Morgana removes her final obstacle to the throne of Camelot – Merlin and his magic – and sets about her ultimate siege of the kingdom in “The Diamond of the Day, Part 1,” which airs Friday, May 24, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.
The opening stanza to the two-part MERLIN series finale strikes some ominous chords.
In the episode, Morgana discovers a method of stripping Merlin of his powers. With her arch-nemesis out of the way, and vengeful Mordred at her side, Morgana leads her massive army against King Arthur and his Knights.
Merlin feels the weight of his destiny like never before as the ancient prophecies play out with terrifying accuracy. But before he can save his beloved Camelot, he must save himself. For it is not just the kingdom Morgana wishes to destroy – it is also Emrys.
Many members of the cast cited the final two episodes as their favorites of the epic, five-year, 65-episode series. Katie McGrath (Morgana) and Bradley James (Arthur) were particularly vocal in praising the two-part finale for its action, humor and emotional impact – all traits that made the series extremely popular in more than 180 countries around the world.
“It’s such a privilege to tell the ending of a story,” McGrath explains. “A lot of times a series gets cancelled before it can finish, or it keeps going beyond where it should. Our producers/creators, Johnny (Capps) and Julian (Jones), always had a five-year plan, and we’re grateful to have been allowed them to tell the full story.”
McGrath continues, “It’s been such a pleasure playing Morgana from the beginning to end – it’s rare that you get to put a proper full stop on a character. Such great characters, such good stories. I know the fans will miss MERLIN – I shall miss it, too”
James says his best memories of production were also on these episodes. “I think my best week on Merlin was filming the big battle for the finale,” he says. “We knew it had to be huge and great, and everyone stepped up their game. The attention to detail was a little bit higher in the way it was shot, and we got to spend an entire week concentrating on the battle.”
It was also a last chance for glory with the Knights of the Round Table, he adds. “It was fun to fight alongside the guys one last time – a lot of it was myself and Rupert (Young) fighting side-by-side, and that was great. It was important to put an emphasis on such an important, prominent part of this story within the series.”
Although the final moments of the series raised eyebrows among some fans when it aired in the U.K., James says MERLIN has always been an unexpected retelling of the legend of a “once and future king.”
“I’m happy with the way it ends,” James says. “And I think it will live in people’s memories. Things haven’t fallen the way things you’d expect them to, and that applies to the end of the series, as well.”
The beginning of the end for MERLIN starts this Friday, May 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT when “The Diamond of the Day, Part 1” debuts only on Syfy.
All four previous seasons of MERLIN are now available on DVD, on iTunes and on Netflix. Be sure to follow the latest news on MERLIN at the Official Merlin page on Facebook.