The Final Stage in the Hero(ine)’s Journey, Stage 5.
Reviewing the First 4 stages, Arthur is faced with a dilemma: two kingdoms with promises of favor by the Pendragons need his assistance. He has only enough troops to aid one. Either choice he makes will be a stain on his honor. Gwen solves his problem by taking a smaller troop of knights to help out Queen Annis allowing Arthur to preserve his word. With Merlin’s help, Gwen has figuratively conquered an Ogre (bandits), a Dragon (competing Male and Female desires during the quest) and a False Knight (the temptation to return to safety) affirming her strength, equality and independence. With Merlin, Gwen helps Queen Annis devise a strategy to delay the fall of her kingdom until Arthur can bring even more reinforcements. She succeeds, the Enemy is routed but the Quest is not yet over.
Other things in the earlier stages were these arcs:
A Lancelot redemption arc: Lancelot returns as a Shade but thanks to Merlin, Lancelot regains his freedom and his honor. Before Arthur’s eyes, Lancelot regains his trust and nobility in aiding his king defeat the Enemy.
A Morgana redemption arc: Morgana must show contrition before her arc can resume. There are multiple ways to do this but the easiest is to have her forgive an act of Uther by committing that act herself and atoning for it
A Merlin arc in which Merlin’s stature is elevated showing himself to be a savvy tactician and strategist, a good physician, and an advisor--- first to Queen Annis and later King Arthur--- while gaining an arsenal of magical weapons to help him defend his dream against those with magic.
GWEN QUEST, STAGE 5
Stage 5: Return and Reintegration with Society: Camelot and Caerleon
A. The Tavern Incident One. Merlin, Leon and Gwaine are celebrating the Victory.
1. They tell Merlin of Lancelot. Merlin asks what became of Lancelot. Leon tells him that after the final battle, Arthur asked Lancelot to return with him to Camelot, he refused saying that he felt as if he committed a great wrong, Arthur said that all was forgiven, but not for Lancelot, and they shook hands, parting as friends.
2. They tell Merlin of their own prowess in battle.
3. All is well until Leon must settle his earlier gambling debts. Leon says that Gwaine will face the Caerleon champion, an old gaming rival. A wounded Gwaine complains of his war wound. The Champ takes the word of a fellow nobleman and Leon is surprised that Gwaine's father was a knight of Caerleon.
i. The Gaming Champ says Leon has defaulted unless another will take Gwaine’s place. Leon asks him to choose anyone of Camelot there and places more money down for a bet.
ii. The Champ chooses Merlin. Leon objects because Merlin is neither Knight nor Noble. As a physician, Merlin is but a servant to the King, not a “Court Physician”. The Champ still chooses Merlin.
iii. The crowd smells an easy prey and the bets are heavy against Merlin. The odds grow higher and higher. Gwaine tries cheering Merlin up by saying: “Keep the faith. I know you’re as noble as anyone here.”
B. The Caerleon Incident One. Arthur, Gwen and Annis discuss their victory in the Castle. Annis has forgiven Arthur but not forgotten, he still owes her one more favor. Then, she commends Arthur on his Queen and on his fool physician, Merlin. Arthur is surprised about Merlin but admits he has had his moments of brilliance. Annis suggests that he be given more opportunity to show that brilliance.
1. Arthur asks about the knight who died that saved Gwen and Annis from the other knights but died at Morgana’s hand. Annis asks, “what do you know of Gorlois?”
2. Later, Arthur asks if there are any other survivors from the Enemy Camp. Annis tells him that the enthralled Shades have returned and seem to be as they were among their fellow knights of Camelot and Caerleon.
3. Annis reminds Arthur to cherish those he loves, his friends, his family.
C. The Caerleon Incident Two. Gwen asks Annis about Morgana. The witch is in the Dungeon. They visit her there. Her demeanor has changed and she hopes her father, Gorlois will return soon. She calls Arthur, “Uther.” He informs her that Gorlois has died. Morgana weeps and Arthur provides her details sparing her the fact that this time she killed Gorlois. Arthur tells Annis that Morgana will need to see a physician. She agrees and suggests they find her Court Physician, Merlin. Arthur is stunned suggesting they search first at the Tavern.
