Merlin Season 1 Episode 1: The Dragon's Call - Download or Stream
Merlin Season 1 Episode 1: The Dragon's Call
Merlin is a British fantasy-adventure television series that reimagines the legend of King Arthur and his wizard Merlin as young men in Camelot. The first episode of the first season, titled "The Dragon's Call", aired on BBC One on 20 September 2008. It introduces the main characters of Merlin (Colin Morgan), Arthur (Bradley James), Morgana (Katie McGrath), Gwen (Angel Coulby), Uther (Anthony Head), Gaius (Richard Wilson), and the Great Dragon (voiced by John Hurt). It also sets up the premise of the series: Merlin has magical powers that he must hide from Uther, who has banned all forms of magic in his kingdom; meanwhile, he learns from the Great Dragon that he has a destiny to protect Arthur until he becomes king and unites Albion.
Summary of the episode
The episode begins with Merlin arriving in Camelot from his village of Ealdor, where his mother has sent him to live with Gaius, the court physician. He witnesses the execution of a man accused of sorcery by King Uther Pendragon, who declares that magic is evil and punishable by death. A hideous old woman, who is revealed to be the mother of the executed man and a powerful sorceress named Mary Collins (Eve Myles), vows revenge on Uther by killing his son Arthur.
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Merlin arrives in Camelot
Merlin meets Gaius (Richard Wilson), who takes him under his wing and warns him to keep his magic secret. He also meets Arthur (Bradley James), Uther's arrogant heir, who challenges him to a duel after he insults him. Merlin uses his magic to knock Arthur down several times, but is stopped by Uther before he can finish him off. He also meets Morgana (Katie McGrath), Uther's ward and Arthur's half-sister; Gwen (Angel Coulby), Morgana's maid and friend; and Geoffrey of Monmouth (Michael Cronin), Camelot's librarian The Great Dragon tells Merlin his destiny
Merlin hears a voice in his head calling him to the dungeons, where he finds a chained dragon (voiced by John Hurt) who claims to be the last of his kind. The dragon tells Merlin that he has a great destiny: to protect Arthur, who is the Once and Future King, and to help him bring magic back to the land. He also tells him that he can call him by using a dragon-shaped pendant that he gives him. Merlin is skeptical and reluctant, but the dragon insists that they are bound by fate.
Lady Helen tries to kill Arthur
Mary Collins disguises herself as Lady Helen (also played by Eve Myles), a famous singer who is invited to perform at a feast in honor of Arthur's birthday. She uses a magical creature called a Sidhe to possess Lady Helen's body and kill her. She then plans to use her song to enchant everyone at the feast and make them fall asleep, while she stabs Arthur with a dagger. However, Merlin overhears her talking to the Sidhe and realizes her true identity. He tries to warn Gaius, but he doesn't believe him. He then tries to stop her by using his magic, but he is caught by Uther's guards and thrown into the dungeons.
Merlin becomes Arthur's servant
Merlin manages to escape from the dungeons with the help of the dragon, who tells him to go to the feast and save Arthur. He arrives just in time to see Mary Collins singing her song and putting everyone to sleep. He uses his magic to break her spell and wake up Arthur, who fights her off. Mary Collins reveals her true form and tries to kill Arthur with her magic, but Merlin deflects her blast and kills her instead. Uther praises Merlin for saving Arthur's life and rewards him by making him his manservant. Merlin is dismayed, as he doesn't like Arthur, but he accepts his new role. Arthur is also annoyed, as he thinks Merlin is a coward and a fool, but he tolerates him. The episode ends with Merlin and Arthur bickering as they walk away from the feast.
Analysis of the episode
The first episode of Merlin sets the tone and the style of the series, which combines fantasy, adventure, comedy, drama, and romance. It also establishes the main characters and their relationships, as well as the conflict between magic and tyranny that drives the plot. The episode has many strengths and weaknesses, as well as themes and messages that are relevant to the audience. It also showcases the visual effects and music that enhance the story and create a sense of wonder. The episode received mixed reviews from critics and positive feedback from viewers, as well as high ratings and awards nominations.
