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 Episode 2 The Sword and the Crown

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PostSubject: Episode 2 The Sword and the Crown   Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:18 am

http://www.medievalarchives.com/2011/04/12/camelot-episode-2-%E2%80%9Cthe-sword-and-the-crown%E2%80%9D-recap

Camelot Episode 2: “The Sword and the Crown” Recap

Posted by: Archivist in Television

Philip the Dazed is back with a recap of Episode 2 “The Sword and the Crown” from the Starz Original Series Camelot.

Synopsis of Camelot:

In the wake of King Uther’s sudden death, chaos threatens to engulf Britain. When the sorcerer Merlin has visions of a dark future, he installs the young and impetuous Arthur, Uther’s unknown son and heir, who has been raised from birth as a commoner. But Arthur’s cold and ambitious half sister Morgan will fight him to the bitter end, summoning unnatural forces to claim the crown in this epic battle for control. These are dark times indeed for the new king, with Guinevere being the only shining light in Arthur’s harsh world. Faced with profound moral decisions, and the challenge of uniting a kingdom broken by war and steeped in deception, Arthur will be tested beyond imagination. Forget everything you think you know…this is the story of Camelot that has never been told before.

Enjoy and thanks to Philip the Dazed for his episode recap.

WARNING:

The recap may contain spoilers so if you haven’t watched Episode 2 “The Sword and the Crown” you may want to skip the recap.

~The Archivist

Camelot Episode 2: “The Sword and the Crown”

As of this recap, I’ll attempt a review of each episode. It occurs to me that the same viewers of Camelot have also been rabid fans of the series Merlin, which just this past week ended its season 3 airing on SyFy (having already aired in the U.K. in 2010). With this in mind, it seems that comparisons in the mythologies of each production are inescapable. At least, they are to me. I will not attempt a review of Merlin in these writings, but I will point out divergences and similarities in the respective mythologies without divulging any salient plot points in Merlin.

In Merlin’s mythology, Uther’s kingdom is known as Camelot. The other critical difference in the storytelling is how Arthur and Merlin meet, and the circumstances leading up to it. In Merlin, Merlin comes to Camelot seeking employment opportunities. Arthur (the privileged prince of the realm and – seemingly – only heir to the throne) and Merlin (who before arriving in Camelot, is completely unaware of his facility with magic) are both youths. Merlin is forced to conceal his growing skills with magic, under penalty of death from Uther, who has ordered all practitioners of magic to be put immediately to death upon their discovery. In Merlin, Uther hires Merlin to be Arthur’s manservant, with all the ignominious duties that position entails (mucking the stalls, serving his meals, polishing Arthur’s armor, preparing and serving Arthur’s meals). Over time, Arthur develops a grudging respect for Merlin, while also establishing a camaraderie that, nonetheless, does not ever betray their differences in station.

In Camelot, Merlin enters Arthur’s life as a man weary of the compromises the use of magic has wrought for him earlier; in fact, he now avoids the use of magic whenever he can. It isn’t clear yet what happened to make Camelot’s Merlin so unwilling to dwell in what are, presumably, the dark arts. Other notable differences in the mythologies are Morgan, known as Morgana in Merlin; Guinevere, who in Merlin, is Morgana’s handmaiden, whereas she is of noble station in Camelot; the tutelage of Merlin by Gaius (a former practitioner of magic in his own right), who is the kingdom’s physician (as well as Uther’s personal physician and most trusted advisor) in Merlin; the loss of Igraine in Merlin, who met an untimely end somehow due to magic prior to the start of the series, which explains Uther’s disdain for the use of magic in his kingdom. In Merlin, Morgana eventually learns of her heritage as a Druid, and meets her long-lost sister, Morgause, whose father is a Druid, as was her and Morgana;s mother. Morgause fuels Morgana’s hatred for her father, Uther, for denying her birthright to the throne, having raised her in his court as his ward, and not as his daughter, which she is.

