Episode Title: "Igraine"
Story by: Chris Chibnall & Louise Fox
Teleplay by: Chris Chibnall & Steven Lightfoot
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Previously on "Camelot":
Morgan (Eva Green) continued her plot to undermine her half-brother, King Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) by luring him and his knights to a feast at Castle Pendragon. Naturally, Arthur saw nothing suspicious about Morgan's invitation and gladly accepted. I don't know if you've noticed, but "King Twilight" is kind of an idiot in this incarnation. Once Arthur and his party arrived, Morgan went out of her way to make amends with Queen Igraine (Claire Forlani) and Merlin (Joseph Fiennes); which Igraine seemed almost inclined to accept at face value.
However, Morgan than arranged for a poorly staged attack on the castle, that should never have fooled Arthur and his men. Regardless, Morgan used the distraction to further Arthur's trust in her and she secretly imprisoned Igraine within her dungeon. However, Arthur didn't miss his mother because Morgan used her magic to assume Igraine's form and rode with him back to Camelot undetected.
At Camelot, Morgan enjoys the attention given to her by the people who believe that she is Igraine. Even Merlin stops by to bring her breakfast in her room. Back at Castle Pendragon, the real Igraine has to endure a bath at the hands of the evil Nun (Sinéad Cusack). The Nun also recruits Morgan's servant, Vivian (Chipo Chung) to help keep Igraine's presence a secret while Morgan sows discord at Camelot. And back at Camelot, Morgan comes across an orphaned boy named Redwald (Alfie Davis), whom Igraine had taken under her wing. Morgan maintains her act and actually seems to get close to the boy while playing a game.
Meanwhile, the real Igraine tries to choke out the Nun, but she's stopped by Vivian and a lone male guard. At the same time, Arthur inappropriately pursues Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) again, almost as if he doesn't give a s*** that he married her to his champion, Leontes (Philip Winchester) weeks ago. In Camelot, Morgan visits Merlin in his room and not-so-subtly asks how they should handle Morgan. Merlin prescribes death and lots of it, but he adds that Morgan may not have opposed them if she could see Camelot for herself. Later, Arthur and his knights go on a hunt, because why would they do anything heroic instead?
Back at Camelot, Morgan brings Redwald before Merlin, where they proceed to declare today Redwald's birthday and present him with wooden dolls for his toy castle. Merlin also relates the story of Camelot to the boy in a fatherly way; which seems to impress Morgan. After they put the child to bed, Morgan tries to seduce Merlin but he pushes her away metaphorically. Later, Morgan suffers from harsh physical pains, which are part of the price for using her dark powers. Redwald encounters her and sees her face change shape to Morgan's. Alarmed, he tries to tell Merlin and Morgan ends up killing him by letting him fall to his death.
In the forest, while Arthur and the rest of the knights sleep, Leontes has a disturbing encounter with a wolf that may be the primal power behind Morgan's abilities. At Castle Pendragon, Igraine offers to give the guard at her door anything he desires if he frees her. All too eager to comply, the guard unlocks Igraine from her chains and he proceeds to force himself upon her before she murders him with his own knife. At Camelot, Morgan uses Merlin's grief over Redwald's death to finally get him to sleep with her. Back at Castle Pendragon, Ingraine encounters Vivian, but the younger woman does nothing to hinder her escape.
At Camelot, Morgan burns the toys that used to belong to Redwald and "accidentally" tips off Leontes that Arthur and Guinevere were unfaithful to him on the day of his wedding. Completely happy with herself, Morgan comes face-to-face with the real Igraine in the courtyard, whom Morgan mocks with a "good morning" greeting.
I've stayed away from reviewing "Camelot" for several weeks for a simple reason: It's just a badly done show and I don't enjoy watching it.
Nothing I saw here really changed my mind about it either. The most obvious parallel is come to compare "Camelot" to "Game of Thrones" because they're both fantasy based series. But I don't want "Camelot" to be "Game of Thrones." I just want it to be good.
The Arthurian legend is one of the greatest epics ever told… however, you wouldn't know it from "Camelot." I've already mentioned in previous reviews how disappointing Jamie Campbell Bower's portrayal of Arthur is. He's still overly concerned about stealing Guinevere away from her husband or at least sleeping with her again above all else. I swear this guy would let his kingdom burn just to get her back. In other words, our main protagonist is overly ruled by his sword… and I don't mean Excalibur.
I'd find this series a lot more tolerable if the events taking place were epic or even interesting. But Morgan's ruse in last week's episode made Arthur and the knights look like fools. And in this week's episode, the famed Knights of Camelot are little more than a bunch of frat boys going hunting together. Where is the heroism in this heroic myth?!
The one interesting moment to come out of Arthur's knights in this episode was Leontes' encounter with the dark power behind Morgan. Leontes is actually one of the few truly sympathetic characters on the show, so as he learns the truth about Arthur and Guinevere's betrayal, his fall into darkness could be really entertaining. That would probably be the only way to ever get Arthur and Guinevere together without making them look even worse for screwing around behind Leontes' back.
At the very least, Claire Forlani has a good showing here playing both Igraine and Morgan-as-Igraine. She actually seemed to mimic Eva Green's facial tics and body language when she was walking the halls of Camelot. And Forlani also did well when conveying Morgan's temptation to embrace the rule of her brother through her affection for the orphan and even Merlin. Of course, murdering the kid means that she'll never get her redemption. If you've ever read the Arthurian tales, then you know that they rarely end well for Morgan. I would argue that Eva Green is one of the few actresses (or even actors) on this show who inhabits her role well. But I can't take her villainousness sidekicks, the Nun or Vivian seriously at all.
I think "Camelot" needs a strong villain other than Morgan. And it desperately need someone to fill the hero role, if Arthur is just going to be a whiny brat. I never thought I'd say this, but bring on Sir Lancelot! Sure… he's usually the played by someone exactly like Jamie Campbell Bower. But if Arthur is basically going to act like Lancelot, then why not have a Lancelot that acts more like Arthur should have been all along?
Honestly, I don't have much faith in "Camelot" to turn this series around. If it doesn't come back next year, I won't miss it.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.