#i wasn't saying that it should be a proud love like shoving it in ppl's faces or caring what ppl think
tbh for a long time i really resented the advice "pick a partner that you would want to raise kids with" because i don't want kids and i hated that all relationships had to come from this place of procreation-first. what about toxic friendships, after all.
it took me a really long time to realize it's a bastardization of good advice.
many of us are recovering from being raised by parents/caregivers that were in toxic relationships or were toxic themselves. we learned behaviors, thoughts, and patterns from these people, and we spend our adult lives untangling and dismantling the harm done to us.
the advice should be - is this the person you'd want a child to emulate? is this a person you'd want a child even around? is this a person you can trust alone with a kid - any kid, mind you - and know that the child is safe, looked after, loved? is the relationship you're in one you'd want children to see and repeat in their adult lives? or is the relationship one you hope they won't follow, after all?
to be honest, i knew when i was in a bad relationship. i'd tell people - i know, i know, i should break up with him. i know, i know. she's not actually a good friend. but the reality was that it's incredibly difficult to escape the-devil-you-know. it was easy enough to train myself to be okay with it; i have very little regard for the-self and the process of cutting people out was simply too threatening for my mental state.
but i wouldn't put a younger version of myself through the same thing. i'd picture her in the same situation. i would tell her, broody as she is - leave, you're happier outside of it, never let anyone talk to you like that, you're worth more than this. i'd tell her when you let him cross your boundaries, the fault is his, but you need to understand you're rewarding bad behavior if you don't do something about it. i would wish, fervently, i could restart the relationship and do it all differently, be-young-again.
and then i realized: i am the younger version of myself. a future version of myself is begging me to leave. to take my happiness seriously. i am a kid to fifty-year-old-me. and i need to take my own advice. it's okay if that sets me up to grieve.
pick a partner that you would trust a younger version of yourself with. pick friends you'd want your younger self to grow up alongside. pick love that makes you feel like you want everyone to experience in their life and feel with others, something magical and shareable and full of mist. pick a love that feels like you can grow in it. pick a love like: i will be proud of this.
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4x03 The Wicked Day
We're only three minutes into this episode and Arthur's giving Merlin a universally recognized chin-tip of recognition while he is willingly being tied to an upright spinning wooden board, with his arms secured above his head and his legs slightly spread. Yea, there's absolutely no reason for that to make anyone think of Arthur being fastened to a St Andrew's cross, none at all.
Also what is with this show having other ppl shove food in Arthur's mouth
All the knights are clapping and laughing but Percival's looking at the spinning wooden rig like he's having some Thoughts™️
Merlin escorting a drunk Arthur back to his room, where Arthur proceeds to begin undressing himself, is a scene played for comedy - 'haha Arthur's drunk and walking around with his pants down' - but literally all I see is domesticity.
I love drunk!Arthur but I also like Uther with the long hair.
I really like the fight scene with Uther and the baddie, not just bcuz Tony looks good - but because it is giving Uther a bit more agency back. They've never been clear on what his deal is. Gaius has a line in the first episode that makes it sound like depression. Arthur has a line that makes it sound like Alzheimers. Uther's on-screen behavior could go either way, or could be a little of both. I don't really think it's supposed to be definitive. The swordfight, I think, is entirely keeping with both theories. He was asleep when Arthur entered the room, he would've been exhausted after the exertion of attending a feast with such lively entertainment (considering he spends his days staring out a window, that's a big effort for him). The fighting would've woken him up, and even if he were experiencing sundowning, his sword skills would've been ingrained in him since youth, muscle memory like. And there's always the whole, 'super parent' thing, the surge of adrenaline from seeing your kid in danger leading to extraordinary feats. Regardless, it's an improvement over the despondency in the last few episodes where his character was mostly reduced to scenery.
I love Merlin but he's a fucking idiot.
Fair warning, this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion. Merlin is being a self serving manipulative little shit by encouraging Arthur to use magic to heal Uther, presenting himself as a sorcerer to do so, and then claiming his 'price' for healing Uther is, essentially, freedom and equality for all magic users. First of all, as a FRIEND, Merlin should be aware of Arthur's state of mind. Arthur's lived his entire life wondering about his mother who died giving birth to him. Merlin knows how big of a thing it is for him, if it weren't he wouldn't have nearly killed Uther in S2 when he discovered her life was the price for his. NOW, he's just watched his father get stabbed in the heart while saving Arthur's life, on his birthday.
