Season 2 Episode 4

Lancelot and Guinevere

Aired Unknown Oct 10, 2009 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
174 votes

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Episode Summary

Fearsome and cruel outcast Hengist, mistakes Gwen for Morgana and kidnaps her. Arthur and Morgana turn to Uther for help, who refuses to pay the ransom. Defying his father's authority, Arthur goes to Gwen's rescue ready to face all the dangers of an enemy territory and fight for the girl's freedom.

Merlin suspects that Arthur's concern comes from something deeper than a prince's devotion to one of his people and that he cares about Gwen in a personal way. To make matters worse, when Arthur reaches Hengist's castle he finds out that he is not alone in the quest: Lancelot has arrived earlier with the same purpose and powerful feelings between Gwen and Lancelot have been rekindled.

How will Arthur react?

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  • Everything but the actress portaying Gwen

    Everything but the actress portaying Gwen. I mean c'mon, is there nobody more beautiful than that actress? And I read somewhere on the internet that latinas are never near camelot on those times because of some issues on raise. Even lady morgana is not that pretty. Why dont they get actresses from legend of the seaker tv series. Shame on the person screened the actors. It gave the show unrealistic view because King Arthur and Lancelot are fighting over that actress? Why they will fight for her? She never showed very very good trait or talent to cover her mediocre looks. No offense. And Merlin is becoming too skinny. Give that boy some nutritious foods and good and well sleep. But about the show, its very good. I like the first season and still watching this season. Peace!moreless
  • The inevitable romantic triangle episode for Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot effectively paints all three members in a sympathetic but tragic light amidst another buddy-building escapade for Merlin and Arthur while Morgana gets her fire back.moreless

    What Worked:

    The Acting – Angel Coulby was a particular standout in this episode. Her character stood the most to lose if not handled correctly and Coulby sold the desperation, plight, and inner strength of Guinevere exceptionally well. The entire conversation between Arthur and Guinevere consisted of one barely heard "Arthur" when he jumped to the rescue and "Guinevere, time to go!" That's it. The rest of their interaction was intense looks that ranged from longing, to surprise, to sorrow. No dialog required, we saw the relationship played out well by both James and Coulby. When facing down the villain, again "the Queen" makes an appearance and the audience has no doubt she is a force to be reckoned with. Finally, it is her vulnerability that is most touching. Gwen rarely breaks down. In this episode, Coulby shows an emotionally wrung-out Gwen throwing caution to the wind as she grasps for the fantasy relationship with Lancelot. When he leaves her, her loneliness is palpable.

    Arthur the Hero – Arthur really did go on an epic quest to save the woman he loves. Reminiscent of "The Princess Bride", he was not to be denied. Defying his father, he goes on a forced march without sleep, crawls through the Wildren infested tunnels smeared in gia berries, scales the fortress wall, takes out the guards, leaps into a cage with the beast without hesitation, and leads everyone to safety with quick thinking. This is the hero of legend, not Prince Prat. Hope & Crosby (aka Merlin & Arthur) – Comic timing was again spot on with these two this week. The chemistry is extremely comfortable. Merlin's quips are perfect ("Oh, now your just showing off!") and Arthur is clearly treating Merlin as his confident and adventure buddy. Arthur's quick reaction to Merlin's dismay at the "Giant….baby rats..whofeastonhumanflesh" shows how much he needs Merlin with him. He actually apologizes later for risking Merlin's life and most importantly, bears his heart regarding Gwen. Merlin feels Arthur's pain and supports him as best he can. The bond between these two is stronger than ever. No Dummies – One of the more frustrating aspects of TV dramas is when a main character makes a stupid mistake in support of a plot point. This week all the characters were quick thinking. Morgana's escape plan, Gwen's charade, Merlin's insight and Arthur with the berries are all samples of how all characters were shown to good effect. The Setting – Once again Merlin has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to location shoots. Taking full advantage of the treasures of Wales, one wonders if tourism will increase due to "Merlin" akin to the Harry Potter effect for the rest of England. The production details raise the quality of this show to cinematic on a weekly basis. Morgana's confidence – the fire is back and her dedication to her friends is as strong as ever. Her desperate need for Gwen's return, the more caring relationship with Arthur, and her ambiguous relationship with Uther all played out well.

