Season 4 Episode 3

The Wicked Day

Aired Unknown Oct 15, 2011 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: When Uther is stabbed blood seeps through his shirt but the shirt itself has not been cut.

    • Merlin takes Arthur to the same hut where he spent the night with Lancelot in episode 4x02 The Darkest Hour Part 2.

    • Stokesay Castle is featured as one of the lower town houses that appear in the new establishing shots of Camelot this series.

    • Footage from episode 2x08 The Sins Of The Father and episode 2x12 The Fires Of Idirsholas is used in the scene where Arthur and Merlin ride back to Camelot after having visited Dragoon (the corresponding scene in 2x08 being the one where they arrive back in Camelot after Arthur's meeting with Ygraine and in 2x12 being the one where they return to Camelot after the fight at Idirsholas).

    • Gaius and Merlin use Gwillem of Cambria's book to find the proper magical potion to heal Uther.

    • Merlin, as Dragoon, tells Arthur: 'Will you just do what you are told?' using the same argument that Arthur used with Merlin in episode 4x02 The Darkest Hour Part 2: 'Do you ever do as you're told?'

    • It is the second time that King Odin sends an assassin to kill Arthur and avenge the death of his son. He first tried in episode 2x02 The Once and Future Queen.

    • The company of entertainers that arrives in Camelot for Arthur's birthday is called 'Teatro del Sol' which is Spanish for 'Theatre of the Sun'.

    • Goof: The apple that Arthur holds in his mouth while tied to the spinning wheel changes between shots.

    • Arthur says that: 'When I'm king things will be different'. His line resembles Arthur and Gwen's dialogue at the end of 3x10 Queen Of Hearts : 'You will be a great king. And then you can change these ridiculous customs' 'I promise you that when I am king things will be different' and also their exchange at the end of episode 2x02 The Once and Future Queen: 'Perhaps when you are king, things will be different'. All three episodes have been written by Howard Overman.

    • We can see a candle vigil held for the second time after 1x13 Le Morte D'Arthur, when it was held for Arthur (it is held for Uther during this episode).

    • Uther dies in this episode and Arthur is crowned King of Camelot.

      With Uther's death, Arthur has lost both his parents to magic (his mother, Ygraine, died on childbirth as explained in episode 2x08 The Sins Of The Father.)

      Anthony Stewart Head is the first one of the main 6 cast members to have been killed inthe show.

    • This episode marks the second time in which 'Dragoon the Great' makes an appearance after 3x10 Queen Of Hearts.

      Same as he did in 3x10, Gaius tells Arthur that Merlin is at the tavern when he can't come up with a good excuse for Merlin's disappearance.

  • Quotes

    • Merlin: What's wrong? It's your birthday. A huge feast is being held in your honour. You've got dancers, jugglers and acrobats to entertain you. It must be a terrible burden!
      Arthur: Perhaps I'm less easily impressed than you.
      Merlin: I'm really looking forward to it.
      Arthur: Because you have the mind of a child.
      Merlin: And yet I'm still more intelligent than you.
      Arthur: I heard that!

    • The Gleeman: You have misplaced something, Geldred?
      Geldred: Our special gift to the Prince. I cannot find it anywhere.
      The Gleeman: Geldred, I took the liberty of ensuring their safe passage myself (Opens a box containing three knives) We must make sure that this is a celebration the young Prince will never forget (Throws one of the knives against a board)

    • (Arthur is filling Uther in about the annual levy)
      Uther: We should not talk about matters of court today.
      Arthur: Father?
      Uther: You think I would ever forget that today is the anniversary of your birth?
      (Arthur looks positively surprised)
      Uther: I take it there are plans for suitable celebrations this evening?
      Arthur: A feast and, erm... some entertainment. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.
      Uther: Nonsense. You think I would miss my son's anniversary?
      (Arthur laughs quietly and pleased).

    • The Gleeman: I require a volunteer. Prince Arthur. What better or more fitting occasion for you to demonstrate your legendary bravery? Do you accept the challenge?
      Arthur: Of course.
      Merlin: Is this safe?
      Arthur: It's knife throwing, of course not. I could hardly refuse.

    • (After Arthur has volunteered for some knife throwing)
      Merlin: You're telling me you weren't even a little bit scared?
      Arthur: Of course I wasn't. I am a warrior. You learn to control your fear. To channel it.
      Merlin: You looked scared.

