Merlin

Season 2 Episode 12

The Fires of Idirsholas

10
Aired Unknown Dec 12, 2009 on BBC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
165 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

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When the Fires of Idirsholas burn for the first time in 300 years, Gaius fears it heralds the return of the Knights of Medhir. Morgause has returned, hell-bent on ending Uthur's reign.

Arthur and Merlin ride out to confront the Knights but barely escape with their lives. But when they return to Camelot, they find out that eveyone except for Morgana is under a strange enchanment. Is she behind this new magical threat?

As Morgause and the Knights attack a helpless kingdom, Merlin finds his loyalties stretched to the limit.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Morgana continues her downward spiral to evildom!

    9.0
    A very dramatic episode! I have to take my hat off to Colin Morgan who continues to impress me with his ability to interpret emotional scenes with talent far beyond his acting years. This episode was full of suspense as the battled the dead knights, and fought to stay hidden. There were lots of great scenes between Morgana, Merlin, and Arthur.



    My favorite part was where Arthur leaves to fight on a suicide mission, and Merlin is left to break the spell (by poisoning Morgana)I was crushed by the characters expressions as Merlin held Morgana as she lay dying. Great acting!



    Altogether it was a superb episode.moreless
  • Tremendous episode that wasn't afraid to burn some bridges. Wonderful acting and writing, combined with some momentous decision for the characters, make this one of the best ever.

    10
    This was a fantastic Merlin episode. One of the best of both series so far. It did what few TV shows are willing to do - it burned some bridges. There is now no going back for Morgana, the Great Dragon, or Merlin. The decisions they made in this episode will resonate throughout the rest of the show's run (and may it be a long one). The format has been seriously shaken up by these events - no more dragon in the dungeon dishing out advice and no more Morgana at court. This is courageous, but necessary for a show to have longevity.



    To have your hero try to murder one of his friends, but still have the audience sympathise with him, requires quality writing and acting. This episode had plenty of both.



    The build up has been well worked. Merlin knows that Morgana has plotted against Uther twice. He knows the prophecies say she will kill Arthur. He knows she has magic that she is keeping secret. He knows the spell on Camelot is coming from her. Yet he still desperately tries to save her. He deflects Arthur's natural suspicions while his own grow by the minute. He keeps trying to rescue the situation until they (particularly Arthur) are literally facing death and destruction. So by the time Merlin has to kill Morgana the audience totally understands his dilemma and his pain. He has no choice, yet he does not want to do it. The scene where he gives Morgana the poison then holds her as she is dying is wonderfully played, particularly by Colin Morgan, without a word being spoken.



    The black knights were suitably menacing, albeit very reminiscent of the Nazgul even down to the story or their origins. Morgause makes a wonderful opponent. She has an interesting backstory to explore, and there is light to her shade - both essential ingredients for an excellent bad-guy. There were some great dramatic vignettes that will stay with you - Arthur and the knights entering the creepy courtyard of Idirsholas, the black knights riding towards Camelot, a silent Camelot littered with its sleeping residents, the dragon flying free.



    There were some great moments between Arthur and Merlin. Arthur's desperate urging to Merlin to save himself in the first battle with the knights. Arthur dressing Merlin's first battle wound. Arthur's appreciation of Merlin's ideas. Arthur's 'farewell' words as he went into what he assumed would be his last battle - light hearted on the face of it, but conveying a world of meaning. And of course the long overdue and well deserved slap in the face.



    The final scene where Merlin frees the Dragon will, of course, have long lasting consequences. His decision seems madness, given the vision he got from the crystal in the previous episode, but again this shows how far ahead the writers plan these arcs. The Great Dragon's advice has saved Arthur and Camelot many times. The dragon extracted a price for this some time ago - the promise of freedom - and he intended to call in that debt or stop helping Merlin. On this occasion, again, his advice saved Camelot. Merlin had had to give the dragon a solemn oath to get that help, and was honour bound to keep it.



    The dragon was the supreme manipulator in all of this. He told Merlin that Morgana was the living vessel maintaining the spell - which was true. He didn't tell him that she didn't know this - something that might have made Merlin hesitate to kill her. He also didn't tell Merlin about Morgause's part in the plot. He engineered his own release and, almost, Morgana's death. A good day for him.



