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 Episode 3 Guinevere

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PostSubject: Episode 3 Guinevere   Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:19 am

http://www.geekmom.com/2011/04/camelot-part-three-in-which-arthur-is-not-very-kingly/

April 12, 2011 Posted by : Corrina Lawson
Camelot Part Three–In Which Arthur is Not Very Kingly

I realize the idea behind this version of the Arthurian legend is showing how Arthur grows into his kingship. Because of that, I had no complaints about his confusion and lack of leadership skills in the first two episodes. He just found out he’s a king’s son and people are trying to kill him. A little hesitation seems only natural.

But at some point, Arthur has to at least flash some leadership ability and give the viewers some inkling of his future glory. One would think those who are risking their lives and families for him would also be straining for some sign that the teenage boy is the one to lead them to better times.

There was no evidence of any of that in the third episode of Camelot on Starz. The title of the episode is “Guinevere” but it might as well be called “Arthur does many dumb things.”

Warning: There be spoilers below.

The episode began with Arthur completely befuddled by those coming to him for help with their problems.

He basically dismisses the normal people who have come to his fortress looking for assistance. He doesn’t even acknowledge that he’s ignorant and decide to listen to them. Instead, he accepts a dinner invitation from his half-sister Morgan because he wants to get to know his sister.

Morgan, the woman who tried to kill him just last episode, and is partially responsible for the murder of Arthur’s foster mother. And there’s the small matter of the fact that Morgan kicked Arthur’s biological mother out of house and home. Have you met your sister yet, Arthur? In any case, Merlin insists on riding with Arthur to Morgan’s castle, once the stronghold of the late King Uther. The pair take no guards with them which seems very odd but perhaps Merlin was counting on his magical abilities.

Once they arrive, Morgan serves them dinner. Merlin and Arthur are both afraid to eat for fear of poison but Morgan tastes their food herself, and all seems well. She then pays an odd late night visit to her shirtless brother. At first, I thought we might see Arthur and Morgan conceive Mordred but apparently all Morgan wanted, this time, was to gain a drop of Arthur’s blood. She does this by “accidentally” poking his chest with her long fingernails. Satisfied, Morgan then visits Merlin and they start drinking together.

On the one hand, it was great to see Merlin and Morgan spar with each other. Both actors clearly had a great deal of fun in this scene and Morgan finally came to life as a strong and fascinating character. On the other hand, in order for Morgan to be successful, Merlin had to stupidly drink the wine that she offered. I would think a great seer and sorcerer would be more careful but, no, Merlin doesn’t even consider the possibility that his wine is drugged. In the middle of Merlin and Morgan’s verbal jousting, Arthur wanders by and decides that they’re getting ready to have sex and leaves without interrupting them. This apparently reminds Arthur that he’d like to have sex, so he leaves the castle in the middle of the night. He’s chasing his dream of Guinivere.

Merlin wakes up strapped to Morgan’s large bed. (Fully clothed.) Morgan taunts him with her evil powers, trims his toenails and then grinds them up into a potion. Merlin says her powers are given by beings who are evil and will eventually consume her. Morgan doesn’t care but, later, when she uses her power, it causes great pain and the implication is that Merlin’s warning did worry her. Eventually, Morgan simply lets Merlin escape to go back to Camelot, which appears to be part of her plan.

That plan means re-using what was once Uther’s torture chamber for her magical rituals. In one of the most interesting parts of the episode, Morgan forms an alliance of sorts with a former servant of her father’s, a woman named Vivian who is not averse to helping Morgan prepare for those rituals. The next episode is entitled “Lady of the Lake” so I think we’ll see more of Vivian.

As Merlin finally escapes his bonds, Arthur is waiting on the beach for Guinivere. She is scheduled to be married the next day but that means little to Arthur, who says the two of them are destined to be together. It doesn’t seem to occur to Arthur that having beach-front sex with the soon-to-be wife of one of his prominent supporters could cause problems. No, it only matters that Arthur gets what he wants which, happily for Guinivere, turns out to be what she wants as well. After they’ve had sex, she announces that she will still marry Leontus. She then carefully obtains deer’s blood to ensure Leontus will believe she’s a virgin on their wedding night.

Leontus, knowing nothing of all this, asks Arthur to perform the marriage. Arthur agrees, reluctantly, and looks glum the entire time. Guinivere also looks pretty glum on her wedding night though I’m not sure why because I would certainly take Philip Winchester’s Leontus over Jamie Campbell Bower’s Arthur any day of the week.

