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Episode 3x08 discussion - 'The Eye of the Phoenix'

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    boom-moo

    [1]Oct 29, 2010
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    Please post your opinions/comments/discussion topics on episode 3x08 'The Eye of the Phoenix' here.

    -Spoilers are not allowed.
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    -Discussion is welcome, arguing is not.
    -Trolls won't be fed, I love cookies.
    -Be respecful, keep it cool.



    Thank you
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  • Avatar of illegalferret

    illegalferret

    [2]Oct 29, 2010
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    I'm so looking forward to this one! I don't know why, it's just that last weeks trailer made it look really good!

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    ACDiNosey

    [3]Oct 30, 2010
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    Epicness, thy name is Merlin. I absolutely adored the first scene. So beautifully filmed. Wish we had seen more of the guardian of the bridge, his scenes were fun.
    Loved the fisher king, he was beautifully portrayed.
    Loved the way the scene where Merlin gives him the bracelet was film
    Loved the Gwairlin scenes, the scene by the fire was really sweet. Gwaine v Lancelot??? Gwaine wins every time.
    Morgana's evil lipstick was back on. Seriously, do we need that much signposting?

    Last but not least, is there only one field that they can go through to get back to Camelot?
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    clbirty

    [4]Oct 30, 2010
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    Was hoping for more than a quick peck from arthur. Am pleased that gwen has worked out that morgana wishes arthur harm. I wonder if she will tell him and will he believe her. Loved merlins expression when he managed the jump .
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    ellac4

    [5]Oct 30, 2010
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    Digital Spy recap



    http://www.digitalspy.com/cult/s53/merlin/news/a284471/recap-merlin-the-eye-of-the-phoenix.html

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  • Avatar of Connor91

    Connor91

    [6]Oct 30, 2010
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    This was such a great episode, aside from the homoerotic/bromance overload we are getting this series I thought this episode was one of the best across all series. Seriously we went from one of the worst episodes last week to one of the best this week. I love how they are moving everything along as well. The Gwen/Arthur stuff and the Gwen/Morgana stuff seems to have lept forward, I loved it. This episode had such a filmic quality.

    I was sure the gate keeper was going to be the fisher king though haha.
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    ACDiNosey

    [7]Oct 30, 2010
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    Connor91 wrote:
    This episode had such a filmic quality.


    I totally agree, I'll need to check who directed it, as it was great compared to some other episodes. On a soundtracky note, I loved the return of "fighting in the market"
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  • Avatar of clbirty

    clbirty

    [8]Oct 30, 2010
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    I think a lot of the music sounded similar to pirates of the caribbean
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  • Avatar of zeencat

    zeencat

    [9]Oct 30, 2010
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    I thought that the Fisher King was supposed to be the guardian of the holly grail. Interesting on the water from the lake of Avalon.
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    ACDiNosey

    [10]Oct 30, 2010
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    Zeen, I don't know the legend about the lake of avalon. do you know a bit more about it?
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    WitchyWeasel88

    [11]Oct 30, 2010
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    zeencat wrote:
    I thought that the Fisher King was supposed to be the guardian of the holy grail. Interesting on the water from the lake of Avalon.


    I think they'd probably avoid the grail due to the religious aspects so this is probably their PC nod to it.


    I loved the episode!!! Things are starting to come together now.


    Gwen knows about Morgana. . . finally. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out in future episodes.


    Yay for Gwaine!


    The whole look of the episode was fantastic. Especially the first scene.

    Edited on 10/30/2010 3:28pm
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  • Avatar of zeencat

    zeencat

    [12]Oct 30, 2010
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    ACDiNosey wrote:
    Zeen, I don't know the legend about the lake of avalon. do you know a bit more about it?


    I'll do a little reading tonight to freshen up and I'll post in the spoiler section as it's a speculation I have. I need to refresh my memory though. I've got a fantastic book on the Arthurian Legends - it's a massive book that contains both historical fact and legend. that I'll read up on Avalon.
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    cassiop_yeaaah

    [13]Oct 30, 2010
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    I loved it !!!!


