The Tears of Uther Pendragon is a two-part story consisting of the first and second episodes of the third series of Merlin which was first broadcast on the 11th and 18 September 2010. It is set a year after Morgana went missing and sees her return.
Merlin and Arthur have been on many quests in search of the missing Lady Morgana. The despondent Prince is all but ready to give up. But as they recover from their latest skirmish a bruised, bloodied figure emerges from the mist... it is the Lady Morgana? King Uther is overjoyed, but then starts to lose his mind. Merlin thinks that magic is the cause; could this be the work of his dutiful ward? The young warlock puts himself in grave danger trying to find out whose side Morgana is really on...
With Merlin gravely ill from the Serket's poison, Morgana and Morgause continue with their evil plan. They have mentally incapacitated Uther and convinced his enemy, Cenred, to invade Camelot. The fate of the kingdom now rests on Arthur's shoulders. The Prince and his Knights resist the invaders, but Cenred's soldiers are not the only threat they face; using their magic, Morgana and Morgause have raised an army of the dead. Can Merlin stop Morgana in time to save Arthur from the enemy within?
Merlin, Arthur, and his men are still searching for Morgana after spending most of the previous year looking for her. They find a field littered with the bodies of knights. Merlin tries to stop Arthur going after the bandits that killed the patrol from Camelot, but Arthur ignores him as usual. Back in Camelot, Gaius speaks to Uther, telling him that they should stop searching for Morgana after an entire year, but Uther refuse to give up. Meanwhile, Arthur, Merlin and the soldiers find a deserted camp in a forest, and are attacked by the bandits occupying the camp. After a short battle (in which Merlin uses magic to save himself and Arthur several times), the men of Camelot are victorious, but in the battle's aftermath, they see one final figure approaching; as they get closer, the group see that it is a bloodied and disheveled Morgana.Back in Camelot, Gaius sees to a sleeping Morgana, confirming that she is unharmed. He returns to his chambers, where he is confronted by a worried Merlin, who is wondering about what Uther would do to him if he found out that he had tried to poison Morgana. The next morning, Gaius wakes Merlin, telling him that Arthur has requested him in Morgana's chambers, which greatly worries Merlin. When he arrives, Morgana is talking to Arthur about the past year before they share a passionate hug, and Morgana notices Merlin standing in the doorway. After Arthur leaves, Morgana asks to speak to Merlin. She tells Merlin that she understands why he tried to poison her, and that she would have done the same if she had been in his place. Merlin leaves to do his chores, happy. Morgana goes to see Uther, and they share a moment of happiness and reconciliation. After a short visit, Morgana leaves, smirking. After nightfall, Morgana heads into the forest and to a cave where she meets with Morgause. Morgana confirms that Uther does not suspect her true loyalties and hands Morgause a handkerchief, which has the tears of Uther on it, which Morgause throws into a cauldron filled with a black liquid. Morgause also throws in a mandrake root, which emits a piercing scream as it is thrown in; Morgause explains that the scream can only be heard by those with magic. For those without magic, it can pierce someone's soul and bring their worst fears to life. Morgause pulls out the mandrake root, covered in the black liquid. Morgana returns to Camelot and hides the root under Uther's bed. Gaius is later seen informing Uther of Morgana's speedy recovery. At a celebration party, Uther gets a little drunk in his happiness and toasts Morgana's return. She smiles through most of the evening, but scowls when forced to hug Uther.
Uther goes outside for some air, and hears a noise in the well. Initially thinking Arthur is playing a trick on him, Uther walks over to the well and looks down the shaft. Seeing nothing, he begins to turn away when all of a sudden a withered arm grabs him. Looking back down, Uther sees his dead wife Ygraine in the well, begging him for help. Uther pulls away from Ygraine and falls to the ground, screaming in terror, where he is found cowering by guards. Uther is taken to his room, where he is to rest at Gaius' orders. Everybody leaves, and Morgana smirks at his still form.
At the cave, Morgana tells Morgause that rumours of Uther's condition have already begun to spread. Morgana asks when Morgause will go to Cenred, the warlike king of a neighbouring kingdom; Morgause replies that she will leave the next day and assures her sister that Cenred will do exactly what they want. They make up a fresh mandrake root, and Morgana returns to Camelot with it. A guard finds her on her way back to her chambers, and he sees what he believes to be blood dripping on to the floor from beneath her cloak. Before he can see to her "wounds", Morgana stabs him, and pushes him off the battlements. She returns to her chambers, and hides the mandrake in a chest. She realises her clothes are covered in muck from the forest, and can hear Gwen walking up the stairs. She quickly takes off her cloak, and throws it across the room. Gwen asks if Morgana needs her for anything, but Morgana insists she does not need any help, but her abrupt tone makes Gwen suspicious.