Strengths and weaknesses
One of the strengths of the episode is the casting of the actors, who bring their characters to life with charisma and chemistry. Colin Morgan portrays Merlin as a likable, witty, and brave hero who struggles with his secret power and his destiny. Bradley James plays Arthur as a cocky, arrogant, but noble prince who has a good heart underneath his bravado. Katie McGrath depicts Morgana as a beautiful, mysterious, and rebellious lady who has a hidden connection to magic. Angel Coulby portrays Gwen as a kind, loyal, and courageous maid who has a crush on Arthur. Anthony Head delivers a powerful performance as Uther, a ruthless king who loves his son but hates magic. Richard Wilson adds humor and wisdom as Gaius, a mentor figure for Merlin who knows more than he lets on. John Hurt lends his voice to the Great Dragon, a majestic and mysterious creature who guides Merlin on his path.
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Another strength of the episode is the humor that balances out the darker elements of the story. The episode has many funny moments that showcase the personalities of the characters and their interactions with each other. For example, when Merlin first meets Arthur, he calls him "a prat" and "a clotpole", which become his nicknames for him throughout the series. When Merlin becomes Arthur's servant, he complains about his chores and makes sarcastic remarks about his boss. When Uther asks Merlin what he would do if he had magic, Merlin says he would turn him into a toad.
A weakness of the episode is the lack of depth in some of the characters and their motivations. The episode focuses mainly on introducing Merlin and Arthur, while leaving Morgana and Gwen underdeveloped. Morgana only appears in a few scenes, where she expresses her sympathy for magic users and her disdain for Uther's policies. Gwen only has one significant scene with Merlin, where she helps him dress up for the feast and tells him about Lady Helen's reputation. The villain of the episode, Mary Collins, is also very one-dimensional: she is motivated by her grief and anger, and has no personality or backstory beyond that. Her plan to kill Arthur is also very simplistic and predictable, and relies on a lot of coincidences and luck.
A possible way to improve the episode would be to give Mary Collins more depth and complexity, such as showing her relationship with her son, explaining why she hates Uther so much, or revealing some hidden agenda or twist in her scheme. For example, maybe she could have been working for a bigger villain, such as Morgause or Nimueh, who have a larger role in the series. Or maybe she could have had some connection to Merlin or Arthur, such as being a relative or a former ally, that would create some conflict or drama.
Themes and messages
One of the themes of the episode is the contrast between magic and tyranny, and how they affect the lives of the characters. Uther is shown as a cruel and oppressive ruler who fears and hates magic, and who executes anyone who practices it. He believes that magic is evil and corrupting, and that it must be eradicated for the sake of peace and order. However, his actions also cause suffering and injustice, as he kills innocent people, alienates his subjects, and endangers his son.
Merlin, on the other hand, is shown as a kind and compassionate person who has magic, and who uses it for good. He believes that magic is a gift and a part of him, and that it can be used for noble purposes. However, he also faces danger and discrimination, as he has to hide his power from Uther and everyone else. He also struggles with his destiny, as he has to protect Arthur, who he initially dislikes and who represents everything he opposes.
The episode also explores the theme of friendship, and how it develops between Merlin and Arthur. At first, they are enemies, as they have different personalities, values, and goals. Merlin thinks that Arthur is a prat and a bully, while Arthur thinks that Merlin is a coward and a fool. They also clash over their views on magic, justice, and destiny. However, as they go through various trials and challenges together, they start to respect and trust each other. They also discover that they have some things in common, such as their courage, loyalty, humor, and sense of duty. They eventually become friends and allies, who will help each other fulfill their destinies.
Visual effects and music
The episode uses visual effects and music to create a fantasy atmosphere and enhance the story. The visual effects include CGI (computer-generated imagery) for the dragon, the Sidhe, the magic spells, the fireballs, etc. The effects are mostly well-done and realistic, although some of them look dated or cheesy by today's standards. The effects also add excitement and spectacle to the action scenes, such as the duel between Merlin and Arthur, the fight between Arthur and Mary Collins, or the escape from the dungeons.
