Season 4 Episode 3

The Wicked Day

Aired Unknown Oct 15, 2011 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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  • Oh dear, there is a cold, cold wind blowing through the halls of Camelot...

    I was somewhat prepared for a sad and very unpleasant ending of this episode, considering the mental state of Camelot's king in the previous episodes, yet Uther's death came as a terrible surprise to me. The very quick and callous death shocked me for it was not what I would have ever expected on a show like Merlin. As if it was not worse enough that a main protagonist had to die, it was also quite astonishing that almost the entire epsiode was about Merlin (Dragoon) and Arthur in mostly quite misplaced humorous scenes while Uther was about to die. Uther, a character that had been built up and developed for 3 seasons, was reduced to a supporting character and being put into the background just for the sake of funny scenes and the usual bromance between Merlin and Arthur. It is even more incomprehensible due to the fact that it was the king's final epsiode and his agonizing death. The very interesting character of Uther deserved much better than this. This should have been Uther's epsiode and not Arthur's and Merlin's.

    There were several things I wondered about when watching this strange and pretty much loveless, almost cold episode.

    Uther is fatally wounded on Arthurs birthday which is also the death-day of his beloved wife. I would have expected a word about Ygraine since her death had caused the whole story around Uther hating magic, and it all repeated itself when the king was killed the same day, even when actually dying a day later.

    Ygraine was completely ignored although she played one of the most important parts in regard to the entire plot that had started with Uther's hatred for magic and therefore Merlin's indispensable presence in Camelot, as well as the necessity to hide his magical powers.

    Moreover, Ygraine as well as Arthur and Morgana played the most important part in Uther's life. This coherence was completely overlooked.

    It was also very disappointing to see Arthur suddenly knowing about the circumstances of his birth when this secret had been an important subject for three seasons. It was one of Uther's worst nightmares to have Arthur learning about what happened when he was born, and now, all of a sudden, he indeed knows. Who told him and when and why wasn't it a subject anymore when it had been an important storyline since the very beginning of this show?

    Another thing that was overlooked was the friendship between Gaius and Uther they had for decades. I was startled at the very fact that Gaius did not seem to care at all about Uther's upcoming demise and his ultimatley death. There was not just one word or sign of grief or sorrow, compassion or sympathy.

    He did not even want Merlin to heal the king although he and Merlin had saved Uther's life several times before, even when risking their own lives.

    Speaking of grief and sympathy, it was very obvious in this episode that no one really seemed to care about Uther's state and death, with the exception of Arthur, at least until the end of the epsiode when he obviously had come over his father's death after just one night of mourning.

    In contrary to Merlin's usual character description, this time he did not want to help a helpless person that was about to die but only himself, attempting to bring back magic to the land. His offer to heal Uther, disguised as Dragoon, was not even a favour to his best friend Arthur who visibly suffered from his father's upcoming death. It was very unlikely for Merlin to tell Arthur just to accept Uther's upcoming demise when he had saved people's lives many times before just by using magic, including Uther's life.

    Aditionally, by disguising as Dragoon and using magic with Arthur's permission, Merlin is directly responsible for Arthur telling Agravaine about it, which caused Morgana's interference by enchanting the amulet and therefore killing Uther. Had Merlin tried to heal Uther secretly, Arthur would not have known and would not have told Agravaine who would not have told Morgana. Uther would still be alive.

    Since Merlin and Gaius had already been aware of the fact that Agravaine is conspiring with Morgana but has Arthur's unconditional trust, Merlin should have known that Arthur would tell his uncle about his plan. By trying to take advantage of Uther's upcoming death when literally blackmailing Arthur, Merlin presented an unsusual sudden coldness and also wasted precious time and gave Morgana every chance to defeat the plan.

    This was not only callous and out of character but also not very clever.

    Suddenly Merlin's character as well as the show's message have completely changed.

    Except for a vigil in the courtyard and Arthur's unnatural short grief, Uther's death seemed to have not touched anyone, not even his loyal knights.

    Instead of showing the funeral for the king and one of the main protagonists, we got to see Arthur's extremely rushed and vapid coronation right after the mourning scene that was instantly crushed when Arthur opened the door of the throne room to be surrounded by bright sunlight and obviously being in the mood for some breakfast with a smile on his face. It's somewhat weird that the sunrise suddenly washes away the grief over the loss of a beloved person after just a few hours of mourning.