In the sub-plot, Arthur’s brother Kay does something incredibly useful by going with Leontus to seek out the greatest warrior of their age, Gawain. Gawain lives in the ruins of an abbey and says he’s not interested in fighting for kings anymore. Although Gawain’s two-fisted swords unexpectedly reminded me of Gannicus in Spartacus, the warrior won me over when he asked Kay to help him learn how to read. Kay, having accomplished the mission, rides back to Camelot with the two men so Leontus can be on-time for his wedding.

Leaving me thinking that the wrong brother is the king.

Overall verdict: I thought the episode a little better than the previous one because of the interplay between Merlin and Morgan and for the scenes with Kay and Gawain. But if they keep having Arthur react like a shallow teenage boy without showing some signs of being a great king, I’m not sure the show will ever gain momentum. And they still haven’t shown me exactly what Arthur’s followers are fighting for, especially since he’s impotent against a raid on Guinivere’s family home.

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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3 Guinevere   Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:24 am

http://www.medievalarchives.com/2011/04/13/camelot-episode-3-%E2%80%9Cguinevere%E2%80%9D-recap

13
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Camelot Episode 3: “Guinevere” Recap

Posted by: Archivist in Television

Camelot Logo

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 3 “Guinevere” you may want to skip the recap.

~The Archivist
Camelot Episode 3: “Guinevere”

In keeping with what I established as to the divergences and similarities between Merlin and Camelot, I will continue in this mode to distinguish between the two mythologies.. Since this episode is called Guinevere, the main thrust of the recap is readily apparent. Please let me know if you wish me to drop this comparative construct. Again, it is not meant to function as a recap or review of the series Merlin.

In the mythology of Merlin, Guinevere serves as handmaiden to Morgana, but for the most part she is held in high regard in Uther’s Camelot, especially in the castle proper. Gwen (as she is called by the principles of the realm (but notably not by Uther) has bonded with young Merlin, both having the same station in the natural order of things with respect to their masters. But she has seen the inherent goodness in Arthur’s heart as he speaks out against Uther when he unfairly lashes out at his subjects. Arthur is quick to come to their defense and moves to correct a wrong committed at Uther’s hand. As the frequent beneficiary of Merlin’s benevolent magic, Arthur is often saved by Merlin’s intervention when he is in mortal danger. Sensing that Merlin will do what’s necessary to protect Arthur at all costs, Gwen intuitively knows the value of Merlin as a friend of the court-and Arthur in particular-even though she is not aware of his magic powers. Over time, Gwen finds herself drawn to Arthur, and he to her, despite Uther’s laws forbidding Arthur to consort with someone beneath his breeding. Eventually, they do fall in love, but that love has not been consummated-yet. Morgana picks up on their mutual attraction and uses it against both Arthur and Gwen at various times when the opportunity presents itself.

And now, on to the recap/review…

At the outset, Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) appears to be having doubts about her impending marriage to Leontes. She realizes that during her brief encounter with Arthur at the coronation, she felt undeniably drawn to the new king of Camelot. But, out of loyalty to Leontes, who she was promised to wed since they were children, she knows she must adhere to the plans made by her family years ago and try to ignore these new stirrings that now confuse her. For his part, Arthur is torn between his respect for and loyalty to Leontes, his lead soldier, and his growing desire for Guinevere. As Guinevere contemplates her situation with her cousin, her village is attacked by marauders bent on creating all sorts of mayhem. Guinevere’s father gathers his kin and takes them back to Camelot, where they can enjoy the protection of Arthur’s soldiers, including Leontes. Of course, Arthur secretly welcomes this, because it brings he and Guinevere in closer proximity of each other.

Morgan discovers a hidden torture chamber used by Uther against anyone who crossed him. She decides to use the room to practice her dark spells, keeping one device that looks like it was used to yoke prisoners. She also meets Vivian (Chipo Chung), a descendant of former slaves who was serving in Uther’s court. It’s clear that she will be very important to carrying out whatever plans Morgan has to undermine Arthur and Merlin. Morgan immediately elevates Vivian to her trusted confidante, telling her to clear out all staff Vivian doesn’t trust. This actor has serious presence! Her, stature, her fiery eyes, the way she almost instinctively raises to the challenge set to her by Morgan; it almost appears that the two are on equal footing in the way they interact. Morgan also makes it clear that the “boy’s club” rules of the old days are over. Women run the show here now! Morgan sends Vivian to invite Arthur and Merlin to her castle to attend a feast in their honor. Looking to bond with his newfound sister, Arthur accepts immediately, but Merlin is worried: what is Morgan really after? It turns out that Merlin was right to be concerned. She visits Arthur in his sleeping chamber to assure him that she just wants to get to know her brother, and Arthur is all too willing to oblige. I have to admit this scene made me VERY uncomfortable; the dialogue, the actors’ movements, even the lighting almost implied that incest was in the air tonight. Fortunately, I was wrong! Under the pretext of touching Arthur’s bare chest to learn what’s in his heart (purely in a sisterly way, you understand), Morgan scratched him with a ring that drew a sample of his blood. Drifting into restless sleep, Arthur again has his recurring dream about he and Guinevere.

