Season 4 Episode 4


Aired Unknown Oct 22, 2011 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
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  • Disobeying Gaius, Merlin unwittingly helps a stranger, Julius Borden, break into the castle vault and steal a key that leads to the last dragon egg. When Merlin realizes his mistake he sets off to save the egg. Thus begins a story hardly worth telling.


    The Following Review Contains Spoilers:

    Even if you aren't expecting much, this ep is flat, and pretty well filler fodder. The ep hardly references the death of Uther Pendragon which occurred in the previous ep, and there was no evidence of any transitional period between the shifting power of Uther to Arthur as king. The script itself is weak, with poor attempts at humor that leave you yawning instead of chuckling. The knights behave like background furniture, without anything in the script to display the slightest hint of individuality or personal credit.

    The plots runs along these lines: Disobeying Gaius' warnings, Merlin unwittingly helps a stranger, Julius Borden, break into the castle vault and steal a part of a key that leads to the tomb of a long dead sorcerer, wherein lies the last dragon egg. When Merlin realizes his mistake he sets off to save the egg. Thus begins a story hardly worth telling....

    Arthur gathers his knights and they all ride off together (with Merlin acting as personal servant) to 'destroy' the egg. In pursuit of Borden, Arthur, Merlin and the boys have enough time to break for an evening meal. Merlin cooks a pot of stew and like a bunch of bad school boys Arthur and the boys waste a few mins trying to keep Merlin from getting any supper. Not really very funny, and certainly adding nothing to the overall episode.

    After walking around the woods, and coming under a skirmish with Borden (who vanishes before any real confrontation), they make camp again. This time supper doesn't go as smoothly, while Merlin is cooking, Borden throws in some poison. Arthur and his hungry boys eat the strew and become ill. Merlin uses magic and heals Arthur and the knights putting them under a deep sleep, then heads after Borden alone.

    Borden reaches the sorcerer's tomb and falls victim to a poisonous air trap. Merlin stops the flow of the deadly air, and heads into the tomb to retrieve the egg. Just as he picks up the large egg, Borden staggers in and offers Merlin a typical monologue of 'join me and together with the dragon we can rule the world'. Merlin of course isn't interested and blasts Borden against wall, before picking up the egg. The tomb suddenly begins to crumble, and Merlin gets out the nick of time meeting up with Arthur and the boys. Taking it at face value that both Borden and the egg have perished in the crumbling tomb they go home, the egg safely hidden in Merlin satchel.

    Later, after having supper with Gaius, and getting a scolding about his mistake, Merlin takes the egg to The Great Dragon. Merlin asks Kilgharrah when will the egg hatch, and The Great Dragon explains dragons only hatch for Dragonlords and Merlin must give the hatchling a name. Merlin names the dragon, and it hatches. Kilgharrah offers some filler information about how the name Merlin chose meant 'dawn' and that since the baby dragon is white it promises a bright future for Merlin and Arthur's Camelot. The end.

    Many questions arise, all which are script writing issues. The characters seem pretty dense on most levels. For example, Merlin, instantly sides with Borden and dismisses Gaius' warnings without hesitation. It seems foolish for Merlin to charge off and readily help Borden without taking any precautions. Also, Arthur shows no signs of inner struggle in his new role as king, in fact, he skips off on a quest as usual. If there was a time for Arthur to do some soul searching it would have been now that the heavy burden of kingship has been placed on his shoulders. Also, as king, it seems he would have a bit more on his plate than adventure seeking at the moment.

    As with the first 3 eps of this forth season, the knights are another major problem. Lancelot was quickly written off in ep 2 for convenience, which leaves, Leon, Gwaine, Percival and Elyan. Four new guys who could and should be adding something to the episodes, yet the script doesn't allow them to. The knights are inseparable, and little more than horse riding accessories to Arthur.