And now, on to the recap/review…

The episode opens with Kay and Arthur burying their mother, and Sir Ector vowing to avenge the murder of Lady Ector at the hand of King Lot. Meanwhile, Morgan resolves to use magic to do away with both Arthur and Lot. The level of acting is impressive on all parts, except for Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, although he may grow into more kingly behavior as the role requires later in the series. The most intense roles, by design, it appears, are those of Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, and Eva Green as Morgan. Green positively smolders as the wronged princess, even as she radiates intelligence AND sexuality (she is, after all, a beautiful woman) in her righteous pursuit of the crown. It’s hard not to root for her over Arthur, even when we know that her quest for power is doomed (so far, anyway). Fiennes, on the other hand, acts more with the intensity of his eyes, and this does work for him as he seeks to downplay the reality that he is, in fact, a sorcerer. He is, however, possessed of the ability to see into the future, a talent that he thus far seems to take for granted as it applies to visions of Arthur in the throes of passion with Guinevere, whom Arthur has yet to meet. This worries Merlin, as he is aware that Guinevere is already spoken for. Arthur himself shares these visions with Merlin, and is looking forward to what he imagines is his inevitable destiny with Guinevere.

But first, he must prove that he is the true King of Camelot by acquiring the Sword in the Stone. Merlin has assured Arthur that it is his-and only his-destiny to accomplish this feat, All attempts at this thus far by others have ended in death. Not only is the sword buried to its hilt in the stone, but the stone itself resides at the top of a cliff with a waterfall rushing past that virtually guarantees death by drowning, at the very least, following a fall to the base of the cliff side. There is no perceivable way to mount a climb to the rock from the cliff side, the only way to access the sword. That is, until Kay comes up with a pulley system, anchored by a tree stump protruding out of the side of the mountain, to raise Arthur up until he can reach over to the sword and attempt to release it from the stone. With Kay’s help, Arthur reaches the sword, but he has difficulty pulling the sword out of the stone. Remembering what Merlin told him to “stop pulling at me, and start pushing yourself”, Arthur applies the concept to removing the sword by pushing down INTO the stone, and then pulling it out. This works! Arthur then realizes that it was Merlin himself who put the sword in the stone in the first place.

At this point, it should be noted (for what it’s worth) that in the last episode of the season in Merlin, Merlin acquires the sword from the Lady in the Lake to defeat an enchanted army led by Morgause, but promises to keep the sword from falling into the wrong hands in the future. Merlin enchants the sword and buries it in the stone so that it can never be removed by anyone but Arthur when he is ready to ascend to the throne as king of Camelot. In fact, this is the last scene of this season of Merlin.

Clearly, the sequence of these events is meant to differ in Camelot. Anyway, sensing he cannot trust Morgan, Lot humiliates her in her court at Uther’s castle, and furthers the humiliation by leaving her bound and defenseless overnight tied to a pole, whereupon she is approached by a spirit wolf (Morgause?), with whom Morgan has a connection of some kind, though it is not revealed here.

Having witnessed Arthur’s removal of the sword from the stone, people from the neighboring kingdoms come to pay homage to the new king, and a coronation is mounted at the pronouncement of Merlin. At the coronation, Arthur swears to his new kingdom that he will rule with a firm, but fair, hand, and without cruelty, or the threat of waging war on other lands. Sir Ector asked King Arthur to make him a commander in his army so he could properly pursue vengeance upon King Lot. During the coronation festivities, King Arthur formally meets Lady Guinevere, but just as he is about to woo her, he is crushed to find out that she is betrothed to his lead knight Leontes.

King Lot mounts a surprise attack on Arthur during the coronation, and he slays Sir Ector. Ector in turn moves inward on the spear held by Lot, and while inching forward, grabs Lot and then stabs him in the back of his neck.

Arthur, as a loving brother, meets with Morgan to propose a peace between their kingdoms, but is rounded rejected by Morgan. He tells her that she should stay away from whatever she encountered while bound that night to that post, but she seems to want to embrace it, no matter what. Morgan, sensing the presence of the spirit wolf, approaches it, and removing her frock (in all her beautiful glory!), and says to the wolf. “Tell me what I’m to do”!