    The best part : the three of them in the castle! I now really want to see more knights coming and staying in Camelot. I was a little desapointed when Merlin is the only one who can enter the Throne room. I wanted them to meet the fisher king together but the scene was so beautifull that in the end I was glad it went that way ( I still really want for the reveal to happen so we can have this kind of amazing scenes with Merlin and Arthur together).


    The quest is really epic ! very Arthurian style. The dark tower! i was almost looking for the gunslinger


    Bradley's chest in the first 5 seconds of the episode : New record ! lol


    It seems that I was the only one being desapointed by the first scene. It was beautifull to see and Merlin and Gwen were great but the quest coming to arthur through a vision ? Isn't that a little bit too supernatural for uther's rules ?


    I say it again, it was very epic!!! too bad we only had 40 minutes, some scenes felt a bit rushed. They should have done it through 2 episodes ( after seeing this, I don't really care about Gaius's love story).


    ACDiNosey wrote:
    Connor91 wrote:
    This episode had such a filmic quality.
    I totally agree, I'll need to check who directed it, as it was great compared to some other episodes.
    It was directed by Alice Troughton who also directed the 3x05, whish was in my point of view also gorgeous.

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    WitchyWeasel88

    [14]Oct 30, 2010
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    cassiop_yeaaah wrote:
    It seems that I was the only one being desapointed by the first scene. It was beautifull to see and Merlin and Gwen were great but the quest coming to arthur through a vision ? Isn't that a little bit too supernatural for uther's rules ?


    Well I thought it looked good but I agree about the whole vision thing. That was my first thought upon watching this bit too. I chose not to take it too literally and assumed that in this case tradition overrides superstition. Additionally,Uther must have done the same thing at some point, I presume.

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    AudiRox

    [15]Oct 30, 2010
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    I'll let everyone else articulate how beautifully most of the scenes were filmed.

    As far as Gwen finding out Morgana's up to no good, I really wanted a more dramatic realization on Gwen's part, but after her scene with Gaius, I realized that her reaction to Morgana using magic as evil was just right. She had noticed a gradual change in her. I really loved Gwen's scene with Gaius & then her observation of Morgana at the end. Really looking forward to seeing where that goes before 3.10, if at all it goes anywhere. Angel Coulby has some great acting skills, and am thrilled to see her get some meaty scenes this season.

    Absolutely love Merlin. Starting to like Gwaine, a lot!
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    cassiop_yeaaah

    [16]Oct 30, 2010
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    WitchyWeasel88 wrote:
    Additionally,Uther must have done the same thing at some point, I presume.
    Merlin talked about it as one of the most important day in a prince's life so I guess that uther had to do it too. Never read it in the legend though... or in another knight story. (I couldn't help but laught at the old "merlin fell asleep and is snoring" joke ^^)


    And what is wrong with Uther ? Arthur must complete this quest if he wants to be worthy of the throne, Uther is happy to see that Arthur have finally proved to be the man his father hoped he would be... After all the prince has already done for Camelot, man!


    AudiRox wrote:
    I really loved Gwen's scene with Gaius & then her observation of Morgana at the end. Really looking forward to seeing where that goes before 3.10, if at all it goes anywhere.
    Me too. After this big revelation, I am kind of fustrated with next week episode.


    EDIT: By the way, the fisher king told Merlin it was the only way to save her. Freya ?????



    Edited on 10/30/2010 4:12pm
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  • Avatar of boom-moo

    boom-moo

    [17]Oct 30, 2010
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    I agree that the episode was excellent! Loved the initial scene and the scene with Merlin and the Fisher king. Merlin was absolutely understanding that it was a key moment he was living (it really was his quest and not Arthur's after all, loved that twist like whoa), and he was really sweet and respectful of the old king.

