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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The On-Screen Advent Calendar 2012: Day Nineteen

In just three days' time, we'll get the chance to see the penultimate episode of Merlin as a whole, the beginning of the end in The Diamond Of The Day Part 1. Two days later than that, on Christmas Eve itself, will bring the culmination of the show as Arthur and Merlin fight for their lives and the kingdom on the plains of Camlann in Camelot's final battle. Today, then, we're celebrating Merlin's greatest moments up until this point, counting down the Top 5 Best Episodes the show's given us so far. Here's our guide, then, to the biggest and best episodes of Merlin that you just can't afford to miss...
5. THE WICKED DAY- This was the Season Four story that saw the death of Uther Pendragon. Undoubtedly Merlin's biggest failure as a sorceror was to unwittingly allow the demise of his friend's father, something which turned Arthur totally against the practise of magic, and indeed which will have BIG implications for the adventures to come in this week's two-part finale.
4. THE DARKEST HOUR- As openers go, they don't get much better than the two-parter which began Season Four. The Darkest Hour blended psychological horror with plot twists from the legends marvellously, with Lancelot's sacrifice an admirable narrative surprise in spite of his necessary resurrection tale later in the season.
3. LE'MORTE DE ARTHUR- The Season One finale focused on Arthur's near-death at the hands of a mythical lizard, forcing Merlin to travel to the Kingdom Of The Blessed to make a bargain with the sinister Nimueh (Michelle Ryan). This epic conclusion tested the relationships of the young warlock with his greatest foe, the Great Dragon, Arthur and Gaius and worked beautifully in this respect.
2. THE BEGINNING OF THE END- The first of two Mordred stories that head this list, The Beginning Of The End was a dark Season One episode that introduced Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as the young incarnation of the budding antagonist. Butterfield's portrayal was intriguing, laying many of the strong foundations that have made Alexander Vhalos' version such a success this season.
1. THE DRAWING OF THE DARK- At the top of this list comes the fantastic recent Season Five story that focuses on Mordred's turn to the dark side. Taking plot strands from across the final season and making them vital here, The Drawing Of The Dark is a fantasy masterpiece, and all that remains to be seen now is if the writers can top it in either or both instalments of The Diamond Of The Day!

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