The next day, Morgause goes to see Cenred, and tells him of Uther's condition, saying that Uther has become weak, and that Camelot is free to be attacked. But Cenred is unsure, stating that even with Uther incapacitated, an assault on Camelot is not to be taken lightly. Morgause reminds him of their ally in the city. When Cenred expresses doubt about the loyalty of traitors, Morgause assures him that Morgana can be counted on until the end, convincing Cenred to march on Camelot.
Back in the high chamber, Uther is having a meeting with the council, where Arthur and Sir Leon inform him that mercenaries are flooding into Cenred's kingdom, and that they fear he is raising an army. Suddenly, Uther sees a boy, completely soaking and standing in the middle of the room, but nobody but him can see thechild. He tells the boy to leave, and everybody in the court believes Uther has gone mad. He is taken out of the chamber by Arthur and Leon and is taken to his room. In private, Gaius explains to Merlin that, during the Great Purge, Uther had many of those who practiced sorcery, even children, drowned. All of a sudden, the warning bells sound; the body of the sentry Morgana stabbed has been found. Gaius tells Arthur that the knife used to injure the man is marked with the sigil of the Blood Guard, an order of warrior priests who protected the High Priestesses of the Old Religion; Gaius voices to Arthur his fear that there was a traitor in Camelot. He also states that the man is still alive and will soon identify his attacker, worrying Morgana who overhears. In secret, she goes to the chambers that Gaius and Merlin share, and poisons the wounded man. When Merlin and Gaius return, they realise what has happened, and begin to fear what it means.
Merlin is seeing to Uther, to check if he is alright. He then spots some black liquid on the floor, but at the same time, sees a shadow. He hides under the bed, but touches the mandrake. As he remains as quiet as he can, a hand reaches under the bed and grabs the mandrake. Merlin manages to get a quick glimpse of who it was, and it is revealed to be Morgana. He follows her out of Camelot, and he is nearly spotted, but just manages to not be seen. He follows her all the way into the forest, and hides behind some trees. Morgana meets with Morgause and tells her that everything is ready, but that Merlin is growing suspicious of her. Morgause remarks that they need to deal with him soon, to which Morgana replies that it shouldn't be too hard to dispose of him. Surprised, Morgause asks how so, and Morgana replies that it is because Merlin is hiding behind a nearby log. His hiding place revealed, Merlin stands up, and Morgana sneeringly asks him if he thought she was stupid enough not to notice that she was being followed. He tries to flee, but is soon captured by Morgause's Blood Guard escorts and knocked out.When Merlin regains consciousness, he is chained up, and confronted by Morgause. She questions Merlin, wondering why he went to so much trouble to save Arthur and Camelot, since he is just a servant. Merlin replies that he believes Arthur will be a fair and just king, but leaves out his part in their shared destiny. However, Morgause realises there is something more, and that Merlin is not telling her something. Morgause loses interest, however, and tells Merlin he can take his secret to his grave, as she intends to kill him for daring to try and poison her sister. She places an enchantment on his chains, making them seemingly unbreakable and then departs. It is not long before Serkets begin to surround Merlin.
Merlin initially tries to break the chains with magic, but when this fails, he resorts to blasting the Serkets back with magic, though not before one manages to wound him with its tail sting. As the Serket's venom begins to affect him, Merlin, using his power as a Dragonlord, calls out to Kilgharrah, using the ancient dragon language. Merlin then collapses. As the Serkets move in for the kill, the dragon arrives and drives the Serkets back with his firebreath, before carrying Merlin to safety.
Cenred begins his invasion of Camelot, and enters the kingdom with an army numbering thousands of men; Morgause watches events unfold with satisfaction. It seems that Camelot may have no chance; though Gaius desperately urges Arthur to take control, the prince refuses to give up hope that Uther will soon recover.
