'Merlin' returns for a new season: a preview

'Merlin' will have a fourth season that contains challenges for the young wizard as well as his friend Arthur as they fight off the sorceress Morgana.

Courtesy of NBC/Handout
'Merlin' finds heroes like the title character and the future King Arthur fighting to save the land of Camelot from supernatural aggressors.

Fans of the fantasy series MERLIN have had a long wait since the dramatic finale of the 3rd season last year. But the long hiatus is finally over and it was worth the wait. Returning with its 4th season, things start off with a bang – or rather a nasty tear between our world and the netherworld and creepy crawlies soon swarm over Camelot. One icy touch and a person is not simply frozen in fear – they are literally frozen to death. Unleashed by Morgana and her evil sister Morgause, the Derocha are not simply ghosts in the night. They are supernatural creatures that will steal your soul, the very breath from your body, and worse yet – Merlin’s magic is impotent against them.

It is the moment that every wizard fears, when you look into the face of your enemy completely helpless to defend yourself against them. Until this point, Merlin has been able to stand steadfast in the knowledge that he can always use his magic to protect himself and everyone he cares about. But once that is stripped away, all you have is a man forced to use his wits to defeat a seemingly invincible enemy. 

You can just hear the laughter as Morgana and Morgause watch with unbridled glee. The Derocha are doing all their dirty work for them and Camelot will swiftly fall if they are not defeated. In a desperate, last minute attempt to save the kingdom and all of them from a chilling death, Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of Camelot journey to repair the torn veil between the worlds before it is too late.

Part 1 of “The Darkest Hour” sets up the threat and the perilous journey. Part 2, which concludes this magnificent and spine-chilling story, airs the following Friday, January 12th. Neither part is to be missed as death comes-a-calling, and while one may yet escape, another may not. “The Darkest Hour” introduces a threat more devastating than they have ever encountered and the cost of saving Camelot comes at a steep price. But, make no mistake, you will laugh and cheer and yet still feel great sorrow in the end. The war between the sorceress Morgana and the warlock Merlin has just begun. “The Darkest Hour” emphasizes to both how much they stand to lose and why this fight must be to the bitter end. Former alliances and childhood friendships are cast aside as magic faces off against magic.

This entire 4th season is about love, loss, and embracing destiny. Merlin cannot just be a boy behind the prince anymore. It is time to step outside Arthur’s shadow and let Arthur stand to become the king that he is destined to be. Similarly, Morgana rises to claim her deliciously evil glory unfettered by the insecurities of the past. And Merlin will have to walk the perilous path of hiding his true identity from both of them – lest his role to play is revealed too soon.

With Uther incapacitated with madness, never having recovered from the betrayal of his illegitimate daughter Morgana, Arthur tries to stand in as ruler of Camelot – alas, with the counsel of his uncle Agravaine, who does not seem to have Arthur’s best interests at heart.

Then, as always, Lady Guinevere is the wild card. Still seen as a mere servant, who has favor with Arthur, her role is unfathomable to most. Yet Morgana has seen the future and knows that one day Gwen will sit on the throne at Arthur’s side. So while Gwen’s natural grace and low station poses not outward threat, Morgana knows that she must stop Gwen. Morgana’s battles spread her thin as she takes on Arthur, Merlin and Gwen on multiple fronts in order to recapture Camelot.

But this is the flaw in her plan. Morgana is always focusing on the wrong things. Even once she were able to get Arthur, Merlin and Gwen out of the way, she is not in a position to rule Camelot as the people do not love her and respect her. If anything, last season should have taught her is the lesson that without the people of Camelot behind her, she is nothing. But blinded by rage, fear and a burning desire to take back what she believes is hers by birthright, Morgana cannot see what truly matters – what it will take to win a kingdom from the inside – through the hearts of its people.

One cannot combat destiny by sheer force-of-will – one must woo it and the art of seduction seems beyond Morgana. Fortunately for Camelot, our heroes Arthur, Merlin, Gwen and the Knights of Camelot know a thing or two about love and how to properly woo destiny.

Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.

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