    Overall this was a brilliantly written and acted episode that built up a level of threat and maintained the tension throughout. Let us hope that the finale can live up to the standards set by this episode.moreless
  • A very dark episode where Merlin makes two choices that permanently changes the dynamic of the series. Excellent drama with just a enough lightness and buddy humor to make this highly entertaining.moreless

    9.5
    What Worked:



    Merlin's Choice – Merlin makes a heartbreaking choice to murder Morgana and is saved from actually killing her by negotiating with Morgause to cease the attack and save the girl. This is a choice that was well setup over the course of both Series. In Series 1 Merlin learned Morgana was willing to kill Uther. In Series 2 he learned not only was she prepared to let other's die for her (The Nightmare Begins) but also actively betray Camelot (The Witch's Quickening). Despite these dark acts, Merlin still has a hard time believing Morgana is fully responsible for what is happening, she isn't but he doesn't know that for sure, and yet he knows that somehow killing her will break the enchantment. His tears as he pours the poison into the water flask for her to drink show just how hard this is for him. The one flaw was to fail and ask her forgiveness even as he was killing her. He did cradle her but she was left with knowing he betrayed her and this has far-reaching consequences for future Series.



    Merlin/Arthur – The bromance was in full force as Arthur praised Merlin over his first battle wound, his quick thinking, and his general bravery. When Arthur goes out on what appears to be a suicide mission, his comments to Merlin about potentially having Merlin as his servant in the next life shows just how much Arthur values Merlin and Merlin knows it. Freeing the Dragon – Again a well-established arc that sets up the finale brilliantly. Merlin is clever, but not more than a Dragon and he was ultimately given a Hobson's choice to fulfill his promise – take it or leave it. Either release the Dragon or let Arthur and company get killed. Merlin tries to get some reassurances but between the future vision and the well-broadcasted intent of vengeance by the Dragon, Merlin knows Camelot has gone from the frying pan literally into the fire. Yet, Merlin also knows he is going to fight these battles one at a time and still retains hope that he will figure a way out of this conundrum.



    Tragic Morgana – Katie McGrath did a good job of making us feel her inner conflict. She is not a cackling evil witch. She wants Uther dead but when faced with the consequences, she does not take the final step and do the job herself. What ultimately stops her from telling the truth, however, is self-preservation. Whereas Merlin, Arthur, Gaius, Gwen (Lancelot and Guinevere), and even Uther (Excalibur) have willing entered into a situation where they are willing to give their lives for someone else, Morgana has never done this except for potentially Mordred. Even then, she didn't offer to trade her life for his but instead take punishment. Morgana is not a coward but she also is not prepared to willingly sacrifice herself to save others. She had to know she was a catalyst in the events, Morgause as much as told her, even if she didn't understand what magic was at work. Still, she demonstrated real concern for Arthur and appreciation for Merlin. While her relationship with Merlin is probably severed, her relationship with Arthur still has some room to explore.



    Uther's Weekend At Bernie's – A light-hearted bit in an otherwise dark episode came with the "drag the king around the castle" bit. It was a joy to see Arthur, Merlin, and Morgana working together and Anthony Head was a good sport for letting his body be flung around as it was. Even better, the gag worked well with the plot. The king was the target so dragging him around made sense.



    Partial Success:



    Morgause – Her manipulation of Morgana seemed inconsistent with her previous commitment to "honor". Perhaps in "Sins of the Father" that aspect of her personality was all an act, but it seemed like she was not just a dark sorcerer. In this episode, her choice to use Morgana without explaining Morgana's role was manipulative. Morgana was left in the dark and thought the knight was going to kill her. So, while Morgana "chose" to be on Morgause's side, Morgause did not fully trust her with the plan. Conversely, Morgause's willingness to abandon her plan to save Morgana was touching and does demonstrate more depth of character than her earlier actions suggest.



    What Didn't Work:



    Lack of Gwen – Gwen was always a stalwart in Morgana's life. Morgana left Gwen on the cold floor and hid. She showed none of the concern and friendship that had her begging Uther to rescue Gwen in EP 4. Further, when Arthur reported Morgana still missing, having Gwen's reaction would have made sense. She once called Morgana the only family she had. Prior to last week's episode, Gwen and Morgana appeared to be best friends. Last week and this week was a major regression on that relationship for no apparent reason. This was a missed opportunity to allow some meaty dramatic acting between Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath. Overall grade 9.5. A very dramatic episode with most of the characters served well under very difficult circumstances. Manipulation of Morgana by Morgause and the apparent abandonment of the Gwen/Morgana relationship are detracting to an otherwise spectacular and significant episode.moreless
  • Tremendous writing on behalf of all involved; a triumph of modern television.

