Season 3 Episode 8

The Eye Of The Phoenix

Aired Unknown Oct 30, 2010 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
171 votes
  • A Brilliant episode that offers a taste of what's to come!

    There are so many fantastic elements to this episode.
    First the quest itself. A journey to the fisher king to take his trident, going through the perilous lands; it doesn't get much more Arthurian. Then you have all the great characters like the guy at the bridge, who knows way more than he's telling. His character totally takes the episode up a notch, him and the fisher king of course. The fisher king offers Merlin a warning to the future that we all know is coming, its great that a long term story arc is being referenced here.

    Then you have the return of GAWAIN!!! Who apparently acts as strength while Arthur is courage and Merlin is magic; obvious but i still like it. Not to mention the relationship of Gawain and Merlin, somehow it feels as though it will rival that of arthur and merlin.

    Then you have lovely Gwen. Finally! She sees Morgana (who is such an awesome character) in action and doubts begin to set in. Nice that the future queen is even more in arthur and merlin's corner now. There's romance, action, adventure, and comedy. This could have been a two hour episode if they had wanted to. This one really sets the bar, i can't wait to see what's next!
  • A solid episode, the feeling of plot advancement is present that is so often lacking.

    This episode is one of those few precious episodes reminding you that the show is of Arthurian legend, not a random quirky medieval drama (admittedly that's not so bad). This episode features a quest which draws one of the knights of the round (you already know) back in to the light, and Merlin obtains a relic tied to Avalon. This quest however is not nearly so important as Gwen's new understanding of Morgana, and I say this because there is no going back from that. For a show with so many filler episodes (episodes that have no consequence) this is a very bold move.

    Now, nitpicks and downsides.

    [Spoilers Ahead]

    1.) Arthur technically cheated his quest, which was in all honesty ridiculously easy. Without the stone it wouldn't have even remotely been a challenge, it was close by (close enough to not require he take rations with him) and since apparently it's possible to stave off a wyvern with as much as a glancing sword across its scales.

    2.) Gawain has almost no role when it comes down to it. He stabs the wyvern, that inexplicably decides to ignore Merlin's command as Dragonlord. That's it. He is a fighter who doesn't fight, so despite his charm, I don't understand why I even saw him.

    3.) The eye of the phoenix is physical proof of morgana's sorcery, that, merlin's knowledge of her nightly expeditions, and gwen's observation ought to be enough to get her banished. But let's not have that get in the way of the ridiculously repetitive "morgana tries to betray camelot" plot creation tool.

    4.) As far as I can tell, the fact that he completed this quest has had no impact. Arthur was not forced to change in character, and the kingdom will likely say "grand" the trident will never be seen again and the task forgotten.

    Why is it all other reviews are always 10's? It was slightly better than a filler episode and by that I mean it was a 6-7. The best episodes there have been were the ones leading up to and the release of the dragon, and the siege of camelot by the undead (3rd season premier). Those were the only 9's and 10's.
  • Arthur must choose a quest to prove himself. Who would have guessed that he's pick the most difficult? And who would have guessed that Morgana would try something? But much is unstereotypical and despite my earlier comments, I loved it.

    I absolutely loved this ep.
    All the tavern jokes made me laugh so hard.
    I loved the whole twisted idea about whose quest it really was, and the "courage, strength and magic" thing. And the fisherking scene.
    Arthur's face when he reached into that spidery hole was asolutely epic.
    Morgana was seriously creepy and katie mcgrath carried it off well. I loved the scene where she drops her goblet and thatt tone "I'm so happy". Sent shivers down my spine!
    The Morgana/Gwen scenes! I saw them before the ep because of utube user rosetyler11 and i was like "No! It can't be!"
    And Gaius' response to Gwen!
    Such a change in the series. Their friendship will never be the same. I can't wait to see what Gwen says to Morgana in ep 11. This was amazing. It was scary (a bit), exciting and funny at times (with a guest appearance of Willow from Willow! [Gretia]). I find myself again wanting to make refrence to the tavern jokes XD
    I still remember the end of episode "Gwaine" with Arthur and Merlin pushing eachother and i absolutely loved his reaction to being rescued in this. Arthur: What the hell are you doing here!? How many times do I have to get it into your thick skull; I am doing this ALONE. (Gwaine appears and saves them) Great! This just gets better and better. Are Gwen and Morgana here too? Are we going to have a surprise party?
    Gwaine: More Wyverns on the way.
    Arthur: I'm not leaving without the trident. It was the whole point of this quest.
    Merlin: Do you want us to help you or do you want to do this ALONE?
    Arthur: MERLIN!!!
    ...And the whole treasure hunt thing...
    And Gwaine's smartass comment when Arthur says he has to put his hand in the spidery hole, then hesitates.
    Gwaine: Come on then. DOn't be such a princess.