    Partial Success:

    The Triangle of Doom – Although well executed, having yet another overwrought romantic triangle on a TV drama is getting tiresome. Clearly, with this being probably the original literary triangle, ignoring it makes no sense. The question is not, however, who gets the girl (it's Arthur), it's who does Guinevere truly love? In these triangles it's often the character in the middle who suffers from the required ambiguity to keep up suspense. Gwen has been a pragmatic and noble character up to date. "Fickle" is not in her nature. What they did right with this triangle is show that Gwen was clearly still attracted to Arthur but that Lancelot represented an escape from her prison of both the villain and loneliness. Lancelot had those idealist qualities she so admires, he needed her, he adored her, and he is attainable. But the writers give two major hints that this is mostly a fantasy. First, Lancelot's dialog is very poetic and over-the-top. Second, pragmatic Gwen is reacting to extreme duress as she throws caution to the wind and professes she has never had these kind of feelings before. Lancelot's strong approach is a heady experience for Gwen and she is ultimately burned when her exposed feelings are apparently rejected. Does she know why Lancelot left? All she knows is that she put herself out there and is now left to her prison of loneliness with a man (Arthur) who obviously cares but now knows that she was willing to seek her own happiness elsewhere. Merlin's comments that Gwen would wait for Arthur if she felt the same are now haunting Arthur and he is likely to distance himself as he feels rejected. In the end, all characters are sympathetic but keeping it that way is very risky for this show. Let's hope they show Gwen making a clear choice in the end for Arthur (it IS a teatime show and he IS a main character versus guest star). This series does not need a divided fandom.

    Lancelot's need for redemption – While it is reasonable that idealistic Lancelot would have had a hard lesson in life after leaving Camelot, his near suicidal demeanor seemed like a plot device to justify the intensity of the Gwen/Lancelot relationship. Most of his dialog was melodramatic and undermined the reality of the relationship. Perhaps that was the point but it did not serve Lancelot well. Although he claims to be changed by Guinevere, it's not clear what he is going to do different after this incident.

    What Didn't Work:

    Two minor plot holes – Arthur defies his father, again. There appears to be no consequences and no cover story for why Arthur was missing with Merlin for days. A throwaway line about Arthur scouting the extent of the danger, or off on a hunting trip would have been better than just having the audience fill-in-the-blank. The other plot hole was the timeline. The need to cut through the tunnels implied a distance that was inconsistent with the rest of the story. A minor nit but at least the prop department could have filled out that map a bit more rather than "mountains" and "tunnels" to give a sense of distance.

    Overall grade 8.5. If the triangle had to be done, at least it was executed plausibly. Major plus up for the dynamic duo of Merlin and Arthur on their road trip and invoking "The Princess Bride"-class heroics. Points off for risking character consistency to maintain suspense and minor plot holes.moreless
James Cosmo

James Cosmo


Guest Star

Michael Nardone

Michael Nardone


Guest Star

Justin Avoth

Justin Avoth

Sir Robert

Guest Star

Santiago Cabrera

Santiago Cabrera


Recurring Role

John Hurt

John Hurt

Voice of the Great Dragon

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • According to Arthur's map, The Tunnels of Andor go under the Galbraich Mountains.

    • Kendrick wears a piece of jewellery in the shape of jaw. Bradley James found it in Chislehurst Caves when filming episode 1x03 The Mark of Nimueh, and costume team got hold of it. It is the same piece of jewellery that Kanen wears in episode 1x10 The Moment of Truth.

    • Goof: Gwen leaves Camelot in her purple dress but Kendrick forces her to change into Morgana's clothes and she is kept prisoner and returned back to Camelot in the lady's outfit. However, later in the season Gwen recurrently wears her purple dress again.

    • Lancelot tells Gwen: 'Live for me'. Gwen says the same line to Arthur in episode 2x10 Sweet Dreams.

    • Goof: The wilddeoren doesn't bleed or show any external sign of being hurt despite being once and again hit by Arthur and Lancelot's swords. The swords don't show traces of blood either.

