Merlin: The Death Song of Uther Pendragon Review

By Will Barber – Taylor

Merlin: You’re threatening me with a spoon?

When a dying woman gives Arthur the power to summon the dead, the king seizes the chance to speak to his father, Uther. However things are not as they seem.

The Death Song of Uther Pendragon gets off to a great start. After saving an elderly woman from death for witchcraft, Arthur must face the greatest dilemma yet: should he visit his dead father in the spirit world? The atmosphere builds throughout the episode until the emotional and dramatic pinnacle: Arthur’s final meeting with his father. However do not worry: It is not all dark. As with most Merlin stories, humour is always central particularly in the scenes in which Arthur and Merlin try to find Uther so that they can send him back to the spirit world.

Bradley James is believable as a very mournful Arthur. James’s performance during a short scene in which Arthur visits Uther’s grave is phenomenal. There are no lines in the scene but the music and James’s acting skills means that there is no need of them. The sense of loss and sorrow is conveyed excellently. Other excellent scenes for James are the two main confrontations with Uther. The first scene is played brilliant by both James and Antony Head (Uther) and is truthful. The fact that Arthur only wants to make his father proud and instead gets scolded by Uther is wonderfully played. The second and final confrontation in the great hall is very gothic; the ghost of Uther sitting on his throne is eerie and with Halloween coming it makes the scene even spookier. James shows off his acting skills much more in the second scene going from trying to explain his actions to finally realising that he must send Uther back. This is James’s best episode as Arthur and shows how much the character and actors have grown since the first series.

The Death Song of Uther Pendragon is a brilliant episode with a combination of great acting, excellent writing, spooky music and fantastic special effects which all helps make this the best episode of Merlin yet.

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