hope: Art of a woman writing from tour poster (merlin - has ridiculous cheekbones)
puddingsmith ([personal profile] hope) wrote2011-11-20 11:43 pm

Generally unstructured Merlin thoughts (4.08 spoilers)


So, I pretty much agree with [livejournal.com profile] lolafeist in that Merlin being menaced = awesome fanfic id button being pushed (everyone is MEAN to your favourite character who is so misunderstood! followed by comfort, which would be in this case ORGIES).

I like that they had a consistent if sometimes-subtle thread throughout of Merlin having total imposter syndrome. Like:

- Arthur's like, "seriously? Merlin is totally incompetent!"
- The Merlin's like, "no really, Gaius, I'm incompetent."
- Then the villagers are like "who the fuck are you? you can't possibly be competent."
- Then Merlin is actually incompetent (unable to help villagers, who are then disappointed)
- Then he can't help strange trauma!girl in the woods
- Then the knights all tell him just how incompetent/useless he is
- Then the Monster of the Week (MOTW) tells him how incompetent he is
- Then he's actually incompetent at saving anyone/himself/killing the monster

THE END. In summary: this whole episode was like being in Merlin's head for one of those anxiety dreams you have where everyone's disappointed in you and you're completely helpless and useless at achieving anything.

Another thing I like: that since Gaius' whole interrogation/prophesising thing, he actually seems to be taking his handling of Merlin's destiny thing to the next level - yes, he's totally resistant to change to the point of making things WORSE, but at least now he's opening his mouth a bit more and indirectly saying a few things to both Merlin and Arthur that kind of acknowledge obliquely the prophesised future and how things are going to change(/how those two will have to adapt to it).

Thing I didn't like: Terrible plot-of-the-week writing. Like, gaping plotholes around the tentacle monster. It freaks out when sorcerers touch it, can't mind control magic users, and easily dies when stabbed in the back (but not the front), can be captured and bound by slavers and bandits (and, like, was that before or after terrorising the villagers??) but OH NOES THOSE WHO CREATED IT CREATED A MONSTER WHO CANNOT BE SUBDUED!

What?

Thing I really did like: that for once, FOR ONCE, someone commented on The Weird Stuff That Happens In Relation To Merlin. i.e. all the times that Merlin miraculously heals, or goes missing, or etc etc etc that is NEVER REFLECTED ON OR ACKNOWLEDGED BY OTHER CHARACTERS, was amazingly in this episode reflected upon and challenged by Gwen. I LOVED that it was her. I want to have more episodes about Gwen and Merlin fighting monsters and rescuing each other and being a dynamic duo, and Gwen being all perceptive and figuring Merlin out and then being all pragmatic about it.

Also I want Gwen's belted poncho thing.

AND HOW CLOSE WERE WE TO A REVEAL? Holy crap, I wanted it so bad. I wanted Arthur to be a moment later, so Merlin uses magic AND BOTH GWEN AND ARTHUR SEE and so Gwen and Arthur form this little conspiracy band of "Merlin's too incompetent to take care of this secret himself" and then there's lots of threesome action and they all become life partners the end.


In the grander scheme of things, I am annoyed by the big character plot holes in Arthur and Merlin's relationship, namely the trust issues. The Agravaine thing is just not working for me, and it's not just that he's a giant skeeve that I get annoyed every time he comes on screen.

It's that in THE SECOND EPISODE OF THE ENTIRE SERIES Merlin, who at that point Arthur doesn't really know or have any respect for, comes to Arthur and says, "hey, this guy is deceiving you and using magic and trying to kill you!" and Arthur says, "Are you telling the truth? Okay then, I trust you" AND, LIKE, WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT?? Why are we still (or back?) at this place where Merlin doesn't even consider the option of confronting Arthur about things/bringing any suspicions/information to Arthur because there's some ephemeral idea that Merlin's word is worth nothing to Arthur? Even when there are episodes where Arthur literally says things like, "I should always listen to you" and "you're the only one I can really trust"? What?

It's along the same vein as why the "I like to hope we would have been friends" line in the pilot episode. Seriously? How many times have they said that already, and how many times have they actually acknowledged that they are friends? This is not still a thing, writers. Please to be progressing based on those foundations, instead of treating them like they're issues that are under question.