    9.5
    I find it refreshing that the writers still manage to tactfully add humor to the otherwise seemingly hopeless atmosphere of episodes such as this - Merlin trying to wake Gaius was hilarious!



    Perhaps after this episode Arthur will learn to take Merlin's words to heart more often, and dare I say, trust his judgment a bit more. In any case, I think the bond they share grows tremendously after the events play out.



    On a final note--truly an EPIC ending. I wasn't sure whether or not it would go that way. Bravo to the writers on another excellent episode. I pray (almost certainly correctly) that we have not seen the last of Morgause.moreless
Jem Wall

Jem Wall

Joseph

Guest Star

John Hurt

John Hurt

Voice of the Great Dragon

Recurring Role

Emilia Fox

Emilia Fox

Morgause

Recurring Role

Rupert Young

Rupert Young

Sir Leon

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (16)

    • Goof: Before Merlin frees the dragon he walks down some stairs in the cave where the dragon is held captive. In earlier episodes, there aren't any stairs for Merlin to walk down to save in episode 2x07 The Witchfinder, where they can be glimpsed briefly.

    • Both Morgana and Morgause have telepathy.

    • Footage from episode 2x08 The Sins of the Father is used in the scene when Arthur and Merlin return to Camelot after the fight at Idirsholas (the corresponding scene in 2x08 being the one when they return to Camelot after Arthur's meeting with Ygraine).

    • Goof: The explanation that Merlin makes up as to why Morgana isn't affected by the enchantment doesn't make sense. Merlin says that when she started feeling sick Gaius gave her a potion. She was one of the last to be affected and the potion helped. Then Arthur asks what about everyone else and Merlin replies that by then Gaius was too ill and couldn't treat anyone else. But if Morgana was one of the last to be affected, then Gaius would certainly have had the chance to treat others first. Either Colin Morgan said "last to be affected" when he meant "first to be affected" or the script doesn't make sense at all.

    • Goof: The man in the cart is resting in a different position when he first arrives to Camelot and when Merlin checks out down to the square from the window.

    • Goof: When the dragon is released and flies free, there's no trace of the piece of chain that he should carry attached to his leg.

    • Goof: When Merlin is trying to wake Gaius up and casts the water spell, Gaius closes his eyes and mouth briefly as the water drops on his face.

    • The Knights of Medhir are 7 of Camelot's Knights who 300 years ago were seduced by a sorcerer's call and succumbed to her power becoming a terrifying and brutal force under her command. It was only when the sorceress was killed that they turned still.

    • It is not explained how Morgause manages to leave the silver box with the message for Morgana on her windowsill.

    • Goof: When Arthur and Merlin ride out of the castle and when they are back to Camelot, it is clearly stunts doing the riding. Colin Morgan's stunt in particular has a noticeably longer hair than the actor himself.

    • Goof: When Arthur checks Merlin's arm cut, there's a decent amount of blood on it. However, Merlin's shirt is not stained at all.

    • Goof: When Arthur drops Uther's head on the table, it rests squarely on a sheet of paper. However, when Arthur leaves the room, Uther's head rests only partly on the paper.

    • Goof: Gaius is resting in a different position when he is first found sleeping at his desk and when Merlin tries to wake him up later on.

    • Goof: As Merlin goes through the magic book trying to find a spell to wake Gaius up, his right hand shifts from being on the side of his head to being on the book between takes.

    • Hemlock, the poison that Merlin gives to Morgana, comes from poisonous plants in the Apiaceae family.

    • The Great Dragon is released by Merlin. The sword of one of the Knights of Medhir is needed to make it possible, since the blade has been conjured by the Old Religion and Merlin can harness its power and channel it to get the strength to break the chain.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Gaius: Some 300 years ago, seven of Camelot's knights were seduced by a sorcerer's call. One by one, they succumbed to her power. At her command, they became a terrifying and brutal force that rode through the lands leaving death and destruction in their wake.
      Merlin: What happened?
      Gaius: It was only after the sorcerer herself was killed that the Knights of Medhir finally grew still. Merlin, if what Joseph says is true, then something has awoken them. And I fear for each and every one of us.