D. The Caerleon Incident Three. Annis quips there’s no better place to get the pulse of the people and after this day she could use a drink. Gwen declines. Annis and Arthur talk in private while they head to the Tavern. She senses a small rift between the King and Queen of Camelot and suggests it be mended before that rift becomes a chasm. Then, she informs him that he should be proud of Gwen who trusted in him when others would not and that Arthur should be worthy of that trust.
E. The Tavern Incident Two. Annis and Arthur enter the Tavern. A crowd surrounds one of the Gaming tables. Annis asks the barkeep what is happening. The barkeep informs her that the Champion has taken a challenge from a fool from Camelot, and he apologizes quickly to Arthur. Arthur takes no exception when he sees the fool is Merlin. Annis asks what are the stakes and places a bet the House is reluctant to cover but does. She asks Arthur about a wager but he declines because Merlin faces a nobleman and will not win--- regardless.
1. Annis rises and approaches the table, the crowd parts and she gives a speech “to honor and nobility even those lacking such titles” and expecting such things even from games men. She glares at Merlin saying true nobility is not by birth but by showing courage. The crowd cheers.
i. No one is betting on Merlin. He is a heavy under dog. Leon asks Gwaine what does Merlin know of this game and Gwaine answers: "Gaius taught him everything he knows."
ii. Annis places a sack of coins on the table as a prize to the Victor.
2. Merlin plays the Champ. The game is quick and fast. Leon cannot watch the game and turns sick but is being told the score by the on-lookers who cheer when the Champ does well and boo when Merlin does. One of the on-lookers says it is almost over and that the Champ will win.
3. Gwaine looks over at the board and rises leaving Leon to water his drink with his tears. Annis speaks to Gwaine thanking a knight of Camelot for helping Caerleon in her hour of need. Gwaine replies: "too bad Caerleon would not it's knights in theirs" and tells Annis of his father and mother. Then, there’s silence. The game is over and the boisterous crowd is silent.
4. Gwaine returns and puts a small sack of coins by Leon. It’s his winnings minus his earlier losses. It is a slow but gradual realization that Merlin has won.
5. Slowly, grumbling rises but so does Annis. Her knights stand ready to fight for her and take back her money but she tells the House she demands her winnings. She bet her money on Merlin.
i. The knights ask how she could bet against her own knight, she says: “I did not; I bet on the Court Physician. My Court Physician who readied more knights for battle than any Duke or Prince. Does anyone here question me? Now, drink Physician before you tend to the wounded including me!”
ii. The House informs her it cannot pay her all of her winnings. She asks the House whether her winnings will cover food and drink for all the knights until dawn. It does and more. And so the celebration resumes.
iii. Arthur (unseen by Merlin) is humbled when Annis tells him his fool is wiser than he suspects and that he should leave before she names the other favor he owes her. Arthur nods. Then, she departs.
iv. Later, Arthur acts as his old self telling Merlin, “I might have known I’d find you here.” Just as Merlin is about to be served a sandwich and a drink, Arthur sweeps down and takes it. While he eats, Leon then Gwaine remind Merlin he should attend to the wounded. As he is about to go, Arthur tells Merlin not to forget his winnings and have a bite to eat and drink before he goes.
Stage 5: Return and Reintegration with Society: Camelot and Gwen
A. Gwen and Arthur return to Camelot. In all the excitement, she was wondering who sat on the throne. Arthur tells her Elyan. She looks worried but all is well… almost. The Druids have caused problems and charges were filed. The most serious charge: a Druid was found in possession of an enchanted bracelet that has wrecked all sorts of havoc in the City. A Druid girl had in her possession a bracelet she found in the dungeon and traded it for some food. Other charges include the disappearance of Gaius, presumed to be by magic.
B. Merlin’s concerned until he finds Gaius in a closet. Gaius is hiding from the amorous advances of a lady of the court. Merlin hears a siren’s call and the Cook running to him while Gaius cowers. She asks if he is anywhere to be found. Merlin shakes his head. After she leaves, he brings Gaius to Arthur.
C. Later, after reading the charges, Arthur tells Gwen he feels ashamed for his people. The Druid refugees wanted nothing more than to buy or trade for food, shelter, water. But, the town folk denied them from fear and ignorance. He would grant them pardon but for the enchantment.
