The mighty citadel is buzzing in anticipation of the prince's birthday celebrations. But Arthur's old adversary, Odin, promises to ensure this is one party Camelot will never forget. For amongst the assembling guests lurks a deadly assassin, set to strike.
As the dust settles, Camelot is left devastated. But just how far is Merlin prepared to go to put things right? Would he really risk everything and reveal his secret?
Short Description BBC One
Below is the recap of this episode, which may contain spoilers if you have not seen it yet!
It is Arthur's birthday and Camelot is buzzing in anticipation. Entertainers from all over come to participate in the celebration. Among them are Geldred, the dwarf, and the knife throwing artist The Gleeman who has planned on a special gift for Arthur.
When Arthur visits his father to tell him about the daily happenings Arthur is touched his father has not forgotten about his name day. Arthur is even more surprised and delighted when Uther comes more out of his shell announcing to take part at the feast.
At night the celebrations are in full swing. Everybody enjoys himself including king Uther when The Gleeman steps up asking for a volunteer for his knife throwing experience and challenges prince Arthur to be it. Merlin is concerned the knife throwing might not be safe but Arthur cannot refuse. It would be seen as cowardice.
Binding Arthur to a spinning wheel with an apple in his mouth, Geldred starts spinning, while The Gleeman throws his knives. Merlin keeps a watchful eye on the event but none of the knives misses its target with the last one landing in the apple. Obviously relieved to be let down from the wheel Arthur happily bites into the apple.
Neither Arthur nor Merlin suspects that The Gleeman has laced the apple with a sedative taking effect in a couple of hours, when he wants to strike. When the feast is over a slightly drunk Arthur is brought by Merlin to his chambers. But instead of going to bed Arthur decides to pay his father a visit. He finds his father fast asleep in a chair and Arthur feeling quite tired himself sits down into a chair opposite of his father.
This is when the Gleeman renders the two guards in front of king Uther's chambers unconscious. He takes one of the guard's sword and enters the king's chambers to kill prince Arthur. Arthur has good reflexes though when seeing the Gleeman's reflection approaching in a brass pot. But the sedative is taking its toll and Arthur is barely able to defend himself. He calls for the guards in vain and when he is already defeated it is his father who takes up the sword protecting his son.
Helplessly Arthur must watch how his weakened father fights and defeats the Gleeman but is in the end mortally wounded himself. Arthur does not want to accept his father dying and despite Gaius confirming that it was only a matter of time before the king would die Arthur does not want to let him go. He is prepared to do anything to save his father.
Meanwhile Agravaine has found out that the assassin was sent by Odin to take revenge on Arthur for killing his son. Arthur is deeply grateful for Agravaine's support and advice in this time of need.
Unknown to Arthur, Agravaine is also in league with Morgana and is delighted to bring her the good news about king Uther's impending death. Both reckon that Arthur is devastated and thus weak - a good time to strike.
At Camelot Gwen takes care of king Uther and to her Arthur opens up that he cannot let his father die, that there is still so much he wants to tell him. While the people of Camelot already say their good-bye to king Uther with a silent vigil Merlin tries to console Arthur but has also to tell him that there is nothing that can be done.
Obsessed with keeping his father alive Arthur tells Merlin that there is one way left to heal his father: Magic. Merlin sees the one chance in having Arthur accept magic and seeing that it can also be used to do good. Gaius is strictly against it. He is afraid that Merlin risks exposing himself and if the healing does not work be sentenced to death.
Stubborn Merlin has already figured out that if he becomes once more again Dragoon, the 80 old wizard, Arthur has not recognized as being Merlin before, he will have a chance in changing the Prince's attitude towards magic forever and he won't need to hide anymore and can eventually be himself.
Merlin returns to Arthur and tells him that Gaius knows about an old sorcerer living in the woods who might be able to help but the two of them had to find him themselves. Torn whether to use magic or not Arthur asks Merlin if he would use magic to heal his father if he was in Arthur's shoes. And Merlin answers with a definite yes.
Once having made the decision to seek out the sorcerer Arthur visits Agravaine to inform him he intends to use magic to heal his father. Agravaine is strictly against it stating that magic caused the death of Arthur's mother, Agravaine's sister. But Arthur is not wavered by Agravaine's passionate words against the use of magic and at the first light of the next morning he and Merlin set out into the woods.
Merlin leads Arthur to the charcoal maker's home he and Lancelot had discovered and struggles with juggling the two personas of himself without Arthur noticing anything. After Merlin has finally managed to get Arthur entering the hut without him, he quickly transforms into Dragoon.
When Dragoon enters the hut, Arthur remembers the old sorcerer instantly, who had managed to escape from certain death before and wants to leave. If Arthur had known beforehand who the sorcerer was he would not have come at all. But Dragoon manages that Arthur does not leave the hut instantly by pointing out that Arthur probably had come to ask for the sorcerer's help in healing his father. That makes Arthur stay.
Still suspicious Arthur cannot believe a sorcerer who was almost burnt at the stake by his father would help him. But Dragoon tells him otherwise and Arthur is surprised. Inspiring hope Arthur makes a step towards the old sorcerer offering him anything he wants. Dragoon does not want gold, he wants Arthur to change the law on using magic and pursuing those who practise it once he has become king. Arthur agrees and Dragoon promises to help.