    I loved this ep and I thinkk Ive watched it twice :)
  • Pure Awesome!!!!

    One of my absolute favorite episodes to watch this season, and my family strongly agrees.

    Gwaine has to be my favorite new character. I am happy to see Merlin get a friend who truly cares for him. The two of them together make quite the comedic pair, and the humor between them is good in the show.

    This episode reveals just how much Morgana has changed by trying to kill Arthur directly. I was happy to see Merlin use his dragonlord powers again against dragonlike creatures, and also await curiously to find out what the significance of the water from the lake of Avalon is . All in all it was an awesome episode, and the scenes between Gwaine and Merlin ruled the screen.
  • A marvelous Arthurian Quest episode with plenty of action, drama, and comedy. A little more post-mortem about the events was all that was missing in an otherwise exceptional episode.

    What Worked:

    The Trio: Courage, Strength, and Magic – Juxtaposed against the insistence that the Quest be accomplished alone, the real lesson of the Quest was that each of these heroes need each other to be successful. They worked well as a team, excitement escalated when they were united and success seemed a foregone conclusion. Grettir – Warwick Davis was pitch perfect as the mysterious keeper of the bridge. What WAS his real role? How was he connected to the Fisher King? There were many unanswered questions but he was a delight to watch.

    Fisher King/Merlin handoff – One of the most thrilling moments in the entire series as Merlin is reminded again that the time of The Once and Future King is near and that he Merlin is essential. Clearly the Fisher King is handing off responsibility for the land to Merlin. The Fisher King hands Merlin an awesome responsibility and Merlin acts with extreme reverence for the man who stayed alive until the time was right. The way Merlin solemnly kneels to place the Eye of the Phoenix on the King's wrist heartbreaking.

    Gwen Figures It Out – Gwen has always been very sharp and it doesn't take long for her to have the veil lifted from her eyes and see the manipulations of Morgana and what it means. There is a nicely played tension between Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath as the former friends now lie to each other without hesitation.

    Partial Success:

    The Quest – It makes sense that a successor to the throne prove his valor and the reverence which Arthur initially approaches the task is understandable. Even better, it is clear that his Quest was "inspired" by The Fisher King himself. As Grettir said, it was no coincidence that Arthur chose the path. Conversely, when the story shifted the Quest to be really for Merlin to get the vial of water from the Lake of Avalon it is both a compelling plot twist but it trivializes Arthur's Quest. With a little more exposition or post-mortem between Merlin and Arthur, Arthur could have explained that getting a trinket was not the value of the Quest but the instead it was overcoming obstacles and in the end learning to accept the help of others. Arthur certainly did not seem bothered about not revealing Merlin's presence to Uther so it seems he came to peace with what happened. But the audience needed to hear that and hear why rather than fill in the blanks.

    The Perilous Lands – The CGI of what looked like Barad-dûr was very impressive, as were the wyvern and the desolate waste. On the other hand, the unexplained orange light as Arthur trudged through the wasteland made no sense and was a bit distracting. When the lighting was more natural on the next day, this distraction was removed.

