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Some Thoughts on 4x01 [Merlin]

Okay, so S4 of Merlin premiered today (it feels like longer than 8 months since we last saw it, but that may be because S3 didn't quite feel like the same show to me). Anyway, I thought I'd post a few thoughts.

SPOILERS behind the cut.

Overall, I liked it a lot better than the S3 premiere. The suspense was good, and some of the jokes were funny. "My magic can't defeat it" is a bit of a rehash, but they did add a fresh take with the effect it had on Merlin. They seemed to have improved some of the flaws from last year (wonky Arthur/Merlin scenes, irritating Morgana smirks, etc), but some things remain the same (fucking Agravaine's going to be the new smirking!Morgana, isn't he?). Interested to see next week's conclusion.

Other thoughts:

- Merlin is now a "young man"!!! LOL only took them 4 years to realise that someone Merlin's age would not be considered a "boy" in medieval times? Also, is it just me, or did the Hurt Dragon sound a bit defeated saying that line?

- Mischievous knights are mischievous.

- Gwen is in full Disney princess mode this year. Loving the new dress (very Belle a la Beauty and the Beast), and I like that it's a little less primped up than the last two seasons. Maybe the makeup department is pulling back a bit? It's a good look.

- The makeup is all being hoarded for Morgana these days, who is in full Helena Bonham Carter mode 0.0 Outfit is very sexy, tho.

- LOL Why is Morgause's face burned by acid all of the sudden? Last we saw, she'd been hit on the back of the head. How did we get into phantom of the opera territory?

- Merlin and Arthur are in better form together this year. Enjoyed the 'Merlin writes his speeches for him' bit, and the final scene together was really nice.

- Gwaine and Percival stealing chicken was cute. I like to think Gwaine is slowly working his way through the knights, corrupting them.

- A bit disappointed the "you're powerless, Merlin" scene is just referring to Merlin being powerless against this particular foe. I was looking forward to a "Merlin loses his magic and has to do without it for the first time" story.

- Nod to Merlin's immortality!

- Morgana's unapologetic evil this year is a far cry from S1 Morgana ("LOL Sux to be those innocent peasants!") but I definitely prefer it to smirking dark-corner-lurking Morgana of S3. At least she's owning it.

- Get a haircut, Uther.

- Merlin/Lancelot moments were nice ­- I'm glad they are going the route of making him the "magical confidante" for now.

- Agravaine's first appearance: dressed completely in black with an ominous musical accompaniment. Show, your powers of misdirection have not improved.

- Am I the only one who doesn't really like Dragoon/Emrys? It just looks unconvincing to me, and I can't take it seriously (as I assume we're supposed to in Morgana's vision).

- Gwen in the corridor fighting with the torch was nice. She kind of reminded me of the old Gwen for some reason.

- Oh, the tangled web of the Lancelot/Gwen/Arthur triangle. Like a train wreck in slow-motion [On that note, Gwen why can't you just be with Lancelot and save everyone some heartache? You're perfect for each other!]

- I know the cliffhanger is anything but, but it's nice to have Merlin be the one openly in peril for once. Here's hoping they do something decent with it next week.

- Gwaine/apple. That is all.