Merlin 5.06 “The Dark Tower” Spoiler-Free Preview

Here be dragons (well, a dragon) but here be no spoilers. Except, perhaps, that the next episode of Merlin features a dark tower. Every fantasy must have one…

Into the dank cave of the Great Dragon enters a young seeker of spoilers, not put off by the fact that his quest so far has met with five frustrating weeks of riddles, obfuscation and circumvention from the tight-lipped serpent…

“Oh, Great Dragon! Great Dragon! It is I, once again. The young seeker of… whoooahhhh! Hey! Watch out! You nearly hit me with that rock!”

“…the duplicitous, back-stabbing, ungrateful, two-timing, dung-beetles! Ungracious leeches! Callous, dolt-brained, bottom-feeding, rusty-vested vermin! Bah!”

“Are you having a strop?”

“A strop? Great Dragons do not have strops!”

“It looks like you’re having a strop.”

“It is not a strop.”

“Then why are you throwing rocks and toads around the cave?”

“It’s extreme interior decorating.”

“A strop.”

“Ah, okay. I may be having a teensy weensy crisis of confidence.”

“Why?”

“Because they’ve replaced me!”

“What? In Merlin? Really? What with?”

“With someone who make less sense than I do!”

“Ah, a cricket commentator, then?”

“No worse!”

“Then who?”

“Oh come on, young ragamuffin. I want my job back! I’m not going to risk a long career of making vague prophecies and enigmatic epigrams by giving that away. I haven’t been handed my P45 just yet.”

“But there’s somebody else wibbling profound-sounding stuff that’s completely random, instead of you in the next episode?”

“Oh, they’re an expert at it. They even… sob… issue… sob… a prophecy!”

“Well, look. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and brush up on your own ability to spout vague gibberish. Hell, you can use me for practice!”

“Hmmm, I can see what you’re doing here.”

“Indulge me. You know you want to.”

“Ah, okay. It’s another intense episode. Really intense. If the Uther episode was a shock horror story, this one borders on psychological terror. Ironically, it is also the most fairy tale episode the show has yet done, but this is dark, dark fairy tale.”

“Like Tim Burton?”

“No, not like Tim Burton. Properly dark, not mock goth, frilly dark. This is much more like a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. There is some quite extraordinarily creepy sound design that makes it even more spooky. There are shared nightmares and nightmarish visions. And a quite unexpected geographical feature for medieval England. Merlin has to speak down to someone. A knight has a cheesy dream. Someone is rooting for somebody else, but maybe not in a good way.”

“Who get the starring roles?”

“It’s a huge episode for Gwen and Morgana, who has never been creepier. Merlin uses his magic a lot. In fact, there’s an awful lot of magic all around, including a quite extraordinary enchantment-aided fight scene.”

“How’s the bromance going?”

“Ah, there are plenty great moments of mutual respect between young Merlin and Arthur.”

“More! More!”

“Alas I can say no more, except: expect to go, ‘Ooooh!’ and, ‘Aaaahhhh!’ a lot. You may even do Darth Vader impression, if you care enough.”

“Now you’re just being obscure for the sake of it.”

“Yup. Still got it.”

Merlin “The Dark Tower” airs on BBC 1 on Saturday 10 November at 8.05pm

• Read our Merlin series five reviews so far