The magic is gone: Merlin is saying goodbye. BBC’s fantastical retelling of the Arthurian legend prepares to go poof Saturday, when Season 5 debuts on Space.
But before Merlin‘s conclusion, there are 13 brand-new instalments to enjoy, each a concoction of dragons, knights, villains and … space aliens? Well, not quite. “Arthur’s Bane (Part 1),” boasts a shimmery, thin-limbed being creeping around in a cave. The evil Morgana (Katie McGrath, Labyrinth) is searching the subterranean shelter for the Diamair, the key to all knowledge, in her quest to defeat King Arthur (Bradley James). Series star Colin Morgan, who portrays the famous sorcerer, protector and sometime whipping boy of King Arthur, explains the cave and its contents tie directly to the plot of Season 5.
In addition to that new cave-dwelling character, Merlin brings back someone viewers haven’t seen since Season 1, when he was a young druid boy: Mordred. The appearance of Mordred, one-time friend of Merlin, locks in the last piece of the Arthurian legend.
“We don’t know why he’s returned or anything about his magical ability,” Morgan, alongside co-stars James and Angel Coulby, tells TV Guide Canada. “Merlin has been shown a vision of Mordred killing Arthur, so right from the beginning there is this feeling of impending doom, which I think really hangs over Merlin’s head. He can’t get that image out of his head.”
Merlin’s bad feelings persist as Mordred becomes ingratiated into the kingdom, and becomes a huge concern for the lanky wizard. Will Mordred team with Morgana, kill Arthur and plunge Camelot into darkness? Will Mordred and Merlin face off, magic vs. magic, in one final battle? Will Season 5 conclude on a happy note?
“Having read the [final] episode, and having filmed it, I was happy with how it ended,” James says. “I believe that fans will concur with my feelings towards it as well.”
Last November, BBC announced the fifth set of storylines would be Merlin‘s last, its co-creators, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capp, explained “the legend was best told across five [seasons], leading to a spectacular finale.” FreemantleMedia Enterprises and Shine TV, who handle the series internationally hinted potential Merlin spinoffs were in the works, though no one on this cast is interested in participating.
“I think we’ve reached the point in the five-year journey, and I think it would be wrong to enter into something when the finale of this series felt so good and right about it,” Morgan opines.
Instead, the trio are content to hang up their medieval wardrobe, harness the horses and wave au revoir to the show’s French locations. But before that, they have a message for their fans.
“Thank you. You’ve all been so loyal over the past five years. Thank you,” Coulby says.
Merlin airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET on Space.
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