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Well. There it is. Everything I wanted and everything I didn't want for this series all jammed into one episode.

I am truly happy for those of you who are taking so much joy in this episode. There were moments that I liked. I wish I could say I was satisfied.

But I can't. I just can't.

I have loved Arthur Pendragon since the instant I first saw Bradley James's stupid, stupid face in episode 1.01. My favorite episodes in every season are the ones where Arthur got to grow and shine and choose his path and show what a glorious king he would someday be. How worthy he was to claim the destiny of the greatest sorcerer of all time to be his servant for nothing more than love.

I could have loved this episode, if Arthur had gotten to live at the end. If he had gotten to rule over his golden kingdom like he was meant to. If Merlin had defied destiny one last time to save him. If he'd gotten to thank and forgive Merlin when it wasn't already a moot point. If he'd gotten to actually give Merlin those days off instead of condemning him to centuries of loneliness and waiting.

So no. Fuck you, Johnny Capps. Fuck you, Julian Murphy. Fuck you for making me care so much about Arthur and Merlin's glorious destiny and then leaving it in ruins. Throwing me a few lines of conversation I read in fanfic back in 2009 doesn't fucking cut it, you assholes.

Date: 2012-12-25 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kerryblaze.livejournal.com
There's a a part of me that feels like you do.

I did come out on the other side slightly satisfied. BUT only because I expected the worse. I couldn't have hated anything more than I hated this past series. I wanted to rip the Js hair out, strand by strand, as torture. So I expected to get nothing at all satisfying out of this ending.

Really. I expected them to write Arthur's last words as something like, "Merlin, I'll never forgive you."

Sadly, like a dog getting scraps, I enjoyed them.

Date: 2012-12-26 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
I think it's the word "satisfied" that I keep seeing people using, and that's where I get stuck. Because there were absolutely things I liked about the reveal, but the fact that Arthur was dying the whole time meant there was no possible way I could ever find it satisfying as a conclusion to their story.

Date: 2012-12-25 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jammeke.livejournal.com
I feel the same way.

I loved loved LOVED Arthur and Merlin's interaction, and I couldn't have asked for anything better (well, maybe the same episode set in S3), but I can't come to terms with Arthur's death because the boys failed. They did nothing of the stuff they were supposed to do, and Arthur was never allowed to the the great King of Legend. There was in fact nothing interesting about him (thanks the gods for Bradley James because he did what he could), because Merlin and Gwen did everything for him. Arthur was my favourite character, and the fact that he died achieving nothing... hurts. So much. And it pretty much prevents me from living with his death. I just wish he'd died uniting Albion. Or lifting the ban on magic. Or, you know, after twenty years of peace.

(I'm still convinced the writers only came up with this ending this series--the first three series weren't written for the show to end this way, they just weren't: Arthur was supposed to become King in S5 and the last show of him was supposed to be the one we got at the end of 4x03--that's probably where my headcanon will end from now on)

Date: 2012-12-25 08:35 am (UTC)
ext_3626: (merlin - arthur & merlin)
From: [identity profile] frogspace.livejournal.com
Arthur was supposed to become King in S5 and the last show of him was supposed to be the one we got at the end of 4x03--that's probably where my headcanon will end from now on)

I agree. Based on the premise of telling the story of these characters before they became the famous characters of legend, the only logical ending would have been Arthur's coronation, maybe already with signs in the sky that Morgana might turn on him one day. However after season one they forgot their own premise and rushed ahead, jumping years and all the glorious stuff that was supposed to come, just so they could tell the ending of the Legend, which wasn't the story they had started to tell. That has been a source of incredible frustration for me over the years. On the other hand, they made Merlin/Arthur the endgame and the slash in this episode was off the scale.

