The Dark Tower is the sixth episode of the fifth series of Merlin.
When Gwen is snatched from Camelot without warning, Merlin knows there can only be one person responsible: Morgana. Arthur is determined to save his Queen but it's not going to be easy, for she is locked in the Dark Tower, a place that haunts the dreams of men. Arthur and his Knights must embark on a quest like no other, battling through landscape riddled with hidden dangers, perilous obstacles and magical beings. As they near their goal, Merlin's sense of dread reaches breaking point. What twisted game is Morgana playing? And more importantly, just what is the final test that awaits them in the tower?
Gwen and her brother Elyan stand at a pile of rocks which mark the grave of their father, Tom. Gwen and Elyan recollection how he was a good father. Not long after, they ride through the woods on their horses, with Leon, Gwaine and Percival, and begin to joke around. Morgana, not too far away, casts a spell on a nest on snakes which makes them aggressive, and they take all of the knights who are knocked off their horses. Leon tells Gwen to ride over to the tree, and Gwen heads straight in the direction where Morgana is standing. Gwen turns the other way and attempts to ride off, but Morgana pulls her off the horse, and Gwen falls to the ground, unconscious.
The knights arrive back at Camelot, and Percival and Leon are taken in stretchers to be treated by Gaius. Elyan reports to Arthur that Gwen is missing and Arthur tells Merlin they ride at dawn. Gaius meanwhile treats Leon and Percival, commenting that the snake bites are a result of dark magic and that they should be dead. Gaius suspects there is more to the snake bites than luck, suggesting the snakes were set up. Merlin walks into Arthur's room without knocking, to Arthur's irritant. Merlin tells Arthur that Leon and Percival are recovering, but that there is evidence of sorcery and Morgana is involved in what happened in Gwen's kidnapping and the snake bites. Merlin assures Arthur they will not lose Gwen and they will find her. He shakes Arthur's hand.
As the knights of the round table head off on their horses towards the same woods Gwen was kidnapped, Morgan wakes Gwen up and tells her she wants to play a little game, to find out just how much Arthur loves her. Gwen tells Morgana Arthur is not stupid and knows it's a trap, but Morgana rebuts by telling her he will come anyway. The knights find Gwen's horse which she was pulled off by Morgana. They see the damaged saddle and that Gwen was pulled by force. Percival spots tracks and sees that they are heading east. Arthur leads the way up a hill. Morgana pulls Gwen along on her horse deeper in the woods and Gwen collapses. Morgana offers her water but Gwen refuses. Morgana taunts Gwen for taking her crown, and pours the water onto the ground right in front of Gwen, and gets back on the horse and continues. The knights ride deeper into the forest, as Morgana nears the Dark Tower, in a land where everything surrounding is dead.
Night falls, and Arthur insists they keep on heading east, but Merlin tells him they've lost the trail. Arthur orders they retrace the tracks and Merlin tells the knights he will talk to Arthur. Merlin tells Arthur they need to work together as he looks on downhill a stream, surrounded by trees. Morgana and Gwen venture deep into the Dark Tower. Morgana refuses to tell Gwen where they're going. They arrive in a very dark room, its ceiling hanging with Mandrake roots, a magical plant that pierces the very recesses of the soul, twisting the mind to experience its worse fears.
At the camp, Arthur talks to Elyan and tells him he cannot blame himself for not being able to save Gwen earlier. Elyan admits Gwen is the reason he is who he is. Arthur puts his arm around Elyan and cheers him up. Later in the night, Percival and Leon wake to the same nightmare- they describe the Dark Tower, a place that knights dread. Arthur is familiar with the tower, describing it as a place that can bring doom to those who even hear of it. Gwaine lightens the moment by describing his dream about an apple pie that tasted like cheese, and goes back to sleep as the others gaze at him awkwardly. Merlin tells Arthur that the visions were planted by Morgana, and are an indication that they are walking into a trap.
Gwen wakes in the tower, by the drops of the mandrake root. Screams and presences begin to haunt her again, as she covers her ears in terror. The following morning, Arthur announces he will travel alone to the Dark Tower, but the others insist they go to. The knights begin riding once again, and end up at a cliff where they get a clear view of the Dark Tower. Merlin asks how they get to it, and Arthur says through the Impenetrable Forest. Gwaine and Merlin question this, but Arthur insist. The knights begin cutting their way through the ivy of the forest. Gwaine struggles the most. In the tower, Gwen sees a hallucination of Elyan who laughs and taunts her. The knights continue cutting their way through the forest, heading north. Arthur says they should pick up the pace. In the tower, Gwen sees a hallucination of Merlin who is peeking around the corner, beckoning her. Gwen resists going to the hallucination, and backs away, but it pops out from the pillar behind her. Morgana then opens the doors and invites Gwen to dine with her. The knights realise they are going around in circles, as a piece of Gwaine's cape which shredded off earlier is found. Arthur is enraged that they have wasted an entire whole day so Leon suggests they make camp for the day and get some rest so they are fresh in the morning. Arthur sits, upset, and Merlin assures Arthur and Elyan, who is listening on nearby that he made a promise and they will bring Gwen home.