1. He shows Gwen the bracelet. She recognizes it as the gift from Lancelot.
2. Arthur tells her by the laws of Camelot all who were involved must bear responsibility; he has no choice even as king.
3. Gwen is silent wondering what to do.
D. Later, Arthur explains things to Merlin and Gaius who help Arthur tie things together: A shade under the control of an Enemy used the bracelet to enchant someone in the royal house into falling in love. Arthur questions the purpose until reminded about the Troll incident. Still Arthur has other questions. While Gaius explains all this, the Cook barges in due in part to Merlin’s magic. Horrified Gaius flees, prompting Arthur to remark that Gaius runs quickly for an old man and wonders if he and Merlin should help him.
E. Even later still, Gwen tells Arthur that she must share in the same punishment as the Druids and explains the origin of the bracelet. He looks at her and repeats that the laws of Camelot must be obeyed even as king but he swore to show mercy and fairness in all things. He comforts Gwen by telling her that Lancelot was a Shade under the control of an Enemy who wished to take from Arthur his greatest treasure and almost succeeded. (M9: HEALING THE WOUNDED MASCULINE; FINDING THE HEART OF THE INNER MAN).
Stage 5: Return and Reintegration with Society: Merlin
A. Gaius and Merlin are eating soup. Gaius thank Merlin for undoing the spell and wonders why it took so long to undo. Merlin explains he had to make it look believable for Arthur’s sake. If the spell were broken too quickly, Arthur might think Gwen still have doubts. Merlin had to make sure. Gaius looks on skeptically and brings up Arthur’s punishment for his Tavern visits and gambling. Merlin’s sure Arthur will take it easy on him since he took it easy on Gwen and the Druids.
B. Banishment. Gaius tells Merlin it’s not officially a banishment. Merlin will have to be away from Camelot for a few days. Merlin disagrees because it will be the same thing. Gaius explainst that Merlin is an emissary between Camelot and the Druids.
1. Arthur meets Merlin on the departure and tells him not to be afraid of those with magic, this experience taught them both that not all who practice magic are evil but that greater evils were fear and ignorance. Since Merlin had a good relation with the Druids, he should have an easier time fitting in. And, Arthur and Gwen have taken in a Druid boy.
2. Merlin would work with the Druids caring for the ill, the women and children. Arthur introduces Merlin to the Druid girl he’ll work with, she looks familiar and Merlin knows her. Arthur says he knows her but can’t place her. Gwen intervenes asking Arthur where he might know her and huffs away covertly giving Merlin and Freya a knowing smile. (M10: INTEGRATION OF MASCULINE & FEMININE)
C. Percival and Elyan join Merlin and Freya on the Journey to the Druid Camp. There is friendly banter mostly at Merlin’s expense at his obvious interest in the Druid girl until Freya reminds Percival that Elaine is anxious to meet him, too.
D. On the arrival to the camp, Elaine greets Percival. Merlin is surprised to meet the Druid boy who gave Arthur the scabbard and wonders who it was that Arthur and Gwen took into the castle.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON LANCELOT, MORGANA, AND GWEN
Thus, it seems that a story arc can be created from the events of Season 4 which restores the trust, loyalty, and honor of Gwen and Lancelot while helping Merlin and Arthur build Albion. And, for all she's done, Morgana can also be redeemed. The writers can complete their Hero(ine)'s Journey:
Lancelot: Return and Reintegration with Society: Lancelot still has to reach this point. But, at least now he can. His quest will be a search for that which he feels he lacks but already has within him. And, he can do so by finding one who can restore his faith and his own sense of purpose.
Morgana: Return and Reintegration with Society:
Too bad, no one wants to see this happen.
At this stage, Morgana must use the wisdom she gained to help restore the land of Albion. As she recovers and finds that Camelot is different and Arthur is different from the ways of Uther, she needs to begin integrating the positive masculine and feminine aspects of her personality that she developed over the prior seasons restoring the bond she had with Arthur by developing Trust and reaffirming their Ties of Kinship. The easiest way would be for her to atone by forgiving Uther and then having Uther forgive her. And, she’ll likely need to go through a Gwen Quest or two.
The major problem with all of this is that none of the fans want to see a Gwen Quest and it seems that most of the fans don't want to see a Morgana redemption arc anytime soon at least as of February 26, 2012.