    • Goof: In the close up, when Arthur helps Morgana into her horse, her cape falls over his shoulder. In the distance shot that follows, there's a bigger portion of the cape over his shoulder and it's partially turned inside out so the colour of the lining is also visible.

    • Goof: Kendrick holds the curtains of the tent open with both arms as he talks to Morgana and Gwen. However, when he turns around to live, only his right hand is holding the curtains and the left one has been pulled open.

    • Goof: Gwen steals Kendrick's sword and Morgana hits both the blinded guard and Kendrick with it, escaping afterwards sword in hand. In the next take, both the blinded guard and Kendrick follow them, each one carrying a sword, but only the blinded guard should have one.

    • Goof: Arthur wakes Merlin up pouring some water on him. Once Merlin is on his foot and talking to Arthur in front of the tunnels, his clothes are dry.

    • Goof: When Merlin and Arthur get up from washing their faces on the river, Merlin's hair is drier and Arthur's face cleaner than they were right after washing them.

    • Goof: Kendrick bears no sign of the sword cut that Morgana gives him in the woods.

    • Gwen and Lancelot kiss in this episode.

    • Goof: It is very unlikely that Arthur in his armour and chainmail and Merlin who is not fit enough are able to climb up the walls of the castle with the only help of their own physical strength.

    • Goof: Beer cans can be seen on Hengist's table.

    • Goof: Arthur only carries a sword when he jumps into the ring but once there he hands another one to Lancelot.

    • Goof: It doesn't make sense that Hengist and his man lose their time fighting the slow wilddeoren instead of running after Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot and Guinevere.

    • It is not clear how Arthur unchains by his own means the chain that holds the tunnel grate locked.

    • Arthur saves both Gwen and Lancelot's lives in this episode.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Morgana: You look troubled, Gwen.
      Gwen: I'm fine.
      Morgana: You're very secretive these days. I'm beginning to think there's a man involved.
      Gwen: When do I get to meet any decent men?

    • Morgana: I warn you, I'm Uther Pendragon's ward. He'll have your heads if any harm comes to me.
      Kendrick: I have no intention of harming you. At least not yet. You're much more valuable to me alive... Lady Morgana.

    • Morgana: I wish to bathe.
      Kendrick: You wish to bathe?
      Morgana: I am the King's ward, and accustomed to certain standards. I'm sure you are quite contented to stink like a pig, but I'm not.
      Kendrick: The Lady Morgana wishes to bathe. Who wants to help me guard her?

    • (Gwen trips and falls as they are escaping Kendrick's men)
      Morgana: Oh, come on! Put your arm around my shoulder. Come on.
      Gwen: No, no, no. We'll never outrun them. You must go on without me.
      Morgana: I'm not leaving you behind.
      Gwen: Morgana, go, please... You must get help.
      Morgana: Take this (Hands her the sword)
      Gwen: Go!

    • (After Morgana emerges from the woods, safe and sound)
      Arthur: Where's Guinevere?

    • Kendrick: How could you let her escape? Eh? You bring me this servant? She's worthless to us! (Notices one of his men is carrying Morgana's clothes) Put them on.
      Gwen: What are you going to do with me?
      Kendrick: Hengist has never met the Lady Morgana. For all he knows, you could be Uther Pendragon's ward.
      Gwen: I will not impersonate my mistress.
      Kendrick: Then you will die where you stand.

    • Uther: It is such a relief to see you safe. I couldn't bear the thought of anyone harming you.
      Morgana: The bandits still have Gwen.
      Arthur: I believe they were Mercian. We've received reports that Hengist has crossed the border.
      Uther: Hengist?
      Morgana: You must send a rescue party.
      Uther: If Hengist is holding her, it would take a small army to rescue your maid.
      Morgana: We can't abandon her!
      Uther: How many men would you have me sacrifice to save a servant?
      Morgana: As many as it takes! Gwen gave herself up so that I might escape. I owe her my life.
      Uther: She did so willingly and she will be honoured for it.
      Morgana: I don't want her honoured, I want her rescued! She is more than just my maid. She's my friend.
      Uther: A servant is of no value to these bandits. I fear she's dead already.
      Morgana: No! We cannot give up hope. Arthur. I'm begging you. You have to do something.
      Arthur: My father's right. I'm afraid there's nothing we can do.
      Morgana: How can you say that? How can you live with yourselves? All of you!

