KT got a good chuckle out of this one.
MERLIN: 3.03 “Goblin’s Gold”
Although this show’s darker moments are getting ever more serious, Merlin never fails to deliver some lighter comedy to balance out the darkness. Purely as a personal preferance, I usually don’t care as much for the sillier episodes, but this one had some elements that I really enjoyed.
Overall, this is the sort of episode that really reinforces the validity of Arthur’s view of Merlin as a bumbling idiot. Given everything he’s seen and done, he absolutely should have known better than to open that box in the first place. I was glad Gaius reminded him of that at the end. (Also, I hope Gaius went around and repaid all those poor people he extorted money from.)
The CGI goblin that popped out of that box is a pretty neat looking creature, but I thought he was far more amusing once he started possessing Gaius. From that point on, the plot was entirely predictable, but I did enjoy watching Richard Wilson make funny faces for most of an episode!
While most of the episode was good silly fun, there was one scene that I found really gripping — and really unexpected: goblin Gaius’ confrontation with Morgana. The goblin takes one look at her and practically purrs all of her own secrets into her ear. He had her really frightened, and I would love to see that scene have consequences later on. Morgana certainly won’t forget it, and now she knows that Gaius is onto her.
In shows like this, it’s all too common for the imposter to ham it up for the camera so much that it’s hard to believe the other characters don’t notice anything, so I really liked the way Arthur tricked the goblin into giving himself away. For all that he complains about Merlin, Arthur does trust him. That this confrontation led to Arthur’s donkey ears and the adorable little scene with Gwen was icing on the cake.
As for the solution to the story, I thought it was pretty clever to put the poison on the gold that the goblin had been licking all episode — a good use of showing something and using it later. The sudden scramble for an antidote felt forced, but then this show has always been guilty of empty, empty threats when it comes to characters on the brink of death.
I’m also always amused by how these episodes end with Gaius or Arthur explaining everything to Uther, and the whole court is suddenly understanding about the whole bizarre mess. For one, really, it’s no wonder Camelot goes along with Uther’s ban on magic so calmly with all of the odd things that happen. And two, I would love to see them do an episode someday that focuses on a couple of knights or townspeople and have them be completely suspicious of Merlin (or any of the other regular characters) because they’re always involved when something weird goes down!