    I couldn't help but thinking that the magical mirror Gwen sees Morgause reflected at was one of DaNko's artifacts

    We finally got an Arthur/Gwen kiss

    Loved Morgana in this episode. Even though she was told what to do, she performed magic and looked very confident with herself and her powers and that's cool the the more evil she is, the more attractive as a character she gets to me.

    The fighting in the market music was back, loved that too

    Lol at Merlin either ignoring or misreading Gwaine's signs and lol at Gwaine's sword being turned into a bouquet of flowers.

    Gwaine and Merlin acknowledged their friendship and got to hug!

    Arthur's gratuitous bare chest scene is always a plus...

    _____________

    ACDiNosey wrote:
    Gwaine v Lancelot??? Gwaine wins every time.

    Absolutely!

    cassiop_yeaaah wrote:
    It was directed by Alice Troughton who also directed the 3x05, whish was in my point of view also gorgeous.
    I'll give more credit to Dale McCready, the director of photography. He does an amazing job with this show.

    cassiop_yeaaah wrote:
    By the way, the fisher king told Merlin it was the only way to save her. Freya ?????
    That confused me too. I thought he was referring to Alvion, but I don't know why he chose the feminine.
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    dpebbleson

    [18]Oct 30, 2010
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    An excellent episode! Very dark and brooding, and sort of slow, but well-cut, so it doesn't feel slow, but very effective.

    The Fisher King's realm reminds me of Mordor, all desolate, and even that tower with those wyverns resembles Barad-dur!

    Wow, and what movements: Guinevere finds about Morgana, Arthur is ever closer to finding about Merlin's secret. Even though I'm skeptic about the reveal, I can see some promising build up: I hope I'm not disappointed!

    Morgana was gorgeous with her powers and confidence! And so was Morgause!

    Haha, Essie, yeah, that is definitely one of my artifacts! I noticed a tiny scratch because of which I was forced to lower the price! : )

    Indeed, photography is brilliant, but so is directing by Alice Troughton.

    I also thought Fisher King was referring to Albion as 'she', though the way he spoke, it could be anything really.
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    boom-moo

    [19]Oct 30, 2010
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    dpebbleson wrote:
    The Fisher King's realm reminds me of Mordor, all desolate, and even that tower with those wyverns resembles Barad-dur!
    Indeed, some 'Lord of the Rings' similarities lately.

    dpebbleson wrote:
    Haha, Essie, yeah, that is definitely one of my artifacts! I noticed a tiny scratch because of which I was forced to lower the price!
    Duh, I so knew you were the street vendor
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    leapinglucas

    [20]Oct 30, 2010
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    I feel like a wet blanket. It's probably my attitude to the series changing, rather than the series itself, because I think this was probably one of the better episodes. But I found it hard to get up the enthusiasm to watch it, to become involved in the story, or to take the time to analyse my impressions and commit them to keyboard.

    There's probably just too much water under the bridge for me now. Too many resets, too much character assassination, too many times that Arthur has lain unconscious while events swirl around him. If the series is only coming back for 10 episodes the year after next, I think it's going to be difficult to lure some audience members back unless the last few episodes of this season really don't pull their punches.

    Even when something significant and permanent ACTUALLY happens, like Gwen finally discovering Morgana's magic, I just found the whole thing very anti-climactic. Not sure why. I think perhaps the show has just held onto its cards too long and their value has leached away. I also always tend to see what I think the show SHOULD have been, COULD have been, MIGHT have been -- and my imagination is always leaping ahead of the story -- only to ultimately feel let down.

    The prospect of another dip into the waters of Arthurian legend -- this time with the Fisher King, was exciting, and I accepted the idea that they had replaced the more usual, but specifically religious artifact of The Holy Grail with the more PC idea of a "Golden Trident". But the King wasn't protecting the Golden Trident. It appeared to have no power or allegorical import. It was just a trinket, so Arthur's dream, the prospect of a Quest for a heretofore unattainable item that others had tried and fail to secure, lacked any impact for me.

