This article is about the episode Lancelot. To see the page on the character, click here
Lancelot is the fifth episode in the first series of Merlin, which was first broadcast on 18 October 2008. The episode marked the introduction, and the first departure, of Lancelot. It also marked the first appearance of the librarian and genealogist, Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Merlin barely escapes the attack of a magical winged creature when a young swordsman called Lancelot appears and fights the creature away, saving his life. Grateful, Merlin rushes Lancelot to Gaius to treat his wounds. Lancelot confides in Merlin his dream of becoming a knight and protecting Camelot. Merlin makes it his mission to convince Arthur of Lancelot's nobility and great fighting skills. For it he wishes to repay him by helping him become a Knight of Camelot even if it means bending the rules...
While picking mushrooms in a forest, Merlin is attacked by an enormous winged beast with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. The creature corners him but is chased away by a young man with a sword. Merlin's rescuer introduces himself as Lancelot. Lancelot was hurt during the fight, so Merlin takes him to Gaius for treatment. Later, King Uther and Prince Arthur search the forest for signs of the creature. It has taken human victims from the nearby village but attacked no livestock: the monster has acquired a taste for human flesh. Uther orders Arthur to prepare Camelot's defences as it appears the beast is making for Camelot. Lancelot makes a full recovery and tells Merlin his lifelong ambition to become one of the Knights of Camelot. Merlin promises to put in a word for him with Arthur. Unfortunately, Arthur says only those of noble blood are eligible for knighthood. Lancelot is devastated. He is the only survivor of a village which was massacred by raiders, and has been training in combat ever since to achieve his dream of defending Camelot.
Merlin uses his magical powers to create a forged seal of nobility for Lancelot to use. Lancelot is reluctant to lie but Merlin convinces him all he needs is a chance to prove his worth. Gwen fits Lancelot for his chain mail and they seem to be very taken with each other. Gaius chastises Merlin for forging the seal of nobility, but Merlin passionately declares the rules of Knighthood are unfair and this is the only way he can repay Lancelot for saving his life.
Uther discovers the mysterious creature is moving towards Camelot. He tells Arthur to prepare the royal knights to fight. Because of this, Lancelot's test of knighthood is brought forward. He must last one minute in a duel with Prince Arthur. Lancelot feigns defeat and attacks when Arthur thinks he has won. The attack is successful and Lancelot is knighted as Sir Lancelot. However, Uther is suspicious and orders the seal of nobility to be examined by the court genealogist, Geoffrey of Monmouth.
At the celebrations for Lancelot's knighthood, Merlin jokingly asks Gwen who she would fall in love with if she had the choice between Arthur and Lancelot. Gwen, secretly infatuated with Merlin, says she will never have to make the decision (fun fact is that later on the series she actually has to make the decision). Meanwhile Lancelot and Arthur are discussing Gwen and Morgana, as Arthur, besotted with Morgana, asks if he thinks she is beautiful. Lancelot, talking about Gwen, says he does, and Arthur, watching Morgana, replies that she really is.
Lancelot is arrested the following morning when it is discovered he's not a real nobleman, though Geoffrey said that the forgery was amazing. He is thrown into the dungeons. Arthur says Lancelot still proved himself capable to fight, but the king insists Lancelot has betrayed their trust and is not worthy of the honour.
Gaius has discovered the monster terrorising the villages is a Griffin, a creature previously thought to be only mythical. The Griffin arrives in Camelot and battles with Arthur and the royal knights. It destroys Arthur's weapons however retreats when Arthur holds a torch up against it. Gaius says the creature is magical and can only be defeated by magic, but Uther insists they lure the Griffin and kill it that evening. Gaius tells Merlin he must use magic to defeat the Griffin or Arthur will be killed, however Merlin has difficulty pronouncing the spell needed to kill the Griffin, but he continues to try.
Arthur releases Lancelot from prison. Arthur is regretful Lancelot cannot serve as a knight, but orders him to leave Camelot before the king finds out. Lancelot asks Gwen to provide him with weapons and armour so he can fight the Griffin anyway. She begs him not to go. Merlin discovers Lancelot plans to battle the Griffin, and rushes to join him. Meanwhile, the royal knights have arrived at the opening Uther suggested they use to fight the Griffin. The monster slaughters the knights and badly wounds Arthur when Lancelot charges the griffin. Merlin uses the spell he practiced with Gaius, has the pronunciation correct and Lancelot's spear becomes magically charged and kills the Griffin. As Arthur stirs from being knocked out by the Griffin, Merlin runs away so when Arthur awakes he sees Lancelot near the dead Griffin, and so he believes it was Lancelot who killed it.
Uther is furious Arthur defied him and released Lancelot. Arthur protests Lancelot has saved his life and fought with honour, so he must earn his respectful place as a Kinght of Camelot, but Uther strongly refuses. However, Lancelot knows Merlin used magic to defeat the Griffin and promises to keep Merlin's "secret" safe. Uther and Arthur argue over whether to restore Lancelot's knighthood, but Lancelot cannot stand to lie any more or watch Uther and Arthur argue over him. He asks for their forgiveness and leaves Camelot. Gwen sadly watches him go, but Merlin forsees Lancelot will return to them one day.
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Bradley James as Prince Arthur
- Richard Wilson as Gaius
- Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon
- Angel Coulby as Gwen
- Katie McGrath as Morgana
| To view the Lancelot (episode) gallery, click here.
Release & Reception
- Lancelot premiered on Syfy UK at 7pm on September 8th 2017, immediately followed by A Remedy to Cure All Ills.
- For the fifth episode, Merlin was moved from 7:05 pm to 5:55 pm, causing a drop of 900,000 viewers to a series low of 5 million. Despite this, the series gained in terms of audience share, rising from 25.6% to 27.1%.
|The Dragon's Call • Valiant • The Mark of Nimueh • The Poisoned Chalice • Lancelot • A Remedy to Cure All Ills • The Gates of Avalon • The Beginning of the End • Excalibur • The Moment of Truth • The Labyrinth of Gedref • To Kill the King • Le Morte d'Arthur
Mini-episode: Merlin in Need