I hope many people participate in [livejournal.com profile] merlin_redux because there is certainly a lot to fix in this canon. Also, now that modern Merlin (the old man is clearly his disguise) is canon and they hint at a return of Arthur, I want Avengers crossover so bad!
Edited Date: 2012-12-25 08:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-12-26 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
Yeah, I think we're meant to think that he's already accomplished everything he needed to accomplish, and now Camelot can carry on without him, even though we never saw much of that on screen. The whole premise of the early years was that Merlin needed to protect Arthur because Arthur would bring magic back to the land, but... he didn't. Not even a little.

Date: 2012-12-25 09:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] planejane.livejournal.com
That's how I feel. I haven't even watched 512 and I only skimmed 513 after reading all the spoilers. I knew I wasn't going to like it so I didn't want to waste my Christmas Eve. I'll watch in a few days.

The first thing I said to myself at the end of 513 was, "So which fan fictions did they hash together these last 2 episodes from?" Mellacita's came to mind and a few others.

Of course I've longed to see a reveal, but that one was a slap in the face I knew was coming. Lazy, lazy writing, imho.

The acting saved it all. Bless those boys. ♥

Date: 2012-12-26 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
Yeah, slap in the face is kind of how I felt about it. The reveal was completely moot, and while I'm glad it happened before Arthur died, and I liked the individual moments of the reveal, I didn't find it satisfying as a conclusion to their relationship.

But the actin was wonderful and I cried like a really ugly baby.

Date: 2012-12-25 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nel-ani.livejournal.com
Yeah. It kinda ruined me. XD I can't remember the last time I was this upset about a show.

Date: 2012-12-26 12:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
Me, neither. I've been a wreck all day.

Date: 2012-12-25 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mjlee.livejournal.com
Like you I just stopped watching S5 halfway through because tbh I just couldn't take it ending (I also refused to read the last two chapter of LOTR for many, many years for the same reason). So yeah, I totally understand where you come from. I came for the Merlin and then I just fell so hard for an Arthur who was not the infallible warrior and king of legend but a young, arrogant, insecure man with mommy and daddy issues (oh boy did he ever have those) who would switch in the blink of an eye from shallow, unpleasant arrogance to a heartbreaking vulnerability. It says a lot for Bradley James ability as an actor, even in the early day, that he mostly managed to pull it off. Not to mention of course, the scorching chemistry between him and Colin Morgan that really underpinned the show. It was their differences as actors and characters that really made it work I think.
I do wonder how the TPTB will fulfill their promise of movies seeing as Arthur fucking died and I'm not holding my breath. Still, my hope is that the fandom will live on and I think it will and that there will be continue to be wonderful, long, plotty stories far better than Shine ever pulled off on screen.
To cheer myself up I rewatched some S1 eps last night which was fun, may I suggest you do the same? Poor emotionally stunted Arthur who doesn't understand how a lowly servant can affect him so by refusing to fall into the usual formal submissiveness and treat him not as a prince or even a master but a friend. The one thing I bet he lacked his entire life until Merlin's arrival.
We will get through this together although, I'll miss waiting for Merlin on Saturdays so much it will literally ache.

Hugs

Date: 2012-12-26 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
My impression about the movies was that they meant to do a full reboot with new cast, if they happen at all (dubious). I doubt they'd ever get the original cast to agree to come back. And like you said, it's the chemistry between Bradley and Colin that really made the show work, so I'm not really interested in anything else.

*sigh* I would love to watch some S1, but I can't due to company. And honestly, I think it would just make me cry more right now.

Date: 2012-12-25 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xfortytwo.livejournal.com
I'm split on this episode. Like, I agree with you a lot, and I'm also fucking happy about huge chunks of it.

But the ending is rather terrible and I think it's weird because even though Arthur and Merlin fail in the legends too, they were a lot closer. I mean, Arthur hasn't actually done anything yet as king? They're not really close to any sort of golden age or uniting anything at all. So it feels like the story ended fairly prematurely and I can't for the life of me understand why we wasted 3 episodes on evil!Gwen this season.

Date: 2012-12-26 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
Yeah, it's all the wasted time that really gets me. I loved chunks of it, too, but it shouldn't have all been crammed into one episode at the very end. Arthur was supposed to bring back magic to the land--instead, his death seems to have spelled the end of magic in Albion. Which is very Arthurian, but not much in keeping with the premise of the series.

