Arthur and Merlin are out of town when they stop in to a local tavern for a drink. But apparently it's Sunday at the OK Corral and the not so friendly neighborhood extorters have come for their cut of the tavern's profits. Arthur decides to get involved and ends up in a bar fight that he only manages to survive courtesy of a mysterious young drunkard named Gawain.
Merlin and Arthur take their new friend back to Camelot and Gawain quickly gets to work drinking, wooing and taking his shirt off whenever possible. Meanwhile Arthur is preparing for yet ANOTHER tournament, which means that a magical bad guy is lurking somewhere in the shadows waiting to use the melee as a way to off him. This episode baddies are the thugs from the bar fight who want revenge for their beat down and have managed to find a crystal that makes them magically delicious faux knights. It doesn't take Detective Merlin long to realize that something is rotten with the newest melee contestants and he enlists Gawain's help. Gawain, an undercover Noble, says no at first, he's one of the peeps now and would rather leave all that hero stuff to other guys, but he ends up helping anyway, but not before flirting with Gwen who doesn't mind the attention, much to Arthur's chagrin.
This was a really fun episode. It actually reminded me of watching an old episode of Hercules The Legendary Journeys and seems to be the beginning of stories being told in the larger world of Albion. Let's face it, there is always something special about the introduction of a character from the legend, especially one as important as Gawain, and the actor playing him had to be a little bit better than the usual guest star of the week and Eoin Macken delivered. He fit right in with the cast and had chemistry with everyone. While we know little about Gawain's past, I hope the fact he is a noble turns out to be significant. Usually Gawain is Arthur's nephew and Lancelot's BFF. I can't wait to see how Merlin re-imagines him, but I'd love for him to be Morguese's brother or maybe Arthur's cousin on Ygraine's side of the family. Hey, knowing Uther he could even be a long lost brother, although I still believe the never to be forgotten Mordred is Arthur and Morgana's little brother and that Uther has magic he is suppressing, but that theory is for another post.
Also, these tournaments always seem to pit Arthur against some magical baddie with a grudge so at least the show seems in on the joke and has decided to play this beat until the wheels fall off.
Loved getting to see Arthur interact with people who live outside of Camelot's walls. I wish we saw it more often. I'm also a sucker for a medieval bar fight.
As much as I love Lance, and I love me some Lance, he is super serious so Gawain is a nice change.
It was nice seeing a rogue interact with our usual serious boys and girls. As the anti-Lancelot, Gawain gets to flirt with Gwen, without the serious feelings that drag Lance into a depression: he gets to needle Arthur, sans the serious respect that underlines Lance's interaction with Arthur; and he gets to have a light hearted relationship with Merlin that is quite different from the Merlin and Lancelot Save the World dynamic that makes Merlin and Lance more like fellow superheroes than true buds.
It's always fun see Gwen's playful side and she and Gawain were totally adorable.
I loved Gawain and Merlin as instant BFFs but it reminded me that Merlin feels alienated from the two people closest to him --- Arthur and Gwen and doesn't feel like he can confide in them which is sad.
In the last season Arthur and Gwen were CLEARLY in love, Arthur even told Gwen that he'd never love another. So why are they acting like Gwen is the girl who sits behind Arthur in class that he doesn't have the nerve to ask out? If you take it in the context of this season's reset it makes sense but UGH.
As much as I hate Uther, and I hate Uther, I am glad that they don't sugar coat the fact that peasants had no rights. Gawain was obviously telling the truth but because Uther thought he was a commoner, he dismissed him. Jerk.
Loved that Gawain has no interest in serving Uther and called Uther out!
Way to stand up to Uther Arthur...oh wait but you didn't. Again!
Why do all the baddies have to be magic users? It makes Uther seem right about magic being EVIL. I know our hero is a wizard but this show tends to make Merlin using magic for good look like an aberration, not the norm.