    • Arthur: What is it, Merlin? Don't tell me you've been listening to Gaius' bedtime stories again.
      Merlin: I just hope that's all they are.

    • Morgause: You do not seem happy. Why's that?
      Morgana: I would be, if I didn't have to pretend.
      Morgause: Pretend?
      Morgana: That I am Uther's loving ward... when I hate him.
      Morgause: Have you ever imagined a new world, Morgana? One where Uther was no more?
      Morgana: Sometimes.
      Morgause: And is that what you'd like?
      Morgana: I once had the chance to be his assassin.
      Morgause: And what stopped you?
      Morgana: I don't know. I believed he cared for me. But not any more. He cares for no one.

    • Morgause: So you want Uther destroyed and his reign to end?
      Morgana: More than anything. But it doesn't matter what I want. The future is not of my making.
      Morgause: You are wrong, Morgana. You underestimate your importance. The decisions you make now will change the shape of everything that is to come.
      Morgana: What do you mean?
      Morgause: Whose side are you on, Morgana? Are you with Uther, or are you with me? Are you prepared to help me bring about his downfall?
      Morgana: I am.
      Morgause: I can't tell you how much it means to hear you say that.

    • Merlin: What's that noise?
      Arthur: What noise?
      Merlin: A sort of trembling sound.
      Arthur: That's your knees knocking together.

    • Arthur: Your first battle wound. Here (Starts ripping his shirt)
      Merlin: No. No, don't... you'll ruin it!
      Arthur: Don't worry (Arthur bandages Merlin's arm with the strip of shirt) You can mend it.

    • Arthur: Where's my father?
      Morgana: I don't know.
      Merlin: Arthur, she's distressed!
      Arthur: If she was awake then she must've seen something.
      Morgana: I didn't see anything.
      Arthur: You saw people getting sick. What did you do?
      Morgana: What could I do?
      Arthur: Morgana, I don't understand. Why is it that you're the only person awake?
      (She looks scared and confused)

    • Merlin: Don't worry, I won't say anything.
      Morgana: About what?
      Merlin: The illness.
      Morgana: That has nothing to do with me!
      Merlin: Of course not, but you have magic.
      Morgana: You haven't told anyone that?
      Merlin: No. And I won't tell Arthur, but... there must be something keeping you safe. And I think that must be it.
      Morgana: Right.

    • Arthur: You're the only one who's not been affected, Morgana. There must be a reason.
      Morgana: I don't know.
      Arthur: That's all you keep saying. You must know something.
      Morgana: No! They just fell asleep, one by one!
      Merlin: (Making it up to protect Morgana) It's obvious. When she started feeling sick, Gaius gave her a potion, right?
      Arthur: When was she sick? She never said that.
      Merlin: She was one of the last to be affected. Somehow the potion must've helped.
      Arthur: What about everyone else?
      Merlin: By then Gaius was too ill. He didn't have the chance to treat anyone else.

    • Arthur: We're under attack. No time to explain. (To Merlin) Grab his legs, carry him.
      (Uther is too heavy and his backside is touching the floor as they carry him)
      Arthur: You're not meant to be sweeping the floor with him! Pick his feet up.
      Merlin: His feet aren't the problem.

    • Arthur: We can't leave him here. We have to lift him onto the bed.
      Merlin: Why? He's asleep. He's not going to know.
      Arthur: Merlin!
      Merlin: Well... I'll get him a pillow.
      Arthur: He's the King!
      Merlin: All right, two pillows.

    • Arthur: We must keep my father hidden.
      Merlin: Why don't we disguise him?
      Arthur: That might just work.
      Merlin: We could dress him as a woman.
      Arthur: That, on the other hand...
      Merlin: We could dress him as a servant.
      Arthur: That's better.

