no such luck. 😦 I’ll definitely check out your thoughts. 🙂

  6. Is Gwen coming back?? I mean surely merlin will come to his senses and try to figure out why she kissed Lancelot!

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