It seems the prophets did not lie. So begins the BBC's press synopsis for the Christmas Eve final episode of the hit BBC1 fantasy drama Merlin, but before we discover the startling truth behind the vision glimpsed in the season opener, we have a final step to take. In The Diamond Of The Day Part 1, the dark forces of Morgana's army gather high in the mountains with Mordred in tow, ready to assault Camelot and destroy the monarchy within. What can we expect from this penultimate instalment, then? Five days away from broadcast, and indeed just eight days from Christmas itself, here's our guide:
- EMRYS REVEALED- Last week's episode The Drawing Of The Dark culminated in the startling revelation by Mordred to his new leader Morgana that her enemy Emrys is in fact concealed within Camelot- Merlin. This time around, the High Priestess will employ all possible tactics to ensure that Merlin can't use his magic against her, weakening him before he can defend his king in the battle ahead. Don't be surprised if this strand of the narrative is dealt with here, with the battle itself looming as the finale cliffhanger for the two-day wait.
- THE PROPHECY- Eleven weeks ago, Merlin foresaw Mordred turning to the dark side and slaying King Arthur at the Battle Of Camlann. Now, that harrowing event is dawning upon the young sorceror, and given what happened in Drawing, it's difficult not to wonder if there really is any way that the warlock can escape the rings of fate. We'll probably get the first hints as to how closely this interpretation of the Arthurian legend will follow its source material towards Arthur's death here.
- ON THE PLAINS OF CAMLANN- One major question: will we see Camlann play out this week? The simple answer: probably not. That said, the BBC1 teaser already hinted at this conflict beginning now, and thus perhaps we'll see the battle at least commence in the final moments of this episode. Whatever its exposure here, you can be sure it's coming on Christmas Eve...
- OLD FRIENDS, OLD FOES- A final teaser comes in the cast-list for this episode, which reveals that John Lynch is reprising his role as Merlin's late father Balinor (The Last Dragonlord). Presumably, this'll be a flashback or hallucination as the warlock faces his darkest hour, but you can be certain that Aithusa and the Great Dragon will reappear either here and/or in the final adventure of the season.
Merlin: The Diamond Of The Day Part 1 broadcasts on BBC1 this Saturday, December 22nd at 7.55pm, with Part 2 airing on BBC1 on Christmas Eve at 8.15pm.