When Merlin and Gaius discover a beautiful druid girl, Freya, trapped in a bounty hunter's cage, Merlin knows he must help her escape. Gaius warns Merlin against getting involved, but Merlin refuses to listen, harbouring Freya in the tunnels beneath Camelot. Yet with the bounty hunter searching for his missing prize and a ferocious magical beast on the loose, Freya cannot stay hidden long. Merlin's intense new friendship and his love for her is tested to the limit, and Merlin is forced to make some heartbreaking decisions as he battles to keep Freya safe.
On a stormy night a bounty hunter named Halig arrives in Camelot. With him is a cage containing a beautiful druid girl. Gaius and Merlin, returning home from tending to a patient, spot the girl. Gaius explains Uther offers a handsome reward for the capture of any who use magic. Despite Gaius's warnings not to interfere, Merlin returns later and frees the girl. Halig soon notices she is gone. Halig walks around looking for her, and when he stops under a sign board, Merlin uses magic so the sign board falls onto Halig's head. Halig is not immediately knocked out, however, and sees two shadows running away. Merlin hides the girl in the catacombs beneath Camelot and promises to look after her. She asks him why he saved her from captivity, and he replies he sympathises with her, as it could have easily been him in the cage. Merlin introduces himself and the girl tells Merlin her name is Freya. Halig goes to Uther and warns him of the druid girl's escape; Uther assigns a detachment of guards to search for her. In private, Halig warns him the girl is cursed, and even the Druids were said to fear her. Gaius is surprised to learn the Druids cast her out of their village, since this goes against their practice to help all in need, and Uther insists she must be found immediately, especially after Halig mentions an accomplice may have helped her in her escape. A search for Freya and her mystery accomplice swiftly ensues.
The next morning, Merlin steals some food from Arthur, which he takes to Freya. As time passes, the pair grow close. The next day, however, as Merlin leaves Arthur's chamber (having stolen more food for Freya) Halig apprehends him. Halig doesn't believe Merlin's claims of not knowing where Freya is, and is about to torture him when Arthur intervenes and says Merlin has his complete trust. At this point, it is revealed that Merlin was carrying sausages stolen from the prince's plate, but Arthur continues to back Merlin up. Gaius also interrogates Merlin but he insists he had nothing to do with the girl's escape.
That night at midnight a strange, unseen creature prowls through the lower town of Camelot, attacking and killing two young lovers. Their bodies are found the next day: Uther, Arthur and Gaius investigate the scene of the attack, but the evidence is confusing: the wounds on the bodies were clearly made by an animal, but human footprints lead away from the area. Uther swiftly concludes it to be the work of a magical creature. Merlin, unaware of this, continues to tend to Freya, and as time passes, the two become very close. Eventually, Merlin decides he will help Freya not only escape Camelot, but stay with her. Though she insists her life is too dangerous for him to risk, she is clearly happy with the suggestion. Knowing she needs new clothes, Merlin purloins a dress from Morgana's wardrobe, narrowly managing to fend off a surprised Gwen and an astounded Arthur, who clearly has his own ideas on what Merlin wants with the dress. That night, the mysterious beast attacks again, this time killing two guards. Again, the evidence is the same: the victims are clearly those of an animal attack, but only human tracks lead away from the site. Arthur also remarks eyewitnesses described the monster as a gigantic, winged black cat. Gaius, remembering Halig's warning, tells Merlin - who is now in love with Freya - that she is cursed: every night at midnight, she transforms into a Bastet, a bloodthirsty and vicious beast. Horrified, Merlin confesses to freeing Freya, but refuses to believe
Gaius's claim. Merlin begs for more time to get Freya to safety, but Gaius, knowing she will kill again, goes to tell Uther. Merlin goes to the catacombs to warn Freya, only to find she has gone. Suddenly, the city bells toll midnight, and Freya, who was trying to escape Camelot, believing that Merlin is better off without her, is trapped by Arthur, Halig and a group of knights. She begs them to leave her alone before transforming. The Bastet rips Halig apart and then attacks Arthur and his men. Arthur manages to badly wound the beast: as it retreats into the courtyard, pursued by Arthur and the knights, Merlin arrives. The Bastet gazes sorrowfully at Merlin: desperate to help Freya, Merlin uses magic to make a gargoyle topple at Arthur, distracting him long enough for the Bastet to escape.
Merlin tearfully runs after Freya, and runs down to the entrance to her alcove in the catacombs, where he finds her in Bastet form. Merlin strokes her affectionately, and Freya's self breaks through the beast, and, instead of attacking him, she behaves like a dog to its master, and she groans and growls softly
before retreating into the alcove. Merlin follows her, into the cave to find Freya, human again and dying from her wounds. She tearfully explains her curse was the doing of an angry sorceress after Freya accidentally killed the sorceress' son in self-defence. Merlin dresses Freya in Morgana's stolen dress and carries Freya to a lake in the hope of healing her, but she is too badly hurt: however, she is grateful to him for
making her feel loved again. With her last breath, Freya thanks Merlin and promises to one day repay his kindness. A heartbroken Merlin places her body on a boat and uses his magic to give her a traditional funeral. Back at Camelot, Gaius consoles Merlin, while Arthur, aware Merlin is upset, helps cheer him up with a bit of friendly banter, before setting him yet more tasks.
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Bradley James as Arthur
- Angel Coulby as Gwen
- Richard Wilson as Gaius
- Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon
Release & Reception
Air date: 21 November 2009. 6.30 million viewers.
- Just as Merlin sends the boat adrift with Freya in it, you can see Freya breathing. But maybe it has something to do with how she appeared in The Coming of Arthur: Part Two.
- Freya returned in the finale of Series 3, retrieving Excalibur from the lake at which Merlin held her funeral.
- The episode marks the first appearance of Freya as well as her death.
- The episode marks Merlin's first and only love interest in the Series.
- The episode was named after Freya, though she has never been referred to by the title of Lady of the Lake in the series.
- The episode marks the third appearance of the Lake of Avalon.
- Morgana is mentioned, her chambers appear, her wardrobe and her dress that Freya wears when Merlin sends her (Freya) to Avalon, but she (Morgana) does not appear in the episode.
- The events of Excalibur and The Lady of the Lake resurface in The Coming of Arthur Part 2, The Sword in the Stone Part 2, and The Diamond of the Day: Part 2.
- Characters: Freya, Halig, Evoric
- Locations: Lake of Avalon
- Magic: Elemental Magic (Fire spell
- Creatures: Bastet
- Merlin and Freya
|The Curse of Cornelius Sigan • The Once and Future Queen • The Nightmare Begins • Lancelot and Guinevere • Beauty and the Beast • The Witchfinder • The Sins of the Father • The Lady of the Lake • Sweet Dreams • The Witch's Quickening • The Fires of Idirsholas • The Last Dragonlord
Mini-episode: Children in Need special