    It also failed at the potentially more engaging level of an allegory. The concept that it would take the combined virtues of Courage, Strength and Magic sounded like a great foundation for an episode, but I found myself already skeptical that Merlin's magic would be used in anything but the most pedestrian way and that Arthur's weakness was sure to have lapsed to unconsciousness by the time anything interesting happened with Merlin. And of course, it was so.

    Grettir's warnings that it would take both Strength and Magic as well as Courage to complete the quest in a land which operated on different "rules", where "nothing was as it seemed" sounded intriguing. But did this episode demonstrate any of this? Did it show us Arthur's unique courage or Gwaine's strength in a way that lets the audience understand that they are stronger together than apart? I really didn't get it. Gwaine exited himself clumsily from a scene for 10 seconds so that Grettir could proclaim that Merlin was the "Magic" component of the triumvirate. Gwaine and Merlin talked about friendship, but this seemed a classic case of Telling rather than Showing.

    I thought Warwick Davis was awesome, especially in his sarcastic comments about Arthur's unique bracelet, but the whole setup of the Triumvirate idea seemed completely forgotten as the episode went on and it deteriorated into just another rescue from a creepy castle episode. A door fell conveniently between Merlin and the others to play out the final scenes and I guess, to offer up the Water from the Lake of Avalon prop which will no doubt play a role in the final episodes as these trinkets usually do. Add to that, all the Merlin/Arthur interactions -- once the shining heart of even the worst episodes, have become somehow very stale, so introducing Merlin and Gwaine's buddy-buddy relationship here, while sweet, probably didn't help the overarching Merthur story, which despite promises to the contrary, has gone backwards this year.

    Morgana, as the malevolent force that threatens Arthur's quest also failed to inject any drama. This is at least Morgana and Morgause's 4th attempt to destroy Arthur, and their convoluted and long-winded efforts (this time with voodoo dolls and jewellery no less) have ZERO drama any more. In fact, the whole idea of Arthur In Peril suffers from the fundamental principle that the audience KNOWS he will survive.

    That is why the series does better when it builds conflict from within the character interactions. But having squandered the process of Morgana's descent to villainy in some bizarre, off-screen lobotomy, and flatly refusing to move the Arthur/Merlin story anywhere, they have backed themselves into a corner dramatically. So introducing heretofore unknown vision quests for golden tridents which are solved within the space of 40 minutes seems largely a waste of a dwindling number of episodes this season. Add to that, I have never been much of a fan of aimless "questing" stories and sonorous proclamations about vaguely evil-sounding destinations like the "Caves of Mordor" or the "Perilous Lands". However, the traditional questing story is usually more about the journey than the destination, and about what the characters learn about themselves, and I didn't feel that anybody learned anything, or that the audience learned anything about the characters. This story hinted at an epic journey that it never delivered.

    Having said all that, Alice Troughton's direction, as usual, elevated the opening scenes of a drama beyond any promise it had on paper. The candlelight, the bathing (like a baptism), the white vestiture, the bare feet, the darkness and long shadows and the choral music all gave those early scenes the almost religious reverence of a Holy Grail story that wasn't, in a show that is usually so modern and secular.

    I was also a little discomfited by Arthur's swearing Merlin to secrecy that the quest was not undertaken alone. It just didn't feel honorable. Arthur's character may have deteriorated into a bully and have become kind of thick this season, but at least he has always maintained a very strict Code of Honour. This just didn't seem to fit right.

    On the positive side, Colin does great hiccups and his scene with the Fisher King was beautifully shot and acted, even though, as the denouement of the episode, it really lacked any kind of drama. Something more could have been made of Merlin being the only one to finally offer the Fisher King release from years of pain and torment, but it didn't quite deliver. But I could just watch Colin Morgan act away at nothing (and let's face it -- often times, we usually have to).

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