That same night Leontes and Kay set out to find Gawain (Clive Standen), an accomplished swordsman of Leontes’ acquaintance to convince him to join Arthur’s growing band of trusted soldiers. His natural distrust of kings that can abuse their power all too easily makes him chafe at the offer, but having discovered a common interest shared by he and Kay, Gawain agrees to join them, but only if Kay will help him interpret the teachings of the philosopher king Marcus Aurelius.

Meanwhile, Morgan drugs Merlin’s wine, and then binds his wrists to his bedposts after he passes out from the potion. The next morning, he awakens to find her clipping his toenails for use in another potion. Morgan’s really big on potions. She challenges Merlin to use magic to free himself from his restraints. He refuses, and he challenges her to show him some of her magic. Upon attempting this, she shifts back to herself as a child, and then back again to herself as a woman. We’ve seen this occur before when she murdered Uther. In fact, the vision of this murder appeared to Merlin while he was drugged. This appears to Merlin to be the limit of her natural gifts as a sorcerer, at least thus far. Finally having freed himself (using brute strength), Merlin leaves Morgan’s castle, but not before warning her that she’s making a terrible mistake relying on the dark forces of magic to get what she wants. Indeed, the use of magic is already exerting some physical toll on Morgan. He witnesses this just as he rides off to Camelot.

Meanwhile, at Camelot, having learned the day Guinevere arrived that Guinevere and Leontes’ wedding was to take place in three days, Igraine decides to use the occasion to throw Camelot’s inaugural ball for the two. Arthur races to Guinevere from Morgan’s castle convinced that he isn’t the only one harboring such deep feelings while being afraid to act on them. He challenges Guinevere to meet him at the beach (always the site of his and Merlin’s dreams of his stolen moments with her); she refuses, but he goes anyway, telling her to meet him there if she has a change of heart. She indeed does, and they indulge in a tryst that Arthur doesn’t regret, but leaves them both feeling guilty about betraying Leontes. Did I mention that this was on their WEDDING DAY? Returning to Camelot, Arthur is asked by Leontes to preside over his nuptials. More out of guilt than anything, Arthur agrees to do this for his friend. Guinevere receives an anonymous gift of a beautiful, ornate seashell before her wedding. She knows it’s a reminder from Arthur of their time on the beach. As promised, a heartbroken Arthur does preside over the union of Leontes and Guinevere.

During the wedding ceremony, Morgan retires to her converted dungeon, now a black magic hovel with all the trappings of a master of the dark arts, or at least one who aspires to be. Mixed with other unknown elixirs, she ingests the blood sample she acquired from Arthur, to learn “what’s really in your heart, dear brother”. It seems that she is now able to feel what Arthur feels about having to give up the woman he really loves.

On their wedding night, having earlier acquired the blood of a dead dog while returning to Camelot with Arthur after their tryst, Guinevere tricks Leontes into thinking that she was faithful to him and chaste until their first night together.

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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3 Guinevere   Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:26 am

http://danowen.blogspot.com/2011/04/camelot-13-guinevere.html

'CAMELOT' 1.3 – "Guinevere"

After a two-part opening that played like an average Hallmark television movie, "Guinevere" was a step backwards in most respects. It juggled three storylines poorly, and I'm still not sure it's a wise decision to have given Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) ready-made legitimacy with a shiny crown, loyal knights, an impressive castle, and devoted subjects.There's still the long-term goal of uniting the whole country and toppling evil Morgan (Eva Green) from his late-father's throne, but it feels like the story's already past the halfway mark.

This week, Leontes (Philip Winchester) rode off on a quest to obtain the loyalty of renowned knight-trainer Gawaine (Clive Standen) to ply his trade at Camelot, and his absence gave Arthur the opportunity to woo his friend's fiancée Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) the day before their wedding. Concomitantly, Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) accompanied Arthur on a diplomatic mission to Morgan's court, who appears to have calmed down since they last spoke. But while naïve Arthur believes there's a chance of lasting peace with his sister (if they just get to know each other), it becomes clear that Morgan's keeping her true feelings a secret and still wants to reign as queen. Merlin also started to fear for Morgan's health after being given proof she's dabbling in magic, as it's a practice even he's reticent to use because of the costs involved.

