KT thinks this one should have been called “Beauty and the Beast,” not the troll episode.
MERLIN: 2.09 “The Lady of the Lake”
Oh dear. Tell me I’m not the only one with damp eyes?
I think this is one of my favorite episodes so far. It was a story well-told, and Colin Morgan and Laura Donnelly put in really touching performances. It’s been a while since an episode really focused on Merlin, so this made for a good change, too.
Some things were a bit obvious: of course Merlin was going to help the girl, of course Gaius would figure it out, and if even the druids had cast her out, it seemed fairly certain that things were not going to end well for her.
I wasn’t positive that she was the beast — she might have been cursed to be followed by the beast or to bring doom to those around her — but since she was, I was pleased that they didn’t just make her a werewolf. The winged panther looked cool, and the CGI even looked pretty good this time. It helped a lot that they didn’t use much of it — I liked the way they shot the beast’s earlier scenes from its point of view and we could just hear it breathing.
Sure, there are always a few nits worth picking, but they were small ones this week. Things like: couldn’t Merlin just pinch food from the kitchen where there’s probably plenty and an extra serving wouldn’t be missed? And, does Merlin seriously think he’s fooling Gaius by lying to his face? And, why is Merlin going through Morgana’s wardrobe when he needs to disguise Freya? Morgana’s clothes are designed to stand out — go to Gwen instead and come up with a better story!
But when it comes to Merlin’s scenes with Freya, I’m not sure what to say except that they were fabulous. I liked the pacing as they gradually opened up to each other — the way his wonder at having found a kindred spirit and her relief and gratitude led to the beginnings of romance. I also liked the pacing related to her mysterious curse — it was slow and careful. This episode just wins for writing and acting; the whole thing was pitch perfect. I don’t know how Merlin did eventually get Freya out of Camelot, but her death scene by the lake was beautiful.
And yet, from the title of the episode and Freya’s dying promise to repay Merlin, I think we haven’t seen the end of her. That’s definitely the same lake Merlin threw Excalibur into last season, so presumably Freya’s spirit will become the Lady of the Lake who gives it back to Arthur. I look forward to seeing her again.