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PostSubject: Re: Episode 2 The Sword and the Crown   Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:36 pm

http://www.denofgeek.com/television/836820/camelot_episode_2_review_the_sword_and_the_crown.html

Camelot episode 2 review: The Sword And The Crown

Ti Singh

We've had to wait a few weeks for it, but we've finally got the second episode of Starz's Camelot. So: any good? Ti has been finding out...

Published on Apr 4, 2011

This review contains spoilers.

2. The Sword And The Crown

A month after Starz previewed the first episode of Camelot, the series premiered fully this weekend with a two hour double bill. As we've already reviewed the first episode (linked below), we're going to jump straight into the second.

The problem with doing a new Arthurian show is that everyone is already familiar with the legend. We all know the stories, because we all grew up with them. Elements like the sword in the stone, the knights of the round table, Morgana and Mordred and the quest for the holy grail are all well known and well established, so the producers of any new adaptation can either trot out the same old things we've seen before (BBC's Merlin), leave them out completely (Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur) or attempt to do something different. The creative team behind Camelot have opted for the later.

Fresh from the murder of his foster mother, Arthur is doubting whether he can rule the country and stop Lot (the awesome James Purefoy) from following through on his promise to take Camelot. However, Merlin has a plan up his sleeve for Arthur to retrieve the Sword of the Gods, an ancient sword that has been encased in rock for hundreds of years. Sound familiar? Well, it should. The only problem is that this sword in the stone is at the top of a 500 foot waterfall.

If Arthur was to retrieve the sword, he would not only fulfil the legend that whoever pulls the sword from the cliff face would become king, but he would unite the people of Britain behind him. Rather than simply pulling the sword from the stone and claiming his destiny, Arthur has to literally overcome an uphill struggle to secure the throne.

It's a nice twist on a familiar story and a gripping scene to watch, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it would have been easier to find another way up the cliff and work your way down, rather than climb the sheer face of a waterfall. Meh, but what do I know?

Likewise, the filmmakers have found a new way to introduce Guinevere (literally as a Lady coming out of a lake (okay, the sea, but my point is still valid), and the whole Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere story. Granted, no character of Lancelot has yet been introduced, but Arthur's most loyal soldier is Leontes (Philip Winchester, Solomon Kane, Fringe) and he is Guinevere's betrothed, so the link isn't that tenuous.

On the bad guy front, the alliance between Lot and Morgan began to fracture as, for some reason, the alpha king didn't take kindly to being called a "c**t" in front of his men. Strange that. Purefoy is always at his best when he's being a complete bastard, whether he's playing Marc Anthony or Solomon Kane (pre-conversion), and it's no different in Camelot.

His face-off with Sean Pertwee's Ector is one of the highlights of the series thus far. When asked by the furious Ector if he even knows who he is, Lot just looks bemused. "I'm the husband of the wife you killed," Ector states. "And?" Lot replies, completely unconcerned. It's a great exchange and one can't help think the series might be poorer for the two actors' departures.

However, we still have Fiennes and Green as Merlin and Morgan. While the series has portrayed the world of Arthur as realistic and gritty, the new episode saw the mystical qualities begin to come through. Be it Morgan practising dark arts in the woods and summoning an unknown evil or Merlin shrugging off Igraine's observation that he hasn't aged a day in twenty years, it seems clear that Camelot won't be completely magic-free, which, judging from the finale which saw Eva Green completely disrobe to talk to a wolf, may not be such a bad thing.

Read our review of episode 1, Homecoming, here.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 2 The Sword and the Crown   Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:37 pm

http://tv.ign.com/articles/115/1159193p1.html

Camelot: "The Sword and the Crown" Review
Whoa, that sword is totally up in that stone.
April 2, 2011 April 2, 2011 April 2, 2011

by Chris Carabott

The second half of Camelot's two-hour premiere improved on the already exciting sneak preview of the first half we saw back in February. The second hour dealt with some of the more iconic representations of the Arthurian Legend, including the Sword in the Stone, which is handled brilliantly, and Guinevere, who takes on a slightly different role in this retelling.