I don't care how much you dislike Arthur, you cannot deny the trauma here. There's no way Arthur doesn't live with a degree of melancholy surrounding his birthday, knowing that it's also the anniversary of his mother's death; and you can't tell me that hasn't been amplified exponentially since he learned the truth from Morgause and confronted his father. Whether he believed Merlin's last minute save that Morgause had been lying and that she conjured an illusion to fool Arthur, is immaterial. You can't un-ring a bell. In his heart he'll always question, he'll always carry the weight of knowing that there's a chance his own life came at the cost of his mother's. And there is no way this doesn't come bubbling up at his birthday every year. They even attempted to show him being 'grumpy' at the start of the episode, Merlin is enthralled by the entertainment that's shown up for his celebration, Arthur would really rather not deal with it. It's not because he's not easily entertained, it's because his birthday isn't something he particularly feels like celebrating. Add to that, now, in the evening after his birthday feast, he's incapacitated by a sedative in his drink and he gets attacked by an assassin. His father saves his life and gets stabbed in the process, a mortal wound. Arthur shouldn't have even been in Uther's chambers! If he hadn't been, Uther wouldn't have been near the fight - he wasn't the target, Arthur was. This is a huge trauma for Arthur, his father paying the price for Arthur's life with his own on the anniversary of his mother unwittingly doing the same thing! Major, massive trauma! Psychological disaster! Merlin, as Arthur's friend, should know that.
I'm not saying Merlin was wrong to go all dragoon again - wanting to conceal his identity so he doesn't reveal his magic is understandable. Merlin's willingness to use magic to save Uther is also ... expected, if not entirely understandable. He's saved Uther many times, this time is only special in Uther wasn't attacked by magic and Arthur asked him directly for assistance with getting someone to use magic to help him. That's a big first.
My problem is with Merlin trying to demand a price from Arthur at all. Even as dragoon. Obviously, I want equality for magical ppl in Camelot. Obviously, I understand Merlin wanting the same. But it does not make sense for Merlin to look at his friend, who is in pain, who is desperate, who is acting unlike himself, and say 'this is exactly the right time to make him promise me to end the war on magic.' He could've said, 'I will do this, but remember this when you are king. Remember when you saw magic used for good.' and that would've been fine. But the fact that he extracted a price from Arthur, in exchange for helping Uther, the fact that he made it a transactional agreement: that's Merlin taking advantage of Arthur in his weakest moment, full stop. And that's entirely out of character for Merlin. It very much comes across as like, 'I've got him right where I want him' which is THE most antithetical thing POSSIBLE to Merlin & Arthur's relationship.
And yes, for all my ranting I do understand that this was part of a plot point to pit Arthur further against magic, to cement his belief in his father's hardline stance against it, to prevent the show from having to prematurely address the issue because Merlin no longer has a reason to hide. It was intended to keep the conflict going, so that they could continue the series with that narrative, and I understand that. Buuuut the same exact end could've been achieved without Merlin eliciting a promise from Arthur when he's clearly under duress.
And speaking of things that don't make sense, why would Gaius hide the enchanted necklace he found on Uther from Arthur? Surely he would want Arthur to know that his attempt had been deliberately thwarted?
Commentary by Alice and Colin
Bit confused by Alice's comments about Uther. She says she didn't think it was a mental illness, but more like he's 'worn out'. She also says Tony had nailed it and that they'd both had experience dealing with older relatives. I don't really understand what she's trying to say at all. Anyway, she wanted him to have an excellent sword fight scene and I think she's succeeded in that.
It's Colin's first time seeing the episode cut so they aren't doing a whole lot of talking unlike 4x01 where Alice and Katie just talked throughout the entire thing.
Alice says there's a drinking game on the internet - drink every time someone gets blasted back by magic. Colin legit said
The end bit where Arthur and Merlin are talking in Arthur's chambers, Colin says it's like what Merlin thought might've been his best chance has become his worst nightmare.
Alice is so proud of the shot of Arthur coming out of the room where Uther's body is laid out with the rising sun in the background streaming through the window, giving him Apollo vibes.
That final moment of Arthur being crowned king. Colin was clearly genuinely impressed with it and told Alice so, she said she was really very lucky to be given that scene to do.
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