    In the previous season, Gwaine guest starred in 4 eps, in all of which he came off as likable, interesting and certainly a well rounded character in his own right. Now that he is supposedly a 'regular recurring character' Gwaine has become another stand-up to add to Arthur's collection of 'knights'. In accordance with Gwaine's personality in the previous season, he would never have stood for the belittling of Merlin at suppertime, he was all about 'treating people right no matter their bloodline', and seemed to quickly side with Merlin over Arthur. Having lost his visage of personality, Gwaine has joined the ranks of his fellow pieces of furniture, offering nothing more than an occasional random line when the script remembers he is around. Percival is still a mystery, as his backstory and point for being around has never been shared. Leon continues to flip-flop between serious noble officer of justice to friendly approachable buddy. Elyan, who is suppose to be Gwen's bother is yet to be in one scene with his sister. He also seems strangely comfortable in the nobility status of knighthood, despite his humble background as a blacksmith's son. Which leads to another oddity....

    Gwen was not in the ep at all. It's as if the writers decided rather than deal with the awkwardness of the relationship between newly crowned King Arthur and his lowly chamber maid girlfriend, Guinevere, they put it off for another week. Morgana was also absent, missing the entire dragon egg adventure to redecorate her cottage in the woods, or whatever it is she does in her new Dark Side state. To be quite honest, the girls have cased to cast a long enough shadow on the series for some time to truly be missed. The writers are not addressing the issue of odd female roles (one is now evil, the other a lowly servant) by trying to enhance their worth to the plots, instead they just leave Gwen and Morgana out whenever they possibly can.

    Something that is truly sad about this ep is the discrediting it does to Kilgharrah, The Great Dragon. Now that he is no longer 'the last dragon' it's another blow to a once formidable character of the series. The Great Dragon was first introduced as a mysterious creature who called Merlin to realize his true destiny. His imprisonment under the castle added an aura of wonderment and gave the dragon an agenda in wanting to claim his freedom. Kilgharrah was the ultimate creature of magic, he was beyond wise, and yet sly enough not to be fully trusted. He aided Merlin, offering answers only one who had lived so long could... he was after all, The Great Dragon, the last dragon. Later, Kilgharrah was freed by Merlin thus began his downward cycle as a valuable character of mystery. Suddenly, Merlin was a 'Dragonlord', meaning The Great Dragon was now subject to the young wizard's will and commends. Instead of living in the cave prison under the castle, he now seemingly flies around un-noticed and is mostly found in an open meadow as you would expect to find a grazing cow. The hatching of another 'last dragon' seems to completely diminish The Great Dragon's importance. What is the point of him anymore? I fully expect Kilgharrah will be killed off in the near future. The baby dragon is a replacement, so fans will not complain when Kilgharrah is done away with (thus knocking off the hefty price tag of paying John Hurt to provide his voice).

    Even script issues aside, the reason "Aithusa" is such a bad episode is due to the apparent lack of care and creativity put into it. It's astonishing that four eps into the new season the series can feel so unfulfilled and so lackluster. Everything, down to the hatching of the dragon egg, feels like a rip, taken directly from the film version of Eragon. Something so unoriginal and flat surely does not belong after the radical series changing event involving the death of Uther and coronation of Arthur as king.

    "Aithusa" is an ep that feels like a fan written script that was dragged out of a trash bin and thrown into the mix of the new season. It isn't witty, it isn't smart, it certainly doesn't seem like an ep of series that has been commissioned for a fifth season.

    The creators have missed the mark, they have missed what should have been the turning point of "Merlin" to bring it forward into a new era of King Arthur's reign. The actors' talent is wasted on a flat lifeless and painfully predicable script. When the series produces filler eps like "Aithusa" it kills the charm of "Merlin", and offers a frustrating experience to the viewers who want to be fans of the series. If there are more eps like this one, Merlin's destiny as a series isn't as bright as the in-script destiny of the title character.

  • A very simple plot: A stranger with bad intentionscomes in Camelott to retrieve the last dragon egg, Gaius forbids Merlintohelp the strangerand but he doesn't listen. Then,there is a quest and Merlintakes the egg under the blind eyes of Arthur.


    Well, Aithusa was a more a filler episode than anything else.
    It was not a superb episode but it had its great moment.
    Of course, it certainly appealed the younger audience as it was very familial. Unlike the previous episode, there was no death (except for Borden's) so it gave a little break. However, this episode had no link with any other episode and it didn't make most of the characters evolve.