There are a number of challenges facing Camelot at this early stage, and a big one's going to be teasing this legend out over ten episodes and beyond. I still suspect they were needlessly hasty with the two-part premiere, as I'm not hugely interested in seeing Camelot slowly restored to its Roman glory, and boy-king Arthur becoming less of a metrosexual fop. Still, as I said in my inaugural review last weekend, there are a few commendable creative choices from showrunner Chris Chibnall (such as magic being something that comes at great personal cost), but the wider story and supporting characters have yet to impress me.

I really like one subversion of the traditional legend, though: with Arthur being the person disrupting a marriage, although making Guinevere complicit kind of spoils things. It makes you wonder why she bothered to go through with her wedding to Leontes, if she has feelings for her dashing new king. We haven't seen enough of the relationship between Guinevere and Leontes to make us understand why she'd remain loyal to her betrothed, or why calling the wedding off would be inadvisable. It didn't help that Leontes had practically no screentime with his bride-to-be here, either -- particularly as the Gawaine subplot he was involved with was, frankly, a pointless distraction.

I'm still in two-minds about Joseph Fiennes' performance. His Merlin's unlike any version of the character I can remember, but perhaps there was a reason nobody's played Merlin as an uptight puppetmaster before. He's a hard man to like, and Fiennes is only just edging into so-bad-it's-good territory, but we'll have to see where he takes it. I did enjoy seeing Merlin pull the reigns on Arthur's expanding ego by pointedly reminding him how everything he's becoming is down to him; it showed how Merlin demands respect, and that Arthur's egomania could be his undoing once he's fully established as king. If you know the Arthurian legend, it feels like Camelot's already going down the path where Arthur doesn't quite attain the exacting standards Merlin requires for his masterplan to work. Arthur's likely affair with Guinevere behind her husband's back speaks to those flaws, too.

Overall, Camelot fumbled the ball here. It's annoyingly eager to rush through its tale, perhaps because it knows everyone watching is aware of the Arthurian legend -- which I can understand. However, things are moving so fast they've forgotten to lay firm foundations between the characters. The Arthur/Guinevere/Leontes love-triangle should be a key emotional part of this seasons' storyline, but we just don't know the characters well enough to care, so it's not working. Any attachment we have is a vestigial response to the Arthurian story itself, not Camelot in particular.

More speed, less haste, my liege.

Asides

* Is Leontes supposed to be Sir Lancelot? It would be helpful to know if that's the case, definitively, as audiences risk being very confused if Lancelot makes his debut in the weeks to come. I'm going to assume Leontes is Lancelot for now, and grumble about the writers being needlessly imprecise. Lancelot's an acceptable name, and one that has mythical currency along with Merlin and Arthur, so why not embrace that?
* It just dawned on me that the Fiennes brothers are playing famous sorcerers from opposite ends of the moral compass, as Ralph Fiennes famously plays Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies.

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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3 Guinevere   Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:34 pm

http://www.craveonline.com/tv/reviews/165079-camelot-103-guinevere

CAMELOT 1.03 'Guinevere'

Arthur gets a one beach stand with Guinevere, but it's Merlin who ends up with Morgan... in bed!
By Blair Marnell
Apr 12th, 2011

Episode Title: "Guinevere"

Story by: Chris Chibnall & Louise Fox

Teleplay by: Louise Fox

Director: Jeremy Podeswa

Previously on "Camelot":

With the death of King Uther Pendragon (Sebastian Koch), Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) summoned his illegitimate heir, Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) to take his throne... much to the consternation of Arthur's half-sister, Morgan (Eva Green) who already went through the trouble of poisoning her father. Morgan aligned herself with King Lot (James Purefoy), who then practically pulled Arthur's adopted mother out of thin air and killed her. But Arthur practically forgot his dead mother when he saw Guinevere (Tamsin Egerton) emerge on a beach, despite her apparent disinterest in him.

Morgan lost her faith in Lot after he treated her badly, so she warned Merlin and Arthur of his attack ahead of time. During Arthur's coronation, Lot and his men were defeated and killed. Although Arthur was grateful to Morgan for the warning, she rejected his hand of friendship and went deep into the woods to bare herself to a dark force of magical power... or maybe it was just a wolf.

