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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Camelot Season 1 Episode 6 "Three Journeys" Review

Three Journeys is definitely a polarizing episode. While parts of it were entertaining and enjoyable, other parts were simply meandering and boring. That's mainly due to how the episode is structured, literally depicting the journeys of three separate groups as suggested in the title. No prizes to those who guess which journey I found the most boring but we'll discuss that later on.

For a start, I did like the opening. What was really noticeable about this episode was the camera angles and the sweeping view of the land shown. The setting of the show is simply beautiful and that is shown to full effect in this episode. Likewise the music is great, really setting the tone of the show and giving it a sense of the epic. I also enjoyed the visual of Arthur using flags to claim his dominion, he has shown once again that he is an intelligent King, although his subjects might not understand it, the flags symbolize the reach of his power and his strength as king. Another positive aspect of the opening was the return of Merlin! It was great to see him back to his old self, assured and confident, bossing people around like always!

Now we come to the journeys themselves and I'll start with the one that I least enjoyed, which was undoubtedly the journey of Arthur and Guinevere. The first thing that put me off this was Arthur's stupidity. He is the King, he has a responsibility to the people of Camelot as their King to stay safe yet he rides out, without telling anyone where he is going, on his own after Guinevere and just leaves for a few days, with all his trusted comrades away on a mission and no one left to take care of the people? It just doesn't make sense for a young man who, so far, has been an intelligent and wise king. It just isn't a smart move. The story itself was pretty boring too consisting primarily of gorgeous shots of the two of them riding to their destination and talking under the stars. All in aim of seeing Guinevere's father before he dies, a scene which lacked emotion, was very abrupt and failed to pack a punch.

I'm not saying this story was all bad though, there were some good scenes. I liked the talk of Arthur's leadership on the journey, especially the moment where he admits he likes the power of being king, while sounding ashamed saying it. You could tell in recent episodes that he was really settling into the role of being King and that he was enjoying it and this confirms it. It will be interesting to see if he whether he will continue to put the people first or will the power go to his head. The fight scene on the beach was great and it makes me wish there were more scenes like that in the show, this episode definitely could have done with a bit more swordplay to liven things up! I also liked the speech Arthur made at the funeral, every episode his voice gains increasing gravitas and authority and I have to say that I am enjoying his development as a character so far in the series. Despite the positives they don't hide the fact that this was a weak storyline, with little point except to restart the Arthur and Guinevere affair once again.

I'm happy to say that the other two journeys fared better in my estimation. Merlin's mission to attain books for Camelot lacked much excitement yet was interesting in that we get to see a vital development in Merlin's character as well as getting to spend some quality time with Leontes, Gawain and Kay. I thought the scene of the dying man gave us a great insight into Merlin's personality. While the others were trying to comfort the man, Merlin was blunt and to the point, no sympathy or consideration from him. He also point blank refuses to help the man. It's obvious that he fears the power inside himself and I believe his lack of empathy towards the dying man is so he does not look weak in front of the others. Merlin is definitely someone, who despite outward appearance, is not comfortable in his own skin. His lack of belief in God also indicates this, he refuses to believe his powers may come from a deity like God, its clear that he believes them to be a curse rather than a blessing. He fears himself and he fears what he becomes when he attempts to harness his true potential.

This is why Merlin's scene with Gawain is great. Gawain is one of my favourite characters in the show and he acts like the man Merlin should be, he's comfortable with who he is and what he is and his advice is always good. It was satisfying to hear Merlin admit that he is terrified of his abilities and Gawain's advice to help him overcome his fears was one of the highlights of the episode. I loved seeing Merlin finally use his power and controlling it and hopefully we'll now see a stronger Merlin, comfortable with who he is in future episodes. While this story lacked any real excitement or tension it was interesting to see Merlin's character development as well as seeing him interact with people besides Arthur.

My favourite journey of the episode though was undoubtedly the one undertaken by Morgan and Sybil. Morgan is looking more like a queen with each passing episode. The scene where she judges the estranged husband and wife was excellent, she proves how smart she is by tricking the husband and her confidence and authority is plain for everyone to see. 

The story took an interesting turn with the arrival of the woman who accused Sybil of burning down the nunnery, I was surprised at the revelation but it made sense, Sybil will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals as she proved last episode and again here. What was surprising and what added tension to this storyline was the moment where Sybil is sitting alone, listening to the screams of the girl who died, her guilt plain to see. Definitely the most thrilling moment in the episode for me. Sybil once again showed me why her character is my favourite in the series, her speech about what happened was emotional and compelling and she really sells that scene. It was great seeing Morgan so angry and confused when she discovered the truth, yet what was even better was the way she dealt with it. I love how Sybil, even with her head on the chopping block attempts to manipulate Morgan into thinking she needs her, and then when that fails attempts to gain pity before she is forced to leave the room. Morgan's solution to the outcome of the trial was genius and definitely the best solution to the problem, she really is becoming a force to be reckoned with. The scene at the end really underscores the relationship between Morgan and Sybil and together they will truly be formidable opponents for Arthur and Merlin.

In summary though, I found this episode lacking. The Arthur and Guinevere story was for the most part dull and while the Merlin storyline was interesting it lacked any real excitement. Morgan and Sybil redeemed the episode somewhat but I really hope the show picks up the pace in the last four episodes, because what this show needs more than anything at this stage is less talk and more action.

Review Score: 7/10

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1 comment:

  1. You heard about what the television series has to say for its awesome plot. It’s all about the adventures, the boons, and everything in between of the most famous king of all time: King Arthur. In the wake of his father’s death, King Uther Pendragons sudden malaise, chaos wreaks havoc in all of Britain, ready to pounce and annihilate the entire kingdom. Camelot Season 1 Episode 9: The Battle of Bardon Pass