    • Morgana: How can you be so heartless? Gwen is the most kind, loyal person you'd ever meet and she's been more than a friend to all of us, and you would leave her at the mercy of those animals?
      Arthur: Morgana...
      Morgana: Have you no shame? Do you think of no-one but yourself?
      Arthur: Morgana...
      Morgana: I knew you were many things, Arthur Pendragon, but I didn't know you were a gutless coward.
      Arthur: Morgana! Perhaps if you'd stop shouting at me for one second, you'd notice that I'm packing.
      Morgana: You're going after Gwen?
      Arthur: Of course I'm going after her. What do you take me for? I couldn't disagree with father in public.
      Morgana: Arthur? Bring her home.

    • Gaius: I suppose you and Arthur are going after Gwen?
      Merlin: Gaius, don't even think about telling me not to go. There's nothing you can say that will stop me.
      Gaius: I wasn't going to try and stop you, Merlin. All I ask is you make sure you come back safely, too.
      (They hug)

    • Merlin: (To Arthur who tells him off after he's knocked out some guards he had been ordered to distract) There's just no pleasing you sometimes.

    • Hengist: What is your name?
      Lancelot: My name is Lancelot.
      Hengist: You've proved yourself to be a... skilful warrior. I believe you may even have impressed our royal guest, Lady Morgana.

    • (Merlin falls from his horse)
      Arthur: What are you doing, Merlin?
      Merlin: I must have fallen asleep. Oh, I'm exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open.
      (Arthur pours some water on him)
      Merlin: Thank you. I feel so much better.
      Arthur: Guinevere's life is at stake. We can't afford to waste a second.

    • Lancelot: Gwen?
      Gwen: Lancelot!
      Lancelot: I could not believe my eyes when I saw it was you.
      Gwen: I thought my mind was deceiving me.
      Lancelot: Why does Hengist think you're Lady Morgana?
      Gwen: He believes he's holding Morgana to ransom. When no ransom is paid, he'll realise the truth and then he'll throw me to those beasts.
      Lancelot: I will not allow that to happen.
      Gwen: What are you doing here? Are you one of Hengist's men?
      Lancelot: No.
      Gwen: What became of you after you left Camelot?
      Lancelot: There are few opportunities for men like me, so I've been earning a living the only way that I know, with a sword in my hand. It seems it's my destiny to entertain men like Hengist.
      Gwen: I don't believe that of you. You were so full of hope.
      Lancelot: I was wrong. The world is not like that.
      Gwen: I still see the hope in you. I do not accept it is gone.
      Lancelot: I have thought of you often. Have you thought of me at all?
      Gwen: I thought I'd never see you again.

    • Merlin: Did you get some rest?
      Arthur: Couldn't sleep.
      Merlin: I've never seen you like this about anyone.
      Arthur: What are you talking about?
      Merlin: Gwen. You really care about her, don't you?
      Arthur: What I care about is not wasting any more time talking. Let's get moving.

    • Arthur: We can save a day's riding if we cut through the Tunnels of... Andor.
      Merlin: Oh, no. I know that face. I'm not going to like this, am I? What's in the tunnels?
      Arthur: They're infested with wilddeoren.
      Merlin: What are wilddeoren?
      Arthur: They're like giant... (Notices he is scaring Merlin) rats.
      Merlin: Baby rats? They don't sound so bad.
      Arthur: They feast on human flesh.
      Merlin: Maybe we should go over the mountains?

    • Merlin: (Terrified as they advance through the caves) I just stood on something.
      Arthur: That was my foot.
      Merlin: Oh, sorry.

    • Lancelot: I was terrified I might find your cell empty.
      Gwen: There's been no word from Uther. I fear Hengist is growing suspicious.
      Lancelot: You must keep up the pretence. I will not allow you to die here.
      Gwen: What about you?
      Lancelot: I have little to live for.
      Gwen: Do not say that.
      Lancelot: It's the truth. For all my words, for all that I believed, I've come to nothing.
      Gwen: You are everything that is right with this world.
      Lancelot: I did not know you felt that way.
      Gwen: I didn't even know I could... feel this way about someone.
      Lancelot: Then you have given me a reason to live. Be ready. I'll come for you before nightfall.