    • Merlin: You can barely stand up.
      Arthur: Are you saying I'm drunk?
      Merlin: No, I'm just saying I don't think you should be wandering around the palace.
      Arthur: And why is that?
      Merlin: You're not wearing any trousers!
      Arthur: (Looks down to his trousers that are rolled down and resting on his ankles) Good point (Pulls his trousers up).

    • The Gleeman: (Ready to run Arthur through with his sword) Goodbye, Arthur Pendragon.
      Uther: (Cutting The Gleeman's move with his sword) It will take more than a coward like you to kill my son.

    • (After Uther has been mortally wounded saving Arthur's life)
      Arthur: I'll go and get help.
      Uther: Stay with me.
      Arthur: I'm here, Father. Guards! Someone! We need help!
      Uther: It's my time.
      Arthur: No. You can't die.
      Uther: I know you will make me proud, as you always have. You will be a great King.
      Arthur: I'm not ready.
      Uther: You have been ready for some time, Arthur.
      Arthur: No. I need you.
      Uther: I know I've not been a good father. I put my duty to Camelot first. I'm sorry.
      Arthur: Don't say that.
      Uther: But know this, Arthur. I've always loved you.

    • Arthur: Gaius. Can you treat him?
      Gaius: The blade has touched his heart. He is bleeding inside.
      Arthur: There must be something. There must be something you can do. Please, Gaius.
      Gaius: It's only a matter of time, I'm afraid. I'm sorry, Arthur.

    • Agravaine: We traced the assassin to the town of Wenham. It's in Odin's land. It seems he hired him to kill you, to avenge the death of his son. Our thoughts are with you, Arthur. But if there's anything I can do...
      Arthur: Your support means a great deal to me. Thank you.

    • Arthur: What news of my father?
      Merlin: There's no change.
      Arthur: Why isn't Gaius doing something, then?
      Merlin: Because there is nothing he can do.

    • Agravaine: I bring good news. Better than we could have hoped for.
      Morgana: What is it?
      Agravaine: Uther has been mortally wounded. He's on his deathbed. Gaius says he only has a few days to live.
      Morgana: I hope the image of my face haunts him. How is Arthur?
      Agravaine: Devastated. The poor boy can't think straight.
      Morgana: Then we must strike while he is vulnerable (She motions to get on but Agravaine holds her arm stopping her).
      Agravaine: When Uther dies, the kingdom will be weak (Morgana addresses him a glance that makes Agravaine let go off her arm) We must choose our moments carefully. Who knows what opportunities the coming weeks will hold?

    • (Gwen is just done tending to Uther's wound)
      Arthur: I appreciate your kindness, everything you're doing for him.
      Gwen: I do it for you.
      (Arthur stares at his father, obviously distressed)
      Gwen: (Feeling his pain) Arthur...
      Arthur: I can't watch him die. There's still so much I want to say to him. He cannot die.
      (Gwen tries to say something but she is unable to find the words).

    • Arthur: What's going on?
      Merlin: It's a vigil for your father. The people wish to share their grief.
      Arthur: Why are they behaving like he's already dead when there's still life in his body?
      Merlin: They're preparing themselves for the worst.
      Arthur: They can give up hope, but I won't.
      Merlin: I know. It's hard to accept. I wish it wasn't so, but... there really is nothing that can be done.
      Arthur: There is a way to heal my father.
      Merlin: How?
      Arthur: With magic.

    • Gaius: Arthur's planning on using magic?
      Merlin: He's desperate. He knows it's his only hope of healing Uther.
      Gaius: Merlin, please tell me you're not going to do this.
      Merlin: I'd be lying if I said no.
      Gaius: You can't risk exposing yourself like this. It's too dangerous.
      Merlin: Arthur didn't recognise me last time, when I was 80 years old, there's no reason why he should this time.
      Gaius: Need I remind you, the last time you used an ageing spell, you were nearly burnt at the stake.
      Merlin: It's worth the risk.

    • Gaius: You think Uther is going to thank you for healing him with magic? He's more likely to have you hanged.
      Merlin: Uther will never change his attitude towards magic, I know that, but if Arthur allows it to be used to heal his father, his attitude will be changed forever. He'll see magic can be a force for good.
      Gaius: You of all people should know that the use of powerful magic is fraught with danger.
      Merlin: If it works, I won't have to hide anymore.
      Gaius: And if it doesn't? I can't stand by and watch you do this, Merlin.
      Merlin: Well, don't try and stop me, because... you can't.
      Gaius: You are playing a dangerous game, Merlin.
      Merlin: I've been playing a dangerous game since the first time I set foot in Camelot. Maybe this is my chance to change that.

    • Arthur: If you were me, if it was your father... would you use magic to save his life?
      Merlin: Yes. I would. I'd do whatever it took.

