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Merlin - Season 3

The season was notable for the change in character of Morgana from the sympathetic heroine in the first two series to the villain in series 3, keeping with the historical concept of Morgan Le Fay as Merlin's nemesis in the legends of King Arthur.

Merlin - Season 3

The season starts off a year after Morgana's betrayal and dramatic disowning of King Uther Pendragon. Unbeknownst to Uther and everyone else, Morgana has been with her half-sister Morguese plotting the kingdom's downfall. Young Prince Arthur and Camelot's knights have been searching for the king's ward for a year, with Merlin keeping quiet in the hopes that no one discovers his nascent magical powers - or that he poisoned Morgana to end the curse Morgause had placed on the castle. When she's welcomed back to Camelot with open arms, Morgana begins the machinations of a plot to drive Uther insane and topple the kingdom.

The story and acting are par for Merlin's course: solid but not outstanding. The compelling part of this series, and certainly what will bring fans back for its third season, is its modern take on legendary characters. Merlin has this in abundance. The first season was spent cementing the relationship between Arthur and Merlin, and the second season was largely concerned with fleshing out the rest of the core characters. As the third season begins, it's clear the writers intend to capitalize on the work they've done setting the stage for some more earth-shaking story developments.

Morgana's treachery and skillful deception is entertaining to watch. We've seen this character evolve from a naive ward of Uther to a villain in her own right, and it's clear that her classically nefarious side will be on full display as the season continues. Uther's paranoid and often brutal reigning serves as a good reminder of whose actions set up most of the conflict in Camelot. But the two main draws leave something to be desired - Arthur and Merlin squabble like schoolyard kids, and Arthur continues to berate and tease Merlin for his lack of fighting prowess. Yet, when faced with the gargantuan task of assuming his father's throne and fighting off a potential invasion, Arthur becomes immediately serious and contemplative. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining, but the sudden shifts in character are hard to reconcile with an Arthur who is still very much a boy.

Originally aired on BBC, Merlin has been picking up steam with American audiences. Season 3 averaged 1.9 million viewers an episode for Syfy, an increase of 12 percent over the previous season. Season 4 begins airing in the UK in the fall. 041b061a72


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