    • Merlin: Were you trying to get us both killed?
      Arthur: I'm sorry. I shouldn't have risked your life like that.
      Merlin: Well, they do say love makes you do strange things.
      Arthur: What are you talking about?
      Merlin: Why can't you just admit your feelings for Gwen? It's so obvious a blind man could see it. Is it really that hard to admit you like her? Just say it!
      Arthur: I can't. How can I admit that I think about her all the time? Or that I care about her more than anyone? How can I admit that I don't know what I'll do if any harm comes to her?
      Merlin: Why can't you?
      Arthur: Because nothing can ever happen between us. To admit my feelings, knowing that... hurts too much.
      Merlin: Who's to say nothing can happen?
      Arthur: My father won't let me rescue a servant. Do you honestly believe he'd let me marry one?
      Merlin: You want to marry Gwen?
      Arthur: No! No, I don't know. It's all talk, and that's all it can ever be.
      Merlin: When you're king, you can change that.
      Arthur: I can't expect Guinevere to wait for me.
      Merlin: If she feels as you do, she'll wait for you.

    • (After Arthur has confessed his feelings for Gwen)
      Arthur: Merlin... if you dare tell anyone about this, I promise I will make your life a living hell.
      Merlin: You mean more than you already do?
      Arthur: Yeah.

    • Lancelot: Follow this tunnel. It will take you out beyond the castle walls. I will buy you as much time as I can.
      Gwen: I'm not leaving you.
      Lancelot: You must.
      Gwen: No. I will not leave you here to die.
      Lancelot: I would die for you one hundred times over. Live for me, or everything that I am has been for nothing.
      (They kiss)
      Gwen: As long as I live, my feelings for you will never fade.

    • Arthur: We'll have to scale the walls.
      Merlin: Maybe there's another way in.
      Arthur: Why don't you go and knock on the front gate? I'm sure if you ask nicely, they'll hand Guinevere over to you.

    • Hengist: Before you die, I can promise you the most unimaginable pain.
      Lancelot: You can do what you will with me. I do not care. You can do no harm to Guinevere.
      Hengist: Oh! Was that her name? Huh? A serving girl. And you really believe she's worth dying for?
      Lancelot: She is worth more to me than you will ever understand.
      (Gwen is brought into the ring)
      Hengist: You thought she'd got away? No! You've failed her, and (mocking him) that must hurt you more than I will ever understand.

    • (As they sit in the ring tied to each other waiting to be killed)
      Gwen: I'm sorry. This is my fault.
      Lancelot: You have nothing to be sorry for. You reminded me of who I am. I will die with faith in my heart. That is worth more than anything.

    • Arthur: What are you doing here, Lancelot?
      Lancelot: I came to save Gwen. What about you?
      Arthur: Likewise.

    • Lancelot: Take Guinevere, I will hold them off.
      Gwen: No!
      Arthur: (Grabbing her arm and dragging her along) Guinevere, we have to go.

    • (After Merlin performs some magic)
      Lancelot: I see you're still up to your old tricks, Merlin.
      Merlin: It's probably best you don't tell anyone about that.

    • Lancelot: I am surprised you would undertake such a rescue mission with just the two of you.
      Arthur: Father would not risk the lives of his knights for a servant.
      Lancelot: And yet you disobeyed him and came here anyway?
      Arthur: Truth is, I only came because Morgana begged me.
      Gwen: (Disappointed) I think I'll get some rest.

    • Lancelot: Is it true that Arthur came to rescue Gwen because Morgana begged him?
      (Merlin keeps silent and looks down)
      Lancelot: He has feelings for her, doesn't he?
      Merlin: What about you? Do you have feelings for Gwen?
      Lancelot: My feelings do not matter. I will not come between them. Tell Gwen... tell Gwen that she has changed me forever... but some things cannot be.

    • Merlin: Look on the bright side. You've still got me.
      Arthur: Is that supposed to cheer me up?
      Merlin: Thought it might.
      Arthur: You really are a complete idiot, aren't you, Merlin?