    • Arthur: I have decided to use magic to heal my father.
      Agravaine: I'd strongly advise against such a course of action.
      Arthur: There is no other way.
      Agravaine: Magic caused your mother's death, Arthur. If you respect her memory, you cannot do this.
      Arthur: Would you see my father die?
      Agravaine: Perhaps it is his time.
      Arthur: Look, I know we have both suffered because of magic but I can't stand by and let my father die. My mind is made up.

    • Arthur: Are you sure this is the right place? It looks like a charcoal maker's hut.
      Merlin: The old man can hardly make a living practising magic. I think that a lot of sorcerers are in the... charcoal business.
      Arthur: Are you joining me?
      Merlin: We don't want to overwhelm him. He probably doesn't get many visitors. I'll stay out here and watch the horses.
      Arthur: I have never met anyone who is so scared so often. Scream like a big girl if there's any trouble.
      Merlin: Don't worry. You'll hear me.

    • Arthur: Are you sure this is the right place?
      Merlin: I'm absolutely certain of it. I'm sure he'll be back soon.
      Arthur: Well, how do you know?
      Merlin: He's a doddery old man. He can't have gone far. If you want his help, you'll have to just wait for him inside.
      Arthur: Where are you sneaking off to?
      Merlin: I have to pee. So unless you want to come and watch me, you should wait for him inside.
      Arthur: Why would I want to watch you?

    • Old Merlin: So, we meet again, Arthur Pendragon. You have come to kill me?
      Arthur: No. That wasn't my intention. I broke a pot.
      Old Merlin: You always were a clumsy fool.
      Arthur: Excuse me?
      Old Merlin: So if you haven't come all this way to kill me, why have you come here? I take it you didn't come all this way just to smash my favourite pot?
      Arthur: If I'd known who you were, I wouldn't have come at all (Heads for the door).
      Old Merlin: I thought you may have come to ask me to use magic to heal your father.
      Arthur: How did you know?
      Old Merlin: I know more than you could possibly comprehend.
      Arthur: Given your hatred for my father and everything that he stands for, I've clearly had a wasted journey.
      Old Merlin: Do not suppose that you know my mind.

    • Arthur: Will you help me?
      Old Merlin: You are asking me to save the life of a man that would have me executed.
      Arthur: I know what I am asking of you, you have no reason to help me, but you are my father's only hope. I'll give you anything you ask for... land, gold. Name your price.
      Old Merlin: I do not want your gold! All I have ever wanted is that people like me can live in peace. That those who practise magic are accepted, rather than hunted. That is all I ask. That is the price of your father's life.
      Arthur: You have my solemn word, when I am King, things will be different. You won't have to live in fear.
      Old Merlin: Then... I will help you.

    • Arthur: We must ride for Camelot immediately.
      Old Merlin: Now?
      Arthur: My father weakens by the hour.
      Old Merlin: But I have... no horse.
      Arthur: You can use Merlin's. He'll just have to walk back.
      Old Merlin: You would make your servant walk back to Camelot? I have a good mind not to help you!

    • Old Merlin: Now, just wait here one moment.
      Arthur: Why?
      Old Merlin: Questions. So many questions. For once in your life, would you just do what you're told?
      Arthur: All right.

    • Arthur: Merlin? What were you doing?
      Merlin: Peeing.
      Arthur: You mean to say you were peeing all the time I was in there?
      Merlin: I really had to go.
      Arthur: There is definitely something very wrong with you.

    • Gaius: Merlin. I was worried, I thought something had happened.
      Merlin: Apart from Arthur thinking that there is something very wrong with my bladder, everything went to plan.
      Gaius: I take it that this means you're going through with it?
      Merlin: If I can heal Uther, Arthur has given me his word that, when he is King, magic will no longer be outlawed.
      Gaius: And what if something goes wrong? What of Arthur's attitude then?
      Merlin: I live with the risk of exposure every day. If I don't take this opportunity, I'll spend my life having to hide who I really am. Everyone's tells me I have this great destiny... maybe this is it. I have to try.

    • Agravaine: Arthur has gone to consult with a sorcerer. He intends to use magic to heal Uther.
      Morgana: Then we must see to it that he fails (She casts a spell on a charm that is put in the fire).
      Agravaine: (Holding the charm) It's cold.
      Morgana: I have bound it to the left-hand path. You must place the charm around Uther's neck.
      Agravaine: What will it do to him?
      Morgana: The force of any healing magic will be reversed and magnified tenfold. By trying to cure his father, Arthur will seal his fate.
      Agravaine: Arthur will never forgive himself. He will be destroyed.
      Morgana: And a broken Prince will make a terrible King.

