The Drawing of the Dark gives us one of the best stories in an already fantastic final series, allowing Alexander Vlahos to deliver a sterling performance and setting us up for a dark finale. Whilst investigating an attack on a weapon shipment that resulted in the death of the knights and delivery men, Mordred pursues an escaping Saxon only to discover that it is his beloved Kara. He allows her to escape, but not before Merlin sees him, reinforcing the wizard's view that Mordred is up to no good. And, up to no good he is Returning to help her heal from the injuries she has suffered, you could cut the tension with a knife as the pair discusses Mordred's presence in the court of Camelot and his reluctance to reveal his true nature to his 'friend', the King.
Merlin is convinced there's more going on than meets the eye and is gearing up for Mordred's prophesied betrayal, yet he doesn't realise that his actions may be the catalyst to events. With Arthur taking his servant along to investigate, the pair encounter Kara themselves, who promptly attempts to kill the King, resulting in her incarceration and Mordred's growing fury. Realising that things may be moving faster than he planned, Merlin tries to settle things between Mordred and Arthur, smoothing over the cracks that are rapidly forming, but finding his counsel shunned by both.
Things become much more difficult when Mordred, realising that even pleading for her release won't break Arthur's resolve, chooses to break Kara out of prison and go on the run. As the knights hunt for their escaped friend and his beloved, it quickly becomes apparent that Kara isn't beyond killing. Mordred may be shocked at the turn of events, but that doesn't stop him from trying to escape Camelot. The knights, however, soon surround Kara and Mordred, taking them into custody, despite his pleas for leniency and pleas from Kara to use magic to kill them all!
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Betrayed by one of his own, all for love, Arthur has little choice but to imprison them both and carry out the death sentence. There's nothing that Merlin can do, nor can Mordred save his beloved Kara. As the fury builds, Mordred finally escapes the confines of Camelot and heads straight to the one person who understands him Series five has certainly been the most mature series of Merlin. Keeping the emotional side of things close to the surface, it's allowed the characters to develop in leaps and bounds. It's helped that the main cast have all grown into their roles and that Alexander Vlahos as Mordred, was a revelation in casting, being a focal point of his scenes without having much to say or do Part of his success has been the sense of uncertainly in his motives, with Vlahos giving few hints as to his true nature.
Head in the opposite direction and you can expect to be assaulted by the vibrant brass of the French Quarter's street jazz musicians. Even inside Del Rey's elegant suite there is carnage: Even her laptop has been doused in tomato ketchup, temporarily thwarting our attempts to hear songs from her new album Ultraviolence.
Merlin series 5 episode 11 review: The Drawing Of The Dark
And yet when we move outside to sit on her balcony, the scene is transformed into complete calm. So serene is the setting, in fact, that it takes me by surprise when Del Rey begins to tell me how unhappy she is: Throughout our hour-long conversation she keeps returning to dark themes. Telling her story — a remarkable one that involves homelessness, biker gangs and being caught in the eye of a media hurricane — also involves working out why a songwriter who has sold more than 7m copies of her last album, Born To Die seems so disillusioned with life. Perhaps the logical place to start, then, is with the extraordinary reaction to Video Games , her breakthrough song in Arriving seemingly out of nowhere although Del Rey had been posting her songs and homemade videos for some time , the video's Lynchian creepiness cast a spell on almost everyone who saw it, causing the song to go viral.
Yet no sooner had the plaudits started rolling in the Guardian voted it the best song of than Del Rey was placed under the intense scrutiny of endless blogposts and think pieces, with critics poring over her past for evidence of fakery: Was she really just a major label puppet? Had her dad funded a previous bid for fame? Were her lips the result of plastic surgery? Was she really born as plain old Elizabeth Grant rather than emerging from the womb fully formed as the popstar Lana Del Rey? I ask how long she got to enjoy the success of Video Games before the backlash arrived and she looks surprised.
Del Rey says she's not scared to put another record out because she "knows what to expect this time", but during the two-and-a-half years since Born to Die came out, she has often dismissed the idea of a follow-up because she'd "already said everything I wanted to say". From the handful of songs I get to hear at the hotel, it's safe to say the new material has plenty to get the bloggers worked up about again.
Review: Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ slumps on impact
Sad Girl, for instance, talks about how "being a mistress on the side, might not appeal to fools like you". She laughs when I ask where the inspiration came from: I mean … I had different relationships with men, with people, where they were sort of wrong relationships, but still beautiful to me. It's not clear if Money, Power, Glory was originally written just to rile her detractors but it makes a decent stab at it by warning: Like the woozy soft rock of the album's teaser track West Coast , many of the songs on Ultraviolence are slow-tempo and atmospheric, ditching the hip-hop trappings of Born To Die for what she and her producer — the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach — call a "real narco swing".
It wasn't all plain sailing. One track, Brooklyn Baby , had been written with Lou Reed in mind: If the critical sniping had died down, then Del Rey was finding her life invaded by other, more intrusive, means. In , her personal computer was accessed by hackers and all sorts of information started to appear online: Indeed, when you start to look closely at Del Rey's past three years, it's not hard to understand why she might feel burned by her experience of stardom. You're also forced to wonder why the pop stars who attract the most vitriol are so often solo female artists.
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I don't see where the female part comes into it. I just can't catch that feminist angle. I mention some current examples of musicians getting picked over in the spotlight: I don't think there's any shock value in my stuff — well, maybe the odd disconcerting lyric — but I think other people probably deserve the criticism, because they're eliciting it. What about her video for Ride , in which she hooks up with a succession of older guys from biker gangs it received criticism for, among other things, appearing to glamorise prostitution?
But that was more personal to me — it was about my feelings on free love and what the effect of meeting strangers can bring into your life: For all the accusations of being a fraud, Lana Del Rey seems to have lived a more rock'n'roll existence than your average pop star. She talks of teenage years spent "displaced … I didn't have a home, didn't know my social security number" and says she wasn't in contact with her parents for about six years.
Which must have made it extra galling when accusations came in that her career was funded by her father. My dad was a well-loved entrepreneur - he was interested in the early dawning of the internet in - but it wasn't anything that ever translated financially. Del Rey likes to describe the more tumultuous periods of her life in romantic terms: I met a lot of singers, painters, bikers passing through.
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