Merlin: The Darkest Hour Review


By Will Barber – Taylor

Morgana the Fay travels to the Isle of the Blessed,  once there, she unleashes the Dorcha, hellish creatures from the land of the dead.   Uther is in a deep depression because of Morgana’s betrayal (one year ago) and so is unable to defend Camelot.  Consequently, Arthur and Merlin must travel to the Isle of the Blessed to send the Dorcha back to the land of the dead.  What price will they have to pay to save Camelot?

The tone of the writing is darker than previous series as it is inevitable that one of the main characters will have to sacrifice themselves to save the world from the Dorcha.   However, the comedy has not been omitted which keeps the story interesting.  When Merlin saves Arthur from one of the Dorcha it is unexpected and therefore exciting.  Later, when Lancelot sacrifices himself so that the gateway between the worlds is closed for ever, hardly any dialogue is needed to convey what is happening. The writing is certainly moving towards a darker, Doctor Who and Sherlock type Drama/Sc-fi Fantasy.

When Merlin argues with Arthur that he has got to stay even though he might die, we believe the situation.  Subsequently, when Arthur sadly tells him he has to go, we feel miserable.

Katie McGrath is excellent as the scheming Morgana; one moment cursing Arthur and Merlin for succeeding in their quest, the next she is fearful of what her future holds.

Nathaniel Parker’s adapation of the Janus like scheming uncle was not convincing.  Hopefully, this is not a trend as Parker is generally a very good actor.

The directing is good.   When Merlin and Lancelot are inside the abandoned house and the Dorcha enter, the wind blows in, blows out the fire and then the candle.  This is artistically shot and directed.

This series opener is an interesting one. It is fun, well written, directed and acted.  The tone of the whole piece shows the series is edging towards a darker, more teen audience. Hopefully, this won’t mean that Merlin will become too mature for the family audience as it is a great series.   Let’s hope it doesn’t begin to take itself too seriously as the whole core of Merlin is fun, family, fantasy drama.

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