    Another Bar Fight? – *Insert Comedic Moment Here* was a little too obvious with yet another bar brawl associated with Gwaine. Yes it was fun and yes it broke up the serious tone of the episode but this was a bit hackneyed to be part of an otherwise excellent episode. What Didn't Work:

    Switching of Episode Order – This episode was originally supposed to air AFTER the events of The Queen of Hearts. It's placement before does provide a nice bit of gravitas mid-season but ultimately it throws out logical progression for Gwen in her relationship with both Arthur and Morgana. In Queen of Hearts Gwen starts to suspect Morgana, confirming her suspicions with the events of Eye of the Phoenix would have been more logical. Further, Arthur kisses Gwen in a lovely matter-of-fact way that makes more sense after they have committed themselves to the relationship per the events of Queen of Hearts. Overall grade 9.5. The Arthurian legend epic Quest, the Fisher King's talk with Merlin, Grettir, and the Trio were a rich treat for a mid-season episode. The muddying of the purpose of the Quest and the trite bar brawl took away from what was a superior episode.

    Upon Second Look Review: Switching EP 8 and EP 10 (Eye of the Phoenix and Queen of Hearts) really was not a good decision. Yes, it provides a more significant episode mid-season versus keeping all the development near the end but they needed to rework the approach to Gwen's scenes if they were going to make such a continuity change. Further, the water in the vial ultimately seemed to be less important. It seemed only a means to an end – to get back Excalibur. Perhaps a little more emphasis on the need to have Excalibur to break the spell over the Immortal Army in EP13 would have been a better payoff. Again, it's left as an exercise for the fan to decide that knocking the Cup of Life over with just any sword would probably not do. It had to be something that could kill the undead (i.e. Excalibur). Ultimately, while the episode was good fun and seemed very important at the time, it loses a little something as the events are not fully savored in the episode or later in the series.
  • I love Gwaine and I enjoyed every episode with him. This one was especially great. Gwaine's relationship with Merlin shows how Merlin and Arthur should be around each other by now.

    I love Gwaine and I enjoyed every episode with him. This one was especially great. Gwaine's relationship with Merlin shows how Merlin and Arthur should be around each other by now. When they finally could enter the throne room after Merlin, it was very heartwarming how Gwaine gave Merlin a friendly hug. I think that was how Merlin was hoping Arthur would be to him. But Arthur is acting like his usual prat self. That is who he is after all. But I think the moment when he will resolve and show Merlin some real friendship will come eventually ... don't you? :)
  • The Eye Of The Phoenix

    The Eye Of The Phoenix was a perfect episode of Merlin. I really enjoyed watching this episode with all of the mixed plots. Some times the acting seems a little unbelievable, however it did not detract from the over all success of this episode. There was a lot of suspense, and the best part is we were shown a little of the best of some and worst of some. The scenes throw you off and you think you know what will happen, and maybe it will, or maybe not either way you will enjoy watching it. I look forward to finding out what happens next!!!!
  • The most important quest so far.

    Just like "The Crystal Cave" (with which it shares the director), this episode is flawless at many points. It possesses slow development which is by good cutting, astounding photography and superb acting turned into an asset. The episode does not drag, nor does it haste. As I said, just like in "The Crystal Cave".

    The episode touches upon the theme of Quest, one of the key figures in any mythologies. The Fisher King theme also belongs to the world of Arthuriana: a weak, impotent king whose land is dying, and who can be only saved by the Holy Grail/Cauldron of Plenty. But here it is reversed (like many things in 'Merlin') - it is the Fisher King who relinquishes painful life for the sake of future generations. He is played with great dignity, and the conversation between him and Merlin is epic, foreshadowing many things that are yet to come. I can't help noticing that his kingdom is Tolkienesque, with his kingdom resembling Mordor, and his tower resembling Barad-dur.

    Morgana is excellent in this episode, and so is the whole plot with Guinevere finding out. If anything, the writers know how to pull an intelligent reveal, and that's refreshing. I hope that some hints of 'strength' and 'magic' going together with 'courage' are really hints for another reveal.
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