Merlin: 504 “Another’s Sorrow” Review
Morgana’s back and she’s get another trick up her sleeve in the fourth episode of Merlin’s fifth series, Another’s Sorrow.
When Princess Mithian unexpectedly turns up on Castle Camelot’s door, she begs Arthur for help locating her father King Rodor (James Fox). She tells him Rodor has been captured by King Odin, an old enemy of Arthur’s and the man responsible for his father’s death. Arthur, fuelled by thoughts of revenge, sets off with little hesitation. However, unbeknownst to the King, Morgana has laid down another trap with Mithian playing her part perfectly, though against her will.
Anyone worrying that the return of Mithian (Janet Montgomery) will mean a dragging up of last year’s romance plot in Series 4’s The Hunter’s Heart needn’t worry. She very much plays a victim here and there’s no time for old flames to be rekindled (or lack thereof). Her character is purely a pawn and you can’t help but feel sorry as she’s used (and abused) by Morgana. Montgomery does a good job of drawing our sympathies as she tries to escape Morgana’s clutches (repeatedly). Mithian’s father Rodor (James Fox) and Odin (Fintan McKeown) don’t get a great deal of screen time, but they do well with the small roles.
The last time we saw Morgana she had been stabbed by Mordred. Here she seems to have completely recovered while Mordred doesn’t even make an appearance. Morgana gets her biggest role this year though, although Katie McGrath gets to put a different spin on the character which makes things a little fresher and gives McGrath something newer to work with. Gaius (Richard Wilson) too has an extended role, even getting to go on an excursion with the Knights. He proves that the old dog still has some tricks up his sleeve. Gwen is largely sidelined again although she shares a couple of nice moments with Arthur.
Despite the bigger cast this week, it’s Colin Morgan as Merlin and Bradley James as Arthur who really shine once more with their performances though. Merlin more so than any episode so far this year is far more confident and heroic than usual. He shows great strength (even wielding a sword) and proves pivotal towards the end influencing a major moment for Camelot. And there’s some advancing of the Arthur and Merlin relationship. It’s great to see the pair on a more equal footing even if Merlin is still just his servant in name. Arthur even pays Merlin a compliment for his role in events. Not to his face, of course, but it’s a start!
It’s a solid episode then, but perhaps not quite up to the first three. The character developments are what really keeps the episode interesting and in particular seeing Merlin come more to the forefront after the last couple of episodes.
The episode airs Saturday 27 October 2012 at 8.20pm on BBC1.