'Merlin' Season 4 finale preview: Meet King Arthur the idiot

SHOW PATROL

March 23, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

The entire fourth season of "Merlin" has been leading up to a big showdown between King Arthur and Morgana. Fans will get the pay off in "The Sword in the Stone," the two-part finale that begins at 9 p.m. March 23 on Syfy.

Morgana (Katie McGrath) and the Southron army led by Helios (Terence Maynard) finally conquer Camelot, but it's an uneasy victory unless deposed King Arthur (Bradley James) is captured. Morgana sends his uncle, the traitor Agravaine (Nathaniel Parker), after Arthur and Merlin (Colin Morgan).

Despite great dramatic moments and a lot of action, I enjoyed "The Sword in the Stone, Part 1" more for James' wonderful comic turn as an idiot version of Arthur. Merlin has cast a spell on the king in order to get him safely out of Camelot, and the pair essentially changes positions, with Merlin becoming the heroic figure Arthur looks up to and relies upon.

Arthur becomes a polite, agreeable simpleton who does exactly as Merlin commands, including wearing an ill-fitting (translation: tight!) peasant wardrobe.

"I looked the bomb in that costume," James said in a release from Freemantle, the studio producing "Merlin." He added that "Arthur's simpleton was an absolute pleasure to play, if only for not having to wear chainmail for an episode."

Ben Daniels ("Law and Order UK") and Miranda Raison ("MI-5") guest star in the finale as Tristan and Isolde, respectively. Merlin and Arthur come upon the smugglers when they flee Camelot. Check out the photo gallery by clicking the link under Related Items on the left side of the page.

The finale also brings back the Great Dragon, and introduces into this version of the oft-told Camelot tale the story of how Arthur comes to pull the sword from the stone, but you'll have to wait for Part 2.

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