Part TwoHaving been rescued by Kilgharrah from the Serkets, Merlin is taken to safety by the dragon, who carries him to a cave and uses an enchantment to heal the wound made by the Serket's sting and to break the chains. Merlin wakes briefly after they arrive, but finds himself unable to move due to the poison still in his body. The pair talk; Merlin thanks Kilgharrah for saving him, but laments the fact that he didn't heed the dragon's advice about Morgana. Kilgharrah explains that she and Merlin are the opposites of one another (light against dark, hate against love) and that their futures are likely joined together. Soon after, Merlin goes back to sleep in order to rid himself of the poison. Once Merlin has recovered sufficiently, Kilgharrah flies him back, dropping him close to Camelot. As Kilgharrah departs, refusing to go nearer to the castle, he warns Merlin to be careful, as "the great battle for Camelot is about to begin".
Once back in Camelot, Merlin tells Gaius, who had been worried about Merlin's whereabouts, that Morgana and Morgause are in league with each other and that they are responsible for the madness afflicting Uther. They go to Uther's chamber, not knowing that Morgana has been there before them and had used the enchantment to worsen the curse; when Gaius and Merlin enter Uther's chamber, they find him curled up in a corner crying, tormented by ghosts of Ygraine and several children he had drowned in the Great Purge staring at him. Acting quickly, Merlin removes the mandrake root causing the enchantment from under Uther's bed and throws it into the fire, wincing at the resulting shriek. However, it immediately breaks the enchantment and restores Uther's sanity. After leaving Uther to sleep and recover, Merlin insisted to Gaius that they must tell Uther Morgana was responsible, but Gaius replies that Uther would never believe their word against his beloved ward.The next day, Merlin returns to Arthur's chambers, discovering that they have become a complete mess during his absence. Arthur is furious that Merlin had been missing the previous day, insisting that his absence was inexcusable. Merlin belatedly asks if he was allowed to be absent if he was dying, to which Arthur replies if Merlin was dying, he would be all the happier. He then asks where Merlin had been the previous day, causing Merlin to look slightly bemused as he replies that he had been dying, only annoying Arthur further, thinking Merlin to be lying. After listening to Arthur shouting at him for a few seconds, Merlin glibly remarks that Arthur had obviously not had his breakfast yet; now exceptionally enraged, Arthur throws a cup at Merlin, shouting that he would eat Merlin for breakfast. Merlin backs up slightly, before fleeing the room altogether as a furious Arthur throws another object at his head. As Merlin retreats back to his chambers, Morgana, having discovered Merlin's survival and the mandrake's disappearance, pulls him aside and threatens to tell Uther that he previously tried to poison her if he tells Uther of her and Morgause's plan. That night, Morgana goes to Morgause and tells her sister that Merlin is still alive and has broken the mandrake's hold over Uther; however, Morgause assures her that the mandrake has already done its work and by now, Cenred's army is less than a day from Camelot. She also gives Morgana the Rowan Staff carved from the Rowan Tree on the Isle of the Blessed, remarking that she must play her part; Morgana expresses fear that her magic is not strong enough, but Morgause reassures her that the staff's power will help. The following day, a patrol of Camelot's knights, led by Sir Leon discover Cenred's army and race back to alert Arthur, who is in charge of the city. Leon reports that Cenred's army number at least 20,000, outnumbering Camelot's forces two to one. Gaius suggests they negotiate with Cenred, if only to buy them time to prepare, but Arthur, knowing Cenred will not be easily satisfied, orders Camelot to prepare for a siege, insisting that the castle has never been taken, thereby giving them the advantage. He also orders that the people of Camelot's outlying villages take shelter within the city. With Cenred's army only hours away, preparations begin in full; weapons and armour are distributed, barricades and defences are erected and the knights of Camelot prepare for battle. As night falls and Cenred's army surround the city, Merlin helps Arthur into his armour; as he does so, Merlin for the first time spoke openly about Arthur's destiny to be Camelot's greatest king and assures him that the victory he will win will be remembered forever. Arthur seems touched by Merlin's faith in him and shows a grudging respect for Merlin's wisdom, though he is quick to disguise it with his usual abrasiveness. At the urging of Morgause, Cenred begins the attack; as catapults bombard Camelot, Cenred's army break through the city gates and battle erupts in the streets. Arthur and his men defend the walls and barricades, holding Cenred's men from advancing, and Uther, ignoring the advice of Gaius, Leon and Arthur, dons his armour and joins the battle, fighting against the invaders until a crossbow bolt hits him in the leg. With their king injured and Cenred's men overrunning the barricades, Arthur orders a retreat back to the