    The 'new day' and coronation scenes left no room and time for the viewers to say good bye to a main character that played one of the most important parts of the entire show. It almost seemed as if the audience should be convinced that Uther's death was about time and a relief for everyone, not worth to be dealt with in a sensitive way.

    The lack of care and sympathy for Uther's mental and physical state that had already be shown in the previous 2 episodes reached its climax in The Wicked Day.

    Not only the cold behaviour was shown but too well but also the sudden total ignorance for a character and his storyarcs that have given the most important aspects to the show.

    It started with Uther's total destruction and despressions that left him a shell of his former self and continued with a coincidental injury by some random guy of which his own daughter took advantage of to end his life and therefore all his storyarcs once and for all, on the day of his wife's death, surrounded by reserved people who could not care less.

    Another weird thing was Odin's assassin saying that he would create a birthday for Arthur that he will never forget when actually Arthur was the one he wanted to kill. It hardly needs mentioning that a person who gets killed will indeed forget about what happened.

    That sentence would have made sense if it had been the assassin's intention to kill Uther but not Arthur.

    I wonder why on a show like Merlin a main character had to suffer like this. If the assassin had succeeded in killing Arthur, Uther would not only have lost his beloved wife on Arthur's birthday but also his son. The day that had changed his whole life and caused the hatred for magic in the first place, out of grief and despair. It's quite cynical to give a character final peace by choosing that special day and those special circumstances that did not only include his death by magic, the one thing he had feared and that had tormented him the most, but also by being killed by four people, among them his own beloved daughter who had managed to destroy him completely.

    Another thing that made no sense was the fact that Gaius and Merlin did not tell Arthur about the enchanted necklace, neither did they tell him that it was Morgana who finally killed Uther and Agravaine who obviously conspired with her.

    Inconsistency in storylines were shown when Arthur told Merlin that Uther had fought magic for 20 years although it had been 20 years in the very first epsiode of season 1 already.

    Furthermore, it was odd that Gaius said to Merlin that now with Uther gone, Camelot would hopefully become a place of stability and peace when Gaius himself told Merlin in season 1 that he found Uther to be a good king due to the very fact that he brought peace and prosperity to Camelot.

    The viewer might wonder why Morgana killed the only one standing between Gwen and the throne when she says that she would rather drown in her own blood than letting Gwen become queen, although she mentions her vision about Gwen on the throne in the very same scene. By killing Uther, she did not only blaze the way for Gwen but also, as she herself noticed, helped Arthur becoming another 'Uther' because of his new hatred for magic. How come that she hadn't thought of it before carrying out her evil plans, despite the fact that it was all so very clear? And I still wonder why it was necessary to make Arthur king already.

    In this epsiode, there is a person suffering beyond imagination on one side and two protagonists in slapstick situations on the other side. Two extremes that are just not compatible.I have never seen a more insensitive, meaningless and thoughtless death of a character on TV before, something that really doesn't match with 'Merlin' at all.

    The worst thing is that especially this happening and this epsiode was the start for the total change of the entire series. Not for the best, I have to say.

    It is indeed strange that this show is supposed to mature by parting with the very characters that brought maturity and gravitas in the first place, namely Uther and Lancelot. With those characters gone and the incomprehensible plot holes and Inconsistency, the show now has become a children's's series. Merlin and Arthur are grown-up men and somewhat around 30 years old, yet they behave like teens but certainly not like men who carry so much responsibilty. A waste of their potential.

    And the death of characters never make a show mature.

    There is only one good thing to say about 'The Wicked Day', and that is the great acting performances of the entire cast. Thanks to Anthony Head's great and realistic performance, Uther was not a total waste on this terribly disappointing and cold epsiode.

  • Epic!!!!


    An epic Merlin episode full of great performances by its lead actors. Touches of humor helped relieve some of the tension, but altogether it was a heart wrenching storyline for both Merlin and Arthur in the end. Merlin had one of his best opportunities to share his magical secret to Arthur, but after the episodes events he is leftfelling aloneand needing to keep his secret now more than ever. It is also the first episode in which Arthur actually calls Merlin a 'friend'. I enjoyed this one so much that I can't wait to watch it again!