The music includes original scores composed by Rob Lane (who won a BAFTA award for his work on the series) and Rohan Stevenson. The music is mostly orchestral and instrumental, with some vocal elements. The music matches the mood and tone of the scenes, whether they are dramatic, humorous, romantic, or suspenseful. The music also emphasizes the themes and emotions of the story, such as the mystery of magic, the tension of tyranny, the bond of friendship, or the call of destiny.
Reception and ratings
The episode received mixed reviews from critics and positive feedback from viewers. Some critics praised the episode for its fun and fresh take on the Arthurian legend, its charming cast, its witty dialogue, its impressive effects, its adventurous plot, etc. Other critics criticized the episode for its lack of originality, its poor writing, its cheesy tone, its low budget, its historical inaccuracies, etc.
The episode attracted 6.65 million viewers on BBC One on its first broadcast, making it one of the most watched programmes of the week. It also received high ratings on IMDb (8/10) and Rotten Tomatoes (86%) . The episode was nominated for several awards, such as the BAFTA award for best visual effects, the Monte Carlo TV Festival award for outstanding actor (Colin Morgan), and the National Television Award for most popular drama.
Trivia and facts
Here are some trivia and facts about the episode that you might find interesting or fun:
The episode was filmed in various locations in Wales, such as Château de Pierrefonds, Cosmeston Medieval Village, Margam Country Park, and Neath Abbey.
The episode features several references to other works of fantasy or mythology, such as the sword in the stone, the Lady of the Lake, Excalibur, etc.
The episode also contains some Easter eggs and hidden messages, such as the number 42 on Merlin's door, which is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; or the word "dragon" written in runes on the pendant that the Great Dragon gives to Merlin.
The episode was originally titled "The Poisoned Chalice", but it was changed to "The Dragon's Call" to avoid confusion with the fourth episode of the same name.
The episode was co-written by Julian Jones, who is also one of the creators and executive producers of the series.
The first episode of Merlin is a captivating and entertaining introduction to the series, which reimagines the legend of King Arthur and his wizard Merlin as young men in Camelot. The episode introduces the main characters and their relationships, as well as the conflict between magic and tyranny that drives the plot. The episode has many strengths and weaknesses, as well as themes and messages that are relevant to the audience. It also showcases the visual effects and music that enhance the story and create a sense of wonder. The episode received mixed reviews from critics and positive feedback from viewers, as well as high ratings and awards nominations. The episode is a must-watch for fans of fantasy, adventure, comedy, drama, and romance.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the episode and their answers:
Q: How can I watch Merlin season 1 episode 1 online?
A: You can watch Merlin season 1 episode 1 online on various streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. You can also buy or rent the episode on digital platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, etc. You can also watch it on DVD or Blu-ray discs.
Q: How can I download Merlin season 1 episode 1 for free?
A: You can download Merlin season 1 episode 1 for free from various torrent sites or file-sharing sites, but this is illegal and risky. You might face legal consequences or get infected by malware. It is better to watch it legally on streaming platforms or buy or rent it on digital platforms.
Q: Who is the actor who plays Merlin?
A: The actor who plays Merlin is Colin Morgan, a Northern Irish actor who has also starred in other films and TV shows, such as Humans, The Fall, The Living and the Dead, Legend, etc. He has won several awards for his role as Merlin, such as the National Television Award for outstanding drama performance (male) in 2013.
Q: Who is the voice of the Great Dragon?
A: The voice of the Great Dragon is John Hurt, a legendary English actor who has also starred in other films and TV shows, such as Alien, The Elephant Man, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, etc. He has won numerous awards for his career, such as two BAFTA awards, a Golden Globe award, an Academy Award nomination, etc. He passed away in 2017.
Q: What is Merlin's destiny?
A: Merlin's destiny is to protect Arthur until he becomes king and unites Albion. He also has to help him bring magic back to Camelot and restore peace and harmony to the land. He is guided by the Great Dragon on his path.