castle, (covered by Merlin's magic), leaving the lower town to the attackers. Cenred remarks that taking the castle will be more difficult than the lower town, but Morgause assures him that Morgana will come through. Meanwhile, in the castle, Gaius and Merlin tend to the wounded in a makeshift hospital, where Morgana is also present. They try to keep an eye on her, but Morgana evades them and heads down to the crypts with the hawthorn staff, where she drives the staff into the stone floor, releasing a blast of energy that only those with magic can feel. As she watches, the staff's power allows her to perform necromancy, as dozens of skeletal hands burst from the floor of the crypt. As the Knights of Camelot fight a desperate battle to keep Cenred's men from breaking into the castle, Morgana's magic becomes apparent; skeleton warriors begin to emerge from the castle and attack Camelot's army from behind. Arthur, Merlin, Leon and a number of knights try to hold the skeletons off, but their weapons cannot kill the undead warriors, only slow them down. As Arthur and his men fight a losing battle on two fronts to hold off Cenred's men and the undead, Arthur insists that they must evacuate Uther, but Gaius replies that with the lower town lost, there is no way to escape; this is now a fight to the death. As the battle grows worse, Merlin heads down to the crypts to confront Morgana. He begs her to stop, but she refuses, saying that she had no intention of showing mercy to Uther, as he hunts down all like her. Merlin, not revealing he has magic, empathises with her, insisting that there can be another way and that a gift like magic should be used for good, but Morgana refuses to listen. She and Merlin draw swords and duel, until Merlin uses his magic secretly to cause part of the ceiling to collapse, knocking her out. With Morgana incapacitated, Merlin uses his magic and his sword to shatter the staff; with the necromantic enchantment animating them broken, the skeleton warriors collapse into inert piles of bones. With the undead threat defeated, the knights of Camelot return to the battle against Cenred's men, fighting with renewed vigour. Seeing the battle turning against him, Cenred orders his army to retreat, ignoring a furious Morgause's warning that he has failed her. In the battle's aftermath, Merlin tries to tell Arthur what happened in the crypt, but Morgana has gotten there ahead of him, having told Uther and Arthur that she destroyed the staff and stopped the skeletons. At a ceremony to recognise her bravery and that of all those who fought and died in the battle, Uther again asserts vigilance in Camelot against magic while unnoticed by all, Merlin and Morgana glare hatefully at each other across the chamber. Back in Gaius's chambers, Merlin laments that Uther could not see Morgana's true nature; Gaius could not explain why that is so, but warns him Morgana will try to undermine Camelot again. He advises Merlin to be wary of her, to which Merlin replies that he feels nothing but sadness for Morgana, for she has become so twisted by bitterness and hate. Gaius advises him never to become like her, something Merlin assures Gaius he never will, though he soon has second thoughts when Arthur bursts into their chambers and demands his presence for yet more chores.
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Bradley James as Arthur
- Katie McGrath as Morgana
- Angel Coulby as Gwen
- Richard Wilson as Gaius
- Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon
- John Hurt as Kilgharrah, the Great Dragon
- Emilia Fox as Morgause
- Rupert Young as Sir Leon
- Tom Ellis as King Cenred
- Alice Patten as Ygraine Pendragon
According to Digital Spy, the first episode got an average of 5.68 Million viewers, up from last years average season opener. The official ratings for this episode were 6.49 million viewers.
The second episode was directly up against The X Factor, and lost 700k viewers, as episode 2 received 4.99 Million viewers. Despite a low average, the episode managed to officially pull 6.06 million viewers.
- This is the shows second two-parter, and the first time a series has started with one.
- When Morgana worsened Uther's sickness, it should be noted that even though she was standing right in front of him and it seemed he was awake (his eyes were open), he didn't notice her. It is unknown why Uther showed no awareness of Morgana, but it's probably that the king wasn't conscious of what was happening around him, being lost in the Mandrake's visions.
- This episode embarks the beginning of Morgana's evil plots.
- Sir Leon has somehow survived the Dragon's flames since he appeared in this episode and many following episodes.
- The episode marks the first fight between Merlin and Morgana. Though both have magic, they battle with swords.
- In the second part of the episode, during the scene between Morgana and Gaius, Morgana says she has lost her earring, but Katie pronounces it, "Me earring", and the subtitles caption as "My".
|The Tears of Uther Pendragon • Goblin's Gold • Gwaine • The Crystal Cave • The Changeling • The Castle of Fyrien • The Eye of the Phoenix • Love in the Time of Dragons • Queen of Hearts • The Sorcerer's Shadow • The Coming of Arthur |
Interactive quest: The Quest for Morgana
Mini-episode: Merlin in Need special