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Merlin: 510 “The Kindness of Strangers” Review

Merlin’s secret is dangerously close to being exposed in the tenth episode of the fifth series.

With just four episodes left and the Puppet Queen arc finally done and dusted, it’s time for the show to begin setting up the big finale. It kicks off with Morgana hunting down the man who knows the true identity of Emrys. That man being Alator of the Catha (Gary Lewis, reprising his role from Series 4 episode, The Secret Sharer). Morgana’s search doesn’t take long as within the first minute she’s captured him. Alator claims he will not break, but Morgana has other ideas.

Meanwhile, after discovering a strange amulet, Merlin’s investigations lead him to a mysterious hooded women called Finna (Sorcha Cusack). She claims to have important information for the young warlock. Gaius, however, has his doubts thinking Merlin is being lured into a trap.

Fans hoping for a Merlin-centric episode will be very happy here. Arthur and Gwen are pushed back into the background, with the whole story centred around Merlin. There’s some light-hearted moments with Arthur and Merlin early on, as they prepare a “perfect” breakfast in bed, but it soon takes a rather dark turn as the stakes are raised.

Merlin is not only at risk of his secret being exposed, but he also ends up fighting for his life. An air of tension runs throughout as things only get worse and worse. Once again Colin Morgan puts in another captivating performance. Gaius (Richard Wilson) and Merlin are placed at odds with each other, with puts an unusual strain on their relationship. The pair share some heartwarming moments later on.

Morgana is more ruthless than ever in her search for Emrys. With Alator captured, she has some nasty tricks up her sleeve as she repeatedly tortures him and things only get worse. There’s also a horrible death for a Camelot Knight as he is used to send a cruel warning. As for Mordred, he takes a little bit more of a backseat again, although he and Merlin share a couple of intriguing scenes as the pair have an uneasy conversation.

The Great Dragon returns in a short scene that will have you initially cheering, but feeling very concerned by the time he has finished speaking. There are a couple of pretty big plot developments, though they are probably not what people are expecting.

It’s not quite as revelatory as it appears on the surface, but it’s a solid installment nonetheless and sets up the ground work for an decent end game.


Episode 10 airs Saturday 8 December 2012 at 7.55pm on BBC1.

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  • Dragooon

    i don’t think merlin’s secret is revealed in this episode or any until probably the end if you think about the vision he had of the great battle he is in ‘dragoon’ mode and morgana is calling him emrys not merlin, if his secret were to be revealed in this episode he would not bother using a body draining aging spell especially at this crucial time to fight the battle, the only thing that this episode may come out with is morgana thinking someone else apart from merlin is emrys probably mordred?… However if we are thinking optimistically then producers will be changing what the viewers saw in the vision of this great battle from series 4 right up till now, the actors did say they will be a TWIST lets hope so but it seems a suicidal move for producers to take a risk though it is what viewers will be satisfied with., Also i did hear merlin will not reveal his magic to arthur at all this series even though its the last lets hope its rumors because that will be so frustrating!

    • Dragooon

      Also the black snake thing we saw in the trailer was used on merlin in series 4 to make him do what morgana wanted ‘kill arthur’ so its possible she will control Finna to make her bad in the other half of this episode? or alator?

  • Ha Da

    Thank you! I can’t wait for this episode! Merlin treated as the hero of his own show is what we need to see. Hope his own story really develops here.

  • Jane.Doe

    There’s also a horrible death for a Camelot Knight as he is used to send a cruel warning.

    I will be absolutely GUTTED if they freaking kill off Gwaine in this episode!!!! :(

    • Dragooon

      i don’t think it would be one of the main knights such as gwaine if you look at the plot for ep12/13 it has a picture of arthur, gwaine, percival, leon so i suggests they’ll live? it would probably be a minor knight but the death will be horrific enough to show he is an important knight.

      • Jane.Doe

        I hope you’re right. Though, is the picture an actual episode pic or simply a promo shot of the knights?

        • Dragooon

          to be honest i’m not sure 100%

  • The Horde of Travesties

    this was a good episode!


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