    • The Great Dragon: You always say the same thing. 'Help me' And yet you refuse to give anything in return. Now you will face the consequence of that decision. Camelot's end is nigh and there's nothing you can do about it.
      Merlin: I know, I promised to free you. And I will.
      (The Great Dragon laughs)
      Merlin: I will, I promise!
      The Great Dragon: I no longer trust your promises.
      Merlin: I swear on my mother's life.
      The Great Dragon: Careful what you say.
      Merlin: You have to help me. Please!
      The Great Dragon: Her life matters more to you than your own. This is an oath I believe you will honour.
      Merlin: I will.

    • The Great Dragon: It will need more than just words to break this enchantment.
      Merlin: What do you mean?
      The Great Dragon: You must eradicate the source, Merlin.
      Merlin: Great, what is that?
      The Great Dragon: Not what, but who. Such spells need a vessel, a constant living presence to give them strength. The source of this pestilence is the witch, the Lady Morgana.
      Merlin: It can't be.
      The Great Dragon: I have warned you about her in the past, but you have failed to take heed. She is dangerous.
      Merlin: No...
      The Great Dragon: And now she has chosen to turn her back on her own.
      Merlin: How do I stop her?
      The Great Dragon: That is easy, young warlock. You must kill her.
      Merlin: No!
      The Great Dragon: The spell is woven with magic of such power that even you are not immune. You must act now, before it's too late. If you do not, then Camelot will fall and Arthur will die. And the future you were destined to share will die with you.

    • Arthur: What took you so long?
      Merlin: I didn't know Uther's size.

    • Arthur: We have to move my father before Morgause gets here.
      Morgana: Morgause...
      Arthur: Come on, let's go.
      Merlin: You're not surprised?
      Morgana: No, I am.

    • (Merlin and Morgana are dragging Uther to a safe place as they are being chased by one of Medhir knights when Morgana trips and falls)
      Morgana: Merlin!
      (Merlin stops and watches as the knight approaches Morgana sword in hand, then decides not to help her and keeps on moving Uther on his own)

    • Merlin: Why didn't that knight kill you?
      Morgana: How do I know? Because I'm a woman?
      Merlin: (Not fully believing her) Yeah. Maybe.

    • Merlin: How are you feeling?
      Arthur: Not bad.
      Merlin: You sure?
      Arthur: Yeah. You?
      Merlin: Never better.
      Arthur: You couldn't get me a pillow, could you?
      Merlin: Don't mess around. Arthur, you... Arthur? You need to stay awake (Merlin slaps Arthur awake)
      Arthur: Merlin!
      Merlin: That's better.
      Arthur: If you ever do that again...
      Merlin: Well, don't fall asleep, then!

    • (Rumbling can be heard)
      Arthur: That your knees again? If I need a servant in the next life...
      Merlin: Don't ask me!
      (Both laugh)

    • Morgana: He's not going to survive out there.
      Merlin: I know.
      Morgana: We've got to do something.
      Merlin: I know.

    • Merlin: Here. You tear this up. I'll make some rope. (Merlin turns his back at her and pours the Hemlock poison into the water) Here, have some water.
      Morgana: I'm not thirsty.
      Merlin: If we get out of here, you may not get another chance to drink.
      Morgana: If we get out of here.
      Merlin: (Pretends to drink himself) Here.
      Morgana: I'm fine.
      Merlin: No, you have some before I finish it.
      Morgana: Thank you.
      (Merlin sheds a tear and watches highly distressed as Morgana struggles to breathe)

    • Morgause: You poisoned her!
      Merlin: You gave me no choice.
      Morgause: Tell me what you used and I can save her.
      Merlin: First stop the attack.
      Morgause: You're nothing but a simple servant. You don't tell me what to do.
      Merlin: If you want to know what poison it is, you will undo the magic that drives the knights!
      Morgause: Tell me the poison or you'll die!
      Merlin: Then she'll die with me. I don't want this any more than you. But you give me no choice.

    • Arthur: I couldn't find you. Are you all right?
      Uther: Is there still no sign of her?
      Arthur: We've looked, Father.
      Uther: Morgause must not be allowed to get away with this!
      Arthur: Yes, Father.
      Uther: Arthur? I haven't had a chance to say thank you.
      Arthur: I failed, Father. I should have protected Morgana.
      Uther: No. That was my duty. Her loss will forever be on my conscience, not yours.

    • Gaius: You did the right thing.
      Merlin: You don't mean that. Morgana was your friend, too. You cared about her.
      Gaius: I did. But I fear that, unlike you, Morgana chose not to use her gift for good. You had no choice. Would we be sitting here now if you had not made that decision?