    • Agravaine: (Hanging around Uther's neck the enchanted charm that will eventually cause his death) Finally, you will get all that you deserve, old friend.

    • (Arthur is calling out for Merlin)
      Merlin: (To Gaius) You have to get rid of him.
      Arthur: Merlin! (Opening Gaius' chamber door) Gaius, have you seen my useless toad of a servant?
      Gaius: I'm afraid not.
      Arthur: Where on earth is he?
      Gaius: Have you tried the tavern?
      Arthur: The tavern. Of course. I am going to make him wish he was never born (He leaves and closes the door, revealing that Merlin was hiding behind it).
      Merlin: Why did you tell him I was in the tavern?
      Gaius: It was the first thing that popped into my head.
      Merlin: Next time, go for the second or third thing... just anywhere but the tavern.

    • Old Merlin: I am led to believe that the King's palace is that way.
      Arthur: I can hardly be seen walking through the main gate with a known sorcerer.
      Old Merlin: So you are already going back on your word. You promised that I would no longer have to live in fear.
      Arthur: You're forgetting that you are yet to heal my father. When you have, I'll give you everything I promised.

    • Arthur: Is this really as fast as you can walk?
      Old Merlin: When you are as old as I, we will see how fast you can walk. I need to rest a moment.
      Arthur: There's no time.
      Old Merlin: Then perhaps you should carry me.
      Arthur: Fine. If it means we get there quicker, I'll carry you.
      (Old Merlin climbs into Arthur's back and Arthur gives him a piggy ride. Old Merlin kicks him).
      Arthur: (Stopping on his tracks) Did you just kick me?
      Old Merlin: Now who's wasting time? (Kicks him again) Faster! Faster!

    • (Old Merlin is about to use magic to heal Uther)
      Arthur: Wait!
      Old Merlin: Is something wrong?
      Arthur: My father has taught me never to trust magic, and now I am using it to save him.
      Old Merlin: Your own life has been saved using magic, more times than you can possibly imagine.
      Arthur: What on earth are you talking about?
      Old Merlin: I merely mean to say that magic is all around you. It is woven into the very fabric of the world.
      Arthur: How can I be sure it's the right thing to do?
      Old Merlin: I know you have suffered because of magic... as many have. But not all magic and not all sorcerers are the same. I wish only to show you that magic can be used for good. I hope one day you will see me in a different light.

    • (Uther falls dead after having briefly regained consciousness)
      Arthur: What's happening?
      Old Merlin: I don't know.
      Arthur: Do something!
      Old Merlin: (Checking Uther's pulse) He's dead.
      Arthur: No. He can't be. Father. Father! (To Old Merlin) What have you done?
      Old Merlin: This was not supposed to happen.
      Arthur: You gave me your word. You have killed him. You killed him!
      Old Merlin: No!
      Arthur: (Goes for Old Merlin sword in hand) You will die for what you have done!
      (Old Merlin casts a spell andthrows Arthur backwards against the ground).

    • Merlin: The spell was working. I'm sure of it. I've done everything right. I don't know what happened.
      Gaius: I think I do (Shows Merlin Morgana's charm) I found it round Uther's neck. It's been enchanted, and such an enchantment would reverse the effects of your healing spell. Uther didn't stand a chance.
      Merlin: Morgana.
      Gaius: I believe so.

    • Morgana: Uther's dead, isn't he?
      Agravaine: How did you know?
      Morgana: I felt it. I felt his pain.
      Agravaine: I thought Uther's death would be cause for celebration.
      Morgana: Arthur will replace him. There'll be no celebration until I take my place upon the throne.
      Agravaine: That may be sooner than you think. Arthur is young, untested. He will look to his trusted uncle for counsel, and I will ensure that he fails.

    • Merlin: I am so sorry. I wish that there was something I could have done.
      Arthur: Merlin, no one but me is to blame for this.
      Merlin: You're not to blame. This isn't your fault.
      Arthur: I'm entirely to blame. My father spent 20 years fighting magic. To think I knew better... I was so arrogant. That arrogance has cost my father his life.
      Merlin: You were only doing what you thought was right. I'm sure that old sorcerer meant no harm. Perhaps the spell went wrong. Uther was dying. Maybe nothing could have saved him.
      Arthur: We'll never know. All I know for sure is that I have lost both my parents to magic. It is pure evil. I'll never lose sight of that again.