Morgana and Gwen sit at a table covered in cobwebs within the Dark Tower. Morgana tells Gwen that food always makes her feel better, and insists Gwen eat, but she refuses and says whatever trick Morgana is playing, she won't be broken by it. Morgana tells Gwen about her suffering, saying that she is ungrateful for not taking well to Morgana's offer of food in comparison to what Morgana went through, being chained at the bottom of a pit for two years. Gwen appears to be slightly moved by this. At the camp, Merlin senses the presence of Mab. He follows it, where he meets the impish Queen Mab, who knows he is Emrys, who is the spirit of the place they are within and every place that brings despair to the hearts of men. Mab speaks in riddles, much to Merlin's annoyance, and tells him the way ahead is the opposite way they think. She also tells him someone will not come back alive, then vanishes before Merlin can ask more questions. The sun casts upon the forest and the knights continue travelling. Arthur says they need to find a clearing. Merlin says for them to head north and tells him which way north is, and he and Elyan convince Arthur to give Merlin a chance. Merlin uses his magic to lead the way ahead, using a satellite vision to visualise the path ahead. They exit the forest and now have direct view of the tower, which lays in a desolate piece of flat land ahead.
Gwen wakes again, sensing a hallucination behind her. The door opens and Morgana enters, smiling, once again asking her to come and dine, this time walking further in and following Gwen around a pillar. Morgana feels Gwen's hand and comments on it being cold and offers her anything she would like, but Gwen resists. Morgana leaves again and locks the door behind. As soon as it closes the screams begin again for Gwen. The knights approach closer to the tower, walking across the long and dry dusty tracks. Percival sits down and takes his boot off, revealing a large blister. Gwen lies in the dark room, dimly lit by small beams of sunlight coming in through the ceiling. She mutters to herself, covering her ears, showing signs of being broken. The knights continue through the plains, and Merlin slips and falls down a hill, landing among the corpses of dead soldiers. He almost falls onto one of the swords. He climbs back up and Percival lifts him up to their level again. Gwen begins to hear a hallucination of Arthur, who appears behind her then walks up above her. She tries to resist the hallucination but looks up at the hallucination and laughs begin filling the room again, Gwen trying to block them out by clutching her head. The knights arrive at the Dark Tower. The hallucinations begin to intensify to a climax, ghost Merlin popping out once more. Morgana enters and the
hallucinations stop. She tells Gwen she is no torn but can no longer lonely because she says her. Gwen appears to succumb, but resists once more and says she would rather die.
The knights enter the doorway of the Dark Tower, and draw their swords. They climb the same staircase Morgana and Gwen did earlier, encountering several skeletons on the way. As they climb the staircase Merlin spots Arthur and tell him something is wrong- venturing the tower appears too easy. As usual, Arthur rebuts by telling Merlin he is never pleased. The knights enter a room filled with booby traps- traps which set off darts. Percival is stricken by a dart and Merlin stops Arthur which almost strikes Arthur in the head. Elyan pushes on, separated from the others. He then walks into a room where a trap lays that is designed for Arthur. A hovering sword, enchanted by Morgana, guards Gwen and attacks Elyan. Despite Gwen's warning that the sword will kill him, Elyan fights it and is piereced by the blade. He hurls it out of a window and shuts the window. The sword comes back but is jammed in the window. Elyan falls, mortally wounded, and Gwen holds him as he says his last words, which involve their father, Tom. The rest of the knights and Merlin enter the room to see Gwen holding a now dead Elyan.
Sir Elyan's funeral takes place, with all the knights, Arthur, Gwen, Merlin and Gaius attending. Elyan's body is burned at the same lake Lancelot and Freya were burned. Merlin tells Gaius he was sworn one would not return, and Gaius says the blade that pierced Elyan would've most certainly been intended for Arthur. That night, a now brainwashed Gwen leaves Arthur's chambers to go and meet Morgana, the one she believes she only has left now. The two have a sweet reunion, Gwen revealing herself to now think that Morgana is and was always her only loyalty and that she hates everybody in Camelot. Morgana says Gwen has an important part to play in the future and that together they will ensure the destruction of everything Arthur holds dear.
- Merlin - Colin Morgan
- King Arthur - Bradley James
- Guinevere Pendragon - Angel Coulby
- Morgana - Katie McGrath
- Sir Gwaine - Eoin Macken
- Sir Leon - Rupert Young
- Sir Percival - Tom Hopper
- Sir Elyan - Adetomiwa Edun
- Gaius - Richard Wilson
- Mordred - Alexander Vlahos (uncredited cameo)
- This episode marks the first confrontation between Gwen and Morgana since she became Queen three years ago.
- Mordred appears only briefly in this episode, he is seen in the background at the funeral in the ending.
- Aithusa doesn't appear in this episode.
- This episode marks the death of Elyan.
- Gwen and Morgana are now allies, with Gwen turning on Camelot.
The Dark Tower November 10, 2012 - 8.05pm BBC One.
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