    • The Great Dragon: The time has come, young warlock.
      Merlin: Where will you go?
      The Great Dragon: I am the last of my kind. There is but one road I can take.
      Merlin: What does that mean?
      The Great Dragon: You will see.
      Merlin: Before I do this, you promise me that you will not harm Camelot.
      The Great Dragon: I think there have been enough bargains. Don't you?

  • NOTES (50)

    • In the audio commentary for this episode, Jeremy Webb (episode director) says that the steps Merlin walks down in the dragon's cave to release him can previously be seen in episode 2x01 The Curse of Cornelius Sigan. However, this is not correct as they can only be seen before in episode 2x07 The Witchfinder.

    • This episode is Katie McGrath's favourite from series 2.

    • International Air Dates:
      Australia: July 11, 2010 on Ten.
      Canada: November 27th, 2010 on Space.
      France: March 28, 2010 on Canal + Family.
      Germany: March 2, 2011 on RTL.
      Italy: February 13, 2010 on Italia 1.
      Malaysia: February 20, 2010 on TV3.
      Poland: November 20, 2010 on Polsat.
      Spain: March 20, 2010 on Neox.
      Turkey: February 21, 2010 on CNBC-e.
      USA: June 25, 2010 on Syfy.

    • Also Known As:
      France: Les Sortilèges de Morgause, meaning 'Morgause's Spells'.
      Germany: Die Ritter Von Medhir, meaning 'The Knight of Medhir'.
      Italy: I Fuochi di Idirsholas.
      Poland: Ognie Idirsholasa.
      Portugal: Os Fogos de Idirsholas.
      Spain: Las Hogueras de Idirsholas, meaning 'The Bonfires of Idirsholas'.
      Ukraine: Вогні Айдіршоласу.

    • A ramp was originally going to be built at the entrance of Raglan's castle because they wanted to have the knights ride up but they gave up on the idea since they run out of time.

      There are no dead trees in the castle's courtyard, those were added in post production.

    • The first shot of the castle is a distant mat painting where a picture of the castle is glued to a real hillside.

    • The Council chambers were redressed as the chamber underneath the fortress of Idirsholas.

    • In the original script a hawk was supposed to deliver Morgause's note to Morgana. They decided to write it out due to security reasons.

    • The scene between Gwen and Morgana after she gets Morgause's note was filmed during one of the last days.

    • The scene where Morgause and Morgana meet in the woods was shot during the day with special filters to make it look like a night scene.

    • This episode was filmed before episode episode 2x10 Sweet Dreams and episode 2x11 The Witch's Quickening.

    • Merlin's jacket was made brand new for this episode, so Charlotte Morris (the costume designer) was upset because it had to be cut. Julian Murphy (executive producer) was the one who carefully cut it.

    • Bradley James was freaked out by the sleeping guards he checks out upon arrival at Camelot because their eyelids kept moving.

    • For the scene where Arthur and Merlin arrive to a sleeping castle, low angle shots on much wider lenses were used to distort the space and make Pierrefonds look weird, showing it in a way they had never showed it before.

    • It took several takes for the horse in the cart to hit the proper mark because no one was leading it. The man sleeping in the cart is the horse trainer.

    • The sequence where Arthur and Merlin go through the castle looking for the king was edited without music to enhance the enchanting atmosphere and the feeling of emptiness in an otherwise busy castle. The only thing that can be heard is some echoing.

    • It was Katie McGrath's idea to wear black eyeliner to look more like Morgause. Jeremy Webb (the director) wanted to change it at first but finally it stayed.

    • Julian Murphy (executive producer) directed the shot of the Idirsholas Knights riding down the hill. He also directed the scene where the knights dismount at the same time. It wasn't an easy take because the horses kept wandering around and the knights couldn't see their marks with the masks.

    • According to Colin Morgan, the scene where he tries to unenchant Gauis was fun at first but then it was freaky because Richard Wilson managed to remain really still.

    • A stunt performer was used to do the bit where Gaius falls to the ground.

    • The street that the Idirsholas Knights use to approach the castle belongs to a new and bigger town set that was built for series two at the other side of the castle.

