Sir Lancelot makes a shocking return from the dead and old feelings reignite, making Gwen fight temptation to avoid committing an unspeakable act of betrayal that would destroy the legacy of Camelot forever. With heads and hearts at stake Merlin soon becomes suspicious. Can a man of honour break oaths and defy death or is there something more than meets eye?
Arthur tells Agravaine he wishes to marry Guinevere despite everyone's opinion. This worries his uncle and he goes to Morgana. Agravaine startles her and she puts a dagger to his chest, but she withdraws it when she sees who it is. Agravaine tells her the King's plan to marry and Morgana starts to worry and become angry. "I will not see that woman upon my throne!" she says.
Morgana searches for the Dochraid who tells her how to use a coin to raise a Shade, a shadow of a dead person. She raises a Shade of Lancelot in the Pool of Nemhain and he goes to Camelot to try and win the heart of Gwen (who by then has accepted Arthur's proposal). Lancelot returns to Camelot and everyone is overjoyed by his return but Merlin grows suspicious. Gwen stays loyal to her future husband, so Morgana gives Agravaine an enchanted bracelet to make Gwen love Lancelot again. Agravaine gives Lancelot the bracelet who gives it to Gwen as a "wedding gift" for her marriage, wishing her a happy life with Arthur.
Merlin discovers Lancelot's shade nature and, believing Morgana resurrected him and Lancelot may harm Arthur, is prepared to use magic to stop Lancelot when he participates in a tournament. However, during the tournament, Lancelot, although he initially wounds Arthur, yields his weapon, refusing to harm Arthur. Merlin is relieved Arthur is alive but when he spots Gwen going to visit Lancelot, his suspicions increase.
Lancelot gets Gwen in the Council Chambers in the dead of night. Merlin tries to stop Lancelot with his magic but since Lancelot is a shade, he is unharmed and he knocks Merlin unconscious. Agravaine summons Arthur to the council chambers and they, along with the recovered Merlin, catch Lancelot and Gwen kissing. Enraged by this, Arthur attacks Lancelot and they engage in a fierce battle. Lancelot attempts to kill Arthur but Merlin disarms Lancelot with his magic, giving Arthur a chance to kill Lancelot. Gwen gets between the two and Arthur immediately stops. Lancelot and Gwen are thrown in separate cells and Gwen pulls off the bracelet and throws it away, freeing herself from the enchantment.
Gwen is later brought to the Council Chambers and Arthur angrily asks her what she was doing with Lancelot and why she would betray him in such a manner. Gwen apologises for her actions, telling Arthur she has always loved him but somehow got drawn towards Lancelot after his return without knowing what she was doing. Arthur has Gwen banished from Camelot, unwilling to have her executed for her betrayal.
Merlin tells Gaius that Morgana always wanted to get rid of Gwen and they should tell Arthur that Lancelot is a shade, but Gaius tells him it will not clear Gwen's apparent betrayal. Agravaine later goes to Lancelot's cell and gives him an order from Morgana to make Lancelot kill himself. Merlin tells Arthur Gwen is a good person even though she betrayed him but Arthur tells him while he loves Gwen, he can never trust her, leaving Merlin frustrated.
Agravaine then tells Arthur about Lancelot's death and Arthur, who still respects Lancelot as a man of honour, orders Lancelot's body to be buried. Merlin goes to a lake and puts Lancelot's body in a boat and frees Lancelot's soul from Morgana's control, bringing him back to life for a moment. The true Knight sees Merlin and says feebly "Merlin, thank you." Merlin gives a weak smile and Lancelot dies peacefully. The boat on which he is lying is sent off over the lake and towards the mountains. Merlin sets the boat alight using Magic and has a tearful farewell with his past friend, leaving him to mourn even heavier than the first time.
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Bradley James as King Arthur
- Angel Coulby as Guinevere
- Richard Wilson as Gaius
- Katie McGrath as Morgana
- Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine
- Rupert Young as Sir Leon
- Eoin Macken as Sir Gwaine
Release & Reception
- 26 November 2011 at 8.15pm on BBC One.
- With 6.01 million viewers, it became the most watched Merlin episode of Season 4, but then, The Sword in the Stone: Part One overtook it with a massive 7.13 million viewers.
Deleted & missing scenes
- Bradley James and Angel Coulby were seen by fans in Pierrefonds (23rd June 2011) filming different takes for a scene in which Arthur, with Guinevere at his arm, crossed the main square and nobles bowed to them, possibly Arthur's first official public appearance with his fiancée.
The scene wasn't included in the episode nor was featured as deleted scene in the DVD releases of the series.
Pictures of the scene can be found at 3xcusemyfrench gallery.
Behind the Scenes
- In the throne room set up for the wedding ceremony scene in Pierrefonds (22nd June 2011), fans documented the presence of a bed on the floor placed at the end of the pink carpet. The bed was unmistakably part of the set, as it featured the white pillows seen at Gwen’s two coronations scenes (offered to Arthur with the queen's crown) and a green velvet panel usually hung in a corridor outside Arthur's chambers (see "it's just our shadows" scene, The Death Song of Uther Pendragon) but also seen as part of picnic equipment (A Lesson in Vengeance); the same flowers decoring the throne room and the outside of the castle framed it.
It is unknown why the bed isn’t seen in the episode, if it was used for or during an additional scene that didn’t make it to the final cut or if it was just meant to be seen when Arthur is in the throne room (and Agravaine comes with the news of Lancelot's death) and a wider frame that took in all the room was cut in post production.
No official image of or featuring the prop was ever released, no member of the crew posted a picture of it, nor was it mentioned by anyone involved in the production.
Pictures of the prop were shared by Carlospyrrhus and Archeologist_d, who took shots of the bed from different angles. (source )
- The coin Morgana used to raise the Shade was given her by Morgause in a deleted scene that was meant to be part of The Secret Sharer.
- This episode, along with the finale, is Colin Morgan's favourite episodes of Series 4. It is also one of producer Johnny Capps' favourite episodes. The episode has also received a lot of praise from crew working on the episode, as well as critics, with website DigitalSpy stating, "First of all, let's get this out of the way - 'Lancelot du Lac' is one of the best episodes Merlin has ever produced."
- According to Lancelot, he was saved by the Madhavi people who found him in one of the silk routes high in the Feorre Mountains in Cenred's kingdom.
- "Lancelot du Lac", translates to "Lancelot of the Lake", in English.
- This episode marks Morgana's third attempt to prevent Gwen from becoming Queen. The first was Queen of Hearts, the second was The Darkest Hour and this episode is the third in which she is successful... or so she thinks.
- The Dochraid first appeared in this episode, she would later appear in Series 5 in the episode With All My Heart.
- This episode marks the final appearance of Lancelot in the series.
- Characters: Lancelot (Shade), Dochraid, Madhavi people
- Locations: Morgana's Hovel, Pool of Nemhain, Lake of Avalon
- Magic: Necromancy, Pentacle of Necromancy, Spirit World
- Creatures: Shade
- Objects: Guinevere's Engagement Ring, Guinevere's Enchanted Bracelet, Coin of Necromancy
|The Darkest Hour • The Wicked Day • Aithusa • His Father's Son • A Servant of Two Masters • The Secret Sharer • Lamia • Lancelot du Lac • A Herald of the New Age • The Hunter's Heart • The Sword in the Stone|