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Merlin: 505 “The Disir” Review

Note: This review may contain some spoilers.

Bad times loom for Camelot in the fifth episode of Merlin’s fifth series, The Disir.

When a Knight of Camelot is killed by a sorcerer, Arthur is determined to bring the perpetrator to justice. The mission ends badly though with Arthur angering the Disir, the highest court of the Old Religion. When Mordred is mortally wounded after a later confrontation, Arthur is given a choice to restore sorcery to the land, or let him die. However, Merlin is naturally conflicted himself; should he help save the man he believes will kill Arthur?

Mordred, who has surprisingly been almost entirely absent from the story since Arthur recruited him as a Knight in the opener, is at the centre of events here. Although, ironically, he spends half of the episode bedbound. Unlike the first few episodes the ambiguity of the character is played down a notch with Mordred portrayed as one of the good guys. The only one who really doubts his true intentions is Merlin and a meeting with the Great Dragon only furthers his fears.

This leads to some interesting moral dilemmas for the characters as both Merlin and Arthur are forced to make some very tough decisions. Arthur wants the Disir to save Mordred, but it will come at the cost of allowing sorcery, going against everything Camelot has stood for. While Merlin still has the vision of Arthur’s demise at Mordred’s hands heavy on his mind and ponders if it’s for the greater good to let him perish.

Naturally Merlin and Arthur spend a healthy amount of time together allowing nice character development as things play out. Arthur is now relying more on Merlin’s judgement than ever and Colin Morgan and Bradley James continue to impress with their performances. This all builds to a pivotal scene that is bound to divide fans.

Some will undoubtedly be frustrated by the late events that transpire. On the one hand this could have served to renew the show and progress things into new territory. On the other, there is some truly great acting particularly from Colin Morgan who sells the scene so well. It also allows for a final twist in the episode that is pulled off nicely and seems to promise that bad times are ahead.

Overall then, it’s a powerful, dark episode that challenges the show to move forwards in many ways, but not quite enough, especially if this is the final series.


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  • nellie

    I’m getting ridiculously frustrated with this. If Merlin tries turning Arthur away from magic AGAIN…. seriously, this show needs to hurry up and give us the reveal.

    I am really interested in Mordred, though… he’s certainly a more interesting character than Morgana at this point, since we haven’t gotten to see her change/grow at all in the past few seasons.

  • Anne van Leeuwen

    I too get the feeling that Merlin is going to do something irriparibly stupid. I get the feeling that Mordred might never do anything against Camelot unless they (and by they I mean Merlin) give him a reason to. At this point I’d say that the best thing Merlin can do is stop listening to that damn dragon, strop trying to kill Mordred and just act in the best interest of Camelot like he’d never heard that damn prophecy. At this point the Merlin of season 1 would be a far better man for the job than the one we have now if I look at the spoilers…

  • Itsame Mario

    Hmmm, could it be;
    “Arthur, you can’t let sorcery stay”
    “Merlin, I have to save Mordred”
    “He’s one man against everything you fought against”
    “You’re right”
    “I know”
    (Mordred dies)
    “Oh no,Mordred died”
    (Mordred sits up)
    “I’m alive!”
    “How? I’m sorry, I made the wrong decision Mordred”
    “Don’t worry Arthur, I would have done the same”
    (All three laugh heartily. Arthur looks oblivious, Merlin looks worried, and Mordred LOOKS evily into the camera)
    “Yes, all is forgiven…”
    PLOT TWIST!!!! Dun dun dun!

    • Itsame Mario

      I have to say, I wasn’t so far away…

  • Merlinfan1

    I have got to say that all of this seems very interesting, i too feel that Merlin is pushing this the wrong way and that Magic should not be outlawed, (i thought that it is what Merlin wanted though?), plus i do think that Mordred will kill Arthur at some point but the producers will probably twist it like they always do, and to be honest with you the decisions that are made in this episode will either taunt Merlin or give him the hope of a better future for Camelot, lets hope they give us good acting in this episode, can’t wait x

  • SilurianGod23

    This was episode was really good and went into great moral depth and the twist at the end was done really well! However Merlin really needs to just let Arthur know all ready! |

  • dalekjack

    I really liked it. The scene around the fire with Arthur and Merlin was touching. Colin played the part really well.

  • Nimueh123

    Colin is absolutely brilliant. Surely he will collect an award for THAT scene!!
    I can still feel Merlin’s pain now. But where on earth are the writers going from here?. By denying himself and giving Arthur advice against any better judgement Merlin seems to have become – albeit unintentionally – the catalyst for Arthur’s downfall. It is tragic and heart breaking. To go with Gaius line from the last episode: I do not think my heart can take it.


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