Episode 10: Review 1×04 The Poisoned Chalice

cover art in which Merlin wears a headset with microphone and holds up a finger to his lips as if to tell you to be quiet

In today’s episode, MissSnowfox and Momo talk about the fourth episode of BBC’s Merlin, “The Poisoned Chalice”.

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Merlin Wiki Episode 1×04


  • First aired 11 Oct 2008
  • 3 female characters (with lines)
    • 2 main cast (Gwen, Morgana)
    • 1 supporting cast (Nimueh)
  • 5 male characters (with lines)
    • 4 main cast (Arthur, Merlin, Gaius, Uther)
    • 1 supporting cast (Bayard)
  • Enemy/Monster of the Week: Nimueh, Cockatrice, Baloran Spiders
  • Arthur kills 1 creature (Afanc)



  • French: cocatris
  • Medieval Latin: calcatrix
  • Ancient Greek: ichneumon
  • Means: Tracker
  • Two-legged dragon or serpent with rooster’s head
  • hatched from an egg laid by a rooster, and incubated by a toad (or according to some tales, a snake)
  • Sometimes synonymous with basilisk, but basilisks are traditionally depicted without wings so they’re not quite the same.
  • Can kill people by looking or breathing on them, or by touch alone
  • Dies upon hearing a rooster’s crow, or from looking at itself
  • BBC Merlin’s cockatrice looks like an oversized Komodo Dragon with wings, so not at all like a cockatrice from legends.


  • Enormous spiders that live in the caves in the forest of Balor.
  • Don’t like light.

4 thoughts on “Episode 10: Review 1×04 The Poisoned Chalice

  1. MSF, I would disagree with the contrivance of the poisoned cup and that Momo is right. It’s perfect no matter who died. If Arthur died, she’s got revenge, same if Uther died. Even if Bayard died, there would be war with Mercia. If Merlin died, cool. In all cases, she wouldn’t be to blame and would cause a lot of chaos for Uther and Camelot. Nimueh has no risk with this.
    I would agree about her appearance at the palace, though. She should have been better disguised.
    LOL about the dying thing with Merlin and him coming back to life. Very contrived. Hee.
    I love the robes and Arthur was clearly mocking Merlin and Arthur is rich enough to pull it off. The servants do wear the red undertunics, though, in other episodes, just not the hat or the cape, so I was fine with that part.
    I love Gwen in this episode, too. 😀

  2. I looooove this episode. It’s just so merthur! xD I even wrote a hurt/comforty canon divergent fic for it for Merlin canon fest this year (shameless self-promotion: https://archiveofourown.org/works/16067834)

    I don’t care if the screenwriters thought about the immortal Merlin plotline or not when they wrote it, because I refuse to let go of my firm belief that the potion was given to him too late and wasn’t what brought Merlin back to life. You just can’t take that away from me. 😀

    I think the reason why they don’t use the magical connection between Merlin and Arthur again is because Merlin doesn’t really know how he did that as he did it when he was unconscious and doesn’t try (or doesn’t succeed) to do that again.

    Plus those instances of Arthur muttering Merlin’s names are completely different situations.

    The first time when Arthur mutters Merlin’s name in his sleep is when he’s hurt in 2×13 and there’s nothing magic about it. It’s just Arthur totally arse over tits in love muttering his true love’s name.

    Another time Arthur says Merlin’s name when sleeping (or rather waking up) is in 5×12 when Merlin is using the crystals and speaks to Arthur through them. Magic is involved that time but it could be said that it’s stronger than ever before because he kinda leveled up by retrieving it. Plus there’s a huge amount of crystals all around him.

    I can’t think of any episode where a whole gang goes to Merlin’s rescue, but there’s “The Servant of Two Masters” where part of the gang goes to the rescue, Arthur and Gwaine when they head off to the forest to find him, and then Gwen and Gaius when they’re stopping him from killing Arthur.

    And then there’s quite a few instances of Arthur being concerned and/or endangering the mission to protect Merlin. That stupid stunt in “With All My Heart” where he pretty much jumps off a cliff for him comes to mind. 😀

    So yeah, it’s not the same as whole gang saving him, but at least we can see some concern happening. 🙂

    And yeah, I giggle at the “swallow, Merlin” too. xD

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