Arthur does not want to waste any more time and expects the old sorcerer to accompany him instantly getting Merlin into a hairy situation because he cannot be Dragoon and Merlin at the same time. But Dragoon manages Arthur to agree upon meeting him at nightfall at the gate of the lower town.
Once more Merlin manages the Arthur to wait in the hut, so he can change back into Merlin before the both of them ride back to Camelot. All excited of the prospect of soon having Arthur to lift the ban of magic Merlin hurries back to Gaius in search of a spell to cure king Uther. Gaius still thinks it is too dangerous.
Meanwhile Agravaine visits Morgana to tell her that Arthur intends to use magic to heal the king. Morgana keeps her cool and simply states that they then simply have to see that the healing fails. Preparing a pendant which comes in contact with a healing spell will reverse it tenfold, Morgana tells Agravaine that he must put the pendant around Uther's neck. Thus when Arthur tries to heal with magic he seals his fate.
Agravaine concludes that Arthur will never forgive himself if the used healing spell provides to be the fatal blow to his father's life. That Arthur will be broken. A broken prince makes a terrible king, weak enough for her to claim the throne for herself.
Back at Camelot Gaius has given up on talking sense into Merlin and instead helps him to find the right healing spells. At nightfall Agravaine sends Gwen from king Uther's room under the pretext of starting a fire since it was cold. That gives him time enough to place the pendant around Uther's neck without getting caught. Meanwhile Arthur enters Gaius chambers on his search for Merlin and once more the only excuse Gaius can come up with is that Merlin might be at the tavern, much to Merlin's dismay. He tells Gaius the next time he should tell Arthur anything but the tavern.
Waiting at the gate of the lower town Dragoon keeps his promise and meets up with Arthur. To Dragoon's dismay Arthur wants to smuggle him to his father's room on hidden ways since the prince had promised that those who practise magic would be able to walk freely but Arthur insists only after Dragoon had healed his father.
Having arrived at the king's bedroom Dragoon performs the ritual to heal the king under the very observant and untrusting eyes of Arthur. Once more Arthur becomes insecure in what he is doing, knowing that his father has never trusted magic and now he uses it to heal him. He simply does not know whether this is the right thing to do. Dragoon tries to take away Arthur's fear. Not all the sorcerers are the same and that magic can also be used to do very good deeds and Dragoon's hope is that Arthur will one day see him in a different light.
Arthur nervously asks Dragoon to go on with the ritual and is overjoyed when his father opens his eyes talking to him. The ritual seems to have worked. And also Merlin thinks he has come step closer to being himself in the future when Uther suddenly dies. Blaming his father's death on the just performed magic Arthur starts to leash out at Dragoon and the latter has no other choice than to defend himself by knocking Arthur unconscious.
Devastated Dragoon transforms back into Merlin and returns to the king's bed chamber just in time to hear Gaius claim the king to be dead. Arthur crumples under his grief for his father and Merlin crumples right with him but cannot show. His hopes have vanished in an instant and Merlin does not understand what happened since the spell was working.
Gaius, on the other hand, knows why Merlin had failed showing him the pendant he had found around Uther's neck well knowing what it had done. Uther never had a chance. Morgana, both conclude.
Agravaine visits Morgana once more her hut and she already knows that Uther is dead because she could feel it, could feel Uther's pain. Agravaine is irritated because he thought Morgana would want to celebrate this success. But a subdued Morgana knows that Arthur will replace Uther and the time for celebration will only come once she has claimed the throne. Agravaine encourages her. Arthur was still young, an untested king and of course this new king will come to his beloved trusted uncle for help. Agravaine promises Morgana that he will make sure that Arthur fails.
Back at Camelot Merlin finds a brooding Arthur in his chambers blaming himself for his father's death. Despite reassuring Arthur that he has nothing to be blamed for Merlin gets to hear the words he so much feared. Uther had spent 20 years fighting magic and Arthur would not listen to him. He thought to know better. Merlin defends the old sorcerer that perhaps the spell did not work or went wrong, that perhaps Uther had no chance no matter what Arthur had tried on him.
But Arthur has now lost both parents to magic and to him magic is pure evil now. Merlin's former hope is shattered. Arthur promises to never lose sight of that again. Merlin blew the one chance he has had.
While Arthur pays his last respect to his laid out father in the throne room, Gaius consoles Merlin outside. Guiltily Merlin blames all of this to be his fault. He had killed the king and he had turned Arthur against magic forever. Arthur will never know who he really is.
Despite Gaius' reasoning that Morgana had killed the king and that Merlin now needs to look to the future, Merlin refuses to accompany Gaius back to his chambers. He wants to be near Arthur even though on the other side of the door.
The following morning, after Arthur has made his peace with his father he finds Merlin outside the door sitting on the floor and is touched by his friend's partaking and speaking out what a loyal friend Merlin is.
Then finally the day has come, Prince Arthur becomes king Arthur of Camelot.