The Beginning of the End
Season 1 - Episode 8
The Beginning of the End

When a Druid and his young apprentice are caught in Camelot, the terrified pair make a desperate bid for freedom, with guards in pursuit. Throughout the chase, Merlin hears the boy's telepathic cries for help. He is increasingly concerned but feels compelled to help the terrified child. Merlin ushers the child inside the nearest door, only to find Morgana and Gwen there. To his surprise, when the guards knock, Morgana covers for the boy and the guards pass.

Though they saved the boy, his master was not so lucky. The druid is executed in the main square. Before the axe falls, the Uther makes a strong speech - whoever is hiding the young druid boy will be found and executed. Merlin watches the scene from Morgana's window, worried. As the axe falls, Merlin hears the boy telepathically scream out a curse - at the same time, the mirror on the wall shatters. Morgana is unaware the child is responsible, Merlin however, realises the truth. The young boy refuses to speak, but continues to communicate telepathically with Merlin, calling him Emrys.

Merlin goes to the Great Dragon to ask him about the boy - he wants to know why he called him 'Emrys' - the Dragon tells Merlin that it is his name in the Druid tongue. There is much written about the young sorcerer - he has been prophesised...Merlin is stunned. He asks the Dragon if the boy is like him, does his magic have a purpose? The Great Dragon warns Merlin that the boy is dangerous, whatever he does, Merlin must not protect him.

The next morning, the boy is terribly unwell. Morgana begs Merlin to ask Gaius for help. Merlin is torn, but seeing how ill the child is, makes the decision to ignore the Dragon and do as Morgana bids. Gaius reluctantly treats the boy. He tells them that as soon he is well, they need to get him out of there.

Morgana (dressed as a peasant girl) smuggles the child through the castle at the dead of night. They make their way through a secret door into the lower town. But as they attempt their bid for freedom, a group of guards, led by Arthur, close in. Merlin and Gwen watch helplessly as Morgana and the boy are led away.

Merlin returns to the Dragon. He is conflicted and wants to know why the Dragon warned him not to help the young boy. The Great Dragon is angry that Merlin defied his earlier advice. He tells him that this boy is Arthur's nemesis...Merlin should let him die. It will prevent much evil in the future.

Merlin walks to Arthur's chambers troubled by what he has learnt from the Dragon. He is shocked to find Arthur and Morgana planning to break the boy out of prison. Merlin can't voice his fears about the child, so has no option but to seemingly go along with their plan. He has an integral part to play in their escape - without his help, Arthur and the child will surely be caught.

Arthur breaks the child out of prison, whilst Morgana plays the dutiful ward with Uther. As Arthur and the boy make their way through the bowels of the castle, the guards discover the child has been freed and sound the warning bell. With guards closing in, the fugitives arrive at the exit - but Merlin is nowhere to be seen, the gate is locked firm - they are trapped.

Merlin sits on his bed pensively; clearly he has found his decision hard and is not entirely happy with the choice he has made. Hearing the Druid boy's telepathic pleas for help, Merlin can bear it no longer, he jumps up from his bed and charges out of the door. At the last minute, he reaches the tunnel entrance and opens the gate, freeing the pair inside.

Arthur hands over the child to the Druids. Before he leaves, he asks the child's name - we hear the young boy speak for the first time...'Mordred'. Arthur wishes him luck and heads back to Camelot, little knowing that it is the child who will one day bring about his downfall.

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