Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: Camelot "Igraine"

Non Spoiler Review:
Igraine continues on the heals of The Long Night as Morgan carries out her charade as the queen mother, managing to stir up problems with Leontes and Guinevere, and taking particular interest in Merlin. The knights are off on a hunting trip together, and Leontes has a strange encounter in the woods. The real Igraine remains a prisoner at Pendragon Castle, suffering under Sybil's power grab.

This episode took place over the course of a day, as Morgan gets an intimate view of the goings on at Camelot. It seems a little too campy at times, as Morgan relishes playing her step-mother, getting information out of Guinevere and Merlin, and everyone is hopelessly blind to the truth.

However, it was entertaining—specifically the appearance of the wolf we haven't seen in awhile. There are some plot developments, to be sure, but it looks like this week served more to set up the ramifications in the next episode.

Spoilers Now!
Events pick up shortly after the return from Pendragon Castle. As the real Igraine endures a sponge bath from Sybil, faux Igraine enjoys a more luxurious morning at Camelot, and attempts to master the queen mother's idiosyncrasies. She gets a visit from Merlin, who brings breakfast, and an admission that he could be more open with people as she suggested (last episode). 

Arthur tells Guinevere that he shouldn't have broached his love for her at the siege, but she says she's glad he told her. Morgan watches them from the shadows, but is interrupted by a child, Redwald, who takes her off to play, as she apparently promised earlier. He's an orphan, and he tells her she looks lonely as they play with his model  castle.

Sybil seems to be enjoying her control at Pendragon Castle, and takes Vivian into her confidence about the imprisoned Igraine as long as she vows to accept her instructions without question. Sybil later goes to see Igraine, asking why she never asked Uther to give Morgan another chance. It's her own decisions that brought her to their dungeon, and she suggests Igraine might wish to confess. 

Igraine manages to grab the nun and nearly chokes her with her chain before Vivian arrives with a guard and saves her. Sybil tells him he can use force at his discretion if she causes further trouble, which gives Vivian some pause. She wants to know what Morgan is doing at Camelot.

Morgan visits Merlin's chambers, quite fascinated with the assortment of diagrams. She asks him what he's going to do about Morgan. He knows the previous night was one of her tricks, attempting to see how they would all react under those circumstances. She suggests he's become obsessed with her—or attracted to her. 

If Morgan could kill her own father, she's capable of anything, he replies. Morgan tells him that Uther beat his daughter when she came back from the nunnery, and in front of Igraine humiliated and rejected her. Merlin says she's twice the woman Morgan is. He had hoped that once Morgan saw what they were trying to accomplish at Camelot she would come to them, but she's made her choices. Wrong ones. 

Later on, Morgan begins to suffer pain from the transformation. Merlin comes to get her to surprise Redwald, given they had decided to have a birthday for him. They give him his own set of armor and some figurines for his castle. Morgan later asks Merlin if he has any children from before he came there. His lack of information is infuriating so he promises to answer one question. She asks what he thinks about her, and he says she needn't have to ask. They nearly share another kiss but he pauses, saying he fears losing control, and wishes her goodnight.

Morgan fights against her pain again, only to be found by Redwald. She tells him this has to be their secret. But she coughs up blood and he tries to run to get Merlin. She tries to stop him and he ends up falling off the balcony to his death (!).

Arthur and the knights are out hunting, and as they make camp, they discuss the rule of Camelot and perhaps creating a council of the villages by bringing in a representative, or champion, from each. But something is circling the camp.

Leontes is woken by the sound of an animal and sees a wolf. He reaches for his bow, but it vanishes and appears behind him, only to disappear again. He tells the men in the morning, and he seems to think he was spared because God has a purpose for him.

Morgan gets Merlin in the morning and says she found Redwald. He notices his clothes are torn, and he realizes someone knows the truth. He vows whoever did this deserves to burn, and when he finds out, he'll light the fire himself. 

Later, Guinevere and Morgan prepare Redwald's body for his funeral. Morgan wants to know the truth about what happened between her and Arthur. She doesn't want her to live in regret like Igraine does. Guinevere then makes the big mistake of confessing that she and Arthur slept together on her wedding day. 

Igraine tries to plead with the guard outside to listen to her. She recognizes him from her time with Uther.  If he helps her, she'll make sure the king spares him, but he wants more—sex—so she endures him long enough to get his sword, wound him, and make her escape. She takes a moment to grab a robe to conceal herself, but Vivian walks in. They share a look, and Vivian turns her back as she leaves. Igraine manages to escape the castle.

Leontes is in prayer as Morgan joins him and laments the death of Redwald. She tells him Guinevere is lucky to have him, and he's a good man to forgive her. What? Arthur and Guinevere, she tells him. Oops. Morgan says she thought they told him what happened on their wedding day. She appears horrified at revealing the secret, apologizes, and runs off.

Morgan returns to Igraine's room, but Merlin is there waiting. He doesn't want to be alone tonight. They kiss, and for a moment there's a spark of recognition. She asks what's wrong, but he dismisses it. They have sex, but when Morgan happens to look over at the mirror, she sees the wolf looking back.

Later, Morgan burns Redwald's little toy castle, and leaves. The real Igraine arrives at Camelot in the morning, and rushes through the corridors, running right into Morgan in the main hall. "Good morning," Morgan says.

The Verdict:
Morgan seems to be putting all her eggs in one basket with this latest scheme, because there will be no turning back once everyone figures out Igraine was kidnapped. Merlin will certainly realize what's happened (and we'll get more Merlin angst). Morgan must be anticipating total victory, otherwise she's going to find it difficult keeping hold of Pendragon Castle.

Her method of drawing out Guinevere's confession, and then later throwing it out to Leontes was quite contrived. As was Redwald popping up for the single purpose of serving as plot device. He should really have been set up episodes ago just so his death would have had some meaning. 

There were some good character bits—Vivian's second thoughts about Morgan, a more restrained Joseph Fiennes this week, and Morgan carrying a torch for him. Though the scenes with Merlin and Igraine babysitting were a bit odd—they have nothing better to do at Camelot?

I'm glad to see the wolf back. I'm just hoping its identity is something really interesting, and not some cheesy explanation. A lot of the magic storyline hinges on just what this primeval force is, so writers, please don't screw it up! 

Igraine felt like the middle chapter of the current storyline, with a lot of set up for next week. I'm hoping the pieces are in place for a really good, climactic pair of episodes to end the season.

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