Date: 2012-12-25 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archaeologist-d.livejournal.com
I'm sorry that it wasn't what you wanted. I, too, wanted that glorious golden Camelot with Merlin at Arthur's side, acknowledged and accepted. But I loved the love between the two of them and I really liked how the reveal was done. Stellar acting on both their parts. Hated the endings with Arthur dead and Merlin alone.

Sorry!

Date: 2012-12-26 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
I did love the love between them, and I loved Merlin's serenity once the reveal was done. Really lovely. Maybe I'll be able to enjoy it someday when I'm not hurting so much from the totally unnecessary way it all ended.

Date: 2012-12-25 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fuzzytomato02.livejournal.com
I agree with every word you said. This episode was stellar because of the acting. This would have been spectacular as a S3 or S4 episode with Arthur living at the end and then Arthur ruling over the golden age of Camelot with Merlin at his side for S5. Then they could've gone with Camlann but no. I'm glad we got a reveal and Arthur accepting Merlin as he was but yeah, slap in the face and all.

I don't know if I'm more upset that Arthur died or that Merlin the show itself is over. I've done some ugly crying and even though I've moved on to another fandom, Merlin has been a part of my life for five years and it is really hard to think that it's over.

Date: 2012-12-26 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
I've done quite a lot of ugly crying myself. I didn't know that my face could literally crumple like that!

I'm glad we got the reveal, too, but it felt kind of pasted on to me. Lovely stuff in a different context, but ultimately, I wanted the question of "what would Arthur have done?" answered and now we'll never know.

Date: 2012-12-25 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smoonyc.livejournal.com
If I let myself go deeper into what I would really want - then yes, I totally agree with you 100%. But if I take it for what it is and what I knew it had become (mediocre and only sticking around for those lovely lovely boys), then I was happy with it.

It was really Colin & Bradley's acting that saved it all for me. I just wish it would've happened such a long time ago.

Date: 2012-12-26 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corilannam.livejournal.com
I tried really hard to take it for what it was, but yeah, it should have happened a long time ago. Even two or three episodes ago would have been okay.

Glad you were happy with it!

Date: 2012-12-26 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gateslacker.livejournal.com
Well. There it is. Everything I wanted and everything I didn't want for this series all jammed into one episode.

Yeah, I loved, loved, loved these last two episodes with regard to story and with regard to Arthur and Merlin and, I think, I wouldn't be so disappointed if they had let Arthur live, despite that it was Camlann and we know he is supposed to die there. They've played other parts of the legend to suit their take. Or, there were other battles that Arthur fought. Why didn't they pick one of them?

Because even if these two episodes had everything I wanted to see, and had BALINOR, for crying out loud, I'm not certain, yet, that I can actually be satisfied that it was all for nothing. I'm just not sure that concentrating on the satisfying parts of their relationship and interaction is going to be enough to make up for the massive fail of their whole destiny thing. I'm quoting myself, now, cause I'm just too lazy to say it all again, differently.

"And while this series has always made me happiest when it was about the relationship between Arthur and Merlin, you cannot discount the idea of their greatness, together, and why they were legendary because that is also a point of the series and their awesome destiny and why we were watching the Arthurian version of Behind the Music in the first place. If this is how it went, yeah, not so much destiny and greatness because in this sequence of events, it's pretty much over before it even begins. I feel like the Dragon is backpedaling in the end, saying, "oh, yeah. About that destiny thing. You did get that it's really all about that 'future king' bit, right?" Except that we're not going to see that, either."

In this telling, it's really Gwen who was the ruler for the golden age. I think Angel Coulby did a good job and she made a great Queen in this series, except for that THREE EPISODE arc where she had been turned, but she's Not Arthur and not who I want to see forging a grand kingdom and repealing the laws on magic.