Anyway, I complain, but I'm freaking loving the shit out of this season. A lot.

And now that I've finished my [livejournal.com profile] merlin_holidays fic, I totally want to get onto all the orgy fics I've been dying to write :D
jamjar: (Default)

[personal profile] jamjar 2011-11-20 01:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Firstly, I really want Gwen's belted poncho-cloak thing too.

Secondly-- you know that episode really made me think that there can be a sharp line with Gwen and Merlin, as servants, and the knights on the other. Even Gwen's brother isn't in the same position-- he basically came into Camelot to be a knight, and before that he was away as a freeman, with some kind of fighting-training.

Gwen and Merlin both were servants, were being pushed back into the position where they were told that they should just do as they're told, that their place was to keep their head ducked and not questions what their superiors, the knights, said.

There's a whole class thing there, made so much worse by the fact that their positions recently have been given a semi-official boost. Gwen's status has gone up, people come to her for help knowing that she can take it to the king. Merlin's status has also gone up-- just at the start of this episode, even, with being given the same role as Gaius. For both of them, a large part of that comes from the fact that their value to Arthur is known, and that the knights know their value, too.

And then they're kicked back so they're both left having to go back to the behaviour of a servant.

[personal profile] nixwilliams 2011-11-20 05:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Merlin uses magic AND BOTH GWEN AND ARTHUR SEE and so Gwen and Arthur form this little conspiracy band of "Merlin's too incompetent to take care of this secret himself" and then there's lots of threesome action and they all become life partners the end.

YEAH! AND THEN GWEN IS A KNIGHT!

It was such a silly episode, and could have been SO MUCH BETTER. Like, Agravaine's miscellaneous evility - IN CASE YOU FORGOT . . . HE'S BEHIND YOU!!! *rolls eyes*

We were watching it at DB's aunt and uncle's place, drinking whisky with them. So I wasn't able to make the kinds of comments I would have dearly liked. Also, I had to listen to DB's uncle call the Lamia a "manipulative bitch". SIGH.

[personal profile] nixwilliams 2011-11-20 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
So I wasn't able to make the kinds of comments I would have dearly liked.

Though I did yell "MAKE HER A KNIGHT! MAKE HER A KNIIIIIGHT!" at the end when Arthur is all "UR SO BRAAAAAVE ♥___♥".
jamjar: (Default)

[personal profile] jamjar 2011-11-21 07:23 am (UTC)(link)
There's a thing in there about how Arthur and the Knights have intrinsic status and Gwen and Merlin have agreed status. 4.6 had Morgana explicitly saying that even though Merlin was just a servant, he had significant status with Arthur.

And it's not that their agreed status isn't significant and doesn't have real power

I also think in this episode, Gaius was attempting to give Merlin intrinsic status-- public status that wasn't connected to how much Arthur (publicly) values him or his secret status as Emrys.

(And huh, way back in season one, wasn't Gaius made a yeoman or freeman? So maybe that's part of it, too.)

(Merlin could also have told Gwen that maybe Lamia just wasn't bothering with him because he wasn't a knight, wasn't a fighter, and I think Gwen might have... well, not necessarily been convinced, but might have viewed that as a potentially valid reason for why Merlin wasn't effected).

[identity profile] lolafeist.livejournal.com 2011-11-20 03:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I want her poncho toooooo.

[identity profile] nerthus.livejournal.com 2011-11-20 04:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I get aggravated with the whole Merlin-Arthur friendship thing, cause it's so erratic; it's like sometimes Arthur seems to suddenly remember hey!, this Merlin guy is my buddy, he's trustworthy and cool and I care about him and want to protect him; and other times he acts like he barely remembers who Merlin is or like at best Merlin is like a cute but annoying little puppy gnawing at his trouser legs. And has there ever been an episode where Merlin truly gets kudos and respect for something he's done, for saving anyone or having a good idea or whatever, instead of just being the butt of all the teasing and jokes? I know it's like a running gimmick on the series, but I would really like just once for there to be an episode where Merlin is truly heroic and strong and is acknowledged; it doesn't mean he has to reveal his magic, just an episode where he's not made to feel like the court fool. That being said, I am actually pretty much loving this season, more than any of the other seasons, and I do really enjoy this show, ha!!