    • A skateboard was hidden under Anthony Head's clothes for the scenes where he is being carried around. According to Colin Morgan, he was laughing at this during the scene. A double of Anthony Head was also used at times.

    • The actors playing the Idirsholas Knights kept banging into each other because they couldn't see properly with their masks on.

    • The director used slow motion for most of the scenes with the Idirsholas Knights inside the castle to make it look more spooky.

    • Ever since the moment Merlin seeks the Great Dragon's advice, editing Merlin's scenes became tricky because it was all about subtle moments and little looks about how he was feeling towards Morgana.

    • The director gave the actors playing the Idirsholas Knights the instruction to walk like the Terminator.

    • This episode is the one that took longer to be shot.

    • One of the last scenes filmed for this episode was the one where Arthur fights an Idirsholas Knight while Merlin and Morgana sneak Uther out of the room.

    • Colin Morgan fell backwards and landed on his coccyx bruising it badly when filming the scene where Merlin and Morgana drag Uther along a corridor. Katie McGrath tripped several times and fell hurting her shoulder whereas Bradley James injured his back out of too much pulling.

    • Arthur fights one of the Idirsholas Knights and kicks him down a staircase. However, that staircase is nowhere near the place where they were fighting.

    • Brackets were attached to the Council chamber doors in this episode so they could put the wooden bar across it.

    • Colin Morgan did actually hit Bradley James in the scene where Merlin slaps Arthur awake. Colin played it down but the director said that it wasn't hard enough so Colin just went for it.

    • According to Jeremy Webb, the episode director, the plan to tear down a cloth to make a rope and lower Uther down a window is pretty unbelievable but luckily, the audience gets so glued to the action that it really doesn't matter.

    • The scene where Merlin poisons Morgana took three hours to be filmed. Katie McGrath had a horrendous time filming it.

    • Emilia Fox asked Katie McGrath what it was that Morgana was doing once poisoned so Morgause could mirror it.

    • The pointy ornament in Morgause's gauntlet kept getting in Katie McGrath's face in the scene where she holds her in her arms.

    • In the script Morgause told Merlin that Morgana was her sister but it was cut out.

    • A piece of the many papers that float around in the scene where Morgause takes Morgana away got stuck to Colin Morgan's face.

    • The scene where Merlin gets the sword to go free the Great Dragon was filmed in slow motion to give the moment a lot of weight.

    • A new cave set had to be built for the scene where Merlin releases the Great Dragon. It was placed just outside Morgana's chambers.

    • The chain that holds the Great Dragon prisoner was made out of polyesterene and wobbled around by a prop man on top. A little charge was placed in the chain so it would explode when hit in certain place.

    • Colin Morgan, Katie McGrath and Jeremy Webb (episode director) recorded an audio commentary for this episode.

    • One of the Knights of Medhir is played by Rick English, who also plays the Afanc in episode 1x03 The Mark of Nimueh, a bandit in episode 1x07 The Gates of Avalon and does the stunt for the Black Knight in episode 1x09 Excalibur.

    • The stone fall that Merlin provokes to escape from Idirsholas was actually filmed on set. A crew member dropped off some rubble from the top of a ladder.

    • Jeremy Webb, the director of this episode, wanted the knights of Medhir to wear dark cloaks because they move nicely in slow motion and look quite menacing. At first he thought that maybe they should have skeleton faces but then it was decided for them to wear masks, as if they were Grim Reapers. A mask maker managed to create some that were really visually strong on camera.

    • The shooting of the fight scene at Idirsholas required almost one whole day of filming.

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales, UK (Studio sets).
      Pitched Stone Court, Raglan Castle, Raglan, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK (Idirsholas).
      Castell Coch forest, Tongwynlais, Cardiff, Wales, UK (Morgana and Morgause's meeting point).
      Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK (Moors between Idirsholas and Camelot).

    • iTunes UK put up this episode to be watched online for free several hours before it was due to air on its scheduled television slot. It was taken down some hours afterwards when the mistake was noticed.

    • This makes the 12th episode of the second series, to be aired on the 12th day of the 12th month.

    • Broadcasts:
      Sat 12 Dec 2009 at 18:00-18:45 on BBC One.
      Sun 13 Dec 2009 at 19:00-19:45 on BBC Three.
      Fri 18 Dec 2009 at 21:00-21:45 on BBC Three.

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