Date: 2012-12-27 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rane-ab.livejournal.com
I've just finished watching the ep, and I was completely spoiled for it, plus there were spoilers before that heavily suggested Arthur would meet his end, so I was able to just focus on the good bits and I'm remarkably dry-eyed and smiley?

But one of the reasons for that is that I've been angry and sad about Arthur's likely death for weeks, now (I lost a ridiculous number of hours of sleep over it, considering it's a TV show *g*), and yeah, pretty much for all the reasons mentioned in this post/the comments. We're supposed to believe the golden age was already there, but we never even saw it. Wasn't it all supposed to be about Arthur lifting the ban on magic? I mean, like, from the very first episode? Seriously, wtf. The writers have always been terrible at writing arcs, but this takes the cake. Merlin didn't really achieve everything he set out to, no matter what the dragon said, and I'm not quite sure how this Arthur is supposed to be the king of legend considering he didn't get a damned chance to do what he was supposed to. My favourite part was always imagining a future where Arthur and Merlin would work side by side to unite Albion and deal with the fall-out of lifting the ban on magic - with Arthur fully in the know about Merlin, and both of them more powerful for it.

The reveal in itself was more than I could ever have hoped for, given they only had one ep to pull if off, and also OMG all the touching and holding and, gaaah, but dammit, why couldn't they have twisted this part of the legend, as they have so many others, and Arthur miraculously survive at the end of it?

I'm hoping for loads of fic where somehow Arthur gets resurrected in canon time after all and he gets to be the great king with Merlin and Gwen at his side. (Also possibly a fic where he decides after waking up that he doesn't want to be king anymore, and runs away to live on a farm with Merlin, but that's another story altogether...)

Date: 2012-12-27 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tracy7307.livejournal.com
Yeahhhh I was building myself up to Arthur living and getting to rule over a peaceful united Albion with Merlin as his trusted wizard advisor... alas. They can suck it.

I did appreciate the copious amounts of manlove at the end, though. They acted it beautifully.

Date: 2012-12-29 10:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] srin.livejournal.com
If they had done the gist of this episode, minus the major deaths and ending with Merlin saving Arthur as usual, back in series 2 or 3 or even 4, I would have loved it. I would have cheerfully overlooked the plot holes and the bad CGI and loved it, the end. But as a conclusion to the show, all it really does is make me sad and bitter about everything we could have gotten out of canon and didn't because they a) insisted on putting the reveal off so long and b) apparently confused gloom and failure with good storytelling.

This show should have ended with Arthur and Merlin standing together as equals at the dawn of Camelot's golden age, and it's so depressing that they threw that away for the sake of a slavish devotion to tired formula and a weak attempt at copying the tone of Game of Thrones. But hey, if they're happy to throw away their potential, I'm happy to throw away all the bits of their show that I don't like! So I'll keep the beautifully acted interaction between Arthur & Merlin in this one, and they can stuff pretty much everything else, especially Arthur's dreadful premature demise. Mordred turned Arthur into a corpse? Pfft. He got better.

Date: 2013-01-02 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capricornucopia.livejournal.com
I could have loved this episode, if Arthur had gotten to live at the end. If he had gotten to rule over his golden kingdom like he was meant to. If Merlin had defied destiny one last time to save him.

This, so much. I did like most of the episode by itself (although I do need a bit more closure than the modern ending, ugh, I need to see Arthur at least open his eyes again), but as a series as a whole, I'm frustrated that they did what they did. I wanted to see Arthur and Merlin in the golden age together, to see Arthur be a king of legends, not just a good king. Merlin, too, how is he a sorcerer of legends other than the battle bit and because the druids said so? It's like they're only legends in name, not in their actions, and I wanted to see them in action.

Again, that's mostly a frustration with the entire series thing that I suppose has been building up since S2. It's like they wanted to fit everything into an Arthurian Legend box from start to finish because they felt they had to when they could have done so much more, despite the fact that they tweaked so many things in the first place and they could have ended it before the end of the legend.

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Cori Lannam

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