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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Camelot Season 1 Episode 5 "Justice" Review

This might surprise people but I actually don't know much about the story of King Arthur. I know the basics, about Merlin, The Knights of the Round Table, the Sword and the Stone etc. but I have no idea how all these threads are tied together into the story of the rise of the King Arthur of legend. That is probably why I like this show as much as I do, I have no idea what's coming next so for me, unlike many others, I am experiencing the story of King Arthur for the first time which makes it that much more enjoyable.

The series so far though, while I have enjoyed it, hasn't captured my complete devotion, nor do I believe it to be a must watch, unlike Starz flagship title Spartacus. It's definitely growing on me though and I found this to be an entertaining episode as we get to know the characters better.

I really like the character of Sybil the nun, she acts as an anti-thesis to Merlin. While he teaches Arthur to lead in a noble and honorable manner, she shows Morgan how to lead through treachery and deceit. She is clearly devoted to Morgan yet undoubtedly has an agenda of her own. From previous episodes she also seems to have a deep understanding and knowledge of magic and I have a feeling she may prove more powerful than anyone realizes. Of all the characters on the show I find hers the most interesting as she has already proven she will do anything to get what she wants and she is intelligent and conniving, a fearful combination.

Merlin on the other hand, proves to be less interesting this episode. I enjoy the fact that they are exploring his character and that he is a flawed human being, but am I the only one who misses the old Merlin from the first few episodes? The man with a plan, who always seemed to be one step of everyone else? I definitely found those traits to be the most interesting aspects of Merlin and while I appreciate what the writers are trying to do, I hope we see the old Merlin back sooner or later.

The contrast between Arthur and Morgan in this episode was fascinating. Arthur continues to grow in the role of a king and he takes charge here, making his own decisions, the right ones, without Merlin's help. I've noticed that now when he talks, people always listen, definitely the sign of a good leader. He has become noble and wise and he is well on his way to becoming the king of legend. He's not even pining over Guinevere anymore (She herself proves to be more than just a love interest in this episode which is great to see). 

Morgan is also growing as a leader. There is a sharp contrast between the stubborn woman who believes she is always right at the start of the episode and the woman who realizes that her skills in treachery and manipulation will get her only so far and that she needs others to attain the crown. She reaffirms her ruthlessness and determination at the end of the episode but this is tempered by her growth as a character throughout the episode and her realization that violence alone will not get her the crown.

The growth of both Arthur and Morgan as leaders in this episode was engrossing and I for one can't wait to see the battle between them for the hearts and minds of the people of England.

Overall I found the story of the trial to be a good vehicle for the growth of both characters, even though it was obvious that Ewan, the character who's brother was murdered, was a shady individual with something to hide. What I enjoyed most about the story of this episode were the two characters themselves. While the story was predictable the characters of Ewan and Colfur the defendant made us care about the outcome of the trial and I'm sure many like myself wanted to see Ewan get his comeuppance and Colfur his freedom.

I thought the storyline of Morgan and Sybil was better though and I loved Sybil's machinations throughout the episode and Morgans scheming and plotting. Their aim of achieving the crown through manipulation and deceit is fascinating and I can't wait to see more of them in the future.

The ending of the episode was great, Arthur's confrontation with Ewan, and Morgan's murder of the mercenary symbolised their contrasting methods of leadership and I'm looking forward to seeing the two leadership styles clash in upcoming episodes.

Despite all the positives I did have a few problems with this episode. Despite how fascinating the character development was, there wasn't much action or excitement and I hope they can find a better balance between both in future episodes. I also didn't particularly enjoy Merlin's role in the episode and his kiss with Igraine seemed forced. Despite these flaws though this was a good episode that did a great job in developing the characters.

Review Score: 8/10

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