Episode 36.2: Season 1 Recap

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 recap the first series of BBC’s Merlin as a whole now that they’re done doing single reviews of series 1 episodes. Also, momo would like to say sorry for how the volume on her voice fluctuates so much lately :/

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Find more stream or download options for this episode below the cut.

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Femslash February Ficathon
Awesome Ladies Podfic Anthology 2019
Camelot Remix
Merlin Reverse Big Bang Schedule
Merlin Cast Daily on tumblr


On average throughout the series:

  • 2 female characters (with lines)
    • Gwen
    • Morgana
  • 4 male characters (with lines)
    • Arthur
    • Merlin
    • Uther
    • Gaius
  • Merlin killed 6 creatures & people
  • 5 people of colour
    • Gwen
    • Tom
    • Lancelot
    • Sir Pellinore
    • Sir Ewan

Resources & Mentioned Fanworks:

Lao’s comment Episode 9
The Return of Magic (upon dragon’s wings) by katherynfromphilly
Defenders of the Realm by lamardeuse, Podfic by FayJay


Merlisten theme music composed by side_steppings
News music by Mansardian on freesound.org
Intermission music: “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” by Kevin McLeod
Manip for the cover by brolinskeep, Cover by momo

momotastic on AO3 | tumblr | Podfic
misssnowfox on AO3 | tumblr | YouTube | Cosplay

4 thoughts on “Episode 36.2: Season 1 Recap

  1. You don’t have to talk back if you don’t want to. It’s all fine.

    I am not fond of Gwen although I really loved her in the first season. It was pretty clear she was smart and understood the dynamics of her situation and was generally sweet and funny. Then as she was sucked into the helpless queen of the later seasons, I just couldn’t. It’s too bad, too, since Gwen had a lot of potential. I loved when she was investigating things with Merlin or they were helping each other out. Oh, well.
    I’m not that sure a flashback to 20 years ago would work. Uther has his own reality and his actions go from his guilt about Ygraine’s death. Plus it wouldn’t really have mattered to Arthur since his mum did die from his birth. And the whole show is Merlin’s viewpoint. It would have been cool, though.
    As for tone, I find that season 1 is the most lighthearted. Their episodes give me time to breathe before they get serious again and there is something about the pacing and the writing that just makes me smile even if there is something dire going on – because there is enough humor in each episode to lighten things up. I don’t find that putting a humorous episode into a season lightens up the rest of the season, rather it seems to highlight the serious tones of the rest of the episodes in that year. You get Beauty and the Beast and then the next 2 episodes are very serious (Witchfinder and sins of the father and they seem more dire because of the humor of B&B).
    I do agree about season 5, though. It was pretty unrelenting. And I agree about season 2 being a reset. It drove me crazy!
    I agree about Merlin needing to dislike Arthur for at least 1/2 season. I think Arthur needed to dislike Merlin, too, or at least be upset about Merlin being a crap servant. But it never happened so we just have to dream instead.
    I thought Merlin changed when he poisoned Morgana. After that, there was a kind of darkness to him and that’s when I started questioning if Merlin was a hero or a villain. Up until then, he would get upset and then snap back to that sweetness. Afterwards, not so much.
    As for Gwen never talking about her father’s death, some people don’t talk about something that traumatic. I have a few things in my life that I just don’t talk about but were awful. So Gwen not mentioning her dad again makes sense to me.
    Favorite episode – Labryinth of Gedref because it was very mythic.
    Least favorite – Remedy to cure all ills
    Favorite quote – How long have you been training to be a prat, my lord?

  2. I’ve finally caught up! Love this podcast, thank you for doing it 🙂

    I just thought about how cool it would have been if Moment of Truth was a two-part (??) finale where what happened happened and then in the next episode Arthur has to deal with the consequences of literally almost “claiming” a village that belongs to another kingdom. This could have led to Uther’s STRONG disapproval, A WAR and probably guilt from Arthur (which in turn could explain why he is hesitant to show affection for Merlin in season two because his affection for Merlin started the war in the first place). I just feel like this would justify the “low stakes” of the episode and if they wanted to have Merlin almost reveal his magic it would fit because it’s the end of the season.

    Great episode as always!
    (Sorry for my bad English)

  3. You don’t have to talk back to everything (or anything) if you don’t think it’d bring anything to the podcast. (And it goes for my past comments too.)

    Arthur is so not a Slytherin. Not even at the beginning. If anything, he’d be a Gryffindor. (Not to mention that Slytherins aren’t always all about themselves. Try hurting their loved ones and you’re in real trouble. Merlin is a perfect example.)

    I don’t like midgame ships, so I’m glad they didn’t go that way. Mostly because sometimes I grow to like these midgame ships and then they replace them with some other ship and make me unhappy. So I’m glad they didn’t go that way (with exception of Gwen/Lancelot which only proves my point).

    In reaction to Gwen not talking about her father’s death, why would she talk about it? I don’t talk about the really sad stuff with people face to face. And there were no social media that she could use. 😀

    About Arthur not being such an awful person at the start of the show, I’ll continue with the HP reference from before and use the non-evil Marauders trio as an example. All of them were Gryffindors, all of them were right brats in their teenage years, but all of them had good hearts and were genuinely good people. That’s how I’ve always viewed Arthur. He had his bratty moments but he was never a bad person.

    Plus I’ve always viewed him as a choleric who slowly learned to manage his outbursts better as the years passed.

    My favourite episode is definitely 1×11 Labyrinth of Gedref because it’s so shippy and fairy-taley and funny and I just love it.

    My least favourite episode would be 1×12 To Kill the King because of the whole ‘let’s kill Gwen’s father’ storyline.

    There’s so many great quotes but I’ll go with either “Faster. Go faster.” or the whole rat stew dialogue from 1×11, including the humming sound Arthur makes when he’s forcing Merlin to eat the stew. 😀 😀 😀

  4. I totally agree with momo on the fact that strong, female characters are too often sexualized or “tropey” (regarding Morgana). I especially feel this way because I played this kind of female villain (as Morgan Le Fay) in my school play. I know Katie McGrath always says she finds her character interesting because she is more “complex,” and as an (amateur) “actor,” I often fall for this mindset too (and would like to think of it that way). But really, this evil, strong, beautiful female villain trope is one of the least complex character traits. I found this really cool article on this (via Emma Watson’s instagram): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/sunday/brit-marling-women-movies.html

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