Camelot wasted no time getting to the iconic Sword in the Stone sequence. This time, the actual quest to get to the stone was made that much more difficult by putting it at the very top of a waterfall that Arthur must scale. Visuallly it's a fantastic sequence. There is one great shot that has the camera pulling away from Jamie Campbell Bower, showing his scale next to the majestic waterfall, and emphasizing his dangerous journey to the sword.

Once Arthur finally reached the sword it became his only means of survival, as it literally was the only object he had to hold onto or else he would plummet towards the rocks below. The whole scene is meant to emphasize the enormity and importance of Arthur's decision. Putting him on the edge of a cliff, with his life literally in his own hands is a great visual trick to relay how daunting the path ahead is. Pull the sword and plummet to your potential death or leave the sword and use it to climb to safety. It's a fantastic and suspenseful moment despite the fact we all know the decision he's going to make.

It's revealed later in the episode that Merlin had planted the sword in the stone years ago to ensure that the true King would have a way to prove himself worthy. Now I haven't read or seen many of the different interpretations of the original story but this was a pleasant change from what I had known about the legend. Merlin's plans to ensure Arthur is recognized as the rightful King of Britain are Machiavellian in their grandeur.

The coronation proved that while Arthur may not look "kingly," he certainly has the ability to talk the part. His moving speech to those who had come to see him revealed quite the change from his other speech in the first half of the premiere. With the death of his mother behind him, Arthur is quite determined to take his rightful place as king. Bower does a good job of capturing both Arthur's uncertainty in his new role and his determination to be the king he was meant to be.

The power play between King Lot and Morgan was great. Even when tied to a pole, I never doubted the fact that Morgan was in control despite what King Lot may have thought. King Lot's attempted rape of Morgan in front of all his men was a brilliant scene. Morgan's ability to turn King Lot's attempt to rape her against him by making it sound like she wanted it was an interesting twist. She turned the tables on Lot making him look foolish in front of his own men. It's a great scene and gives you an idea of how powerful Morgan can be, even when she's not using her powers.

- Starz
It's good to see both Merlin and Morgan tower amongst the rest of the characters almost as if they were gods. Magic has changed both of them into something unnatural and out-of-place on Earth. Morgan has only recently dipped her toes into the realm of magic when compared to Merlin and the madness it's creating within her is quite evident. She's willing to give herself up to dark forces to get what she wants and it's obvious that Merlin has experienced what she has and may also even sympathize with her. There's a really interesting conversation between Merlin and Queen Igraine regarding the fact that Merlin hasn't aged in twenty years. How old is Merlin supposed to be? Does the use of magic prolong a person's life span?

The introduction of Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) and her connection to the Lady of the Lake story was quite a surprising departure from what I recall of the Arthurian Legend. It's interesting that Arthur had dreamt of Guinevere before actually meeting her. Also, what exactly was she doing in that lake all by herself? When Arthur and Guinevere retreat to spend some time alone together, Merlin looks at them with a knowing glance, giving the impression that he knows more than he is letting on about their relationship.

The reveal that Guinevere is Leontes' (Philip Winchester) betrothed is also taking things in a different direction. I'm curious if we are to assume that Leontes is to be taking the place of Lancelot in this interpretation of the story. It's exciting to see that they've twisted the love triangle and now it is Arthur and Guinevere who may be having the affair.

Ektor (Sean Pertwee) versus King Lot was a fantastic showdown. A humble yet determined Ektor didn't stand a chance against Lot, yet he stood his ground and made the fight interesting. Having Ektor drag himself along the pole he had been stabbed with to finally kill King Lot wasn't necessarily original, but it was effective.

Camelot's complete two-hour premiere is one of the best starts to any series I've seen in recent memory. The pacing, story, acting, set design and locations all come together to make what has the potential to be one of the best retellings of the Arthurian Legend. They seem to be hitting all the right notes early on, and while I don't want to get my hopes up, I'm excited to see what's next.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 2 The Sword and the Crown   

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