  • NOTES (21)

    • Also Known As:
      France: Lancelot et Guenièvre.
      Germany: Lancelot Und Guinevere.
      Italy: Lancillotto e Ginevra.
      Poland: Lancelot i Ginewra.
      Portugal: Lancelot e Guinevere.
      Spain: Lanzarote y Ginebra.
      Ukraine: Ланцелот і Гвен.

    • International Air Dates:
      Australia: May 16, 2010 on Ten.
      Canada: October 2nd, 2010 on Space.
      France: February 28, 2010 on Canal + Family.
      Germany: January 12, 2011 on RTL.
      Italy: January 16, 2010 on Italia 1.
      Malaysia: December 27, 2009 on TV3.
      Poland: September 25, 2010 on Polsat.
      Spain: February 20, 2010 on Neox.
      Turkey: December 27, 2009 on CNBC-e.
      USA: April 23, 2010 on Syfy.

    • This is Angel Coulby's series two favourite episode.

    • Bradley James and Colin Morgan recorded an audio commentary for this episode.

    • Bradley James was pranked by a naked crew member who took over from Colin Morgan carrying the target down the stairs.

    • The horse that Morgana rides is Cora, the one that Colin Morgan usually rides. It is well known for remaining still no matter what. When the ambush occurs, the horse can be seen stuck in the middle of the road even though there are people fighting and girls screaming around.

    • The barrel that Merlin makes roll to distract the guards was attached to a remote control, that's why it looks like it's somehow walking.

    • The conversations between and Lancelot and Gwen when she is kept captive at Hengist's castle were shot in two different locations: when Lancelot kneels down at a corridor that's Caerphilly Castle, but when they talk through the grid, that's the studio set in Cardiff.

    • The scar on Santiago Cabrera's cheek is meant to suggest the kind of mercenary life he has been living ever since he left Camelot.

    • The gaia berries were a mixture of shower gel and jam.

    • A stick with goo was used to simulate the drool left by the wilddeoren on Merlin's face.

    • According to Bradley James, who is a James Bond fan, the poisonous string trick is used in You Only Live Twice.

    • The scene where Arthur and Merlin observe Hengist's castle and decide on the best way to enter was filmed at a park in Cardiff.

    • The scene where Arthur and Merlin climb up the walls of Hengist's castle was filmed at the studio sets in Cardiff. The actors stood beside a wall and crawled on a green screen. CGI was used to make it appear actual climbing.

    • Bradley James' stunt was used for the scene where Arthur jumps inside the cage.

    • The scene where Arthur and Lancelot fight the wilddeoren was filmed with Andreas Petrides, the stunt coordinator, doing the part of the beast. He was charging at the actors under a blue bag which was the actors' eye line and target.

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales (Studio sets).
      Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, Coleford, Gloucestershire (Tunnels of Andor - Inside and tunnel escape from Hengist's castle).
      Three Bears Caves, Forest Fawr (Heol-y-fforest), Tongwynlais, UK (Tunnels of Andor – Outside).
      Caerphilly Castle, Castle Street, Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan, Wales (Hengist's Castle).
      River Ely (Afon Elai), near The Chestnuts, Miskin (Meisgyn), Wales, UK (Stream where Morgana bathes and river bank where she fights Kendrick. Also river bank where Arthur and Merlin talk about Arthur's feelings for Gwen and stream where they clean off the gaia berries from their faces).

      Caerphilly Castle mainly built between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare and it's the largest castle in Wales. Its great hall was used as the main filming location. It fell into disrepair in the 16th century but in the 18th century, the first Marquess of Bute and his descendants began preserving and restoring it.

    • The Great Dragon does not appear in this episode, but John Hurt is credited (for the voice-over which begins the episode).

    • Broadcasts:
      Sat 10 Oct 2009 at 18:15-19:00 on BBC One.
      Mon 12 Oct 2009 at 19:00-19:45 on BBC Three.
      Fri 16 Oct 2009 at 20:00-20:45 on BBC Three.

    • A working title for this episode was The Friendship Rescue.

    • Santiago Cabrera retakes the role of Lancelot after he first appeared in the season 1 episode 05 Lancelot.