The knights are ribbing each other in the woods. That sounds wrong. Okay, the knights are playing keep away with a thirsty Elyan’s water bag skin. Gwaine burps. They all have a chuckle at the expense of the guy who’s sister was banished last week. It’s a guy thing. I think. Maybe they’re trying to cheer him up, or something. Arthur glances over to what appears to be someone’s laundry hanging haphazardly from clotheslines. Hmm. He thinks he saw something move. They all go investigate the laundry. Merlin informs them that no, it’s not wash day. They’ve actually stumbled upon a shrine. The in the old religion, the Druids strung strips of cloth around to ward off spirits. This place is cursed. Something bad happened here. We know this because scary music is playing, and a crow suddenly flies out scaring the crap out of all the manly knights. Arthur says there’s nothing here for them, and they leave. All but for Elyan, who’s thirsty because everyone drank his water. He finds a well, and drinks from it. This can’t be good. We know it’s not good because Elyan sees the image of a creepy kid in the water. He’s startled and looks around. Seeing nothing but flapping strips of cloth hanging from trees, he leaves, warily.
Back at the armory, Arthur is pensive and quiet. Merlin asks if he’s okay. Arthur tells him it’s called thinking. Arthur’s kind of being a jerk here, but he’s got a lot on his mind. I’m sure it has to do with the druid shrine, mixed in with a little bit of Gwen banishment. Gwaine tosses merlin a pouch full of salt and tells him that a circle of salt around the foot of your bed wards off spirits. He’s been watching Supernatural. Elyan looks interested at this. At supper, Gaius says he’s surprised there’s a shrine so close to Camelot. Merlin says he could feel that it was cursed. Gaius tells him the shrine was built to bring rest to tormented souls. The ribbons and flags act as a warning. Anyone who disturbs the resting place, risks releasing the spirits. Oops.
While Arthur is still pensive and brooding in his chambers, Elyan goes to bed. Hey, I was wondering where the knights slept. They have rooms in the palace. Elyan hears noises and gets out of bed asking who’s there. Of course, no one answers. As he’s about to get settled in bed again, a creepy, sopping-wet kid is there. Elyan understandably, freaks out and falls out of bed. Gwaine hears and helps Elyan up, asking what happened. The drippy kid motions for Elyan not to tell. Elyan makes up a story about tripping. There’s training in the morning, and Gwaine reminds him to get some rest. After Gwaine leaves, Elyan puts a salt circle at the foot of his bed. He’s thinking he should start watching Supernatural too.
The following morning finds Arthur asleep with his face in his stew. Merlin cracks jokes about waking up on the wrong side of the table, because our king’s mood is not a good one. The mood worsens when he realizes he has food all over his face. At the training session, the knights ask Arthur what’s in his hair. I’m asking why he didn’t comb his hair. Merlin says it’s stew. Arthur wants to use Merlin for training practice. Merlin’s in protective head gear and a shield. Elyan goes overboard, and continues to strike at Merlin, even after he’s down. Arthur has to stop him. When the knights are putting their equipment away, drippy ghost kid visits. Elyan is freaking out again, and a bit of a scuffle starts between he and Gwaine. Gwaine knocks him out cold. In his room, Elyan wide-eyed and unresponsive, and Gaius comes to tend him. Gwaine and Leon don’t want Gaius to tell Arthur that Elyan’s been acting strangely since Gwen’s banishment. They don’t want Arthur to think that Elyan’s loyalties are divided. Truthfully, we really have no idea what Elyan thinks about his sister’s banishment, because he hasn’t said a word about it onscreen. Heck, sometimes I wonder if the show remembers that they’re brother and sister. It is nice however, to see genuine concern and camaraderie among the knights in this episode, overall. Before Gaius leaves Elyan’s room, he finds the salt circle.
Arthur’s brooding in his room again. Bradley James is one of the best brooders I’ve ever seen. Merlin asks if he’s going to sleep at the table again. Arthur is quiet. Merlin asks if this is about Gwen. He says they all miss her, Arthur more than anyone. Thank you show for mentioning her more than once. Arthur tells Merlin he can go. Merlin tries to get him to talk, but Arthur tells him to get out. Merlin complains to Gaius about Arthur’s ungrateful behavior. Gaius isn’t paying much attention. He’s reading, and tells Merlin they have bigger problems to deal with. He found a pile of salt at the foot of Elyan’s bed. Merlin says he must be trying to ward off evil spirits. Gaius says that’s nonsense. That only works on Supernatural. He thinks Elyan is possessed. Merlin has to tell Arthur.