    The only good thing: As any other Merlin fan, I have been glad to see that Kilgarrah is not longer the last of its kind and that Aithusa will be important for the future of Camelott. Moreover, it gives us hope that magic will one day, be restored in Albion and that dragons will live peacefully.

  • Aithusa-- I wasn't overly enamoured with the episode untill i saw the ending, which i found to be a very touching and worthwhile addition to a show that i really love.


    After last weeks some-what anticlimactic death of King Uther i was hoping for a strong comeback episode. Don't get me wrong i am an avid Merlin fan and i don't think i could really be disapointed with any episode--(it is after all about magic and dragons...) but when i started to watch this episode i was a little underwhelmed.

    Then i saw the baby dragon.

    All of a sudden i was jumping for joy at my t.v. screen. I know what you're thinking...but not only was it so darn cute, i think it paves the way for some blooming good tv. Therefore i have given this episode a very respectable 8.

  • Aithusa


    Aithusa was a great episode of Merlin and though it was a little slow and very plain and simple it was still entertaining. I enjoyed watching Merlin learn of a new hope for Dragons in that there is an egg left locked away in a tomb. The quest to retrieve the egg has its share of adventure, humor, and predictability along with a little character and plot development. I thought what happened in the end was pretty cool and I look forward to seeing Aithusa again. I can't wait to watch the next episode!!!!!!!

  • A good episode :)


    I wasn't overly thrilled with the episode, but it was good. In this episodeI felt like the knights were only used for poorly timed comedic scenes that didn't seem to mesh wellwith the plot. It felt a little rushed, and some of the characters felt like they were forced into the storyline.

    Besides that, I liked the dragon egg part, and Merlin's dragonlordside being explored more. The joyand tears he expresses whenhe names the dragon and it hatches was wonderful, andit gave hope for the future and destinyahead.

    I'm glad forsome of thedevelopments in this episode, but parts could have been done better. Of course, it's hard to be the episode that follows the last threebecause theywere intense and amazing. It's a good watch though, so don't miss it.

  • What would have been called a 'filler' but somehow managed to be so much more.


    It was certainly lighter than the previous episodes but that's only a good thing as I don't think I could have coped with such emotional intensity for 4 weeks in a row. In the earlier series this would have been a 'filler' and so I think this shows how far 'Merlin' has come when such a 'quiet' episode is of such high quality. The things I like most about series 4 is the look of it - the scope and the beautiful scenery especially where Merlin and the knights on horses riding across that ridge with the bright blue sky in the background (heatwave in the UK in April.)

    I liked how this episode gave nods back to the early relationships between Arthur/Merlin and Gaius/Merlin but equally showed there has been development in both. Merlin no longer meekly does what his guardian tells him to, nor does he apologise when he does go behind his back. Equally the jokes, horseplay and banter between master and servant are still there but now there is less aggresion and more cameradie behind it (plus even more fodder for the slash fans).

    I loved the last scene with Gaius and Merlin; Merlin lying very badly, knowing he'd been found out and then getting all excited about the egg. Merlin with the knights was also a treat. Not only their teasing of him and complimenting of his cooking but also how Merlin tried to take charge a number of times, riding off in the lead, constantly insisting that they continued, that they shouldn't stop and telling them which way they had to go.

    Merlin's healing spells are getting better and I don't think this is a coincidence. Last episode we have Gaius give him a healing book and we know Merlin well enough by now to know that he would have been studying it in every spare moment since. I love the series 4 characterisation of Merlin - I love it when he starts to take control and use his magic in more interesting ways. The best bit of all was the stand-off between him and Borden by the egg and his sudden declaration ... WOW!

    His relationship with Kilgharrah has shifted too and I can't wait to see what they might do with the future story with Aithusa ... exciting possibilities.

    Finally, although I am a little biased - I can't mention this episode without praising Colin's acting yet again. Everything from the subtle frustration at various points, to the powerful dragonlord, to his perfect little 'playing the fool' moment with Borden "I want to see a dragon's egg," to the joy of seeing Aithusa hatch.