Merlin: Series 5 Overview
With the dust settled, it’s time to take a look back over Merlin’s swansong series. So how did Series 5 fare overall? First of all let’s look at the highest and lowest rated episodes by Cult Fix.
Highest rated episodes of Series 5
The Death Song of Uther Pendragon
In a nutshell: Arthur unwittingly releases Uther’s spirit and all hell breaks loose in Castle Camelot.
Our verdict: A creepy coda to The Wicked Day. Colin Morgan, Bradley James and Anthony Head dominate the screen with some very strong performances. In particular, James does some of his best work on the show. There’s an air of tension throughout this episode and it’s genuinely scary in places.
The Dark Tower
In a nutshell: Gwen is kidnapped by Morgana and imprisoned in the Dark Tower, a place said to contain the mind’s deepest fears. Gwen starts going bonkers while Arthur, Merlin and the Knights mount a rescue mission through the perilous lands.
Our verdict: A classic Merlin quest episode with some brilliantly creepy moments as the episode dips into the realm of psychological horror. Trapped in a pitch black room surrounded by nothing but screams and evil apparitions of familiar faces, Gwen’s torment is superbly directed. Her mental breakdown at Morgana’s hand gives Angel Coulby her biggest chance to shine.
The Drawing of the Dark
In a nutshell: A druid girl from Mordred’s past is imprisoned in Camelot and Mordred, Merlin and Arthur’s loyalties are all tested to breaking point.
Our verdict: A dark episode that forces the audience to question where their sympathies lie. Alexander Vlahos gets his best material of the series as he is emotionally torn between his own kind and Arthur.
Lowest rated episode of Series 5
With all my heart
In a nutshell: Gwen’s evil nature is exposed to all and Arthur realises that using magic is the only chance he stands at getting her back. Merlin takes on the guise of a female sorceress to keep his magic a secret.
Our verdict: A mixed bag. It does at least push the story forward in some ways, but it’s also another case of a missed opportunity in favour of silliness. It had the ingredients for a classic and instead ends up being only just above average.
So how did Series 5 fare overall? It was a series that drew mixed reactions from reviews and the fanbase, and that’s understandable. It had some solid episodes, but as the final series of the run it’s undoubtedly a bit disappointing. Number one on the disappointments list is that Merlin didn’t reveal his magic to Arthur sooner as many more potential plotlines could have opened up, rather than recycling plots from the past and the forcing writers to use increasingly stupid plot contrivances to keep Merlin’s secret. It also meant that Merlin, the so-called star of the show, was afforded very little character development. A shake-up would have done the show a world of good rather than holding it all back for the final episode.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
- 501 “Arthur’s Bane: Part 1″ Review – 8/10
- 502 “Arthur’s Bane: Part 2″ Review – 8/10
- 503 “The Death Song of Uther Pendragon” Review – 9/10
- 504 “Another’s Sorrow” Review 7.5/10
- 505 “The Disir” Review – 7/10
- 506 “The Dark Tower” Review – 9/10
- 507 “A Lesson in Vengeance” Review – 7/10
- 508 “The Hollow Queen” Review – 8/10
- 509 “With All My Heart” Review – 6.5/10
- 510 “The Kindness of Strangers” Review 8/10
- 511 “The Drawing of the Dark” Review – 9/10
- 512 “The Diamond of the Day – Part 1″ Review – 8/10
- 513 “The Diamond of the Day – Part 2″ Review – 8/10