Elyan is sleeping. Drippy ghost kid comes back. Elyan yells at him to leave him alone. Drippy kid says, “Please don’t be angry with me.” Elyan apologizes and gets out of bed. He reaches out to touch ghost kid’s shoulder. Child is cold. Elyan feels empathy and hugs him. He asks what the child wants from him, the boy answers. “I want you to bring me peace.” I’m wondering who’s going to clean up the puddle on the floor. The boy wants Elyan to right the wrong that was done to him. Elyan asks what he should do. Kid says, “It’s easy. You must kill the king.” Right. Easy. Elyan visits Arthur’s chambers, where the king is poring over some paperwork. Elyan attacks, Arthur defends himself with various wood furnishings, and calls for the guards. Elyan runs off.
The knights go off in search of Elyan. Merlin tells Arthur he thinks Elyan is possessed, that he must have disturbed something at the shrine. The knights are none too happy about having to hunt one of their own, but they think maybe Elyan is upset about Gwen’s banishment. Wow, the continuity here amazes. Gwaine has a toad of a sister. Nice to know. They corner Elyan, and tell him they understand, they’re friends. Percival clobbers him. Elyan is imprisoned. Drippy ghost kid isn’t happy. Elyan failed him. Agravaine, of course pushes for Elyan’s execution. Arthur says that Merlin believes Elyan is possessed. Aggy scoffs at this. Elyan is probably trying to get revenge for the banishment of his sister. Merlin defends Elyan and says that no matter what Elyan would not try to kill Arthur.
Merlin decides to break Elyan out of his cell so that he can rid him of the spirit. He tries to get Elyan to drink some sedative-laced water, but drippy kid appears and motions for Elyan to refuse it. Elyan knocks Merlin out, and tells ghost boy that he won’t fail him again. Gaius urges Merlin to return to the shrine so they can learn more. Merlin finds the well, and hears the muffled sounds of battle and the painful screams of what appears to be mostly children. It brings him to tears. Merlin believes this was Uther’s doing. The following day Arthur questions Merlin’s whereabouts the night before. He tells Merlin to choose his next words carefully. I’m not really sure if Arthur knows that Merlin sprung Elyan, but maybe. Merlin takes away Arthur’s plate and finds a downed guard. Uh oh. Elyan’s appeared, and attacks Arthur. He’s sopping wet and when he speaks he sounds just like ghost kid. Arthur asks what he’s done to Elyan. They sword fight. Merlin’s trying to get back into the council chambers. Just as Arthur’s about to deliver the final death blow, Merlin stops him, saying that’s not the Elyan we know. Arthur lets him run away. Gaius tells Arthur that only the atonement of the perpetrator can bring the spirit peace. Arthur is pensive and brooding once again in his chambers. He tells Merlin he’s going to sleep early, and sends Merlin to polish his armor.
Moments later Merlin follows Arthur into the dark woods. They go together to the shrine. Arthur sets down his sword and calls for the spirit. Merlin thinks he’s nuts. Arthur tells him that everything Gaius said about this place is right except for one thing. It wasn’t his father that led the raid on the Druid camp. It was him. A dripping wet Elyan appears and in the voice of the boy, tells Arthur that he cannot rest because of what Arthur did. Arthur says he knows, and drops to his knees in front of him. He tells the boy/Elyan he was young and inexperienced. He was desperate to prove himself to his men and his father. Arthur says he wanted to stop it, and that he can still hear their screams. Nothing he can do will right the horrors of that day. Arthur, in a heartfelt speech, promises that from this day forth, the Druid people will be treated with the respect they deserve. Elyan/boy draws his sword. Arthur says he’s truly sorry for what happened to him. Elyan tosses the sword aside, just as Arthur is expecting a deadly blow. He makes Arthur rise and whispers in his boyish voice, “I forgive you.” The spirit leaves Elyan’s body, and Arthur catches him up, a tear sliding down his cheek. I tell you, these Merlin actors deserve better scripts. Bradley is wonderful here, as he was last week with in his scene with Angel.
Elyan’s going to be fine. The following day in Arthur’s chambers, Merlin says he likes this new emotional side of Arthur. Teasing ensues.
I give this week, 4/5 stars. Once again it’s the acting that elevates the material here.
Next week: A visiting princess puts the moves on Arthur, Morgana’s scheming, and Gwen’s back! And she’s wearing belly dancing garb! Wait till Arthur sees her in that — What banishment?