    • Merlin: This is all my fault. I killed him.
      Gaius: You did not kill Uther. Morgana did. Uther's spirit died when she broke his heart. We must look to the future. Uther's death will allow Arthur's progression to the throne. We must hope it brings peace and stability to the land.
      Merlin: Magic will still be outlawed. I have turned Arthur against it for ever. He'll never know who I really am.
      Gaius: That time will come. I'm sure of it. Arthur will be under even more pressure now that he is King. He will need you more than ever. There is nothing more to be done. Let's go and have some supper.
      Merlin: I think I'll wait here.

    • Arthur: (Coming out of the throne room where he's been mourning his father's body all night, he finds Merlin sitting outside) Merlin. It's a new day. Have you been here all night?
      Merlin: I didn't want you to feel that you were alone.
      Arthur: You're a loyal friend, Merlin. You must be hungry.
      Merlin: Starving.
      Arthur: Me too. Come on. You can make us some breakfast.

    • Geoffrey of Monmouth: Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the peoples of Camelot according to their respective laws and customs?
      Arthur: I solemnly swear so to do.
      Geoffrey of Monmouth: Will you to your power cause law and justice in mercy to be executed in all your judgements?
      Arthur: I will.
      Geoffery of Monmouth: Then by the sacred law vested in me, I crown you, Arthur, King of Camelot. Long live the King!
      All: Long live the King!

  • Notes

    • According to Bradley James, finally finding himself with the King's crown on his head was a really nice moment and as a consequence, he had a big inner smile.

    • According to Colin Morgan, seeing himself on the screen (even more so as Emrys) is as awkward as for anybody listening their voice recorded: it does also take a while to recognize oneself.

    • When Colin Morgan read the script for this episode he wished he could do the spinning wheel scene. However, when he realized what it involved, he was grateful that it wasn't the case.

    • It took 3 different directors and 3 months to complete the scene with Uther's swordfight. Part of it was a homage to Robin Hood.

    • Director Alice Troughton thought that the bit where Arthur's hand is stained with Uther's blood woudn't be left in the final editing of the episode because there are strict rules concerning the amount of blood that can be seen in a family show.

    • Nine takes were needed to get right the scene where Agravaine and Sir Leon address Arthur because Nathaniel Parker and Rupert Young couldn't hold their laughter.

    • Alice Troughton (episode director) and Colin Morgan recorded an audio commentary for this episode.

    • This episode is Julian Murphy's favourite of series 4 together with 4x09 Lancelot Du Lac.

    • According to Alice Troughton, the episode director, it was her and Dale McCready's (Director of Photography) idea for the scene where Arthur comes out of the throne room after mourning his father all night long to have Merlin focus on Arthur's shadow until he is spoken to as a way to convey the idea of Arthur being something like Apollo, the Sun God, and also stress the fact that 'it's a new day'.

    • According to Colin Morgan, the most surreal moment in Merlin is the one where Uther dies and his favourite one of the series is Arthur's coronation.

    • Also Known As:
      France: Un Jour Funeste.
      Germany: Tödlicher Geburtstag (meaning 'Deadly Birthday').
      Italy: La Maledizione Di Morgana (meaning 'Morgana's Curse').
      Poland: Z�y Dzie� (meaning 'Bad Day').
      Portugal: O Dia Perverso (meaning 'The Perverse Day').

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: October 30, 2011 on Ten.
      Canada: January 22th, 2012 on Space.
      France: March 9th, 2012 on Canal + Family.
      Germany: January 18th, 2012 on Super RTL.
      Italy: September 12th, 2012 on Italia 1.
      Sweden: September 23nd, 2012 on SVT2.
      Turkey: March 4, 2012 on CNBC-e.
      USA: January 20th, 2012 on Syfy.

    • The Great Dragon does not appear in this episode, but John Hurt is credited (for the voice-over at the beginning of the opening credits).

    • Filming locations:
      Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France (Camelot).
      Cardiff, Wales, UK (Studio sets).
      Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, Coleford, Gloucestershire (Old Merlin's hut).
      Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, Coleford, Gloucestershire (Morgana's hut).

    • Broadcasts:
      Sat 15 Oct 2011 at 20:15-21:00pm on BBC One and BBC HD.
      Fri 21 Oct 2011 at 19:45-20:30pm on BBC Three.

  • Allusions

    • The title of this episode The Wicked Day is actually the title of a book by Mary Stweart, published in 1983 which storyline focuses on Mordred and how he is more a pawn of fate than a real villain. It's actually the fourth in a quintet of books by the same author, based on the Arthurian legends.

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