Story:

Morgan decides to clean up her castle, first by stripping the dungeon of most of its torture racks and by making an African girl with facial tattoos into her newest servant. Elsewhere, the home of Guinevere and her father is raided by bandits and they flee to Camelot for protection. Meanwhile, at Camelot, Arthur wanders aimlessly and he seems stunned that people expect him to actually lead and make decisions. When Guinevere and her father arrive seeking sanctuary, Arthur overrules Merlin and gives them a room. In retaliation, Merlin invites Guinevere to get married to her betrothed, Leontes (Philip Winchester) in Camelot — despite Arthur's obvious lust for her.

Morgan's servant soon arrives at Camelot inviting Arthur to a feast in his honor at her castle. He accepts the invitation despite Merlin's obvious distrust of Morgan's motives. Meanwhile, Arthur's adopted brother Kay (Peter Mooney) and Leontes go off in an attempt to recruit a great knight named Gawain (Clive Standen). At Morgan's castle, Arthur and Merlin are greeted warmly by Morgan and her servants. Although both Arthur and Merlin are hesitant to taste Morgan's meal, she defuses their suspicious by eating from their plate first.

After the meal, a mostly drunken Arthur is wakened from near sleep by Morgan who pretends to be friendly with him before cutting his chest with her nails to get some of his blood. He accepts her apology and passes out to dream of Guinevere naked on the beach. Elsewhere in the castle, Morgan coaxes Merlin into drinking wine that knocks him out and leaves him helpless. Arthur wakes up and decides to return to Camelot, but he leaves Merlin behind because he thinks that Merlin is about to score with his (half) sister.

When Kay and Leontes find Gawain, he's not interested in joining them and he even fights them briefly. But once they sell him on the idea of Arthur as a new kind of benevolent king, he gets more interested. Kay wins him over fully by agreeing to teach him how to read. Back in Camelot, Arthur sneaks into Guinevere's room and coaxes her to the beach. In an incredibly awkward and poorly acted sequence, he seduces her. Later, she feels guilty about cheating on Leontes and takes the blood of a baby deer to fake her virginity later.

Back at Morgan's castle, Merlin wakes up chained to a bed with Morgan clipping his nails. Through his own gifts, he reads her mind and he sees that she killed her father. She also demonstrates that she can change form slightly, but at a physical cost. Eventually, he breaks free and warns her of the consequences of playing with dark powers. In Camelot, Arthur reluctantly presides over the wedding of Guinevere and Leontes while Morgan observes his lust through his eyes. That night, Guinevere consummates her marriage with Leontes and uses the deer blood to fool him as expected.

Breakdown:

I'm kind of conflicted about "Camelot." I admire the craft of the production, the lush locations and the great orchestral score... but the acting and the writing are leaving me cold.

I hate to keep harping on Jamie Campbell Bower's King Arthur, but he's horribly miscast in the part. The script portrays Arthur as largely a clueless guy who cares more about f***ing Guinevere than anything else. So it does no favors to Bower at all. For someone who is supposed to be a beacon of idealism, Arthur is mostly an empty shell on which people project their desires upon. But he's not a leader and nothing that Arthur does is inspiring. We're three episodes in and Arthur STILL hasn't done anything heroic!

Guinevere doesn't fare any better and her sex on the beach with Arthur made very little sense for either character. They're both treating Leontes like dirt despite their so-called love for him. And honestly, it makes them both look bad in the process. It doesn't help that Bower and Tamsin Egerton don't seem to have much chemistry together either. I did laugh at the two deer blood scenes with Guinevere, but I'm not sure those were meant to be funny.

I had the same issue with Merlin's brief stint as Morgan's captive. It was amusing to see Merlin wake up to Morgan trimming his toe nails (and I'm sure she promises not to turn him into a newt). But the entire sequence hinged upon Merlin drinking Morgan's wine without being suspicious of it first, which seemed out of character for him. Unsurprisingly, most of the interesting scenes took place between Morgan and her guests as she tried to convince them of her good intentions. And despite my problems with Bower's Arthur, watching him make genuine attempts to reach out to Morgan does make him seem kind... provided he doesn't want to sleep with her too.

Morgan's blood collection is also starting to get a little ridiculous, especially with that "accidental" cut on Arthur. "I'm sorry, brother! I promise I won't impregnate myself with this blood I just stole from you!"

Arthur's brother Kay has been one of the few bright spots so far and Gawain seems like he has potential. It was also the only plotline of the week that really showed someone trying to make their assemblage of knights into something greater than before. But with Arthur in charge, there's a serious lack of real leadership.

Honestly, I would love to be able to fully embrace "Camelot," but it still feels half formed at best. If the writing can come together and Bower's annoying tendencies are toned down, it could be more fulfilling.

But for now, it's just disappointing.

Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

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