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Note: due to a break in the broadcast of this final series of Merlin, we managed to get out of sync with the shows as they appeared on air. So, here’s the recap of With All My Heart, which was shown on SyFy last night.
Kerfuffle is afoot. Evil Gwen is sneaking around the corridors of Camelot, and is caught by Percival. She convinces him that she’s revisiting her past life, and the death of her father, and he agrees to keep her midnight excursion quiet.
She goes off to meet Morgana in the woods (and gets told off for being late), then hands over information about the knights and where they’re heading. Treachery!
And that’s not even her biggest problem, as behind some trees stand her husband and his magical servant. Arthur, betrayed, can’t quite believe what he’s seeing, and Merlin counsels him that Gwen has fallen prey to dark magic, and is not the woman he married. They pledge to bring her back to her senses.
Naturally, this midnight rendezvous causes a certain amount of tension over the breakfast table. Arthur is withdrawn, reserved, and this unsettles Gwen. He secretly changes the route that the knights will be taking on their next outing, to undo the risk of an attack from Morgana, tells only the knights involved, then burns the map.
Meanwhile, Merlin and Gaius are searching for a cure for Gwen’s magical possession. Gauis explains she’s been subject to a magical ordeal, and that there are only two people who can help. Morgana, and the Dochraid, who cannot be trusted. Time for Merlin to drink the potion that makes him Old Merlin and go and ask for help.
Sadly, the Dochraid spots who he is, and what he wants right away. Old Merlin has to resort to threatening her with, well, let’s just call it A Certain Sword in order to get what he wants. It turns out, in order to expunge Morgana’s spirit from Evil Gwen, he must undertake a quest, summon the White Goddess and convince Gwen to enter the Great Cauldron willingly. No tricks, she has to want to get better.
Then, as the Dochraid magics a dagger towards Merlin’s back, he turns and slices her with That Sword again. Things are getting serious.
In conversation with Gaius, Merlin doubts his ability to see his quest through. However, Gaius offers belladonna to help, and reminds Merlin that Arthur can help, so long as he is unrecognisable. Time to drink the ageing potion again?
Of course it takes a little time to convince Arthur that sorcery is the answer, but his assurance that the sorcerer will be female – the Dolmir – helps to settle his nerves. Merlin’s nerves are another matter.
So, Evil Gwen has been drugged, and now kidnapped on a wheelbarrow, in front of a suspicious Mordred, and they’re off!
Meanwhile, the Dochraid is sending crows to watch over them, and report to Morgana. And somehow the mountain as been magicked to make Merlin and Arthur fall off a cliff, trapping Arthur’s arm under a boulder.
Luckily, suspicious Mordred has been following them, and turns up with a rope. Over a camp fire later, Mordred wonders if Merlin trusts him, and pledges to affirm his loyalty properly at some future date.
The next day, Morgana appears, with a face like thunder. She sets her dragon on them. Arthur takes Gwen to safety while Merlin has a brief word, ordering the dragon to leave. Sadly he had no words for Morgana, who knocks Mordred down. There’s an argument, then, just as Morgana is about to administer a killer blow, Mordred knocks her out with magic.
The next job is for Merlin to find a place to change into the Dolmir while Mordred catches up. Which he does. It’s at this point that things take a turn for the comic:
And then, it’s the final battle. Sorceress Merlin wakes Evil Gwen, who is finally, properly evil in front of him. Arthur reaffirms his love for her, reminding her of the moment he asked her to marry him. Somewhere deep inside, the real Gwen stirs, and, flummoxed by her suppressed love, she consents to enter the Great Cauldron. Surrounded by a great white light, Morgana’s spell is finally broken, and Evil Gwen is just Gwen again.
Sorceress Merlin asks Arthur to remember that sorcery is not inherently evil, that it is merely a tool, to be used for good or evil. And then manages to score an afternoon off for Merlin. Result!
Next: The Kindness of Strangers
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic