Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Merlin – Lamia – review

Director: Justin Molotnikov

First aired: 2011

Contains spoilers

It is a bad sign when I record an episode for review and it takes me over two years to get around to that review. You see I never watched the series Merlin – Merlin (Colin Morgan) as a young man seemed a strange concept to me, having grown with a more classical view of how Merlin should look and I always thought it to be more a “bright and shiny” BBC production than the gritty realism I would have liked to have seen.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked such sword and sorcery extravaganzas as Xena but this one never attracted me. Having watched the episode, I was right… It just isn’t my cup of tea. When they take the character Percival (Tom Hopper) and put him in sleeveless chainmail I inwardly groan at the all too modern nod at “yoof” which would have left the knight as armless as a character in a Monty Python film.

the village
My reasoning for watching this one episode for review was down to the fact that it was called lamia and the folklore of the lamia and vampires do cross and, indeed, the lamia is (at the very least) often portrayed as vampiric. So, best foot forward. I will try and review this for its vampiric content, and we begin in a village. Head man John (Wayne Foskett) and his wife Mary (Melanie Hill) share banter until a male scream is heard. John investigates and finds a man looking as though he is insensible.

drain with a kiss
Mary goes to Camelot to see old friend, ex-servant (apparently) and apparently not quite the girlfriend of the regent/King, Gwen (Angel Coulby), who in turn petitions Arthur (Bradley James). Four men have fallen to this strange malady but court physician Gaius (Richard Wilson, Demons) is busy dealing with an outbreak and so Merlin is sent (with knights and Gwen) in his stead. One night, no cure, and they are off back to get advice from Gaius. However on the way back they come across bandits harassing a woman and save her. She is called Lamia (Charlene McKenna, Being Human – season 2) and soon the knights are acting odd around her, though Gwen and Merlin seem immune and she won’t allow Merlin to touch her. Gwen’s brother Sir Elyan (Adetomiwa Edun) is the first to succumb to her life draining kiss (yes she’s an energy vampire) and soon they are in a castle of death being hunted by her – though the knights don’t know it.

monster form
Meanwhile Arthur, Gaius and entourage have gone to the village and Gaius recognises the effects of a lamia (for they are a magically created species, though why she has the same name as her species is beyond me) He says they were created (as a biological weapon) by mixing the blood of a human girl and a snake and can drain life with an embrace. Their eyes can turn yellow with elliptical pupil and they have a monstrous form as Merlin is about to discover…

eyes a-glowing
And, you know what, it really wasn’t for me. I couldn’t see me sitting down and watching the other episodes – though I know it was popular enough to get five seasons (this was in the fourth). There were some bits and bobs going on that needed a regular watch to explain but generally this was a standalone episode and it was okay. Lamia’s are a lesser used monster type and it was nice to have a full monster form. 5 out of 10.

The episode's imdb page is here.

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