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Merlin: Welcome Back to Camelot

Hello! Your resident Merlin geek is back and ready to begin reviewing the second season of this charming BBC show!

Infamously known for getting rid of good things, NBC has decided to pass Merlin’s second season over to SyFy after airing its first season last summer to so-so ratings. I can’t complain much – SyFy does seem a more appropriate home for this show.

First, a refresher! Merlin tells the story of teenage warlock extraordinaire, Merlin, as he works as a servant to the pompous Prince Arthur in Camelot. Magic is currently banned in Camelot by the paranoid King Uther, and anyone found doing magic is sentenced to death. The show centers on Merlin protecting Arthur as he makes foolish decisions all the while hiding his secret powers. Make sure you check out the reviews from season one to get a deeper understanding on the relationship between the two; it gets interesting!

Merlin’s second season kicks off with the discovery of a tomb underneath Camelot’s castle. The tomb is filled with unbelievable riches and a curious blue shimmering diamond. Gaius, Merlin’s guardian and the court physician, discovers the tomb belongs to the ancient sorcerer Cornelius Sigan who threatened to return and destroy Camelot one day.

A thief, Cedric (played by guest star MacKenzie Crook), gets wind of the tomb and is desperate to rob it of its riches. He discovers the only way to get to it is by gaining entry to the castle and stealing the key Arthur keeps in his chambers.

Cedric has some magical powers of his own and quickly gains favor with Prince Arthur through “humble” actions, much to Merlin’s disgust. Merlin is shunted to the side and made to look like a lazy fool with horse dung on his face while Cedric gets all the glory. While Merlin and Arthur’s relationship seemed to have evolved nicely during the first season from servant & master to almost friends, things regress quickly during this first episode.

Cedric finds his way to the tomb and that blue shiny diamond turns out to actually be the soul of Cornelius Sigan. Charming! A possessed Cedric unleashes a flurry of dangerous winged creatures on Camelot, and it’s up to Arthur and company to protect the city.

Episode one definitely set things up for the many changes and revelations to come this season! Merlin continues to strengthen his magical powers, while Arthur and Gwen are making googly-eyes at each other. More on that next week. The dragon also makes a return (still no increase in the CGI budget, I see), and our newbie sorceress Morgana is still prone to nightmares/visions. So far, it seems Merlin hasn’t lost the witty banter and mythical stories that made it fun to watch in the first place. Let’s hope it stays that way!

Season 2, Episode 1: The Curse of Cornelius Sigan (aired April 2, 2010)

For more on Merlin, click here.

Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy

Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal and SyFy.

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