    Long live the King! Long live the King!

  • Merlin loses another principal character, another honorable sacrifice... (SPOILERS)


    After teasing us over the last season in a half, the King has finally passed on. As a father, I couldn't think of a better way for Authur's father to meet his maker, defending his son from a would be assassin. The writers made him go out well, kicking ass and showing his son how things are done.

    I liked the story with Merlin trying to help Authur's father, but didn't like how it ended. It would have been more fitting had Authur at the last moment refused to use magic and respect his fathers wishes rather than turn Authur against magic again, which is clearly not what the fans want to see. So while there was hope in this episode that Merlin could 'come out' it was just a tease...

    Still didn't change the fact that this episode was really good, so far season four has been killer, literally!

  • The Wicked Day


    The Wicked Day was a superb episode of Merlin and I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was a lot of action, drama, intrigue, along with character and plot development. It was fun to watch Arthur accept the challenge at his birthday festivities. Morgana continues her plotting and pulls a magical feat under Merlin's nose which leads to a sad outcome for Uther. The episode was very entertaining and I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!

  • This is one of the hardest ones for me to review. I havn't been this emotionally drained watching an episode since 3.05


    t was brilliant from start to finish and, even though I knew a little of what was coming from spoilers it still kept me glued to the screen from beginning to end. Just watched it for the third time and it is rare indeed for me to be totally focused and not even be tempted to fast forward a single scene.

    The acting was superb, ASH, of course but especially Bradley and Colin - wonderful. Uther's slow awakening and his heroic sword fight were great. Yes,it would have been nice for him to have had the totally heroic death there and then but, if that had happened we'd have missed all that wonderful tension and drama as Merlin takes charge and decides to take control of his own future. Perhaps that's why this and The Crystal Cave are my favourites ... there's something so fascinating about the idea of pusing so hard to make something happen that you actually cause the opposite. Poor Merlin but ... wow, seeing the look on his face when Arthur tells him that 'magic is pure evil,' and when the blame is laid at Morgana's feet and the look of disgust on his face.

    Again Merlin excels in adding delightful light moments into dark episodes and I am thorougly enjoying this year's new format which mixes both into each episode rather than the stand alone comic episodes which I've never liked as much. Dragoon is always a treat - especially here where he quickly switched between moments of pure silliness and deadly seriousness.

    Standout subtle acting moments include Morgana's surprise at feeling Uther's death, Colin briefly breaking into his 'Merlin' voice whilst playing Dragoon when in shock at Uther's bedside and Bradley's playing of that penultimate scene after the vigil.

    In fact, that scene has to be my favourite in many ways. The wonderful shot of the stairs and Merlin sitting at the bottom, Arthur opening the door with the sun behind but Merlin not turning until he's called. The looks they exchanged then - beautiful & Arthur called Merlin a loyal friend without hint of hesitation or embarressment. That, for me was even more surprising this early on in Series 4 than Uther's death was!

    So, to the 'plot holes' I also was stunned on first watching to hear Arthur calmly quote that his mother died through magic but, this time I paid more attention to the scene when he tells Agravaine of his plan (was too busy shouting 'don't do it' at the screen last time) and his uncle also says this in a way that shows the information is not new. So, this was something he told Arthur shortly after he arrived - in the year gap but again the writers are assuming we would understand - just as they did with Morgana being turned by Morgause in the gap between S2 - S3. They really shouldn't assume!

    As for Morgana's pendant and why Gaius didn't say anything. Yes, it's a bit of a hole. One could argue that it was still magic that hastened his death so, in some ways it wouldn't have helped the cause - but having Morgana take the blame rather than Dragoon would have made sense - even if the still don't dare hint at Agravaine's possible involvement. Then again, they have no actual proof about any of this. I would have liked to have seen Merlin make more of the fact that Uther was dying anyway; both as Dragoon and as himself but then, it appeared he was in shock.

    Some have commented on the crowning being 'too soon' but we actually don't know when that happened. The Coronation could have been days or weeks afterwards, in fact, in those days it usually was. That whole last scene was wonderful!

    Long Live King Arthur!