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Merlin Review: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

If there were ever a time to use the expression, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” this would be it! Camelot has been infiltrated by a nasty troll and the grossness from last week continues in this episode.

Part two picks up shortly after the wedding of Uther to the Lady Catrina, and Uther (under an enchantment by the troll) is desperate to get it on with his new bride. But first, Catrina must get rid of Merlin. She accuses him of stealing her family seal. Uther sends Arthur and his men to find Merlin, but Arthur finds him first and helps him escape.

Catrina, being a troll, is in love with gold and money. So she convinces Uther to raise taxes in Camelot. This hits the poor people extremely hard because they already have so little for themselves. Arthur sees this injustice and defies his father’s orders, with Gwen looking on approvingly. It shows more of Arthur as a good prince and leader, not the arrogant one we’ve been seeing so much this season.

Arthur’s rebellion against Uther causes him to lose his title as heir to the throne, only to have it snatched by Catrina. It’s always been evident that Arthur really cares about the people of Camelot, and I’m glad this episode emphasized more of that. In the face of adversity, Arthur really shines. Not only does he help his friend escape, but he also wants to protect his people. It’s interesting to see Arthur struggle between being a friend to the people of Camelot and being their ruler.

Merlin manages to evade capture and Gaius keeps him under cover. The two of them are still working together to find a way to reveal Catrina’s real appearance, and they discover a method by switching her potions. Every day, Catrina must take a potion to change her appearance – think Polyjuice Potion if you’re a big Harry Potter fan. Gaius manages to recreate a similar potion that tastes exactly the same as the original but has no magical capabilities.

Their plan works perfectly and during Catrina’s coronation, she reverts back into a troll. Everyone in Camelot finally sees her for what she really is. Everyone except for Uther, that is. He’s still very much under an enchantment and it’s hilarious! He makes out with the troll, sleeps with her and compliments her farting smell as a wonderful “fragrance.”

Merlin goes to speak to the dragon and finds out that the only way to break the enchantment on Uther is by making him “cry tears of true remorse.” Kinda tricky when you consider Uther’s got a heart made of stone. Ah, but nothing would make him cry harder than to see his only son die.

Gaius and Merlin convince Arthur to take a poison that will slow his heart and breathing, giving the impression that he’s dead. Once Uther cries and the spell is broken, Merlin must quickly administer the antidote to revive Arthur and prevent him from truly dying!

Again, Merlin and Gaius succeed and Uther finally sees Catrina for what she really is and well, you can’t blame the guy for being traumatized. Uther will never live this down!

Both Part 1 and Part 2 of Beauty and the Beast were wonderful episodes showcasing the great Anthony Head. Uther’s always been seen as the cold-hearted, relentless dictator of Camelot, so to see him completely lovesick and humiliated is both refreshing and oddly endearing.

Season 2, Episode 6: Beauty and the Beast II (aired May 7, 2010)

For more on Merlin, click here.

Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy

Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal and SyFy.

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