Four years in the making, all fans want to know is whether the 4th season finale of MERLIN will finally provide a few long-awaited epic moments. In “The Sword in the Stone, part 2,” we are dying to know: (1) will Arthur take his rightful place in history as he retrieves Excalibur from where Merlin left it at the end of last season? For as Kilgharrah had warned Merlin, only Arthur would be able to wield Excalibur; (2) will Arthur set aside his wounded pride and finally be able to forgive Gwen for her betrayal with Lancelot and finally make her queen of Camelot? And (3) will Merlin finally be able to take a firm stand against Morgana and destroy anyone who stands in his way to protect Arthur and Camelot? From the looks of it, the answer to all these questions will be a resounding affirmative.
As if the dethroning of Morgana in last season’s finale “The Coming of Arthur” was not adrenaline-pumping enough, this year’s finale looks like it is going to eclipse last year’s finale completely.
At the end of last week’s “The Sword in the Stone, part 1” we saw Morgana with the aid of Helios’ army had infiltrated and overthrown Camelot. By force and fear Morgana intends to rule the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers, though she never has figured out that all it takes to rule is to win the hearts of the people. Without love, loyalty and respect, a crown means nothing. It took Arthur years to earn his people’s love and now that he has it, it is not something that can be stolen by anyone with magic or a sword. Morgana, alas, never had such training and learned nothing from all the years standing in Arthur’s shadow. She could have just as easily learned everything Arthur did, but she chose to allow hatred, jealous and resentment to occupy her thoughts and blossom in her heart instead. Such a wasted life. And as she is about to find out, magic will not be her salvation either. For even magic can be thwarted and overcome. Morgana’s arrogance and reliance on magic over intellect shall be her undoing.
Just as Arthur trained heart, mind, body and soul to be king of Camelot, Merlin trained to be the greatest wizard of all time. A person may be born with magic, but one must learn to utilize it wisely. Morgana learned her magic under the angry tutelage of her sister Morgause; whereas Merlin learned under the careful and protective instruction of Gaius. Thus, Merlin uses magic to preserve and protect life; and Morgana only uses it to destroy and inflict pain and suffering. Magic is a living-breathing force and when constrained into such a violent and self-serving tool, it cannot truly reach its full potential. So Merlin’s ability to meld magic to his desires and purposes is without such restraint. Merlin and Morgana may be the yin-and-yang of Arthur’s ascent to being the greatest king that Camelot has ever known and the rise of Albion – a time in which people of magic shall be welcomed and there will be peace for everyone.
This fourth season has brought much growth to the young people who started this journey just a few years ago. This season we watched as King Uther died at the hands of Morgana’s twisted magic and how Merlin (posing as Emrys) was wrongly blamed for the king’s death. Arthur finally took a stand in his relationship with Gwen and asked her to be his queen, only to have that undone by Morgana yet again as she raised the shade of Lancelot and swayed Gwen’s affections with an enchanted bracelet – much to both Arthur and Gwen’s horror and dismay. Gaius was kidnapped and tortured into revealing Emrys’ identity, which fortunately worked out fine in the end as the priest Alator refused to unmask Merlin believing he was the prophesied savior of all who possess magic. Morgana tried time and time again to usurp the Camelot throne, kill Arthur and track down Emrys, but has failed at every turn as she grows more and more desperate and fixated on evading her own doomed-destiny. And Merlin took more and more risks to save those he loved from harm, nearly revealing himself repeatedly. So each grew out of series tests of trial and tribulation — and became stronger for it. Merlin, Arthur and Gwen also grew closer as their destinies drove them closer together and as they began to fully appreciate how vital each other was in their lives.
With a fifth season currently filming, we are guaranteed that this season’s finale is not yet the end of this magnificent journey. So whatever comes from the finale chapter of “The Sword in the Stone, part 2,” be joyous in knowing that there is more to come. The adventures of Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, Gaius, Morgana and the Knights of the Roundtable will continue and we shall await them just as breathlessly next season.
In the meantime, do not miss one single second of “The Sword in the Stone, part 2” of MERLIN as it airs Friday, March 30th at 10PM on Syfy.